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Maps, Mayoral Politics and California Railroads

Unrecorded broadside map related to the City of Oakland's fight to reclaim lands from the Southern Pacific Railroad and the 1909 Mayoral Election in Oakland.

The map was produced in the midst of 1909 Mayoral campaign in Oakland, which would result in the re-election of Mayor Frank Mott and the approval of a settlement with the Southern Pacific Railroad.

In 1906, the City of Oakland granted the Western Pacific Railroad a franchise to construct a wharf in the Oakland estuary. The Southern Pacific Railroad sought a Court injunction against construction, asserting that the City lacked the right to grant a wharf franchise. The District Court ruled against the City, but the decision was reversed on appeal. The Southern Pacific appealed to the Supreme Court.

In response, the Southern Pacific pursued a bill in the California State legislature to create a state harbor commission to take control of the administration of the waterfront and persuaded the Western Pacific to support this action. The City sought to kill the bill.

As a compromise, Mayor Frank Mott elected to settle the litigation before the Supreme Court ruled on the case, with the Southern Pacific relinquishing its claims on the waterfront, in exchange for a 50 year franchise on the property it was then using, with an agreement that it would remove the Long Wharf by 1918, giving the city free access to the waterfront north of the Southern Pacific Mole (and island off the coast to which the wharves attached).

The settlement would become a major issue in Mott's re-election campaign, with opponents calling the settlement a sell out.