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Mayor Emory Valentine Doesn’t Get His Way

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It all started with a conversation with my Mom, during which, in a hushed voice, she told me about a neighbor “who had gotten a blue card.” A blue card? I had never heard of a blue card.

“It meant she had to leave the state!” Mom said.

Such a small thing, and such a journey it has led me on, trying to find out about the blue card and how it functioned. It led me to The History of the Juneau Alaska Police Department, and reading through that led to an hour of hilarity reading through the struggles of a small frontier town trying to bring order out of chaos and fight the battles of sewers, garbage, untethered horses, bawdy houses, and law enforcement.

Here are some examples of early actions:

September, 1904 – George Kyrage (“George the Greek”) was elected to the Council and served with Mayor George Forrest, Councilmen Henry Shattuck, John Reck, Louis Lund, J.P. Jorgenson, and Henry States. Kyrage was named chairman of the Police Committee and found himself squarely between those who wanted prosperity through a wide open town, and those who demanded strict enforcement of a new ordinance prohibiting women loitering in saloons.

January 7, 1910 – The conduct of a man named Al Graham was discussed and the Council ordered that he be given a “Blue Ticket”.

April 15, 1910 – The applicants for City Marshal were as follows: Charles Biernoth, W.G. Harris, Charles Meline, Mike McKenna, William Steinbeck, John Sweeney, Fred LaMarche Holmberg, and J.T. Martin. Charles Biernoth received the majority of the votes and was elected.
May 6, 1910 – City Marshal Charles Biernoth was asked to resign.


April 18, 1913 – Mr. Nolan appeared before the Council and protested that the women of ill fame were allowed to live in the vicinity of the saw-mill outside of the restricted district, and the matter was referred to the Police Committee and the Chief of Police.

January 2, 1914 – The City Attorney was instructed to prepare an ordinance against expectorating on the sidewalks of the City of Juneau.

-An ordinance was passed that provided punishment for pimps and moques to be set at not more than one hundred dollars.

City refuses to clean up red light district
February 6, 1914 – Councilman H.J. Raymond said that the last Grand Jury: wanted the City of Juneau to do something about cleaning up the red light district in the City. It was moved that the Chief of Police be ordered to close up every bawdy house in the City; but the motion died for lack of a second. It was then moved that the Chief of Police be instructed to stop the sale of liquor in all houses of prostitution in the City of Juneau; and again the motion died for lack of a second. It was then moved and seconded that a letter be forwarded to John Rustgard, US District Attorney, First Division of Alaska, stating that the City authorities of Juneau will be glad to lend all the aid they can in the enforcement of the law in the sale of liquor in houses of prostitution in the City of Juneau.

May 14, 1914 – A day’s labor in the Municipality of Juneau was set at eight (8) hours, common laborers were paid 35 cents per hour, and could work any number of additional hours at the same rate per hour.


January 27, 1915 – A special meeting was called to hear charges of misconduct in office that have been made against Chief of Police William McBride. The Council requested that witnesses give their testimony. Harry Grove was duly sworn and testified and Charles Freegrove, Helen, and J.H. Gilpatrick were called and questioned by different councilmen. The hearing was then continued to a subsequent meeting of the Council.

January 29, 1915 – The Clerk read the resignation of William McBride from the office of the Chief of Police of the City of Juneau which took effect on February 1, 1915.

-A proposed ordinance was presented entitled “An ordinance requiring horses to be tied”.

July 7, 1916 – S.A. Judd protested that the Chief of Police had ordered him to leave town.

It makes for fascinating reading. Then I came across this sequence of reports, but for all my Googling, I cannot find out what the charges were against Chief of Police W.S. Harding:

Mayor Emory Valentine

April 11, 1917 – Mayor Valentine declared that grave and serious charges have been made against W.S. Harding, Chief of Police, and that proofs are now in his possession. He further declared that an emergency existed, ordered that the office of Chief of Police be declared vacant, and stated that he will in due time appoint an emergency Chief of Police.

Councilman King asked Mayor Valentine the nature of the charges, to which Mayor Valentine replied that Mr. Harding would be given an opportunity to answer them, and that he would call a special meeting for that purpose.

April 12, 1917 – It was moved and seconded that W.S. Harding be elected to the position of Chief of Police for the coming year, to which Mayor Valentine declared out of order and stated that Mr. Harding had been suspended under the rules. Councilman Blomgren called for a vote on the adoption of the motion, and all six councilmen vote aye.

April 20, 1917 – The Clerk read the following demand: To Emory Valentine, Mayor and Common Council of the City of Juneau:
Whereas, Emory Valentine Mayor of the City of Juneau did at a public meeting held in the City of Juneau on the night of the 19th day of April, 1917, read certain affidavits purporting to contain certain charges against me as Chief of Police of Juneau, and that Emory Valentine publicly announced on the streets and public places of the Town of Juneau that he had other charges against me, I hereby demand that affidavits and all charges made against me as a public official and against my conduct, if committed and filed with the Common Council of the City of Juneau, or the Clerk of the City, and that a hearing be had immediately. Respectfully submitted, dated Juneau, Alaska, April 20, 1917. (signed) W.S. Harding

-An Executive Session was scheduled for Monday, April 23, 1917, at the hour of eight o’clock p.m. for the purpose of having the charges against W.S. Harding formally filed or presented.

-The Mayor called for the election of a person to fill the position of Chief of Police for the coming year. The Clerk read the following names as persons who had filed their applications: W.S. Harding, W.D. McMillan, E.J. Sliter, and Capt. E. Harrigan. W.S. Harding received six votes and the other applicants received none. The Mayor declared a veto on the election of W.S. Harding as Chief of Police.

-Harding appointed Dan Harrington, W.D. McMillan, and Emil Mullenbeck, to serve as police officers under him and asked for approval of the Council which was given. The Mayor declared a veto to the action of the Council.

April 27, 1917 – The Common Council of the City of Juneau, Alaska, convened in the Council Chambers of City Hall at the hour of eight o’clock p.m. on Friday, April 27, 1917, for the purpose of trying the charges against W.S. Harding, Chief of Police.
-The trial of the charges was to be heard by affidavit, and W.S. Harding was given until Monday night to file his answering affidavits, with the trial continued to Thursday, May 3, 1917 at the hour of eight o’clock p.m.
May 3, 1917 – The Common Council of the Town of Juneau, Territory of Alaska, convened in the Council Chambers of the City at the hour of eight o’clock p.m. on Thursday, May 3, 1917 – Mayor Valentine presiding. A resolution calling for the reading of the charges against W.S. Harding, Chief of Police accusing him of misconduct in office and the answering affidavits from the Chief was read.

-Affidavits of Walter Johnson, Frank Morrison, Jack Ivey, Fred Alexander, Mrytle Mercer, J.W. Felix, D. DeBlaser, F.J. Breezee, L.N. Ritter, and E. Valentine supported the charges.
-Affidavits of W.S. Harding, Emil Mullenbeck, Louise Dejonghe, E.W. Pettit, L.O. Sloane, C.O. Lindsey, Carl R. Brophy, W.D. MacMillan, A.C. Williams Jr., Frank E. Sargent, Glen C. Bartlett, H.H. Post, D.J. Harrington, George C. Burford, Edith Johnson, John B. Marshal, Harry Ellingen, and E.A. Naud were read in answer to the charges.

-The Council took a ten minute recess to consider the charges, and Mayor Valentine left the meeting.

-Following the recess, the following resolution was read: Be it resolved that W.S. Harding, Chief of Police of the City of Juneau, whom certain charges have been filed against, has been exonerated and it is the wish of the Council that he continue as Chief of Police.

May 4, 1917 – The electric light at the end of the garbage dump was out, causing trouble for boats navigating up and down the channel.

-Mayor Valentine objected to the claim of Chief Harding for his full monthly salary, saying that he was only entitled to pay for the first eleven days in April, because Harding was relieved from office on that date.

-The Clerk read Mayor Valentine’s veto message to the action of the Council electing W.S. Harding as Chief of Police on April 20, 1917, and to the action of the Council confirming the appointments of W.S. Harding, Patrolman Harrington and Mullenbeck. The following resolution was then read: Be it resolved that the veto of Mayor Valentine to the action of the Council in electing W.S. Harding, Chief of Police of the City of Juneau, Alaska on April 20, 1917, be overruled and held for naught. And be it further resolved that the veto of Mayor Valentine to the action of the Council in confirming the appointment of Patrolman Harrington and Mullenbeck on April 20, 1917, be overruled and held for naught.

Mayor Valentine served as Mayor for six terms, according to Wikipedia, and organized the volunteer fire department and designed the city’s first water system. For some reason, he really didn’t like the Chief of Police, but Harding and a lot of support among the council members, and retained his position. Fascinating stuff; brings history to life.

And you thought history was dull?

May 26, 2013 Posted by | Alaska, Biography, Crime, Cultural, Law and Order, Leadership, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Social Issues | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Day I Might Have Died

“I have a photo you might want.” my Mom said, rummaging under the bed in the office, where I am sleeping while I have a working holiday here in Seattle, running errands and helping her with things she can no longer do easily for herself. I have two sisters living here who take good care of Mom, and I want to do some small part, too.

She pulled out an envelope and looked through it.

“No, not this one, but you might want this one,” and she handed me this photo.

I know to you it looks like a very strange photo; it looks like a very strange photo to me, too. Old photo, probably taken with some kind of brownie box camera, you cannot tell anything, it looks misty and indistinct.

It was taken at an airport ‘lake,’ like a water retention pond, in Juneau, Alaska, when I was around three. In Juneau, the lakes and ponds might stay very cold the entire summer, but these man-made lakes were fairly shallow, and might warm up a little when the temperatures reached the 70’s (F), like in July or August.

What I remember is dropping off, but not being afraid. I was under water, but my eyes were open, and the colors were beautiful and I was just watching the play of color and light, and I just kind of bobbed along.

My aunt tells me that she saw me drop out of sight and not return. She ran out into the water, found me, and pulled me to the shore. She saved my life. Later, when I was grown, she told me the old Chinese adage that if you save a person’s life you are responsible for them as long as you – or they – live. I always felt a special connection to that sweet aunt.

I wonder now if my memory is as I have always remembered it? I can still see the green and gold flickering, just as clearly as when it was happening. I can remember the shock of being grabbed, and hustled to shore, and fussed over, as everyone wanted to make sure I was OK. I remember having to stay on the blanket for what seemed like a lifetime, and then only being allowed to play in the very shallow water. And I wonder if I remember it all, or if I have heard the story so many times that I just think I remember it?

I love this photo. I love the indistinct nature, and mistiness. It is a metaphor for my memory of that day, and I am delighted that a photo exists.

December 9, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Aging, Biography, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Relationships | , | 3 Comments