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mented by subsequent acts (St. 1889, pp. 15, 18, 212, 213, cc. 19, 20, 178; St. 1891, pp. 53, 142, 145, 147, 244, cc. 57, 127, 128, 171).
The first section of the act of 1887, as amended by that of March 20, 1891, provides that whenever 50 or a majority of the holders of title or evidence of title to land susceptible of one mode of irrigation from a common source, and by the same system of works, desire to provide for the irrigation of the same, they may propose the organization of a district under the provisions of the act, and when so organized such district shall have the powers conferred or that may thereafter be conferred by law upon such irrigation districts. The equalized county assessment roll next preceding the presentation of the petition for the organization of the irrigation district under the provisions of the act, it is declared, shall be sufficient evidence of title for the purposes of the act.
Its second section, as amended by the act of March 20, 1891, is as follows:
"A petition shall first be presented to the board of supervisors of the county in which the lands, or the greatest portion thereof, is situated, signed by the required number of holders of title, or evidence of title, of such proposed district, evidenced as above provided, which petition shall set forth and particularly describe the proposed boundaries of the district, and shall pray that the same may be organized under the provisions of this act. The petitioners must accompany the petition with a good and sufficient bond, to be approved by the said board of supervisors, in double the amount of the probable cost of organizing such district, conditioned that the bondsmen will pay all the said costs in case said organization shall not be effected. Such petition shall be presented at a regular meeting of the said board, and shall be published for at least two weeks before the time at which the same is to be presented, in some newspaper printed and published in the county where said petition is presented. together with a notice stating the time of the meeting at which the same will be presented and if any portion of such proposed district lie within another county, or counties, then said petition and notice shall be published in a newspaper published in each of said counties. When such petition is presented, the said board of supervisors shall hear the same and may adjourn such hearing from time to time, not exceeding four weeks in all; and on the final hearing may make such changes in the proposed boundaries as they may find to be proper, and shall establish and define such boundaries: provided, that said board shall not modify said boundaries so as to except from the operation of this act any territory within the boundaries of the district proposed by said petitioners which is susceptible of irrigation by the same system of works applicable to the other lands in such proposed district; nor shall any lands which will not, in the judgment of said board, be benefited by irrigation by said system be included within such district: provided, that any person whose lands are susceptible of irrigation from the same source may, in the discretion of the board, upon application of the owner to said board, have such lands included in said district. Said board shall also make an order dividing said district into five divisions, as nearly equal in size as may be practicable, which shall be numbered first, second, third, fourth, and fifth, and one director, who shall be a free-holder in the division, and an elector and resident of the district, shall be elected by each division: provided, that if a majority of the holders of title or evidence of title, evidenced as above provided, petition for the formation of a district, the board of supervisors may, if so requested in the petition, order that there may be either three or five directors, as said board may order, for such district, and that they may be elected by the district at large. Said board of supervisors shall then give notice of an election to be held in such proposed district, for the purpose of determining whether or not the same shall be organized under the provisions of this act. Such notice shall describe the boundaries so established, and shall designate a name for such proposed district, and said notice shall be published for at least three weeks prior to such election
in a newspaper published within said county; and if any portion of such proposed district lie within another county or counties. then said notice shall be published in a newspaper published within each of said counties.
shall require the electors to cast ballots, which shall contain the words 'Irrigation District-Yes,' or 'Irrigation District-No,' or words equivalent thereto, and also the names of persons to be voted for to fill the various elective offices hereinafter prescribed. No person shall be entitled to vote at any election held under the provisions of this act, unless he shall possess all the qualifications required of electors under the general election laws of this state."
The third section provides how such election shall be conducted, and for the canvass of the vote, and that if, upon such canvass, it appear that at least two-thirds of all the votes cast are "Irrigation District-Yes," the board of supervisors shall, by an order entered upon its minutes, declare such territory duly organized as an irrigation district under the name and style theretofore designated, and shall declare the persons receiving respectively the highest number of votes for the several offices to be duly elected thereto, and shall cause a certified copy of such order to be immediately filed for record in the office of the county recorder of each county in which any portion of such land is situated, and shall also immediately forward a copy thereof to the clerk of the board of supervisors of each of the counties in which any portion of the district may lie; and from and after the date of such filing the organization of such district shall be complete, and the officers thereof shall be entitled to enter immediately upon the duties of their respective offices upon qualifying according to law, and shall hold such offices, respectively, until their successors are elected and qualified. The third section of the act, as amended by that of March 20, 1891, also provides that "no action shall be commenced or maintained, or defense made, affecting the validity of the organization unless the same shall have been commenced or made within two years from the making of said order" of the board of supervisors declaring the territory duly organized as an irrigation district. Section 4 et seq. provide for subsequent elections, at which an assessor, a collector, a treasurer, and a board of directors for the district shall be elected. Section 11, as amended March 20, 1891, provides for the organization of the board of directors after their election; and by section 12, as so amended, it is provided that the board shall, among other things, have the right to enter upon any of the land to make surveys, and may locate the necessary irrigation works and the line for any canal or canals, and the necessary branches for the same, on any of the lands which may be deemed best for such location; and shall also have the right to acquire, either by purchase, condemnation, or other legal means, lands, waters, water rights, and other property necessary for the construction, use, supply, maintenance, repair, and improvements of said canal or canals and works, including canals and works constructed by private owners, land for reservoirs for the storage of needful waters, and all necessary appurtenances, and may also construct the necessary dams, reservoirs, and works for the collection of water for the district, and do any and every lawful act necessary to be done that sufficient water may be furnished to each landowner in the district for irrigation purposes. And it is declared by the twelfth section of the act, as so amended, that the use of all water required for the irrigation of the
lands of any district formed under the provisions of the act, together with the rights of way for canals and ditches, sites for reservoirs, and all other property required in fully carrying out the provisions of the act, is a public use, subject to the regulation and control of the state in the manner prescribed by law. By section 13 it is provided that the legal title to all property acquired under the provisions of the act shall vest in such irrigation district, and shall be held by such district in trust for the uses and purposes therein set forth; and the board of directors is authorized to hold, use, acquire, manage, occupy, and possess the property as provided in the act. By section 15 of the amendatory act of March 20, 1891, it is provided that for the purpose of constructing necessary irrigating canals and works, and acquiring the necessary property and rights therefor, and otherwise carrying out the provisions of the act, the board of directors of such district must, as soon after such district has been organized as may be practicable, and whenever thereafter the construction fund has been exhausted by expenditures authorized therefrom, and the board deem it necessary or expedient. to raise additional money for such purposes, estimate and determine the amount of money necessary to be raised, and shall immediately thereafter call a special election at which shall be submitted to the electors of the district possessing the qualifications prescribed by the act, the question whether or not the bonds of the district shall be issued in the amount so determined. Notice of such election is required to be given, and such notices are required to specify the time of holding the election and the amount of bonds proposed to be issued; and, in the event a majority of the votes cast at the election are favorable to the issuance of the bonds, the board of directors are required to immediately cause them to be issued, such bonds to be payable in gold coin of the United States, in 10 series, as follows, to wit: At the expiration of 11 years, 5 per cent. of the whole number of said bonds; at the expiration of 12 years, 6 per cent.; at the expiration of 13 years, 7 per cent.; at the expiration of 14 years, 8 per cent.; at the expiration of 15 years, 9 per cent.; at the expiration of 16 years, 10 per cent.; at the expiration of 17 years, 11 per cent.; at the expiration of 18 years, 13 per cent.; at the expiration of 19 years, 15 per cent.; at the expiration of 20 years, 16 per cent.-all of which bonds shall bear interest at the rate of 6 per cent. per annum, payable semiannually on the 1st days of January and July of each year. Section 16 provides for the sale of the bonds by the board of directors from time to time, in such quantities as may be necessary and most advantageous, to raise money for the construction of the canals and works, the acquisition of property and rights, and otherwise to fully carry out the objects and purposes of the act. Notice of such sale is required to be given, and bids therefor received, but with the provision that in no event shall the board sell the bonds for less than 90 per cent. of the face value thereof. By section 17 it is provided that the bonds and interest thereon shall be paid by revenue derived from an annual assessment upon the real property of the district; and all the real property in the district, it is declared, shall be and remain liable to be assessed for such payment, as provided in the act. Provision is made for the assessment of all such real property annually by the assessor. By section 20 it is
provided that on or before the first Monday in August of each year the assessor must complete his assessment book, and deliver it to the secretary of the board of directors, who must immediately give notice thereof and of the time the board of directors, acting as a board of equalization will meet to equalize assessments, by publication in a newspaper published in each of the counties comprising the district. The time fixed for the meeting shall not be less than 20 nor more than 30 days from the first publication of the notice, and in the meantime the assessment book is required to remain in the office of the secretary for the inspection of all persons interested. Section 21 is as follows:
"Upon the day specified in the notice required by the preceding section for the meeting, the board of directors, which is hereby constituted a board of equalization for that purpose, shall meet and continue in session from day to day, as long as may be necessary, not to exceed ten days, exclusive of Sundays, to hear and determine such objections to the valuation and assessment as may come before them; and the board may change the valuation as may be just. The secretary of the board shall be present during its sessions and note all changes made in the valuation of property, and in the names of the persons whose property is assessed; and within ten days after the close of the session he shall have the total values, as finally equalized by the board, extended into columns and added."
Section 22, as amended by the act of March 20, 1891, is as follows: "The board of directors shall then levy an assessment sufficient to raise the annual interest on the outstanding bonds, and at the expiration of ten years after the issuing of bonds of any issue must increase said assessment to an amount sufficient to raise a sum sufficient to pay the principal of the outstanding bonds as they mature. The secretary of the board must compute and enter in a separate column of the assessment book the respective sums, in dollars and cents, to be paid as an assessment on the property therein enumerated. When collected, the assessment shall be paid into the district treasury, and shall constitute a special fund, to be called the 'Bond Fund of Irrigation District.' In case of the neglect or refusal of the board of directors to cause such assessment and levy to be made as in this act provided, then the assessment of property made by the county assessor and the state board of equalization shall be adopted, and shall be the basis of assessments for the district, and the board of supervisors of the county in which the office of the board of directors is situated shall cause an assessment roll for said district to be prepared, and shall make the levy required by this act, in the same manner and with like effect as if the same had been made by said board of directors, and all expenses incident thereto shall be borne by such district. In case of the neglect or refusal of the collector or treasurer of the district to perform the duties imposed by law, then the tax collector and treasurer of the county in which the office of the board of directors is situated must, respectively, perform such duties, and shall be accountable therefor upon their official bonds as in other cases."
By section 23 of the act, as amended by the act of March 20, 1891, the assessment upon real property is made a lien against the property assessed from and after the first Monday in March for any year, and such lien is not removed until the assessments are paid, or the property sold for the payment thereof. Subsequent sections of the act provide that, in the event the assessments become delinquent, the property shall be sold to pay such assessments, and in the event the property so sold is not redeemed within 12 months from the sale the collector or his successor in office is required to make to the purchaser or his assignee a deed to the property, which deed, duly acknowledged or proved, is (except as against actual fraud) made conclusive evidence
of the regularity of all the proceedings from the assessment by the assessor, inclusive, up to the execution of the deed, which deed, the statute declares, conveys to the grantee the absolute title to the lands described therein, free of all incumbrances, except when the land is owned by the United States or this state, in which case it is prima facie evidence of the right of possession.
The act of March 16, 1889, provides for a special proceeding in the superior court of the county in which the lands of the district, or some portion thereof, are situated by the board of directors of the irrigation district organized under the act of March 7, 1887, "in and by which the proceedings of said board and of said district, providing for and authorizing the issue and sale of the bonds of said district, whether said bonds or any of them have or have not been sold, may be judicially examined, approved, and confirmed." Sections 3 and 4 of the act of March 16, 1889, provide for notice of the proceedings, and for the hearing of any person interested in the district, or in the issue or sale of the bonds, and section 5 of the act declares:
"Upon the hearing of such special proceedings, the court shall have power and jurisdiction to examine and determine the legality and validity of, and approve and confirm, each and all of the proceedings for the organization of said district under the provisions of the said act, from and including the petition for the organization of the district, and all other proceedings which may affect the legality or validity of said bonds, and the order for the sale, and the sale thereof. The court, in inquiring into the regularity, legality, or correctness of said proceedings, must disregard any error, irregularity, or omission which does not affect the substantial rights of the parties to said special proceeding; and it may approve and confirm such proceedings in part, and disapprove and declare illegal or invalid other and subsequent parts of the proceedings. The court shall find and determine whether the notice of the filing of said petition has been duly given and published, for the time and in the manner in this act prescribed. The costs of the special proceedings may be allowed and apportioned between all the parties, in the discretion of the court."
The bill in the present suit alleges, among other things: That the defendant San Jacinto & Pleasant Valley Irrigation District is, and ever since the 3d day of April, 1891, has been, a corporation duly organized and existing under and in accordance with the provisions of the act of March 7, 1887, and of the acts amendatory thereof. That the defendants McEuen and Haslam are, and for more than four years last past have been, duly elected and qualified members of the board of directors of said corporation; and that the defendant Johnson is, and for the same period has been, the duly qualified and acting secretary thereof. That at the time of the election of the defendants McEuen and Haslam as such directors there were also elected as directors of the corporation C. M. Diedrich, J. G. Gingery, and A. A. Lord, who also duly qualified as such directors, and entered upon the duties of their office, and that thereupon the defendants McEuen and Haslam, together with the said Diedrich and Gingery and Lord, constituted the duly elected, qualified, and acting board of directors of the district. That no other persons have been elected or appointed as such directors, and that the said Diedrich, Gingery, and Lord have removed out of the district, and their office thereafter became vacant, which vacancies have not been filled by appointment or otherwise. That on or about July 1, 1892, the defendant corporation was duly authorized