|35th Mayor of Los Angeles|
September 26, 1938 –July 1, 1953
|Preceded by||Frank L. Shaw|
|Succeeded by||Norris Poulson|
|Died||September 11,1968 81) (aged|
|Resting place||Inglewood Park Cemetery|
(m. 1922;died 1961)
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1917-1919|
|Unit|| 14th Field Artillery |
|Battles/wars||World War I|
Fletcher Bowron (August 13,1887 –September 11,1968) was an American lawyer,judge,and politician. He was the 35th mayor of Los Angeles,California,from September 26,1938,until June 30,1953. He was at the time the city's longest-serving mayor and was the city's second longest-serving mayor overall after Tom Bradley,presiding over the war boom and very heavy population growth,and building freeways to handle them.
Bowron was born in Poway,California,the youngest of three children. His Yankee parents,who had migrated from the Midwest,sent him to Los Angeles High School,where he graduated in 1904. In 1907,he began studies at UC Berkeley,where his two brothers had graduated,then enrolled in the University of Southern California Law School two years later where he became a member of the Delta Chi fraternity. He dropped out of law school and became a reporter for San Francisco,Oakland and Los Angeles newspapers,working the City Hall and court beats in the latter city. He was finally admitted to the bar in 1917.
Upon the U.S. entry into World War I in 1917,Bowron enlisted in the Army,serving in the 14th Field Artillery before transferring to the military intelligence division. Upon his return,he once again practiced law before he married Irene Martin in 1922. The following year,he was appointed as a deputy state corporations commissioner. His work in that capacity caught the attention of California governor,Friend Richardson,who hired him as executive secretary in 1925,and then appointed him to the superior court in 1926.
In his first tenure as a superior court judge,which lasted 12 years,Bowron became the first jurist on the West Coast to use the pre-trial calendar system.
He was then elected mayor of Los Angeles on a fusion ticket in 1938 in the wake of the corruption arising from the previous administration of Frank L. Shaw,and earned the reputation of being lawful,unlike his predecessor. This was part of what he called the Los Angeles Urban Reform Revival.
Los Angeles grew enormously during the war years,with very large defense industries. After the war Bowron began construction of the Los Angeles International Airport and the 1st phases of the elaborate freeway system. He obtained hundred million dollars from the Federal Housing Authority for the construction of 10,000 units. As president of the American Municipal Association,representing 9500 cities,he was the leader of the nation's mayors in their dealings with the federal government. A high priority was eliminating organized crime from the city's police department. He forced the resignation of numerous officers,and prevented Los Angeles from becoming a wide open town. Bowron ran on nonpartisan fusion tickets,but his popularity declined in his 4th term. The Los Angeles Citizens Committee demanded his recall,claiming he was responsible for high taxes and continued police corruption. In 1952 he lost his reelection bid in the Republican primary to Norris Poulson,a conservative opponent of public housing.
He served during the era of World War II,most notably supporting the removal of Japanese Americans from California and their subsequent Internment. In January 1942 Bowron began to call for relocating Japanese Americans away from the coast and putting them to work in farm camps. He forced all Japanese American employees of the City of Los Angeles to take a leave of absence and circulated propaganda targeted at people of Japanese descent.By February he was pushing for internment on his radio show,quoted on Abraham Lincoln's birthday in support of the camps:"There isn't a shadow of a doubt but that Lincoln,the mild-mannered man whose memory we regard with almost saint-like reverence,would make short work of rounding up the Japanese and putting them where they could do no harm." He continued by talking about "the people born on American soil who have secret loyalty to the Japanese Emperor." Bowron also attempted to pass a constitutional amendment under which American-born Japanese would be stripped of their citizen rights if they held dual U.S.-Japanese citizenship or if their parents were ineligible for U.S. citizenship. He additionally proposed allowing the government to ignore portions of the Selective Service Act and call Japanese Americans,including women and those whose age or physical status would otherwise exempt them,into non-combat military service if the war required it.
He lost re-election in 1953 after having survived a number of recall attempts,with his defeat attributed partly to the loss of his liberal backing as a result of McCarthyism. In 1956,he once again ran for superior court judge,defeating Joseph L. Call in the November election. Serving one six-year term,he retired from political office in 1962,but remained active in city activities.
On January 4,1961,his wife Irene died at the Madison Lodge Sanitarium after spending nearly five years at the facility. Ten months later,Bowron married his long-time executive assistant,Albine Norton.
Following his retirement from the bench,he served as director of the Metropolitan Los Angeles History Project,hiring Robert C. Post,then a graduate student at UCLA,as his chief researcher. In 1967,Bowron was named chairman of the city's Citizen's Committee on Zoning Practices and Procedures.
After finishing work on September 11,1968,he suffered a fatal heart attack while driving home. While his body lay in state in the Los Angeles City Hall rotunda,people came to pay their respects.He is buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery.
Bowron urged the defeat of these opposition City Council candidates in 1939:
Charles Norris Poulson was an American politician who represented Southern California in public office at the local,state,and federal levels. He served as the 36th Mayor of Los Angeles,California from 1953 to 1961,after having been a California State Assemblyman and then a member of the United States Congress. He was a Republican though the office of mayor is officially nonpartisan.
Meyer Harris "Mickey" Cohen was an American gangster,boxer and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles during the mid-20th century.
The mayor of the City of Los Angeles is the official head and chief executive officer of Los Angeles,California. The officeholder is elected for a four-year term and is limited to serving no more than two terms.
James Edgar Davis was an American police officer who served as the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) from 1926 to 1929,and from 1933 to 1939. During his first term as LAPD chief,Davis emphasized firearms training. Under Davis,the LAPD developed its lasting reputation as an organization that relied on brute force to enforce public order. It also became publicly entangled in corruption. Members of the LAPD were revealed to have undertaken a campaign of brutal harassment,including the bombings of political reformers who had incurred the wrath of the department and the civic administration.
William Henry Parker III was an American law enforcement officer who was Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) from 1950 to 1966. To date,he is the longest-serving LAPD police chief. Parker has been called "Los Angeles' greatest and most controversial chief of police". The former headquarters of the LAPD,the Parker Center,was named after him.
George Parkman Cronk,who went by George P. Cronk, was an insurance man who was on the Los Angeles City Council from 1945 to 1952.
Arthur Elbert Briggs (1881–1969) was a teacher and law school dean who was a Los Angeles,California,City Council member from 1939 to 1941 and the leader of the Ethical Society of Los Angeles in 1953.
John C. Holland (1893–1970) was one of the longest-serving Los Angeles City Council members,for 24 years from 1943 to 1967,and was known for his losing fight against bringing the Los Angeles Dodgers to Chavez Ravine and for his reputation as a watchdog over the city treasury.
Clemence Brooks Horrall was Los Angeles Police Department chief of police from June 16,1941,when he succeeded Arthur C. Hohmann to serve as the 41st chief of the L.A.P.D.,to June 28,1949,when he resigned under pressure during a grand jury investigation of police corruption. Clemence Brooks Horrall was born in Washington,Indiana and graduated from Washington State University. Horrall had become chief when Hohmann,under pressure from Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron,voluntarily took a demotion to deputy chief after he had become ensnared in a police corruption trial that had embarrassed the mayor.
The L.A. Quartet is a sequence of four crime fiction novels by James Ellroy set in the late 1940s through the late 1950s in Los Angeles. They are:
Jack Ignatius Dragna was an American Mafia member and Black Hander who was active in both Italy and the United States in the 20th century. He was active in bootlegging in California during the Prohibition Era in the United States. In 1931,he succeeded Joseph Ardizzone as the boss of the Los Angeles crime family after Ardizzone's mysterious disappearance and death. Both James Ragen and Earl Warren dubbed Dragna the "Capone of Los Angeles". Dragna remained the boss of the Los Angeles crime family from 1931 until his death in 1956.
City News Service,Inc. is a regional news service covering Southern California. City News Service clients include local and regional newspapers,broadcasters and websites.
Earl C. Gay (1902–1972) was a registered pharmacist who was a member of the Los Angeles City Council between 1933 and 1945.
Norris J. Nelson was an American politician who served as a member of the Los Angeles City Council from 1939 to 1943.
Brenda Allen was a madam based in Los Angeles,California,whose arrest in 1948 triggered a scandal that led to the attempted reform of the Los Angeles Police Department (L.A.P.D.). Allen received police protection due to her relationship with Sergeant Elmer V. Jackson of the L.A.P.D.'s administrative vice squad,who reportedly was her lover.
Carl Christian Rasmussen (1901–52) was a Lutheran minister who was also a member of the Los Angeles,California,City Council between 1939 and 1947.
Roy Hampton was an attorney,ex-Marine and former journalist who was a member of the Los Angeles,California,City Council from 1939 to 1943. Sheriff's deputies said he committed suicide in a Malibu motel in 1953.
Ed J. Davenport (1899–1953) and Harriett Davenport (1894–1976),a married couple,were both members of the Los Angeles,California,City Council;the wife succeeding her husband in the position after he died in 1953. It was the first of two such spousal turnovers in the history of the city. Harriett Davenport was the third woman council member in the city's history and the first to be appointed by the council.
The 1953 election for Mayor of Los Angeles took place on April 7,1953,with a run-off election on May 26,1953. Incumbent Fletcher Bowron was defeated by Norris Poulson.
Perfidia is a historical romance and crime fiction novel by American author James Ellroy. Published in 2014,it is the first novel in the second L.A. Quartet,referring to his four prior novels from the first L.A. Quartet. Perfidia was released September 9,2014. A Waterstones exclusive limited edition of Perfidia was released September 11,2014,and includes an essay by Ellroy himself titled "Ellroy's History –Then and Now." The title,Perfidia,is Italian for the word perfidy,and is also the name of the big band song,Perfidia.
Library card required
Library card required