William Mulholland and the Rise of Los Angeles

By Catherine Mulholland | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 16
Troubles and Interruptions
1910

SHAKE-UP AT CITY HALL

In an apparent attempt to keep his campaign promise of fairness and justice for all groups, incoming Mayor George Alexander shook up the city commissions with surprising additions and removals. He appointed the first union man ever to serve on a municipal commission, Ben C. Wilson of the Typographical Union, to the fire commission and restored Dr. John Randolph Haynes, a Progressive, to head the civil service commission. More controversial were his naming Lippincott to the park commission and removing Sherman from the water board. When Lippincott, with his penchant for controversial behavior, accepted the appointment, some saw a dangerous precedent in allowing one man to hold two important public offices at the same time, questioning too how he could do justice to the new post while also serving as assistant chief engineer of the aqueduct, for which he was paid a salary of $500 a month. The mayor argued that he wanted an engineer on parks, and although some wondered why some other able engineer could not be found to fill the post, Lippincott was still confirmed. 1

Sherman's removal proved more controversial, but the Municipal League and one of its leaders, Meyer Lissner, were pressuring the mayor to force the resignation. Their charge against Sherman had been that he held stock in a downtown office building where the board of public works leased offices for the aqueduct department. As the city charter provided that no city official should have any direct or indirect interest

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