William Mulholland and the Rise of Los Angeles

By Catherine Mulholland | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 23
More Dynamite
1925–1927

WHY NOT BUY ALL OF OWENS VALLEY?

Although no further acts of violence against the aqueduct occurred in 1925, the war of words persisted, especially after state engineer W. F. McClure in January released his report on the Owens Valley–Los Angeles controversy to the state legislature in Sacramento. McClure, who had once lived in Owens Valley and was friendly to its people, produced a wildly one-sided document, almost as if he were an attorney preparing a brief for his client. Freighted with reprints of editorials from the Owens Valley–San Joaquin Valley newspapers and reports from the major ditch companies, the “letter of transmittal” offered little for the Los Angeles side other than selected snippets from the first annual aqueduct report to prove that Mulholland had once approved building Long Valley Dam, along with an editorial from the Los Angeles Times urging peace and moderation among all parties after the Alabama Gates incident. The city was indignant, citing a bias against Los Angeles in Sacramento. On the basis of the report, the senate nonetheless formed a committee to investigate the matter. After they had chosen four members, however, sentiments became so divided that the legislators could not agree on a fifth member and the probe stalled. 1

The public service commission denounced the McClure Report, rebutted with its own pamphlet, and rejected the proposal to pay reparations and buy the ranchers' lands en bloc. The Clearing House Association now announced its withdrawal from the controversy, citing as

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