This collection contains the papers and administrative files of lawyer and Los Angeles County Assessor Alexander Pope (born
dating from the late 1970s-1990.
The collection chiefly contains materials related to the Los Angeles County Assessor's office, materials from the offices
of the California Citizens
Budget Commission, and Pope's personal files. Notably, the collection includes materials related to the implementation
Proposition 13 (1978), which limited property taxation.
Alexander Hillhouse Pope (born 1929) received his Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School in 1952.
Although he initially claimed he had no intention of practicing law, Pope did just that for
more than twenty years in Los Angeles, California, while continuing his activities with the
Democratic Party and local community associations. Pope's tireless campaigning and
volunteerism were rewarded when he was appointed Governor Pat Brown's Legislative
Secretary (1959-1961). At the community level, Pope was President of the Westchester
Mental Health Clinic (1956-67) at a time when some factions still associated
psychiatry with communist infiltration. He was also a consultant for the
implementation of the McCone Commission Report, which examined the causes and
effects of the Watts riots in 1965. Additionally, Pope served on the California
Highway Commission (1966-1970) and was a member of the Los Angeles Board of Airport
Commissioners (1973-1977). Philip E. Watson was Los Angeles County Assessor from 1963 to 1977. A World War II
pilot, he studied accounting at UCLA, became a field appraiser for the county and
then deputy assessor. Watson efforts to reform the assessor's office and limit
property taxes were sidetracked when Baxter Ward and other members of the County
Board of Supervisors accused him of unfair assessment practices, favoring big
corporations over small homeowners. These accusations culminated in an audit and
report by former Watergate investigator Carmine Bellino, which was highly critical,
but ultimately found no wrong-doing. This investigation and Watson's health were
deciding factors in his decision to step down from the Assessor's Office in 1977.
Watson died in 1986 at age 62 in Rancho Mirage, California.
369 boxes (approximately 154 linear feet)
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