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Alexander Pope Papers: Finding Aid
mssPope papers  
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Collection Overview
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This collection contains the papers and administrative files of lawyer and Los Angeles County Assessor Alexander Pope (born 1929), chiefly 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 of 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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