Pope, Alexander, 1929-
Alexander Hillhouse Pope received his Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School in 1952 and then practiced law in Los Angeles, Calif. A Democrat, he served in the Pat Brown's administration as Legislative Secretary (1959-1961), and was President of the Westchester Mental Health Clinic (1956-67), a consultant for the implementation of the McCone Commission Report which examined the causes and effects of the Watts riots in 1965, the California Highway Commission (1966-1970), and the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners (1973-1977). In 1977, he was appointed Assessor of Los Angeles County. Although Pope was opposed to Proposition 13, he had to implement its requirements. Pope left the Assessor's Office in 1986. He sought to correct problem areas of Proposition 13 through litigation and his legislative work with Assemblyman Dave Elder. In 1997 he became Executive Director of the California Citizens Budget Commission.
From the description of Papers of Alexander Pope, 1932-2000, (bulk 1978-1990). (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 228770311
Biography / Administrative History
Alexander Hillhouse Pope's grandfathers were both lawyers, and his grandmother was active in a forerunner of the ACLU, which may explain why Alex Pope was walking precincts for Roosevelt and Truman at a young age. He skipped his last two years of high school to attend the University of Chicago where his political activism continued with the National Students Association and Americans for Democratic Action. Pope's college advisor told him law school was the "surest ticket to public office," and in 1952 Pope received his Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School.
Although he claimed he had no intention of practicing law, Pope did just that for more than twenty years in Los Angeles, 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).
After working in a gubernatorial administration that elevated public education by leaps and bounds and oversaw a litany of public works and services, Alex Pope became a pivotal player in applying a new law that eroded the revenue for such services: Proposition 13. No sooner was Pope the first local politician to oppose the initiative, than he was appointed Assessor of Los Angeles County, the "biggest property tax agency in the world," and had to enforce the will of the voters: June 8, 1978 -- the New Deal and the Great Society were now in the distant past. Pope put aside his opinions and implemented Proposition 13 "within specified time limitations and with a high level of efficiency," according to L.A. County Chief Administrative Officer, Harry L. Hufford.
Proposition 13 was the threshold event for an era of economic belt-tightening and its effects permeated intergovernmental relations as well as local municipal budgets. Pope's endeavors to correct problem areas of Proposition 13 came through litigation and his legislative work with Assemblyman Dave Elder even after Pope left the Assessor's Office in 1986. In 1997 he became Executive Director of the California Citizens Budget Commission which published comprehensive reports on reforming the state budget process and addressing the state's health care needs.
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.
Other featured Los Angeles County Assessor's Office staff:
Robert H. McNeill, Jr., Assessor Watson's Field Deputy, assigned the task of writing the history of the Los Angeles County Assessor's Office.
Glenn Quinn: at times, Assistant Assessor and Director of Assessment Services and Chief, Residential Division, served both Watson and Pope administrations, as did:
Paul M. Hannah, Assistant Assessor, Director of Valuations, Assessment Services and Assessor's Operations
Sherrill D. Luke, Chief Deputy Assessor during the Pope era; became a judge for the Los Angeles Municipal and Superior courts.
Leonard J. Wheeler, Director, Real Property Appraisals; Valuations
Post-Pope assessors marginally represented in this collection:
John J. Lynch, 1986-1990 Kenneth P. Hahn, 1990-2000 (no relation to the Los Angeles City Council member)
From the guide to the Alexander Pope papers, ca. 1932-2000, 1978-1990, (Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery)
|creatorOf||Alexander Pope papers, ca. 1932-2000, 1978-1990||Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery|
|creatorOf||Pope, Alexander, 1929-. Papers of Alexander Pope, 1932-2000, (bulk 1978-1990).||Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens|
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.)|
|Los Angeles (Calif.)|
|Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.)|
|Mineral King (Calif.)|
|California--Los Angeles County|
|Mineral King (Calif.)|
|Tax and expenditure limitations|
|Campaign literature--20th century|
|Real property tax--20th century|
|Mental health counseling--California|
|Watts Riot, Los Angeles, Calif., 1965--Sources|
|California--Politics and government--20th century--Sources|
|Campaign literature--California--20th century|
|Mental health counseling|
|Political parties--Rules and practice--California|
|Property tax law|
|Property tax relief|
|County government--California--Los Angeles County--Archives|
|Los Angeles (Calif.)--History--20th century--Sources|
|Real property tax--California--20th century|
|International economic relations|
|Property tax law--California|
|Health care reform|
|African Americans--Crimes against--California--Los Angeles|
|Managed care plans (Medical care)|
|Political parties--Rules and practice|
|Health care financing|
|Health care financing--California|
|Intergovernmental fiscal relations--United States|
|Tax and expenditure limitations--California|
|Intergovernmental fiscal relations|
|African Americans--Crimes against|
|Property tax relief--California|
|Brown, Jerry, 1938-|
|Tax assessment--California--Los Angeles County|