Oral Histories

Interview of Mona Osborne

Principal clerk for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and resident of Owens Valley.
Water for Los Angeles: Mona Osborne
Water for Los Angeles
Urban Planning and Land Use
Water Resources
Biographical Note:
Principal clerk for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and resident of Owens Valley.
Basiago, Andrew D.
Osborne, Mona
Persons Present:
Osborne and Basiago.
Place Conducted:
Osborne's home in Independence, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Andrew D. Basiago, UCLA Oral History Program; B.A., History, UCLA.Basiago prepared for the interview by consulting sources in the DWP's municipal reference department and in the Water Resources Center Archives at UCLA. He looked at in-house material, including DWP memoranda and the employee magazine Intake. In addition, he also read several academic histories and reviewed Los Angeles Times articles dating from 1913 to the present.
Processing of Interview:
George Hodak, editorial assistant, edited the interview. He checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings, edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and verified proper names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed.In December 1986 the edited transcript was sent to Osborne for review. She made some corrections and additions and returned the manuscript in January 1987.Teresa Barnett, editor, prepared the table of contents, biographical summary, and index.
3 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series made possible by a grant from the Division of Water, Los Angeles City Department of Water and Power, complements the earlier University of California series “Oral History of California Water Resources Development."
Early life; Owens Valley before the first Los Angeles Aqueduct; seizure of the Alabama Gates; tactics used by Los Angeles City Department of Water and Power (DWP) to obtain land in Owens Valley; failure of Mark Q. and Wilfred W. Watterson's First National Bank; prices DWP paid for land in Owens Valley and rates Owens Valley residents paid to rent back land; changes in DWP after Ezra F. Scattergood became general manager; Thomas R. Silvius; opposition to DWP policies in Owens Valley; DWP policies on unpaid accounts during the Depression; DWP and Native Americans in Owens Valley; DWP sells property back to original owners; Osborne's resistance to joining a union; Father John J. Crowley; the Phillips formula; Mexican immigrants to Southern California; DWP projects designed to conciliate environmentalists; DWP policy of promoting people from within the ranks; the Brown Act; who purchases property in Owens Valley and what it costs; nuclear power plants and alternative energy sources; Japanese-American internment at Manzanar; why one region has no right to another region's water.