Oral Histories

Interview of Robert Lee

Assistant to the general manager for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. General manager for the Colorado River Association.
Water for Los Angeles: Robert Lee
Water for Los Angeles
Urban Planning and Land Use
Water Resources
Biographical Note:
Assistant to the general manager for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. General manager for the Colorado River Association.
Basiago, Andrew D.
Lee, Robert
Persons Present:
Lee and Basiago.
Place Conducted:
Lee's home in Newport Beach, 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 municipalreference 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 thepresent.
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 October 1986 the edited transcript was sent to Lee, who reviewed and approved it. He made some corrections and additions and returned the manuscript in November of the same year.Teresa Barnett, editor, prepared the table of contents, biographical summary,and index.
6 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 years; begins working for the Los Angeles City Department of Water and Power (DWP); charter amendment eliminates DWP's reliance on bonds; politicians who began careers with DWP; the Central Arizona Project; Lee works with Buchanan and Company and the Colorado River Asso-ciation; works in DWP promoting electric ranges; Remi Allen Nadeau; William B. Mathews; bond campaign for the Colorado River Aqueduct; DWP's campaign against the Central Arizona Project; Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) policy of favoring agriculture; preventing water shortages in Southern California; the second Los Angeles Aqueduct; the National Electric Reliability Council; DWP promotional material; Jack Smith and Art Ryon; William Randolph Hearst questions accuracy of article on Central Arizona Project; Samuel B. Nelson proposes the Snake River Project; Jack Smith and "artificial water"; evidence refuting the motion picture Chinatown's story of the first Los Angeles Aqueduct; enlisting support for Colorado River Aqueduct and Hoover Dam; MWD's campaign against Central Arizona Project; working with Samuel W. Yorty, Clair Engle, and Norris Poulson in the Colorado River Association; the association's contact with the National Conference of State Taxpayers Executives; William S. Peterson; requirement that general manager of DWP be a registered engineer; Nelson's Snake River Project versus the Pacific Southwest Water Plan; public's lack of understanding of Mono Lake issue; William Mulholland; DWP and nuclear power plants; John R. Haynes; writing news release on Snake River Project; writing news release on settlement of Baldwin Hills Dam damage suit.