Oral Histories

Interview of William J. Fox

Chief engineer of the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission.
Seven Decades of Planning and Development in the Los Angeles Region: General William J. Fox
Seven Decades of Planning and Development in the Los Angeles Region
Politics and Government
Urban Planning and Land Use
Urban Planning
Biographical Note:
Chief engineer of the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission.
Holden, Edward A.
Fox, William J.
Persons Present:
Fox and Holden.
Place Conducted:
Fox's home in Fillmore, 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 Edward A. Holden; M.S., Public Administration and CityPlanning, University of Southern California; Consultant in City and Regional Planning; Director of Planning, Southern California Association of Governments (retired); Principal Regional Planner, Los Angeles County (retired); Chairman, Board of Directors, Los Angeles Regional Planning History Group. Holden's correspondence with Fox produced a comprehensive resume of his employment history, education, and early family activities. Holden also reviewed early annual reports of the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission and related documents. In addition, Holden was personally familiar with aspects of Fox's work while he was chief engineer for the regional planning commission and subsequently for the County of Los Angeles during the late forties and early fifties.
Processing of Interview:
Bryce Little, editor, 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. The final manuscript remains in the same order as the taped material.In January 1988, the edited transcript was sent to Fox, who reviewed and approved it after making some corrections and additions. He returned the transcript in the spring of 1988.Rebecca Ziegler, Graduate School of Library and Information Science intern, prepared the table of contents, biographical summary, and interview history.Paul Winters, editorial assistant, prepared the index.
4.75 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
Interviews in this series were initiated by the Los Angeles Regional Planning History Group to ensure the preservation of recollections of pioneer planners in both the public and private sectors in the Los Angeles region.
Fox's childhood; apprentice training in draftsmanship; move to Los Angeles; army officer training school; the Los Angeles area after World War I; studies engineering at the University of Southern California (USC); drafting and surveying for highway construction in Hawaii; Fox's jobs while attending USC; employed by Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission; highway system as basis for regional planning; concepts involved in planning; resistance to and cooperation with regional planning; legal challenges to zoning; county officials involved in Los Angeles regional planning; Fox's interest in aviation; Los Angeles County Master Plan of Airports; highway plans and traffic surveys; Fox becomes director of the Regional Planning Commission; relations with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors; handling corruption and bribery attempts; relations with the commission; appointed County Engineer; formation of the Public Works Department; resigns from Regional Planning Commission; integrating planning activities for highways and subdivisions; planning for aviation in the Los Angeles area; Palmdale Airport; appointed to California State Planning Commission; demise of the state planning commission; lack of planning in Orange and San Bernardino counties; demise of Hugh Pomeroy's parkway plan; funding public works with bonds; Fox retires; planning for the Los Angeles Civic Center; the planning credo.