Oral Histories

Interview of Philip Depoian

Campaign aide for Tom Bradley in the 1969 and 1973 mayoral campaigns and assistant during Bradley's five terms. Deputy executive director for the Government and External Affairs of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) in 1994.
The Bradley Years: Los Angeles City Government, 1973-1993
Politics and Government
Biographical Note:
Campaign aide for Tom Bradley in the 1969 and 1973 mayoral campaigns and assistant during Bradley's five terms. Deputy executive director for the Government and External Affairs of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) in 1994.
Parker, Caitlin
Depoian, Philip
Persons Present:
Depoian and Parker.
Place Conducted:
Depoian’s home in Studio City, 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 Caitlin Parker, UCLA Center for Oral History Research; B.A., History, Amherst College. M.A., U.S. History, UCLA. Parker’s dissertation focuses on urban policy in Los Angeles during Mayor Tom Bradley’s administration.Parker prepared for the interviews by reviewing archival records related to Philip Depoian in the Bradley Administrative collection at UCLA and from the Los Angeles Times and other print sources.
Processing of Interview:
The interview was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency. Depoian felt that the transcript did not adequately represent the conversation and requested that it not be mounted online, so a timed log of the audio recording was substituted instead.
2.8 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series includes interviews with key individuals who served in Los Angeles city government during the administration of Mayor Tom Bradley. The interviews focus on each individual’s political development, activism, and role in the Bradley administration. Major urban policy issues addressed in the interviews include social services, economic development, urban redevelopment, housing, transit, policing, education, and city finances. This project was generously supported by Arcadia funds.
Family background--Moving from Massachusetts to Los Angeles--Getting involved in politics and the anti-war movement--Meeting Tom Bradley at the Robert Kennedy campaign--Becoming a driver for Bradley’s 1968 mayoral campaign--Bradley’s campaign schedule--Bradley’s campaign headquarters--Youth activism for Bradley--Racism in the 1969 Yorty campaign--Media coverage of the mayoral election--Election night 1969--Bradley’s assistance to people outside his constituency as councilman--Bradley as a long-shot candidate in 1973--Bradley fundraising for George Brown--Working on other campaigns: Unruh for Governor, George Brown for Congress, Ed Muskie, McGovern for President--Media campaign in 1973--Election night 1973--Requests for Bradley’s time, scheduling--Bradley’s priorities--Reaching out to major Republicans during the oil crisis--Bradley vision for rapid transit in Los Angeles--Bradley’s personal safety and threats on his life--1977 mayoral campaign--School busing and racial politics in San Fernando Valley--Bradley’s administrative style, personality--Open houses and area days--Diversity of staff created points of contact.
Mayor’s reelection in 1978--Bradley building political contacts through his staff--Impact of Proposition 13--Bradley’s close involvement in budget process--Bradley’s working relationships with City Council members--Bradley’s personal and professional interest in bringing the Olympics back to Los Angeles--Political battle over the Olympics--LAX expansion and growth of international travel to Los Angeles--Bradley’s trips to encourage foreign investment and trade--Bradley’s influence in winning contracts for Los Angeles and Los Angeles-based corporations--Working as Bradley’s campaign manager in the 1982 gubernatorial race--Impact of the gun control initiative in bringing out conservative voters--Running again for Governor in 1986--Bradley’s support in the black community in Los Angeles--Anger in South LA towards the police--Lack of Los Angeles Police Department response the night of the Rodney King verdict--Calling in the National Guard--Bradley’s relationship with Daryl Gates--Bradley puts the Police Department under the oversight of the Police Commission--Role of the Police Commission--Bradley’s determination to have Daryl Gates resign--Setting up the Christopher Commission.
Transition to Richard Riordan as mayor--Attempt to privatize LAX airport--Differences in administration under Riordan--Diversification of the city government under Bradley--1984 Olympics as a catalyst for globalizing Los Angeles--Impact of immigration on the city--Bradley’s biggest accomplishments--Challenge of managing people’s expectations of the Bradley administration--Bradley's ability to launch long-term projects as a mayor without term limits – Importance of providing basic city services and responding to constituents--Budgetary difficulties following Proposition 13--Coming up with creative funding streams to fund additional services such as public housing--Bradley’s relationship with the County Board of Supervisors--Bradley’s respect for the City Council--Bradley’s visibility as a twenty-year mayor.