Oral Histories

Interview of Rose Ochi

In 1974 Ochi began working for Mayor Bradley administration. Executive director of the City of Los Angeles Criminal Justice Planning Office. Instrumental figure in the Manzanar Committee’s work to designate Manzanar as a National Historic site. Director of the Community Relations Service of the Department of Justice (DOJ) from 1997 to 2001. Executive director of the California Forensic Science Institute at California State, Los Angeles.
The Bradley Years: Los Angeles City Government, 1973-1993
Politics and Government
Parker, Caitlin
Ochi, Rose
Persons Present:
Ochi and Parker.
Place Conducted:
Ochi’s apartment building in downtown Los Angeles, 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 Rose Ochi in the Bradley Administrative collection at UCLA and articles from the Los Angeles Times and other print sources.
Processing of Interview:
The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording. It was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency using a list of proper names and specialized terminology supplied by the interviewer. Ochi was then given an opportunity to review the transcript and made a number of corrections and additions. Those corrections were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
6.4 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. Bradley served as mayor of Los Angeles from 1973 to 1993. 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.
Parents’ immigration from Japan and arranged marriage--Growing up in Boyle Heights--Internment at Santa Anita Racetrack stables and then in Arkansas--Being given the name Rose in Arkansas--Awareness of being an outsider in the US--Treatment of internees in Arkansas--Parents subject to deportation following the war--Losing all possessions during internment--Returning to East LA--Facing discrimination in Arkansas and Los Angeles--Ethnic and racial diversity of East LA neighborhood--Father’s lower expectations for her as a girl--Racial discrimination at City College and UCLA
Decision to become a gym teacher--Auditioning for the film Flower Drum Song--Teaching in East Los Angeles--East Los Angeles Walkouts--Decision to go to law school--Service on Carter’s Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy--Attending law school at Loyola as a Reggie Fellow--Creating a legal aid clinic--Working on Serrano vs Priest case--Fighting for LEAA funds
Creating youth diversion programs through the Office of Criminal Justice--Dismantling of diversion programs under Mayor Riordan--Taking over the Criminal Justice Office from Terry Hatter--Blake case and affirmative action in the Los Angeles Police Department--Creating first prosecution unit for domestic violence and creating a rape prevention program--Working with Police Chief Ed Davis--Deadly force provision--Running for Congress in Monterey Park--Response to the Rodney King verdict and civil unrest
Appointment to Carter’s Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy--Ochi’s interventions in the Commission process and discussions-- Growing conservatism of Immigration Commission under Reagan--Ochi’s ability to make alliances across the aisles-- Ochi’s dissent to the final report published in the Mexico City Excelsior--Working with Rodino on redress--LAPD attitudes toward undocumented immigrants--Organizing to designate Manzanar a National Historic Site--Department of Water and Power President Mike Gage’s effort to block the federal designation
The dedication of the Manzanar site and Mayor Bradley’s speech--Accomplishments of the Criminal Justice Office--Getting involved in politics--Helping with the Clinton presidential transition--Helping to staff Clinton’s criminal justice office-- Efforts to treat drug addiction in the justice system--Moving to the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service working on church arsons and community-police conflicts--Dealing with politics in Washington--Developing the One America Dialogue on race--Returning to LA and becoming a Police Commissioner--Decision not to keep Bernard Parks as LA Police Chief--Developing the California Forensic Science Institute at California State University