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Full text of "Reporting from Sacramento : oral history transcript; tape-recorded interview conducted in 1969, 1977, and 1979 by Amelia R. Fry, Gabrielle Morris and Sarah Sharp for the Regional Oral History Office The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, California, 1981 : and related material, 1977-1981"

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University of California Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight/Edmund Brown, Sr., Era 


Earl C. Behrens Gubernatorial Campaigns and 

Party Issues : A Political 
Reporter's View, 1948-1966 


Richard Bergholz Reporting on California 

Government and Politics, 

Sydney Kossen Covering Goodwin Knight and 

the Legislature for the 
San Francisco News, 1956-1958 

Interviews Conducted by 

Amelia R. Fry, Gabrielle Morris, 

and Sarah Sharp 

1969, 1977, 1979 

Copyright (c)l981 by the Regents of the University of California 

This manuscript is made available for research 
purposes. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for 
publication without the written permission of the 
Director of The Bancroft Library of the University of 
California at Berkeley. 

Requests for permission to quote for publication 
should be addressed to the Regional Oral History 
Office, 486 Library, and should include identification 
of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use 
of the passages, and identification of the user. 

Copy No . 


Covering the years 1953 to 1966, the Goodwin Knight-Edmund G. "Pat" 
Brown, Sr. , Oral History Series is the second phase of the Governmental 
History Documentation Project begun by the Regional Oral History Office 
in 1969. That year inaugurated the Earl Warren Era Oral History Project, 
which produced interviews with Earl Warren and other persons prominent in 
politics, criminal justice, government administration, and legislation 
during Warren's California era, 1925 to 1953. 

The Knight-Brown series of interviews carries forward the earlier 
inquiry into the general topics of: the nature of the governor's office, 
its relationships with the legislature and with its own executive depart 
ments, biographical data about Governors Knight and Brown and other 
leaders of the period, and methods of coping with the rapid social and 
economic changes of the state. Key issues documented for 1953-1966 were: 
the rise and decline of the Democratic party, the impact of the California 
Water Plan, the upheaval of the Vietnam War escalation, the capital punish 
ment controversy, election law changes, new political techniques forced by 
television and increased activism, reorganization of the executive branch, 
the growth of federal programs in California, and the rising awareness of 
minority groups. From a wider view across the twentieth century, the 
Knight-Brown period marks the final era of California's Progressive 
period, which was ushered in by Governor Hiram Johnson in 1910 and which 
provided for both parties the determining outlines of government organiza 
tion and political strategy until 1966. 

The Warren Era political files, which interviewers had developed 
cooperatively to provide a systematic background for questions, were 
updated by the staff to the year 1966 with only a handful of new topics 
added to the original ninety-one. An effort was made to record in greater 
detail those more significant events and trends by selecting key partici 
pants who represent diverse points of view. Most were queried on a 
limited number of topics with which they were personally connected; a few 
narrators who possessed unusual breadth of experience were asked to discuss 
a multiplicity of subjects. Although the time frame of the series ends 
at the November 1966 election, when possible the interviews trace events 
on through that date in order to provide a logical baseline for continuing 
study of succeeding administrations. Similarly, some narrators whose exper 
ience includes the Warren years were questioned on that earlier era as well 
as the Knight-Brown period. 


The present series has been financed by grants from the California State 
Legislature through the California Heritage Preservation Commission and the 
office of the Secretary of State, and by some individual donations. Portions 
of several memoirs were funded partly by the California Women in Politics 
Project under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, in 
cluding a matching grant from the Rockefeller Foundation; the two projects 
were produced concurrently in this office, a joint effort made feasible by 
overlap of narrators, topics, and staff expertise. 

The Regional Oral History Office was established to tape record autobio 
graphical interviews with persons significant in the history of California 
and the West. The Office is under the administrative direction of James D. 
Hart, Director of The Bancroft Library, and Willa Baum, head of the Office. 

Amelia R. Fry, Project Director 
Gabrielle Morris, Project Coordinator 



Advisory Council 

Don A. Allen James R. W. Leiby 

James Bassett Albert Lepawsky 

Walton E. Bean* Dean McHenry^ 

Peter Behr Frank Mesple* 

William E. Bicker James R. Mills 

Paul Bullock Edgar J. Patterson 

Lou Cannon Cecil F. Poole 

Edmond Costantini A. Alan Post 

William N. Davis Robert H. Power 

A. I. Dickman Bruce J. Poyer 

Harold E. Geiogue Albert S. Rodda 

Carl Greenberg Richard Rodda 

Michael Harris Ed Salzman 

Phil Kerby Mortimer D. Schwartz 

Virginia Knight Verne Scoggins 

Frank Lanterman David Snyder 
Mary Ellen Leary Caspar Weinberger 
Eugene C. Lee 

Project Interviewers Special Interviewers 

Malca Chall Eleanor Glaser 

Amelia R. Fry Harriet Nathan 

Gabrielle Morris Suzanne Riess 

James Rowland Miriam Feingold Stein 

Sarah Sharp Ruth Teiser 
Julie Shearer 

*Deceased during the term of the project. 



(California, 1953-1966) 

Interviews Completed and In Process, March 1981 

Single Interview Volumes 

Bradley, Don, Managing Democratic Campaigns, 1954-1966. In process. 

Brown, Edmund G., Sr., "Pat", Years of Growth, 1929-1966; Law Enforcement, 
Politics, and the Governor's Office. In process. 

Champion, Hale, Communication and Problem- Solving: A Journalist in State 
Government. 1981. 

Davis, Pauline. In process. 

Dutton, Frederick G., Democratic Campaigns and Controversies, 1954-1966. 1981. 

Hills, Edgar, Boyhood Friend, Independent Critic, and Campaign Manager of 
Pat Brawn. In process. 

Hotchkis, Preston, Sr. , One Man's Dynamic Role in California Politics and Water 
Development, and World Affairs. 1980. 

Johnson, Gardiner. In process. 

Kent, Roger, Building the Democratic Party in California, 1954-1966. 1981. 

Knight, Virginia (Mrs. Goodwin). In process. 

Leary, Mary Ellen, A Journalist's Perspective: Government and Politics in 
California and the Bay Area. 1981. 

Lynch, Thomas, A Career in Politics and the Attorney General's Office. In process, 

Mills, James. In process. 

Reagan, Ronald. In process. 

Rodda, Albert. In process. 

Shell, Joseph C., Conservative Republican Strategies, 1952-1972. In process. 

Simpson, Roy E., California Department of Education, with an Introduction by 
Wilson Riles, Sr. 1978. 

Multi-Interview Volumes 

Burch, Meredith 
Carter, Judy Royer 
Elkington, Norman 
Guggenheim, Charles 
Sloss, Nancy 

Brown, Bernice 
Brown , Frank 
Brown, Harold 


Button, A. Ronald, California. Republican Party Official and State 

Treasurer of California, 1956-1958. 
Gibson, Phil, Recollections of a Chief Justice- of the California Supreme 


Mosk, Stanley, Attorney General's Office and Political Campaigns, 1958-1966. 
Powers, Harold J., On Prominent Issues, the Republican Party, and Political 

Campaigns: A Veteran Republican Views the Goodwin Knight Era. 


Doyle, Donald, An Assemblyman Views Education, Mental Health, and Legis 
lative and Republican Politics. 

McKay, Robert, Robert McKay and the California Teacher's Association. 

Sexton, Keith, Legislating Higher Education: A Consultant's View of the 
Master Plan for Higher Education. 

Sherriffs, Alex, The University of California and the Free Speech. Movement: 
Perspectives from a Faculty Member and Administrator. 


Becker, William, Working for Civil Rights: With Unions, the Legislature, 
and Governor Pat Brown. 

Christopher, Warren, Special Counsel to the Governor: Recalling the 
Pat Brown years. 

Davis, May Layne, An Appointment Secretary Reminisces. 

Kline, Richard, Governor Brown's Faithful Advisor. 

Mesple, Frank, From Clovis to the Capitol: Building a Career as a Legis 
lative Liaison. 

Poole, Cecil, Executive Clemency and the Chessman Case. 


Barrett, Douglas, Goodwin Knight's Governor's Office, 1953-1958, and the 

youth Authority, 1958-1965. 

Bright, Tom M., The Governor's Office of Goodwin J. Knight, 1953-1958. 
Groves, Sadie Perlin, A Career as Private Secretary to Goodwin Knight, 


Lemmon, Maryalice, Working in the Governor's Office, 1950-1959. 
Mason, Paul, Covering the Legislature for Governor Goodwin J. Knight. 



Bell, Dorothy Hewes , Reminiscences of Goodwin Knight. 

Finks, Harry, California Labor and Goodwin Knight, the 1950s. 

Hill, John Lamar, First Minority Member of the State Board of Funeral 

Examiners . 
Polland, Milton, Political and Personal Friend of Earl Warren, Goodwin 

Knight , and Hubert Humphrey. 

Salinger, Pierre 
Yorty, Sam 

Nofziger, Franklyn, Press Secretary for Ronald Reagan, 1966. 
Parkinson, Gaylord, California Republican Party Official, 1962-1967. 
Roberts, William, Professional Campaign Management and the Candidate, 


Spencer, Stuart , Developing a Campaign Management Organization. 

Caldecott, Thomas W., Legislative Strategies, Relations with the Governor's 

Office, 1947-1957. 

Fisher, Hugo, California Democratic Politics, 1958-1965. 
Lanterman, Frank, California Assembly, 1949-1978: Water, Mental Health, 

and Education Issues. 
Richards, Richard, Senate Campaigns and Procedures, California Water Plan. 


Burns, Hugh, Legislative and Political Concerns of the Senate Pro Tern, 


Lincoln, Luther, Young Turk to Speaker of the California Assembly, 1948-1958. 
Rattigan, Joseph, A Judicial Look at Civil Rights, Education, and Reappor- 

tionment in the State Senate, 1959-1966. 
Sumner, Bruce, California State Assemblyman and Chairman of the Constitution 

Revision Commission, 1964-1970. 
Allen, Bruce F. , California Oil and Water, and the Politics of Reform, 



Teale, Stephen, The Impact of One Man-One Vote on the Senate: Senator 

Teale Reviews Reapportionment and Other Issues, 1952-1966. 
Allen, Don A., A Los Angeles Assemblyman Recalls the Reapportionment Struggle. 

Peirce, John, California State Department of Finance, 1953-1958. 
Levit, Bert W. , State Finance and Innovations in Government Organization, 


Tieburg, Albert B., California State Department of Employment, 1945-1966. 
Wedemeyer, John, California State Department of Social Welfare, 1959-1966. 
Lowry, James, California State Department of Mental Hygiene, 1960s. 



Blease, Coleman, A Lobbyist Views the Knight-Brawn Era. 

Coffey, Bertram, Reflections on George Miller, Jr., Governors Pat and 

Jerry Brown, and the Democratic; Party. 

Engle, Lucretia, Clair Engle as Campaigner and Statesman. 
Nelson, Helen, California's First Consumer Counsel. 

Jewett, Emelyn Knowland 
Johnson, Estelle Knowland 
Manolis, Paul 


Behrens, Earl C., Gubernatorial Campaigns and Party Issues: A Political 

Reporter's View, 1948-1966. 
Bergholz, Richard, Reporting on California Government and Politics, 

Kossen, Sydney, Covering Goodwin Knight and the Legislature for the 

San Francisco News, 1956-1958. 


Christopher, George, Mayor of San Francisco and Republican Party Candidate, 
Weinberger, Caspar W. , California Assembly, Republican State Central 
Committee, and Elections, 1953-1966. 

CALIFORNIA WATER ISSUES, 1950-1966. 1981. 

Bonderson, Paul R. , Executive Officer, Regional and State Water Pollution 

and Water Quality Control Boards, 1950-1966. 
Brody, Ralph M. , Revising Legislation and Building Public Support for the 

California Water Project, 1959-1960; Brief History of the Westlands 

Water District. 
Brown, Edmund G., ST., The California Water Project: Personal Interest 

and Involvement in the Legislation, Public Support, and Construction, 


Goldberg, B. Abbott, Water Policy Issues in the Courts, 1950-1966. 
Warne, William E. , Administration of the Department of Water Resources, 




Reporting from Sacramento is a collection of interviews with Earl "Squire" 
Behrens, Richard Bergholz, and Sydney Kossen, three newspaper journalists who 
have surveyed the political scene in Sacramento for many years. Each of these 
interviewees comments on specific incidents from the state capital's past, but 
also addresses more general trends and changes. Behrens 's interview begins the 
furthest back in time with his discussion of Earl Warren's campaigns and other 
Republican party activities. Behrens then moves beyond these specific events 
to talk about what he sees as the "work" of the political reporter generally. 
All these comments are very personal in nature, and come from his vantage point 
at the San Francisco Chronicle. Richard Bergholz 's interview also originates 
in very personal recollections about his more than thirty years as a political 
writer and reporter for several presses including the Copley Press, the Los 
Angeles Mirror, and the Los Angeles Times. And Bergholz, too, enters into that 
general level of discussion of the reporter's role, which he admits is occa 
sionally an adversary one. Sydney Kossen 's interview focuses primarily on 
Goodwin Knight and Knight's relationship with the legislature and the press, 
all from Kossen 's positions as Sacramento reporter for the International News 
Service and the San Francisco News. 

One of the primary values of Reporting from Sacramento lies in the docu 
menting of these personal recollections of a small sample of the many reporters 
and journalists who have covered the state capital in California's recent past. 
These journalists ably reminisce about their lives and work. 

Students of the lives of political reporters are also directed to A Jour 
nalist's Perspective: Government and Politics in California and the Bay Area, 
an oral history with Mary Ellen Leary. Harriet Nathan of the Regional Oral 
History Office and the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley conducted 
this fine, detailed set of interviews, to be published in 1981. This volume 
includes Ms. Leary's valuable recollections of her own life and her thoughts 
on California politics since the Culbert Olson era, as well as on her writing 
career for San Francisco News, the Pacific News Service, and others. 

Sarah Sharp 
Interviewer /Editor 

3 April 1981 

Regional Oral History Office 
486 The Bancroft Library 
University of California, Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight /Edmund Brown, Sr . , Era 

Earl C. Behrens 




An Interview Conducted by 
Amelia R. Fry 
in 1969, 1977 

Copyright fcj 1981 by the Regents of the University of California 

Earl C. Behrens 
ca. 1960 



Earl Warren's Republican Party Activities 1 

1948 Vice-Presidential Campaign 4 

1952 Republican Delegation and National Convention 5 

Warren's Legislation and Opposition 9 

Goodwin Knight : Labor and Other Support 12 

1958 Election: Republican Big Switch 16 

Republican Weakness, Democratic Strength: 1962 Brown-Nixon Campaign 18 

Other Issues: Capital Punishment, Jesse Unruh's Leadership 20 




Earl C. "Squire" Behrens was the dean of state political reporters from 
the 1940s until the 1970s. Covering elections and legislative sessions for 
the San Francisco Chronicle, he was respected for the massive information 
accumulated over a quarter of a century, and undoubtedly influential in the 
reams of copy drawn from it. 

The following interviews with Behrens provide a broad framework for 
understanding the press's view of California in the Earl Warren, Goodwin 
Knight, and Edmund "Pat" Brown years. Originally the Regional Oral History 
Office had hoped to record systematically and at length Behrens' commentary 
on the events he had covered and the role of the press in government and 
politics. The first session was held early in the beginning of the govern 
mental history project (1969), in a borrowed office in the state capitol down 
the hall from the press room where Squire was working. June Hogan and Amelia 
Fry were asking questions at this session, seeking both background information 
and leads on the research that lay ahead. This session was for staff use, and 
the transcription consisted of a distillation of questions and answers for the 
developing files of the project. The tape was re-used, and plans were made 
for returning to Squire to take several sessions of an official oral history, 
once the project was far enough along to provide data for questions equal to 
his fund of knowledge. Before this could be done, Squire's health had pre 
sented problems and he was in the Veterans' Hospital in Palo Alto. 

Still alert and dedicated to his profession, he welcomed interviewer 
Amelia Fry there in 1977, to record a brief interview for the Knight-"Brown 
Era study. Although bright and efficient, the lobby and veranda of the 
Veterans' Hospital were a bit noisy for interviewing; portions of the tape 
were close to inaudible* and also made later correspondence over communication 
difficult. This session was transcribed in the usual verbatim process and, 
with the distilled transcription of our first interview included, the good 
offices of Behrens' longtime friend and loyal visitor, Ruric "Ric" Todd, were 
solicited. The edited transcript was hand-carried from ROHO to Behrens in 
1979 and returned with a few spiky comments from the Squire to emend a passage 
here and there that he found irrelevant or inaccurate. 

A wiry man with aquiline features, he spoke vigorously, occasionally 
expressing regret that he did not have access to the extensive personal 
papers which he had donated to the California Historical Society and 
referring scholars to them. 

As to how he came to be called "Squire," it was Todd who reported that 
Behrens didn't recall the sobriquet's origin, other than that it dated from 
his youth as a farm boy near Redding. 


A further interview with Behrens, recorded in 1967 by the Dwight D. 
Eisenhower Library, is available in The Bancroft Library. It covers much the 
same territory as the present manuscript, but provides additional details. 
Mr. Behrens' extensive personal papers are available at the California 
Historical Society in San Francisco. 

Amelia R. Fry, Project Director 
Gabrielle Morris, Project Coordinator 

25 July 1980 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office i;Li 

Room 486 

The Bancroft Library 

University of California 

Berkeley, California 94720 

Governmental History Documentation Project Interviewee 
Your full name s,fcft\ C W**-'* ^^ 

fj k 1 

Date of birth fj k 1 < S <H "*- 

Father's full name 

Mother's full name 

' jg^ 

Mother's place of birth 
Where did you grow up? r 

.ft et^o 

Father's place of birth \ S /a^u) n ? kt$ ^ > t/ k 

Early employment 

Positions held in state government 


Employment after leaving state government 

San Francisco 
Chronicle, 6/9/50 



sent* at the political arena 

A* one u^i expert puls it "Hardly any three political figures 
meet without onr of them bring Karl Behren*." True or not, no 
national or California political convention goes on without Earl 
(.. Behren*, The Chronicle'* political editor. being in a ringside 
eat. During the legislative WMIOM hi* heat in the state capital at 
Sacramento, and he return* to hi* San denk only after 
the M-Mion close*. BehreiM has covered every important political 
event in the nation since he began writing political newi for Th 
Chronicle over 26 yean ago. 

Probably the mot traveled political writer in tb bruin***, 
Behrena covered over 110,000 mile* in the five month* of the 1 W8 
presidential campaign, toured with Truman, Warren, BrklT, 
y and Wallace, covered the Republican, Democritic, Third 
and Governora* convention*. 

Known to legitlaton and politico* throughout the .nation, 
Behrena haj the political contact* and acumen that bring 
Chronicle reader* iniido *torie* and more complete corermge. 

Follow Ear/ C. Behrcn*' daily accountt of political 
Hot* your ChronicU uniting for you every morning icitk 
delivery ten if e. Cottt you SOt a month lu th*n the e 


i '. 

San Francisco Chronicle, 6/9/50 

Election Aftermath J 

Truman May Campaign in 
State; Battles On for 
County Committee Control 

The President 
Might Help 


Both Parties 
Local Factions 

By EARL C. BEHRENS. Political Editor. Tho Chronic!* 

There will he a fight for the 
San Francisco chairmanships 
r>; both the Republican and 
Democratic county central com 

The committees will reor- 
snia.-e : the 7nv Hall July 11 In 
icconlar.'e wr.h Slate law. 

William M Malone. incumbent 
IVmocratle county chairman, can 
he counted upon to be a candidate 
lo Jiiccfrd himself He will not 
comment on that subject at the 
moment, however 

Malone will pav no attention to 
the demands of Ftmer P Delany. 

leader of th* anti-Malone faction 
fleeted at Tuesday'! primary that 
Malone resign 

Arthur J. Dolan Jr. cochairman 
ot the Grand New Party ?roup ald 

meeting of the newly elected .OOP 

Despite the GNP election 

trlct. the other Republican legisla 
tor from thu city, la on the doubt 
ful list but may follow Hanley. 

MAlone will hav e the backing of 
the majority of the six Democratic 
.\ssemblymen from San Francisco. 
it not all of them in the row over 
th. chairmanship. 

Philip S. Danes of the anti-Ma- 
ione faction declares he has suffi 
cient pledges from the Democrat* to 
elect him is the new chairman. 

Dflany himself may be suggested 
as a candidate for chairman imce 
he was the leader In ihe move to 
oust Malone. 

Malone just laughed yesterday 
| when informed that Delany was 
demanding his political scalp. 
I Delany issued a hot statement d- 
! Glaring that "Malone should Imme 
diately resign." 

"The bankruptcy of U Maione 
machine,' he said, "waa mada erl- 
dent by the election results." 

Delany cited the fact that Con- 
gi ess woman Helen Oahagan Doug- 
! las, winning Democratic nominee for 
U. S. Senator, had rolled up a big 
San Francisco vote and that MaJone 
had run the campaign here of Man 
chester Boddy, the losing Demo- 
of era tic aspirant. 

members. Hanlev said ye.sterdny he He blamed Maione for the fact 
would be the "next chairman bo- that Governor Earl Warren won over 
cause we've got the votes " James Roosevelt In the Democratic 

I didn't lose control or the com- 1 balloting here Tuesday. He said 

Mlttre.' 1 said Hanlev in challenge 
to the statements In the news 
papers and the olficlal tally at the 

Malme "sabotaged Roosevelt's cam 
paign as much as he dared." 

Delany further contended that 

,Clty Hnll which showed the GNP tne "election of 17 men and worn- 
county coramitte members wotiidj ticket with a majority of the com-.^"" of the antl-Malone slate had 

be held early next week to consider' mittee memberships. 
a candidate to succeed Herbert, Lrftf , ers of , h , 


O NP tic-Vet 

scoffed at Hanlrys claims and 

M uttw ni iinnif y a rMMOin nnu 

An error in vote counting In the some of those who had not bee,n 
19th Assembly District ye.sterday counted upon heretofore already 

disclosed the Grand New Party ha\e signified a willingness to go 
raptured ?O not '.'I ot 40 places along with th new leadership. 
nn tlie Republican committee, but , 
:hn still constituted a majority. LKdISLATORS 

One independent as elected and Members of the legislature are 
the Hanlev croup, won 19 places, in- ex-oflicio but are \oting members 
stead of the 18 previously reported, of the eountv committees. 

The Reclstrar's office announced fipeaker Pro Tem Thomas A 
1000 vnt<-s were inadvertently Maionej of the A.vembly repre- 
rtropped As a result the new tally sentative of the 30th district, ma>y 
showed Marv J. Sweeney, a Hanlev O e counted upon to go along with 
supporter, was elected with 3987, in, GNP members. Assemblyman 
votes and Charles F. Cahill. GNP Arthur H Connolly Jr 31st dis 
member, defeated Continued on Pnpe S. Col 2 

ended Malone's control over the 

Malone slmpiy reierred to the box 
score at the Registrar's offlct which 
showed 23 of his ticket and 15 of 
the rival slate, with two Independ 
ents elected by the Democrats. 

Delan? said his group would hare 
sufficient votes at the July 11 meet- 
Ing "to end Malone's control, pro 
vided Malone does not resign be- 
lore " 

"We d like to t a chairman who 
acts only u a presiding officer of 
the committee," uid Delany. "and 
the chairmanship should b* rotated 
yearly. We want DO mow political 
tx>*ei In control." ha added. 

Malone appeared unworrted by the 
threats of the Delany group. 

San Francisco Chronicle, 6/9/50 

Election Aftermath 1 

J r 

Truman May Campasgoi isa 

Both Parties 
Have Contending 
Local Factions 


The President 
Might Help 


By EARL C. BEHRENS. Political Editor. The Chrcnicb ' .' 

' President Truman may comt 
to California and apeak in sup- 
port of Democratic candidate* 
this fall, a high-ranking Dem* 
ocratic official predicted in 

Washington yesterday. 

MraiUirr.e the slow tabulation of 
Die votes cast at Tuesday's primary 
election showed no material changes 
in the results of any of tht major 
races for nominations. 

Governor Earl Warren conlUued 
to roll up a record combined Vot 
on the Republican and Democrttie 
tickets, and James Roosevelt lenjfti- 
ened his lead for the Democrats* 
nomination over Warren, : 

Just when the President might 
come tor California was probiem- 

He has been Invited to attend the 
National ' convention . of the A^merl- 
cnn Legion at Los Angeles In Oc 

The Washington official told Iht 
Associated Press that If the Presi 
dent comes to California h will ask 
support for Roosev-lt. 

The* President likewise would 
stump for Congresswoman HeJen 
Gahagan Douglas, Democratic nomU 
nee for U. S Senator and a Truman 

The President would also speak 
for Democrats in all States which 
he might .visit on hli proposed 
cross-country tour. 

There had been reports that tht 
President might plug for th 
Douglas candidacy and pay Httla 
attention to Roosevelt who tried to 
dump Mr. Truman in 1948. 

The Washington official sld no 
firm decision has been made on th 
extent, if any. the President will 
talk in California. 

Some observers believed that th 
whopping total vote being rolled 
up by Warren might have sotnt 
bearing on the President's ultimata 
decision to come to California. - 

Recently at a news conference, 
the President told reporters that h 
would do nothing to drive anyone 
out of the Democratic party. He hu 
5ald on other occasions that h 
would support party nominees 
whenever hls-support U requested. 


The Washington spokesman said 
yesterday that "anyone who know* 
the President and his party record 
car assume that he will support all 
nominees of the party. That is hta 

While Roosevelt sought to block 
the Truman nomination *n 1941 
prior to the national convention, na 
supported the Truman Barkley 
ticket afterwards. 

Democratic National Chairman 
William M. Boyle said yesterday 
that he hoped the President would 
come to California. 

The Democrats have their eye 
on California for the 1952 presi 
dential race. 

The official -canvass of the pri 
mary election vote will be begun 
throughout the State Tuesday. 

Warren's combined total vot 
topped the million-and-a-half mark 
I yesterday as returns mounted from 
'all parts of the State. 

Warren had 1,B2,4^ to Roose 
velt's 999. 80. 

The Associated Pres^ tabulations 
for Governor, Lleutenint Governor, 
U. 8. Senator, and Attorney Oen- 
enU are reported In the table above 
on this page. Tabulations for other 
offices are as follows: 

Democratic ticket, 
cincu: Kuchel 820.811. 
69, Collins 111.101. 

Republican ticket, 
clncts: Kuchel 819,818, 


Johnson. Incurobenl, unopposed 
on R0ubUcaa ticket. 

On Dwnocrmtlo rida 13,000 ^ 
clncu: 'johnaon 644,Tp. Watwood 



Vot Irora 81M pnfacU: Btap- 
aon, mcumbtnt, 471^61; Dorl 1M-- 
MJ. ^ 

13.M7 prt- 
Blttner 193,- 

13.138 pr- 
Bittcer 110,- 


t., June 1 , 1 9/4 **** j a n ^rancisto (T^wimlf 

far/ C. Behrens 



Dean of Political 

' ' "" . " ' ' i T 

'-* :~i -. v , ' ' 

Writers Retires 

Earl C. Behrens, dean of 
this country's political writ 
ers, retired yesterday as po 
litical editor of The Chron 
icle. ' : ;> 

The courtly 82-year-old 
Behrens known to genera 
tions of news reporters and 
people- in public life as 
"Squire" is relinquishing 
the demanding routine he 
has followed for more than 
half a century. But he will 
continue to follow and chart 
the political tides as they 
sweep the country. 

Four years ago, in award- 
ing Behrens the Medal of 
Freedom at - White House 
ceremonies, President Nixon 
described him as "a legend 
among political reporters." 

Colleagues and political 
figures alike have been 
awed by the breadth and 
depth of his political knowl 
edge as they have been 
warmed by his unflagging 
gentility and kindliness. 

A native of Shasta in the 
Sierra foothills, Behrens was 
graduated from Stanford 
and took post graduate stud 
ies at the University of Cal 
ifornia. He served as a lieu 
tenant in World War I and 
was seriously wounded while 
on duty with the U.S. Expe 
ditionary Force in Siberia. 

Upon his return to health, 
he joined the old San Fran 
cisco Journal as its political 
editor, and in June of 1923 
joined The Chronicle staff. 


The Chronicle's 'Squire' 

In the 51 years since then, 
he has attended every major 
national political convention 
and each of the national . 
governors' conferences. He 
has been held in high regard 
and affection by political 
leaders of the last half cen 
tury regardless of political 
affiliation and his files bulge 
with hundereds of photo 
graphs all inscribed to 
"The Squire." 

^ u.r.-' 

As one Behrens watcher 
observed more than 20 years '.. 
ago: "Hardly any three po 
litical figures meet without 
one of them being Earl 
Behrens:" . 

Ms x written countless : 
articles for national publica- ; 
tions on political subjects 
and was the author in 1948 of ' 
"Political Primer for Ameri 
cans" for which he won sev 
eral awards. 
He served for three terms ' f 

as president of the San ' 
Francisco Press Club and 1 
was also president of the 
Capitol Correspondents As 
sociation of Sacramento. He 
also belongs to the National 
Press Club, the Gridiron 
Club, the American Acade- 
my of Political and Social 
Science; the American Ju-j 
dicature Society, tire Smith- ; 
sonian Institution, the Hoov 
er Library Association and 
both the Stanford and Uni 
versity of California Alumni 

Behrens has been honored 
By the- State Senate and As 
sembly as well as by the Saa 
Francisco Supervisors for 
the excellence of his report 
age, and two years ago the 
National Governors Confer 
ence bestowed on him its 
first Golden Pen Award. 

The Squire himself noted 
at a Press Club gala Honor- , 
ing his dedicated service to 
journalism that his creuo 
these long years has always 
been to "disagree without 
being disagreeable." 

Behrens is married to the 
former Bernice Woodward, 
director of the State Depart 
ment 's Reception Center 
here, and "has one son, Dr. 
C. G. Behrens. 

[Interview 1: 6 June 1969] ## 

Earl Warren's Republican Party Activities 

Fry: Who was with Warren in the 1948 vice-presidential campaign? 

Behrens : Sweigert and others. He was in the attorney general's office 

with Warren and then came up here. Bill Sweigert is one of the 
best, and during the '48 campaign Bill was traveling with us. 
He drew up all the speeches for Warren, but it didn't mean a 
thing, for the simple reason that they were under wraps. They 
were innocuous speeches. Terrible to cover. To try to get some 
news out of the darn things ! The Republicans were certain of 
victory, "Dewey was a sure winner so don't rock the boat." 

Around about Constitution Day time, Warren always used the 
closing about a little old lady saying to Ben Franklin, "What 
have you given us, Dr. Franklin?" And Franklin replied, "A 
republic, if you can keep it." We [reporters] got so we could 
mouth that thing, and Warren would get sore at us. He'd look 
down, and there we were mouthing. We did that for a week, I 

Hogan: Was Clem Whitaker with him in his first gubernatorial race? 

Behrens: Young Clem Whitaker had very little to do with this. He might 
have known something. Of course, there was a break, you know, 
between old Clem Whitaker and the governor, a very serious one. 

/M/This symbol indicates that a tape of a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 22. 

Behrens : 


During the medical bill issue? 

Prior to that. He handled the publicity for the first Warren 
campaign, as I recall. My recollection is that he had a speech 
which Warren apparently hadn't read carefully which said that 
welfare is not a matter of need; it is a matter of right. That 
caused one terrible mess later on, and he blamed Whitaker. 

Whitaker jumped over to Knight, you know. Goodie Knight, 
while he was still lieutenant governor, was talking about running 
against Warren. Once he was going to run; then he backtracked 
and didn't do it. 

When did your own experience with Warren start? 
in the attorney general's office? 

When Warren was 

Before that. When he was district attorney of Alameda County. 
You see, first he was a deputy city attorney. I don't recall 
much about it Frank Coakley would. I've forgotten now whether 
he was a deputy DA before. There was quite a close contest 
between Earl and a fellow named Frank Shay. Warren got it. 
Frank then went into other lines; he was head of the Growers' 
Association. They became very friendly later; Shay was on one 
of his advisory commissions [State Board of Agriculture] . 

But when Earl Warren was DA, he became active in Republican 
politics. In 1936, at the last minute, William Randolph Hearst 
put a ticket in the field headed by [Governor] Frank Merriam as 
a delegation pledged to the nomination of Landon for president. 
The Axis crowd, as they called them in those days (Harry Chandler 
of the L.A. Times, George T. Cameron from the Chronicle, and 
Joseph R. Knowland of the Oakland Tribune) , decided they weren't 
going to let Mr. Hearst come in. To my recollection, he was a 
registered Democrat in New York. 

This was a hurry-up delegation, I remember that very well, 
because the other group decided they weren't going to let Hearst 
take over Republican politics in California. So, then they 
looked around for a vehicle to put a ticket together. They 
weren't anti-Landon necessarily; they were anti-Hearst. They 
turned to the California Republican Assembly, which had been 
organized in 1934. After several meetings, they finally came 
up endorsing an unpledged delegation headed by Earl Warren, with 
the distinct understanding that as soon as it was legally possible 
he would release the delegation. So, when they went to the con 
vention, they were pledged nominally to Warren, but they were 
released to go as they wished. 

Behrens: Warren stayed on then as national committeeman for two years, 
then decided to run for attorney general in 1938. Since that 
was considered a non-partisan office, he resigned as national 
committeeman, and Bill Knowland succeeded him. Then he went on 
for attorney general and was elected. 

The office had been held by U.S. Webb for time immemorial 
without any particular change. Warren made the office more 
important. He put an amendment on the ballot making the office 
the state law enforcement officer. He went on as AG for four 
years. He had a falling out with Olson (who was then governor) 
which wasn't very hard for anyone to do. In 1942, he ran against 
Olson. At that time we had cross-filing. Warren filed on both 
tickets. Olson did not. Warren came out with a very heavy 
margin over Olson in the primaries and then beat him badly in 
the general election and then went on and was elected two more 
times and quit in 1953, as I remember, to accept the position 
as chief justice. 

There has always been a question as to whether Warren had 
been promised the first appointment or whether he'd been promised 
an appointment. That has never been cleared up satisfactorily. 
I don't know who does know the answer to that. Herb Brownell, 
who was then the U.S. Attorney General, came out here to McClellan 
Field on a Sunday, I think it was, and talked to Warren. What 
they talked about was never made clear. I was the one who broke 
the story positively because I had had some contacts with Washing 
ton, and I found out that Herb Brownell had told some people back 
there that this was going to be the fellow. There's always been 
some confusion about what Warren did in the Eisenhower campaign. 

In 1944, Warren had been a favorite son candidate from 
California and headed the ticket. At that time he was not 
really a candidate. It was just to hold the ticket together. 
Under the law then you could just vote once for .the whole ticket. 
During the convention, which as I recall was in Chicago, the 
Oregon delegation wanted to present his name for the vice pres 
idency. He said, "No soap." At a joint meeting, he turned down 
the thing. As I remember, in '44 he was the keynoter at the 
Republican national convention. 

Then, in 1946, he won both party nominations for governor 
again. The candidate against him was Bob Kenny, who was the 
Democratic-CIO package candidate; I called him that, and finally 
it stuck because he picked it up himself and made it legal. Of 
course, then Bob went off to the Nuremberg trials. Warren got 
both nominations that year; we still had the double-filing 
busines-s. And Goodie Knight was elected lieutenant governor 
over Jack Shelley, who later became mayor of San Francisco, 
congressman, lobbyist for San Francisco. 

1948 Vice-Presidential Campaign 

Behrens: Then Warren in '48 was again head of the delegation. At that 
convention, after a lot of effort, they succeeded in getting 
Warren to be Republican nominee for vice president. Why I was 
very close to the picture was that Jim Haggerty was a very close 
friend of mine, dating back to Dewey days when Dewey was governor 
and I'd been covering at various times in Albany. Jim was on the 
campaign trail with us. 

I think Jim had come on in the Willkie campaign in 1940. 
Warren was attorney general and so wasn't on the national ticket 
because it was a partisan thing. The delegation that year was 
split three or four ways . A number of candidates received the 
votes. But Willkie came out to see Warren I came with him to 
try to get some friendly spark, but Warren didn't give him any 
encouragement at all. Willkie finally ended up as the candidate. 

In 1948, Warren was named the vice-presidential candidate. 
Interestingly enough, a lot of people thought that if Warren had 
been the top rather than Dewey, they might have defeated Truman. 
Truman was the bottom of the barrel until he really took hold of 
things. During the campaign, I sashayed back and forth with the 
various candidates. Part of the time I was with Truman, part of 
the time with Dewey, part of the time with Barkley, part of the 
time with Henry Wallace, who was the third-party candidate, and 
part of the time I was with Warren. Warren's speeches were very 
dull and uninteresting, largely, I think, because the Dewey people 
didn't want them any differently, because they thought the thing 
was in the bag, and they didn't want to rock the boat. Bill 
Sweigert was along. Of course, he'd been the confidential or 
executive secretary for Earl Warren, and Bill had a lot to do 
with writing the speeches for Warren during the campaign. He 
gave him a lot of advice; he was one of the main advisers. 

In August of '48, some of us went back to Albany with Warren 
for a conference with Dewey. They had a two-day meeting, and 
then they had a press conference discussing the tactics of the 
campaign. I was always convinced, from watching Warren at that 
press conference Warren had a habit; when he was a little 
incensed, the back of his neck would get red and I could see 
those hackles come up when they discussed how they would campaign. 
Of course, Warren would say, "Okay," you know, naturally he was 
the second-place man. I was quite sure that he would have waged 
a tougher campaign. 

That 80th Congress had a very good record, in my book, but the 
Republicans didn't say anything about it. Truman came out to 
California. He was down, presumably licked before he started. 

Behrens: He had a reason to come to the Midwest because there was a reunion 
of his military outfit, I think. But he didn't have any reason to 
keep on coming. This was supposed to be a non-political goodwill 
tour; this was in June of '48. For some reason or other, he was 
invited to make the commencement address at the University of 
California I've always thought that Ed Pauley, a UC regent, 
engineered that and to get an honorary degree. So, then we rode 
on east and back with him. The first day was a Sunday, and he 
observed the amenities of the occasion and didn't say much about 
politics; but, as I remember, on the next day he said a short 
thing about the Congress, just a little bit. It got a little 
applause. But the second day he hit twice as hard and got three 
or four times as much applause. Then he realized he had an issue. 
By the time we got to California, he was really "giving them hell," 
as he said. That's when he called it the "Do-Nothing Congress," 
the 80th Congress. My recollection is that Warren came over as 
far as Davis to say hello to the President of the United States. 
And that was the time that Truman said, "Warren is a Democrat and 
doesn't know it." 

Then, in 1950, Warren was re-elected. He beat Jimmy Roosevelt 
by something like a million votes. He didn't win in the primary. 
He announced some time in the middle of the term that he would not 
seek a fourth term. This was the first time anyone had ever been 
elected to a third term. He was the third one to be elected to a 
second term. One back in the early days, when the term was only 
two years; then Johnson came along and was elected twice. But, 
in the middle of his term, he ran for U.S. Senator and was elected. 

1952 Republican Delegation and National Convention 

Behrens: To get down to 1952, the delegation again was pledged to Warren. 
Contrary to the belief of many people, the delegation never did 
vote for anybody but Warren. He never released them at the con 
vention. So, he got the votes of the California delegation plus 
a few more. On the train Nixon came on of course, let's make 
it very clear, Warren was a loner. Going back to Fred Houser, 
who became a judge later on, Fred was running for lieutenant 
governor on the Republican ticket. One time, as I understand it, 
Warren wouldn't let Houser on the platform with him because 
Warren was strictly shooting for both party nominations. He was 
a Warren man only. He wanted to remain bi-partisan for political 
reasons only. He was a fine- looking guy, and he had a lot of 
kids, and they looked well, and a good-looking wife, so no harm 
done in the campaign. He's always been in my book a loner, which 
was positive politics in those days. 

Behrens: So, after that second election he went on to win in 1950 as 

governor and in 1952 was an actual candidate for the presidency 
I campaigned with him in Wisconsin in the month of March in 1952. 
We would spend three days in Wisconsin and three days at home and 
one day traveling. Then later on we campaigned in May. He was 
making a real pitch, you see. He won a few delegates in one of 
the districts in Wisconsin. Then, at the convention, his dele 
gation stood pat. 

Prior to the convention, at the national governors' meeting 
in Houston, the supporters of Dewey promoted, for Eisenhower, 
a telegram to be sent to the credentials committee calling for 
"fair play" in the seating of delegates. The Texas delegation 
was in contest and the one in Georgia I'm kind of hazy which 
one came up first. Anyway, that thing, to me, sealed any chance 
of Warren's getting the nomination. 

Of course, Warren figured he'd be a compromise choice. During 
the campaign in Wisconsin, in discussing it with newspapermen, he 
called himself "a long, long shot." In addition to that, he said 
never but twice in our history, after a great war, had the hero 
of the war come out flatly and said he would not accept the 
presidency. One, of course, was Sherman, and the other was Black 
Jack Pershing, whom the Democrats had talked about running as a 
candidate. But in '52, the Democrats were still playing footsie 
with Eisenhower. Prior to that, in '48, Eisenhower had already 
told the Republicans, then in '50, that he was an actual candidate, 
as was Warren. 

But, as I said, Warren kept his delegation intact. Bill 
Knowland was chairman. Whether Bill was trying to get to the 
platform to release the delegation, I never knew. There was some 
argument about whether Joe Martin, who was chairman, purposely 
didn't see him or not, or whether Warren hadn't given him the 
sign to release them. After the nominations, Eisenhower came 
back to Denver, and I was with him again the month before and 
the month afterwards 


After this telegram was sent from the governors' conference 
at Houston, Texas, for fair play in seating the delegates, Warren 
went back to California. Then we went on to the Chicago conven 
tion by train. Now, Warren's delegation was kind of a compromise 
delegation. It had a lot of Nixon people in it, a lot of Warren 
people, and others. Nixon was in Chicago and knew what was going 
on. Now, he had made a favorable impression on Dewey and others 
in a speech in New York, and Dewey apparently had him in mind as a 
running mate for Ike. (Of course, if Taft had been nominated, 
the guess was that Bill Knowland would have been the vice- 
presidential nominee.) 

Behrens: At Denver was the first time I saw Nixon on the train; Nixon came 
on and joined the party. Of course, he was supposed to have gone 
back and talked to Warren; he was pledged to Warren. The big 
hassle was that he came back through the train and started to 
talk to his own people about how Warren was not going to be the 
choice; we might as well get on the bandwagon and go for 
Eisenhower. Of course, Warren never forgave him for that. That 
heightened whatever feeling there was before. Nixon had also 
affronted Warren by taking a poll as to the delegation's second 

Warren never, so far as I know, did support Nixon, not even in 
the congressional campaign. In the Nixon senatorial campaign I 
might digress to say that all during the campaign Warren hadn't 
said a thing about Nixon versus Helen Gahagan Douglas . But the 
Nixon people had a man along at every press conference they could 
find, and they kept asking Helen Gahagan Douglas who she was 
voting for for governor. She always sidestepped it. Finally, 
down at San Diego, toward the end of the campaign, she was caught, 
and she said, "Roosevelt." So, they immediately asked Warren, 
"How about this?" He said, "Well, what do you think I would do?" 
or something like that. Well, right away that foxy Murray 
Chotiner put it out that Warren had endorsed Nixon, and Warren 
couldn't backtrack. 

To get back to 1952, Warren went up to Boise and handled that 
meeting [in Eisenhower's campaign]. He'd said earlier that he 
would campaign; quite some weeks had gone on, and Warren was 
getting pressed for other engagements. But he wasn't getting any 
word from the East about where he was to go. Finally, word got 
back to me about it. A good friend of mine was Republican 
national committeeman from Oregon, Ralph Cake, who was handling 
scheduling from Washington. I called him and told him that 
Warren was getting kind of embarrassing, and, "If you're going 
to use this man, you'd better do it." 

Shortly after that, they started scheduling him. Of course, 
they started sending him into some pretty rough places. He wanted 
to go to Georgia for sentimental reasons I think he'd had a vote 

*A similar poll was referred to by Arthur Breed, Jr., in an 
unrecorded conversation with the Regional Oral History Office 
in 1973. Former state senator Breed recalled that Nixon had 
written to a selected group of Republicans asking their choice 
of candidate if Warren was not successful. It seems likely 
that a copy of the Nixon letter is among Mr. Breed's papers. 


Behrens : or two out in Georgia in the 1952 convention at one time or other 
but they sent him into places where some of the governors that he 
knew were running for the Senate. Wyoming, for instance. Then, 
also, he was into a lot of labor places like Pennsylvania and New 
York, and I remember once he went up in the Au Sable range country 
in Michigan, which was very heavily Democratic. Some of the news 
papermen have told me since that they tried to tell him that he 
could get killed up there, that they'd murder a Republican. But 
he was received very well because he'd had a good record out here 
in labor. 

Then he stays through '53 as governor, when he was named by 
Eisenhower. Of course, Eisenhower afterwards was never pleased 
with his appointment. There's no doubt about that. In fact, Ike 
told me so. 

Fry: When did you first start going with Warren on these campaigns? 

Behrens: It would have started in '38 because there wasn't too much 

traveling with candidates in those days, with people like the 
attorney general and things like that. Prior to that, like '32, 
I was with the presidential candidates, '34 with the gubernatorial 
candidates. Of course, I'd probably catch him off and on. Prior 
to 1936, I'd had some contact with him as a district attorney 
because there were a lot of mean cases over there, and he was a 
tough district attorney. Dewey and Warren were supposed to be 
the toughest district attorneys in the United States. This is 
only secondhand, but in light of the court decision about letting 
a fellow talk to an attorney, some of those who served with him 
said they never had any instructions like that from Warren. A 
change of heart. 

But on this train trip I started to tell you about, Nixon 
came on and that heightened the feeling between the two because 
Nixon started suggesting to some of his people there's no doubt 
about that in fact, when we got to Chicago again some of the 
people wanted to jump the gun. I talked to [delegate] Alan 
Pattee about it, not long before his fatal accident he was one 
of those who was a Nixon man and Alan was one of those who said, 
"We shouldn't stick around. We're not going to nominate Warren 
anyway . " 

You see, under our law you pledge yourself to the best of your 
ability and judgment to support So-and-So, but there's no binding. 
It hasn't been broken in the past as I recall here, but it's not 
legally binding. They were getting ready, some of them. They 
weren't going to stay too long with Warren. But they held together 
anyway. The balloting was over in a very short time. 

Behrens : Getting back again at the convention, the first time this contest 
was brought before the convention, the bulk of the California 
delegation, all except eight, I think (I think we had seventy 
in those days) on the first ballot, the whole seventy went with 
the Eisenhower crowd, but the second time around, knowing that 
Eisenhower was in good shape, they voted for the Taft side as 
against Ike. Most people don't recall that. 

Warren's Legislation and Opposition 

Fry: Do you know anyone who would be good to talk about the relations 
between Warren and labor? 

Behrens: Neil Haggerty would be good. Warren was ahead of his time in some 
things labor, for instance. He presented, early in his second 
term, FEPC, health insurance, and he also had a lot to do with 
the water project. In 1953, he allowed a bill to be signed which 
had a lot to do with continuing the Feather River project, which 
later on was taken advantage of by Brown. It was a bill by state 
senator Johnson, who since died. Under that, I think they used 
the $170 million they voted in 1933, kept the thing going. 

Some of these things, you see, were premature. They weren't 
ready for those things yet. Whitaker murdered the medical thing 
right off the bat by calling the man who was out here "a horse 
doctor." He was a veterinarian, the main expert for Warren, to 
begin with. He was one of the main health authorities in the 
country. He headed up the public health department at Michigan 
University. I wouldn't be surprised if he were deceased now. 
But anyway, they just laughed him out of court as a horse doctor. 
What he'd done was to leave the veterinary field and gone to 
Stockton and become a health officer and became one of the top 
men in the United States in that field. It was a cruel thing to 
do to a person. 

Also in the labor field, Warren was not unfriendly to labor, 
although one time, as I recall, he allowed "hot cargo" to become 
law without his signature because it was then pending in the 
courts and he didn't feel he should veto or approve it. 

Fry: Do you know if this affected his relationship with Haggerty? 

Behrens: I don't think so. I remember right after that it was customary 
for the AFL to have the governor make a speech in those days at 
their state convention (the CIO hadn't entered the picture then) 


Behrens: he was booed and hissed here in Sacramento, and then he tore 
right into them. It made him mad. When he went out, they 
applauded him. I was covering it. 

He had friendly relations with Haggerty because he signed a 
lot of pro-labor bills. I never heard that he had any unfriendly 
relations with Haggerty. I'd doubt that. They might have jammed 
on certain bills or something like that. 

We put in disability insurance during Warren's time too. We 
already had workmen's compensation. Of course, originally the 
money the employee paid in went into the unemployment insurance 
fund. Later that was changed so that only the employer's money 
goes into that, and the employee's money goes into the disability 
insurance fund. That was during Warren's time too. 

Fry: When was that passed? 

Behrens: To my recollection, it was about '46 or '47, but I could find out 
in no time from Jack Shelley, because he handled the bill as a 

Fry: Can you suggest any reference for nailing down dates of legisla 

Behrens: Newspaper files, but that's a big job. Generally, there's no 

annual summary. Our [Chronicle] auxiliary library was wiped out 
when the Examiner moved in. It's in a warehouse someplace. I'm 
told it's just impossible to find anything. Scott Newhall may 
know about it. Al Denny may know where- it went to. Charlie 
Thieriot said you might as well throw it away as put it in a 
warehouse. Summaries are made by newspapers generally. Sacramento 
Bee has put everything on microfilm, but they microfilmed the 
first edition. What I wanted to find out about was when Governor 
Olson collapsed at a state barbecue and about his taking the oath 
of office, because, you see, he was an atheist and wouldn't swear 
on the Bible. I went through the microfilm all right. It was a 
Pete Phillips story, but it was written the night before, so it's 
not on the edition they microfilmed. 

One thing, too, in speaking of Shelley: Warren for a long 
time, even in the '46 campaign, was very quiet about Goodie 
Knight, who presumably was his running mate. Finally I don't 
like to get personal to candidates about these things but some 
people came to me about it when I was down at the state bar 
convention in Coronado. Earl was down there making speeches. 
When I had breakfast with him in the morning, I said, "For God's 
sake, you don't want this guy Shelley. Nothing personal, but you 
don't want to have a Democrat as your lieutenant governor. He 
might 'coon' you on a lot of things," which has happened. 


Behrens: (When Olson was governor, you see, his lieutenant governor, 
Patterson, stepped over the traces.) Finally, I got him to 
come out so I could use something about it, a little statement 
on Knight. And after, Knight was attempting to cut Warren's 
throat for quite a while there too, deciding whether to run 
against him in '50, and then he changed his mind. 

Fry: What do you think about interviewing Knight on Warren? 

Behrens: I think it would be a good idea to do it. You'll get something. 
See what he says anyway. He might be a little jaundiced. He was 
all ready, you know, to take over in '48, but it didn't happen 
that way. 

Fry: Do you know how Dewey feels about Warren, especially in view of 
opinions that if Warren had headed the presidential ticket, they 
might have won? 

Behrens: I haven't talked to Tom Dewey about it in recent years. Although 
Warren never was out to do a rough and tumble campaign, he might 
have been forced to do it. Everything seemed so set for the 
Republicans that year; they didn't want to say anything that 
would make anybody mad. 

Warren had some pretty strong language at times. One fellow 
you haven't got down on your list who was sore at Warren at times 
is Judge Welsh in San Francisco James Welsh, municipal judge. 
He wanted to be appointed to a judgeship, and Warren would never 
go for it. Finally, [Pat] Brown got him another job and then 
appointed him to the judgeship. He resigned from the Industrial 
Accident Commission with the understanding that he'd ultimately 
be appointed to the judgeship. I don't know whether Warren 
thought he wasn't qualified or what. I think they "jammed" a 
bit. He was his clemency secretary for quite a while. He might 
give you some stuff you might not get from anybody else. 

Most of it's going to be very pro-Warren from most of these 
people. I don't think any of them are going to tell you what I 
said a minute ago that he was a "loner." I might say, between 
the three of us, he was a very selfish man. Most politicians are, 
but Warren was very selfish. And what Ike told me one day about 
Warren I couldn't repeat to ladies; he was so disappointed in the 
appointment. He was disenchanted early in the game, I think, 
but last time I saw Ike was two years ago at Christmas dinner at 
Jackie and Floyd Odums. We were discussing some of the war stuff. 
I don't think Ike liked the school decision. More than that, some 
of those communist things Ike couldn't stomach. 

Fry: Can you suggest any anti-Warren interviewees within the Republican 


Behrens : Werdel, who's down in Bakersfield, who ran against Warren as 
head of a delegation in 1952. He was an assemblyman here. 

Fry: Were not some business interests, other than oil, opposed to 

Behrens: Oh, they were. Warren was a funny fellow. 

Goodwin Knight ; Labor and Other Support//// 
[Interview 2: 21 April 1977] 

Behrens : Just as soon as Warren decided he was not going to seek another 
term Knight was getting ready to run anyway, because he had 
threatened to run against Warren once before, but then he 
decided he couldn't make the grade; better stay where he was, 
you know Knight got himself out as a candidate right away. 

But prior to that time, and right after that, he started 
cutting capers with labor. That was one of the main things 
down at the AFL-CIO convention in Santa Barbara; he surprised 
all his conservative friends by announcing that he would veto 
any repressive anti-labor measures. And he named some of them, 
some of the things that the business groups were going to be 
for at that coming session of the legislature. He particularly 
antagonized the Los Angeles Times , Mrs. Chandler particularly 
at that time, she was on the board of regents and she came out 
flatfootedly in the Times and criticized him in editorials at 
the time. 

For a time, even when Warren was governor, privately he 
[Knight] used to make a lot of cracks about Earl Warren and 
criticize him very severely, on personal things, one thing and 
another, and he said Warren was using the office for his own 
benefit a lot of the times. 

Knight got very angry at me one time. Of course, I'd known 
Knight at Stanford, you know. I was asked by Newsweek magazine 
to characterize him one time, and I said, "Well, Goodie has 
never gotten over being a sophomore." It got into the magazine, 
and he didn't like it very much. He always used to do a little 
jig step when he felt good, you know. That's how he used to 
express himself, like that. [gestures] 


Behrens: He made a pretty good governor. Of course, then he was between 
the conservatives and the liberals ; he was kind of more liberal 
probably. He carried on a lot of the traditions of Warren, which 
he had to at that time. 

Fry: Do you know what it was that made him change over to his support 
for labor? 

Behrens: Well, I think, purely political. I don't know of anything else. 
Fry: He saw this as a way to accomplish that? 

Behrens: Yes. And he became quite a friend of Neil Haggerty, a head of 
labor. Then some of his very close advisers for a long, long 
time were Clem Whitaker and Leone Baxter. They had fallen out 
with Warren in one of the early campaigns of Warren's. They were 
very powerful at that time in public relations, you know. 

Of course, he long had figured to run for governor, even 
before Warren had decided not to run again. 

Fry: Yes. He'd tried, hadn't he, a couple of times? 

Behrens: Yes. In 1948, he thought Warren would be elected to the vice 
presidency, and he was all ready to move up permanently. I 
think he sold his house, something like that, down south, in 
anticipation. [laughter] And then Warren and Dewey lost out 
in the 1948 race, and then he was back where he started from. 

Of course, one year I've lost track of it now; I don't have 
the figures in front of me I think he won the lieutenant gov 
ernor's nomination from both major parties. I've forgotten who 
it was running against him, but I think it was George Miller, 
Jr., the senator. It seems to me that it was 1950, because that 
was the year that Warren beat Jimmy Roosevelt.* 

Fry: Who can we talk to who would be good to tell us about the labor 
angle, since Neil Haggerty is no longer with us? Who would know 
about that? Do you know? 

In the 1950 primary, Mr. Knight received 854,207 Republican and 
665,468 Democratic votes; George Miller, Jr., received 88,616 
Republican and 492,544 Democratic votes. 


Behrens : 

Behrens : 



Behrens : 
Behrens ; 

Well, Leone Baxter might know about it. She's now practicing 
public relations at Whitaker and Baxter International in San 
Francisco. I'm not sure who else. There's a fellow named Harry 
Finks, who was very close to [Knight], up in Sacramento, but he's 
not very reliable; that's the trouble with Harry. 

What was his position? 

Oh, he was just a labor leader from Sacramento, but very close 
to [Knight]. In fact, about 1955 and '56, he went along with 
[Knight] to the national governors' conferences with a group and 
was boosting saying that if Nixon was renominated for the vice 
presidency that Eisenhower would lose California. He tried to 
peddle Knight as a candidate for the vice-presidential nomina 
tion, you see. That was this fellow Harry Finks. 

Finks tried to peddle Knight? 

Finks was telling people, newspapermen particularly, this. 

I said, "Harry, you know better than that." Newspapermen 
would come to me and say, "What about this?" I'd say, "Don't 
pay any attention to him. Ike's going to carry California, and 
he's not going to dump Nixon yet; he's not ready." Later on, of 
course, there was a movement to drop Nixon, but that died aborning. 

So, Knight was all ready to jump 'in as governor. He carried 
on quite a number of the Warren policies, particularly in highway 
and education and things like that. Those things all are a matter 
of record to look up in your records . You probably have all those 
things anyway, and the newspaper clippings will tell about what 
he accomplished and what he tried to accomplish. 

Who is the best person to tell us about the efforts inside the 
legislature? Do you know who carried Knight's legislation? 

Most of them are gone now. 
Oh, really? 

Yes. I know that Al Wollenberg carried Warren's legislation, but 
I don't think he carried Knight's, as assemblyman. Joe Shell 
might know about it. He's down south. You can get in touch with 
Joe Shell. I think Joe was majority floor leader during that time. 
He might have carried some of it. I think he can be reached. He 
was living in Sacramento. 


Yes, I know where he is. 
he's still lobbying. 

He is hard to reach, though, because 


Behrens : Yes. [pauses] I'm sorry I can't remember more, but I haven't 
all my records here. 

Fry: Who besides you would know a lot about Knight's 1954 campaign for 
election in his own right? 

Behrens: I don't remember who handled his campaign at that stage of the 
game, but I think probably Whitaker and Baxter had a lot to do 
with it because they were very close to him then. 

Fry: He was really close to Whitaker and Baxter. 

Behrens : Yes . 

Fry: Can you tell me more about that relationship? 

Behrens: Well, when they first got in, it really was public relations just 

on a business basis, and then they developed a personal friendship. 
And then they had a falling out with Warren early in the game, as 
I think I told you before. I think Warren and Whitaker fell out 
on a speech in one of Warren's campaigns. Warren made a speech 
apparently without looking it over, and it pledged and provided 
that pensions were not a matter of need, but a matter of right, 
and that caused a lot of trouble. And I think they were pretty 
cold after that. 

Fry: And was that what Whitaker had put in without Warren's consent? 

Behrens: Well, he apparently had put it in, and I don't think Warren paid 
much attention to the speech till he got where he started to give 
it, and then he was stuck with it. Of course, it had been sent 
around already anyway, you see, to the newspapers. And, of course, 
Warren was quite a hater himself, you know. When he had a falling 
out with anybody, he didn't forget things, and he knew that Goodie 
was out looking for him, just waiting for something to happen so 
he could move up there. 

He [Knight] used to peddle stories that the Warrens, during 
the summertime, when they were down at Santa Monica, would send 
the highway patrol to take their laundry up to have it done up 
at the mansion in Sacramento. Now, whether that was true or not, 
I don't know, but Goodie used to peddle those stories. 

Fry: Whitaker used to have a feature service for small newspapers. 

Behrens: Yes, they still do that. There's a son with his firm that still 
carries on that service to the small weeklies and others, and 
they do a very fancy job. Generally, along early in the game, 
they send a small check for a small ad to start it out, to butter 
up people. 


Fry: [laughter] Then when Knight came along, they felt rather warm 
toward him? 

Behrens: Oh, yes. They were always in the picture with Knight. Leone can 
tell you whether they handled all the campaigns or not, and I 
think they did though. 

1958 Election: Republican Big Switch 

Fry: Then prior to the Big Switch in 1958, the Republicans were having 
quite a bit of problems as they began to split into factions 
the Knowland faction, the Knight faction, and the Nixon faction. 

Behrens: Well, what happened was that they had pushed largely it was 

through influence of some of the Southern California people, and 
the Los Angeles Times caused much of the thing. They always 
claimed Nixon had a hand in it. Whether he did or not, I don't 
know for sure. But anyway, they pushed Knight into the job of 
running for U.S. Senator instead of running for re-election as 
governor. He could have been re-elected governor, because labor 
probably would have supported him. 

And then, of course, Bill Knowland had ambitions, and they 
couldn't push him out of it. When he got stubborn on things, 
you couldn't move him. He wanted to run for governor, you know, 
and so they couldn't have Knight. They were afraid of a bad 
split in the primaries. 

Fry: Knowland and I didn't finish our interview before he committed 

suicide, so I never did get to ask him about the 1958 Big Switch. 

Behrens: Let me tell you a little bit of background on that. Knight had 
been ill with the flu or something, and he'd been home for a 
time. Just before he left home to decide whether he was still 
running for governor, he put out a very long statement saying 
that the doctors had ordered him to go south to get a rest, and 
that just as soon as he came back, why, then he'd get busy in 
the campaign for governor he called it a crusade or something 
like that. 

But while he was in a hideaway down in Phoenix, that's when he 
finally was pushed out of the picture, and then changed, 
announcing he'd run for Senator. 


Behrens: I was down south at the time, and I tried to get a hold of Knight 
(and you couldn't do it) to give him a chance to say in the 
Chronicle what he wanted to say about how he was being pushed 
out. But instead of that they decided to go east, to go to 
Washington, to get the benediction. [chuckles] And when they 
went east, he went incognito as far as El Paso, and then they 
registered in the Carlton Hotel in Washington under the name of 
Whitaker. Whitaker was there. 

And I went back, because I knew what was coming. I'd found 
out that he was going to run [for the Senate], going to announce 
it. He went over to see the president, and then they had a kind 
of perfunctory meeting; they went to see Nixon. Nixon, you know, 
came out and had one of these darn political perfunctory things 
in which Nixon and he were pictured together, and he [Nixon] 
announced that he would support Knight for the senatorship. 

Mrs. Knight was very sore. Mrs. Knowland got in the act 
because of a letter she sent around, a very ill-advised letter, 
in which she referred to Knight as having a spine like it was 
made out of "spaghetti," or something like that. 

Fry : Oh , yes . 

Behrens: You've found that. 

Fry : Yes . 

Behrens: And then she was very bitter, always doing that in the campaign. 
And, of course, then that fragmentary business among the Republi 
cans gave the Democrats a chance to come in. Of course, Knight 
had always been sold short by the conservative Republicans , and 
pushing him out like that angered a lot of Republicans and had 
made a split in the party and made it much easier for the Demo 
crats to pick up then. 

Fry: Yes. What were all of Knowland 's reasons for wanting the Big 

Behrens: Well, of course, the Democrats claimed he just wanted a stepping 
stone to the White House. But there are some family matters that 
get in there that we couldn't discuss because I don't have any 
personal knowledge of it, about his coming back to California to 
run the paper and all. I think you've probably heard those gossip 
stories too that Bill was playing around a bit now, I say, it 
wouldn't have come from me and that Helen said that he had to do 
one thing or the other, and [he] decided to come back to California 
and run the paper. 


Behrens : 


What he wanted to come back for was to run. He didn't announce 
he was going to run for governor until after he made a tour of 
the state, but it was obvious from the very beginning that he was 
going to run. As soon as he announced he wasn't going to run 
for re-election, it was obvious that he was going to run for 
governor, because he could have resigned and let Knight appoint 
a Republican in his place, you see, but he didn't do that; he 
hung on.. 

I say, I wish I had my records here from the office, because 
I. could tell you a lot of these things that I don't remember, 
unless you would have some questions that might refresh my memory. 

I've worked out a chronology of this period that I could send you. 
That might help. [pause] 

Republican Weakness, Democratic Strength: 1962 Brown-Nixon Campaign 

Behrens: Yes. I'm just trying to think who it was that Governor Knight 
ran against in 1954. 

Fry: That was the man who was head of the League of California Cities. 

Behrens: Oh, Dick Graves. The man that Knight ran against was Richard 
Graves. He [Graves] was a Democrat only for a limited period; 
he'd been a Republican always before. And his campaign was much 
contrary to the views he'd had and expressed to members of the 
legislature when he was a lobbyist for the League of California 
Cities. And, of course, he was more or less of a pushover, as a 
matter of fact. He was not known and so forth. 

Fry: As time went on, Pat Brown was elected and the Democrats made a 
sweep of the state. 

Behrens : Yes . 

Fry: What was it that led to the more conservative wing of the 
Republican party gaining control eventually? 

Behrens: Well, of course, the Republicans were getting weaker as it was, 
and I suppose that was going to come along some day. 

Fry: Yes. But who was getting weak, and how did the others get strong? 


Behrens: Well, you see, Warren did not build up the party people. He was 
very selfish and kept everybody away from having a chance, and 
the party hadn't been building up at all. But the Democrats had 
been starting to build up. 

Fry: Yes. Well, and then cross-filing was abolished. 

Behrens: Yes. Of course, now, cross-filing wasn't abolished until '59. 
That was when Brown was in office. It was still in effect when 
Knight ran. 

Fry: But then after the elections became more partisan just when the 
Republicans needed strength, they didn't seem to have it. 

Behrens: Well, they didn't coalesce, you see, and they were splitting apart 
and not uniting at all and not building up the party. And the 
Democrats were coming along, you see. 

Fry: Yes. Do you think that Nixon then was left more or less in power 
after '58? 

Behrens: Of course, the stories were that Nixon was behind all this because 
he wanted to be the boss man, but I couldn't see any point to that, 
to tell you the truth, because I didn't see why he'd want to have 
a Democratic administration in California and be the boss man of 
a party without a good strong [Republican] party. 

Of course, it took Nixon quite a while to decide whether he 
wanted to run for governor. He had advice from people all over 
the country, some telling him to do [it], and some telling him 
not to do it, and some thought it would hurt his chances for the 
future. I did an article on it one time after going down and 
looking at all the correspondence he had. I remember one letter 
he had from Jimmy Burns , who had been governor of one of the 
Carolinas, who just told him, "Go ahead and run." He said it 
wouldn't do any damage, because Burns had been in and out of 
several offices. A lot of people wrote to him not to do it, and 
others said to go ahead. 

Of course, what Nixon did was he cut down the margin more 
than half by what Brown beat Knowland.* 

The general election results were as follows: 

1958 1962 

Brown 3,140,076 Brown 3,037,109 
Knowland 2,110,911 Nixon 2,740,351 


Fry: Yes. Do you think that that was due to Nixon's strategies and 
his type of campaign? 

Behrens: I think so. It was a vicious, hard-fought campaign and so forth, 
but, of course, his weakness was that he didn't have too many 
local issues and he talked too much about foreign matters, foreign 
policy, because I traveled with him a lot during the campaign. 

Fry: And who were his main advisers in that campaign? 

Behrens: Well, Haldeman was in the picture, very much so. Of course, most 
of his advisers were down in Southern California Haldeman was in 
the picture, and so was Ron Ziegler, but Ziegler didn't have much 
of a part; he was just a "flunky" at that time. 

Other Issues: Capital Punishment, Jesse Unruh's Leadership 


Behrens : 

Behrens : 

Behrens : 


Coming on up, I was wondering how important you thought that the 
capital-punishment issue was as something we should document in 
this period. Did you think that had many ramifications 

Well, it was not a hot issue then. It was a hot issue for the 
people who were for it, just like they were later on. 

You know, the Chessman case came up. 

Yes. Chessman that was a hot issue in the Brown [administration] 
That really helped to knock him over, because Brown's trouble was 
his indecisiveness. 

Some people think that the hangover from that had a lot to do 
with Brown losing in 1966, and other people tell me that it 
really didn't have anything to do with that. 

Well, it did hurt him. Some people thought he was wishy-washy 
about it and tried to pass the buck to the legislature. And so 
then Reagan was able to make a big issue out of it, the same way 
that Reagan made a big issue out of the University of California 
disturbances. It was a big factor in Brown's problems with 
Reagan. No matter what Brown tried to do about the troubles at 
the University of California, he just couldn't get away from it. 

Oh, after the sit-in? 


Behrens : 






Yes. Because of the things that happened then. 

There's something else we want to go into, and that's the rise of 
Unruh and his power. What do you see as significant there? What 
background information can you give us about Unruh? 

Well, he made a run or two for the legislature, if I remember 
right, and at first was defeated. But then he came along, and 
he was just a powerful personality and very bright, a very smart 
operator. And then later, after he got in, he found out the way 
to do things was to put money into people ' s campaigns , and he did , 
you see. But he was just a great operator and a very clever 

Who were some of his main lieutenants in the legislature? 

Well, let me see. [pauses to think] John Knox was very close to 
him. [looking at list] Alderman could tell you a lot about 
Knight if you could reach him. Jerome Waldie is one who could 
tell you a lot about Jesse Unruh. He was majority leader; he 
could probably tell you as much as anybody. 


I'll give some- thought to other names before you come again. My 
stuff's all been turned over to the California Historical Society, 
all my files. 

That would be a marvelous source of information. 
at that. 

We could go look 

Yes. You'd probably get everything you want right there. 

No, no. We'd always have questions we'd want to ask you about. 
And I'm sure you'd have more to tell us. 

Transcriber-Final Typist: Marilyn White 


TAPE GUIDE Earl Behrens 

Interview 1: 6 June 1969 

tape 1, side A; This tape was inadvertently re-used. 

tape 1, side B 

Interview 2: 21 April 1977 

tape 2, side A 

tape 2, side B; poor quality recording 


INDEX Earl Behrens 

Barkley, Alb en, 4 

Baxter, Leone, 13, 14, 15-16 

Breed, Arthur, Jr., 7 fn. 

Brown, Edmund G., Sr. (Pat), 9, 11, 18, 19, 20 

Brownell, Herbert (Herb), 3 

Burns, James (Jimmy), 19 

Cake, Ralph, 7 

California Republican Assembly, 2 

Cameron, George T., 2 

capital punishment, 20 

Chandler, Dorothy B. (Mrs. Harry), 12 

Chandler, Harry, 2 

Chessman, Caryl, 20 

Chotiner, Murray, 7 

Coakley, Frank, 2 

Dewey, Thomas, 1, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13 
Douglas, Helen Gahagan, 7 

Eisenhower, Dwight D., 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14 
election campaigns, national 

1948 (vice-presidential) , 4-5 

1952, 6-9 
election campaigns, state 

1958 (Republican "Big Switch"), 16-18 

1962 (gubernatorial), 18-20 

Finks, Harry, 14 

Graves, Richard (Dick), 18 

Haggerty, Cornelius (Neil), 9, 10, 13 
Haggerty, Jim, 4 
Haldeman, Robert, 20 
Hearst, William Randolph, 2 
Houser, Fred, 5 


Johnson, Hiram, 5 ' 

Kenny , Bob , 3 

Knight, Goodwin CGoodie) , 2, 3, 10, 11, 12-18 passim 

Knowland, Helen (Mrs. William F.), 17 

Knowland, Joseph R., 2 

Knowland, William F. (Bill), 3, 6, 16-18, 19 

Knox, John, 21 

Landon, Alfred (Alf) , 2 

Los Angeles Times , 2, 12, 16 

Martin, Joe, 6 
Merriam, Frank, 2 
Miller, George, Jr., 13 

Nixon, Richard M., 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 16, 17, 19-20 

Oakland Tribune, 2 

Odums, Floyd, 11 

Odums, Jackie, 11 

Olson, Culbert L., 3, 10, 11 

Pattee, Alan, 8 

Patterson, Ellis, 11 

Pauley, Edwin (Ed), 5 

Pershing, John J. ("Black Jack"), 6 

Phillips, Pete, 10 

Reagan, Ronald, 20 

Republican national conventions 

1944, 3 

1952, 5-9 passim 
Roosevelt, James (Jimmy), 5, 7, 13 

Sacramento Bee, 10 

San Francisco Chronicle, 2, 10, 17 

San Francisco Examiner, 10 

Shay, Frank, 2 

Shell, Joe, 14 

Shelley, Jack, 3, 10 

Sherman, William T., 6 

Sweigert, William (Bill), 1, 4 


Taft, Robert A. , 6,9 
Truman, Harry S . , 4-5 

U.S. Congress, 1980, the "Do-Nothing Congress," 5 
University of California disturbances, 20-21 
Unruh , Jesse, 21 

Waldie, Jerome, 21 

Wallace, Henry, 4 

Warren, Earl, 1-21 passim 

Webb, U.S., 3 

Welsh , James , 11 

Werdel, Thomas, 12 

Whitaker, Clem, 1-2, 9, 13, 15-16, 17 

Willkie, Wendell L., 4 

Wollenberg, Al, 14 

Ziegler, Ron, 20 

Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight/Edmund Brown, Sr., Era 

Richard Bergholz 

AND POLITICS, 1953-1966 

An Interview Conducted by 

Gabrielle Morris 

in 1979 

Copyright Cc) 1981 by the Regents of the University of California 

Richard Bergholz 
ca. 1979 

TABLE OF CONTENTS Richard Bergholz 




Investigating the Board of Equalization 5 

Richard Graves' 1954 'Clean^Up' Campaign for Governor 6 

North-South, Rural-Urban Dynamics; Highway Funding 9 

Governors and the Media 10 


Amateurs , Leaders , Friendly Sources 15 

Assembly Speakers 18 

Differing Approaches of Jesse Unruh and Hugh Burns 21 

Pat Brown's Declining Effectiveness 24 


Television Influence, Party Organization 28 

1958 Knigh't-Knowland Big Switch 31 

Problem with Polls 33 

1962 Candidates: Sam Yorty, Richard Nixon 35 

Reporters as Audience 39 

"Off the Record" and "Reliable Sources" 40 

Ronald Reagan: Handlers and Administration 42 





The symbiotic relationship between the press and elected officials 
is the focus of this thought-provoking interview for the Knight-Brown era 
study of California government with Richard Bergholz, now a senior political 
writer for the Los Angeles Times . Bergholz describes this as often an 
adversary relationship ; it is perhaps a truism to add that politicians and 
reporters by the nature of their work require, on the one hand, an avenue 
for conveying ideas and actions to the public and, on the other, details 
of ideas and actions to convey to their readers. 

Times historical files have been repeatedly helpful to the Regional 
Oral History Office's research on government affairs and several Times 
staff persons have been valued consultants to the project. The paper itself 
continues to be a significant factor in California politics and several 
books discuss in detail its positions on and coverage of specific events. 
Therefore it was important to the scope of this project to include among 
its interviews the reflections of a writer for the Times . 

The interview session was recorded on February 21, 1979, in the 
comfortable library conference room on the quiet, spacious editorial floor 
of the Times Building in downtown Los Angeles. Above average in height 
and dapper in plaid slacks, Bergholz welcomed the interviewer, provided 
coffee, and in relaxed fashion addre'ssed himself to the questions, which 
followed an outline sent in advance, occasionally suggesting they might have 
been more precisely phrased. 

A legislative and campaign reporter and political editor since 1941, 
Bergholz provides a professional newsman's view of locating legislators 
who are reliable sources of information, the camaraderie between journalists 
and legislators and the cautions thereof, the inner ear that protects a 
reporter on the campaign trail and the hazards of becoming part of a 
candidate's apparatus. Along the way, he offers insights into technological 
change and the art of reporting: the impact of television, political 
polling, and professional campaign management. His comments combine 
idealism with a practical objectivity about governmental process. 

Of the legislature in action, he recalls: "It used to puzzle me how 
some guys could go up there and spend term after term and have absolutely no 
influence whatever in what happened. They were just figures." But, in 
press post mortems on legislative sessions, "it always used to amaze me 
that. . .somehow the collective judgement worked. . .most of the bad bills 
were defeated and sometimes the good bills passed." 

Before the legislature became fulltime in 1962, Bergholz frequently 
drove back and forth from Sacramento with Jesse Unruh (Democrat), Joe Shell 
(Republican), or others, whiling away the hours by discussing the background 


and development of pending legislation. Understandably protective of these 
companions, he was not expansive about the content of those sessions, but 
did allow that they provided insight into issues of the day. 

Later, in discussing travels with Richard Nixon and Edmund G. Brown, Sr, 
during gubernatorial campaigns, he examines the related matter of information 
provided off-the-record or not-for-attribution. In situations like this, 
he notes, sometimes "they want you to do their work for them." And, firmly, 
"the press shouldn't be used." "Inevitably. . .you pal around with people, 
sooner or later. . .you've got to guard against becoming part of the 
campaign." As Theodore White points out in In Search of History, the 
significance of press-political interactions can be immeasurably greater 
when the newsman is a leading representative of a major paper than when he 
is younger and less experienced. 

A rough-edited transcript of the interview was sent to Mr. Bergholz in 
November, 1979. He returned it promptly with only two minor emendations, 
a compliment to a fellow wordsmith. 

Gabrielle Morris 

7 December 1979 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 

Los Angeles Times, 6/9/66 

Party Could 
Regain Power 
Nominee Says 


Tlnwt Pmc*l Wrttw 

Tne sweet smell of prospective 
success permeated P^epublican 
quarters Wednesday mainly be 
cause Ronald Reagan ran such a 
strong race for the nomination for 

Reagan trounced former Mayor 
Oorge Christopher of San Franci.- 
ro. promptly issued a unity plea, col- 
lected pledges of support from all his 
party x opponents and predicted the 
GOP. for the first time *inrc the 1904 
election, now is in position to sweep 
back into power in California. 

Reagan's Novemlx?r opponent. De 
mocratic Gov. Brown, readily recog 
nized he's in for a tou?h fipht and 
said that's the way he likes it. And 

Statewide and Lot Angeles-Orange 
rountiei election returns on Pages 
2 and 3, Part 1. 

he added th;U whatever his showing 
in the Tuesday primary election it 
will be different in the November 
finals' when he rnn "zero in" on 
what he termed the ultra-conserva 
tive policies of Reagan. 

Actually, Brown's position isn't 
fiuite as precarious now as it was in 
the early returns Tuesday night. 

When the vote counting began, re 
ports spread that Mayor Samuel W. 
Yorty of Ix>s Angeles, Brown's ma 
jor party foe, was beating him in Los 
Angeles County. 

Actually, Registrar of Voters Ben 
Hite said Wednesday, Brown led In 
the returns from the very beginning 
and at the latest count held a slim 
but steady lead over the mayor. 

Statewide, Brown's strength in 
northern and central California was 
more than enough to turn back Yor 
ty 1 * challenge. 

Results from -26.34.~j precmcu of 
the state's 30,586 in the Democratic 
primary showed: 

Brown 1,211,687 

Yorty 900,269 

Regan had a veritable tfreeze In 
his contest with Christopher. It nev 
er was in doubt. The only question 
was: Will Reagan's vote in the Re 
publican primary be bigger than 
Brown's vote in the Democratic pri 

With 26,943 precincts of th state 1 ! 
30,586 reporting results in the- Re 
publican primary gave: 

Reagan 1,223,951 

Christopher I17TT1 

The rest of the^ rtatewida Ucket 
looks like this: 
Lieutenant Governor Demoen- 

PleiM Turn to Fa* 13, Cd. 1 

tie incumbent Glenn M, 
who t&tii? 
back Thomu Bra* 
den, president of the itau 
botrd of education, and 
Lloyd Hand, former chief 
<tf protocol at the White 
Rouse, versu_ Robert .jH. 
jTioch, Loe Angeles attor- 
and longtime political 
of former Vlc Presi- 
JU&ard Nixon, who 
Bi tare* politically un- 

" Steretary of Statt Re 
publican incumbent Frank 
Jl Jordan won renomint- 
tton with no itraln and 
no campaign; vertua Nor- 
>ert SchJel, former ajiiit- 
aftt U.S. atttrnty general, 
who won in a Mdly-plit 
i e v e n man Democratic 

AttoriMy GnsTil De 
mocratic incumbent Tho 
mas Lynch, who smashed 
the challenge of WDliam 
Bennett, public utilitiea 
commissioner, and Marln 
KrUtovich, Lo Angelea 
attorney; versus Spencer 
Williams of San Jose, San 
ta Clara county counsel, 
who eajlly defeated two 
challengers, including for- 
jner Republican county 
chairman Jud Leethara of 
Los Angeles. 

Controller Democratic 
Incumbent Alan Cranston, 
an easy winner in the pri- 
'ttary, versus Aaaembly- 
man Houston I. Flournoy 
(R-Cl*remont) who 
topped a five-man field for 
the Republican nomina 

Factional Dliputt 

TretiUMr Democratic 

^Incumbent Ben Bettj ver- 

. ;tu Mrs. Ivy Baker Priest, 

'onetime treasurer of the 

U.S. in the Elsenhower ad- 

.minlatratlon. Both were 

/unoppoeed in the primary. 

The two ticket-leaders 
Brown and R e a g a n 
promptly gathered their 
'fellow candidates around 
them and planned for uni 
fied campaigns in the fall. 
' For Res^an, it was a par- 
' tleularly heartwarming ex- 
: pcrtence and for Repub- 
;lican Party leaders, as 

;' Th* party has been 
' wracked by factional dia- 

yean ago, partly on "the" 
f Birch iaaua, Murphy eaii 

paten, which nw Demo- 
tfnti sweep the beards, 
Reagan, who emerged *a 

leader of the conserva 
tives in the Goldwater 
campaign two years ago, 
made it clear in the poet' 
primary interviews that 
he 1* going to try hard to 
bring all faction* together 
in a unified assault on 
Brown and the Democrat* 
In the run-off election. 

National OOP leaders 
took heart from Reagan's 

Ray Bliss, national Re 
publican chairman, saw 
the makings of "a com 
plete victory In California." 
And Nixon, at a Washing 
ton news conference, said 
Reagan will have greater 
party unity In the month* 
ahead than he had in his 
unsuccessful bid against 
Brown in the 1962 guber 
natorial race. 

Nixon predicted that Ca 
lifornia's senior Republi 
can senator, Thomas H. 
Kuchel, eventually would 
endorse Reagan and the 
entire GOP ticket. Kuchel 
backed Christopher in the 
primary and has been cri 
tical of Republican cand^ 
dates who won't repudiate 
the ultra- conservative 
John Birch Society. 

Kuche!. in Freano for i 
speech at the state college 
there, snt a message of 
congratulation* to Reagan 
and said he hoped to dis 
cuss Issues with him soon. 
Then he said in an Inter 
view that "I do not intend 
to participate in the gov 
ernor's race at all." 

California's junior Re 
publican senator, George 
Murphy, failed to get 
K u c h e Cs backing two 


fYXf Reagan appeared to 
havt the backing of llif leaden, including', 
tht defeated Christopher, :; 
it waa consfierably differ-!; 
ent between Brown and 

Although Brown ap 
peared to be willing, at a 
newa conferenoe Wednes 
day, to extend a few peace 
feeten in Yorty'e direc 
tion, the mayor wasn't 
having any. 

He said In a written 
statement issued at City 
Hall that Brown appear* 
determined 'to pull the 
Democratic Party down to. 
defeat" in November, ac 
cused Brown of "rule or 
ruin* policies, assailed his 
appointees and generally 
made it dear he's in no 
mood to support his par-. 
ty's nominee. ^ 

Key Drlopmnts 

Yorty slso suggested 
something akin to the days 
of political crossflling 
when he bemoaned the 
fact that moderate Repub 
licans were unable to vote 
for him In Tuesday's De 
mocratic primary. 

The statewide races got 
most of the attention, but 
there were some signifi 
cant development* in les 
ser races. 

So-called 'peace* candi 
date* those who want 
the U.S. to pull back from 
its Vietnam commitment* 
got absolutely nowhere 
In Tuesday's elections, un 
less they happened to be 

To considerable extent, 
this tended to show that 
President Johnson's Viet 
nam policies, when made a 
campaign Issue, have vo 
ter support. 

Every incumbent con 
gressman won renomlns- 

aotfw thsy pish to 



AU 120 state legfeUtiv* 

.sts wr* Op for nornin*- 
ooa at Tuecday'f prlffia- 
and then^were few fur* 

Four incumbent atate 
mators fell victim to the 
jurt-ordered redlBtricting 
:t of list year and at least 
iur more are certain lo 
in in the finals. At least 
s ruts assemblymen won 
aminations for Senate 
tata in their effort* to 

Ck e advantage o f the 
ipportionment scram- 
! - 

, In nonpartisan contests, 
(r. Max Rafferty, state su- 
jrintendent of public In- 
ruction, saved himself 
om the necessity of any 
ore campaigning this 
sar. He beat three rela- 
unknown opponents 

badly he got a majority 

all votes cast and thus 
wsn't have to run In 

Locally, County Asses- 
5 r Philip E. Wataon, 
leriff Peter J. Pitchess 
id Supervisor Ernest E. 
ebs won new four-year 
fcrms without strain. 

All incumbent judges on 
juesday's ballot won new 
irms but there will be 
inoffs between the top 
vo finishers for Offices 1 
id 2 in the Los Angeles 
unklpal Court. 

The $8.50 million Metro- 
olitan Water District 
and issue, which only 
eeded a majority vote, 
as approved. 

[Date of Interview: 22 February 1979]< 

Bergholz: Jack Burby , Brown's first campaign speechwriter and his part-time 
press secretary are sitting right across the hall here, writing 

Morris: You're kidding. 

Bergholz: They know all of this stuff backwards, forwards, and sideways. 

Morris: Well, a part of what we do is a treasure hunt, to find out what's 
happened to people and try and collect as much data as we can 
to reconstruct the past. Sometimes we lose people for no visible 
reason, and when we do, we hope that we will find sufficient 
supplementary funding to pick them up and include them. 

Bergholz: All I'm saying is that at least you should know that they're here, 
and if there are points that come up that obviously I don't know 
anything about, I can at least point you where the answer is. 

Morris: You mentioned Mr. Burby. The speechwriter ? 

Bergholz: Roy Ringer. See, Roy and I worked on the Mirror together. I 
was a political writer, and he was a reporter. When Brown 
In 1960, Roy went up there as a speechwriter and worked in the 
press office. And then Burby came in about that time as press 
secretary. So as I say, they've each gone their separate ways 
since then, and now, lo and behold, they come back here, working 
the same paper, doing the same thing writing editorials. 

MThis symbol indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 49. 

Morris: They would have a slightly different perspective than you. 

Bergholz: Sure. If you're looking for factual material, they'd probably 
see it, from their standpoint, differently than we would. And 
their memory is probably much better. 

Morris: That's a variable that we contend with. I have quite a lot of 
faith in your memory, since you're still working in the field. 
One of the things we're interested in is how a reporter develops 
his sources, and whether or not they are useful over the years. 
In other words, if what you learned and worked with twenty years 
ago is useful today, and what kind of directions of points for 
where things may come up. 

Bergholz: That's interesting to a school of journalism, but it's not much 
in oral history. [laughs] 

Morris: We never know who's going to use our documents. Have you worked 
with oral history at all? Are you familiar with it as a field? 

Bergholz: No. History is history. Journalism techniques and methods are 
a little different field. So what do you want to know? 

Morris: I'd like to run along through the outline. 

Bergholz: How much time are you going to need? You've done this. How 
long does it usually take? 

Morris: About an hour and a half to two hours is about what my powers of 
concentration are. 

Bergholz: That's fine. You ask the questions, so you can regulate how fast 
you want to go. 

Morris: Okay, and sometimes you get involved in something which is inter 
esting that I would not have picked up on, in which case I'd 
rather go with that than to stick firmly with my outline. 

Bergholz: All right. 

Morris: So where I would start is with a little bit of your personal 
background.. Are you a Californian? 

Bergholz: Okay. This is all in Who's Who, and reasonably accurate. I was 
born in Oregon, raised in the Pacific Northwest, graduated from 
the University of Washington, came to California in 1938, worked 
in the Ventura Star-Free Press. In 1941, December, I went to 
Sacramento to work for the Associated Press, covered the 

Bergholz: legislature, went overseas as a war correspondent in 1944, came 

back in '46, and started covering the legislature again in 1947, 
this time for Copely Press. I was political editor of the San Diego 
Tribune, and covered the legislature until came to the Los 
Angeles Mirror in 1954, February, and covered the legislature 
until 1963, when I went to work for the Times . I've been 
political writer for the Times since. 

Morrris: Was politics what you wanted to write when you started in 

Bergholz: No. [pause] 

Morris: How did you happen to become a political writer? 

Bergholz: Because I was covering the legislature, which is political, and 
I was intrigued by the interplay of political forces in the 
legislature. You cover the legislature, you get to know 
politicians. Covering the legislature was a problem for me 
because I lived in San Diego or in Los Angeles, and I was away 
from home a great deal of the time. It's a family strain with 
children growing up. So after about twenty years, it was evident 
. that I had enough of covering the legislature, and I wanted to 
specialize strictly in politics. 

Morris: When you say "strictly in politics," that means ? 

Bergholz: I don't cover the legislature any more. 

Morris: Politics is strictly campaigns? 

Bergholz: Everything else, yes. 

Morris: At the local level, the city council? 

Bergholz: Primarily state and national, recently. And the last fifteen 
years have been primarily state and national. 

Morris: Did covering the legislature, in the years when you were doing 
that, give you a background of the political forces operating 
in California? 

Bergholz: Sure. Oh, sure. It's a great help. 
Morris: You've used that since 

Bergholz: Covering the legislature was a lot of fun. I think I had more 
fun covering the legislature because there's just a fascinating 

Bergholz : 


Bergholz : 


Morris : 

Bergholz ; 
Morris : 
Bergholz : 

array of people that go parading past there. Some stay for a 
while, and some stay a long time, but it was always a great 
challenge to look at a session after it's all over and feel that 
we had reasonably well represented what had happened. It's a 
very complicated business. It's very hard to do. 

How did you select what things you would cover? From one 
legislative session you couldn't report everything that was 
going on. 

Of course not. It's simply a case of trying to specialize in 
areas that are helpful and to try to avoid duplicating the wire 
services. Wire services cover everything, and you can't possibly 
try to be another wire service one person. 

How did you make that choice? 

Well, you're getting into a lot of techniques about journalism 
now, that really aren't pertinent to this, are they? 

Well, if you feel not. One of the aspects is, how much leeway 
does a reporter have in deciding what he's going to cover? How 
much is there direction from the editor? 

Are you talking about my case? 

In my case, I was the only one representing Copley papers when 
I worked for them, and I was the only one representing the 
Mirror when I worked for them. So it was simply a case of what 

What did the Los Angeles 
And that would 

did San Diego papers want, in coverage. 

Mirror want in coverage out of the legislature. 

be the criteria. 


What did the Los Angeles papers want? 

Did that reflect local 

Bergholz : Yes . 


Investigating the Board of Equalization 

Morris: Could you give me an example of what some of those were? 

Bergholz: Yes. The Los Angeles Mirror was struggling to make it in the 

PM newspaper field afternoon paper. And one of the things that 
I'd worked on I'd started in San Diego and carried on when I got 
to Los Angeles was an investigation of the State Board of 
Equalization and the peddling of liquor licenses. This sort of 
investigative reporting was the type of thing that the newspaper 
wanted, both in San Diego and here. 

Morris : Does that mean that you would have paid closer attention to 
Caspar Weinberger, for instance, who was in the assembly, as 
chairman of their committee investigating? 

Bergholz: Yes. He paid more attention to me because I was in the field. 
We were in the field before he was. 

Morris: Really? 
Bergholz: Yes. 

Morris: What was it that brought that issue to the attention of the paper 
here in Los Angeles? 

Bergholz: I can't remember any specific incident. The reputation of board 
member William Bonelli was intriguing to investigate, and one 
thing led to another. I can't remember a specific incident that 
got us onto the question of liquor licenses, except that in the 
course of things I used to cover the Board of Equalization and 
watch how the board handled these problems. 

Morris: From the board meetings, could you tell that something was not 
as it should be in the issuing of liquor licenses? 

Bergholz: Could well be, but as I say, I don't remember specifics. 

Morris: That goes back to when Warren was governor. One of the sources 
that we have said that he appointed Paul Leake to the Board of 
Equalization to do something about the problem. Is that your ? 

Bergholz: To do something about "the problem?" 

Morris: The problem of liquor licensing. That they were concerned not 
only about liquor licensing, but that there was possibly 

Bergholz: Whether they were when they appointed Paul Leake that was pretty 
early. I don't know. I've got to say that I don't recall that 
Paul Leake was terribly helpful all the way through this. He 
would make an occasional statement or speech, but I don't recall 
that he ever provided much help. That may be unkind, I don't 

Morris: How about George Reilly? He's been on the Board of Equalization 

Bergholz: No. 

Morris: Was he a hindrance at all in your kind of reporting? 

Bergholz: No. 

Morris: It finally went to a constitutional amendment after Goodwin Knight 
became governor. Was that something that Knight made a big 
point about? 

Bergholz: He had nothing to do with it. 

Morris: So it was a legislative decision, rather than the governor's? 

Bergholz: Right. 

Richard Graves' 1954 'Clean-Up' Campaign for Governor 

Morris: Did Governor Knight take any particular part, do you recall? 
Bergholz: I don't recall any. As a matter of fact, in the '54 campaign it 

Bergholz: seems to me that Dick Graves was the clean-up campaign candidate, 
rather than Knight. I don't remember that Goodie was ever 
particularly hot for this at any time. 

Morris: We did an interview with Mr. Graves several years ago, and he was 
concerned that Mr. Bonelli had connections with the Democratic 
party that caused Graves problems in getting the party nomination. 

Bergholz: Yes. 

Morris: Would that be the kind of thing that would come to your attention? 

Bergholz: Yes, in part. Except I can anticipate your next question, and I 
can't tell you what he did. 

Morris: It was the question of whether or not Elizabeth Snyder would get 
to be chairman of the state central committee, and he didn't 
want her to be chairman. 

Bergholz: Graves didn't, but Bonelli did. 
Morris: Yes. 

Bergholz: But as I say, I can't remember anything that Liz did that was 

particularly hurtful to Graves. Graves was sort of a political 
aberration. It didn't follow the normal course of events. Here 
was a guy who'd never been active in the party, never run for 
anything. He was "Mr. Clean" at a time when the liberals were 
looking for a Mr. Clean. 

Morris: Was there any truth to the thought that Pat Brown didn't think 
that he could beat Goodwin Knight , so that he was perfectly 
happy to have somebody like Graves as a candidate? 

Bergholz: That was mentioned at the time. Pat was very cautious in those 

Morris: Yes. Well, he'd been a Republican, too, earlier. 
Bergholz: Very briefly. He outgrew it. 

Morris: How strong a figure in the legislature was George Miller, Jr. 
at that time? 

Bergholz: Very strong. 

Morris: Would he have been a decisive factor in selecting Dick Graves as 
a candidate? 


Bergholz : I think he played a big part in it, yes. In large part, you see, 
George worked through CDC, which had just been formed, and this 
was really Graves' launching pad was CDC. 

Morris: Normally you think of Alan Cranston as being more closely 
connected with the Democratic Council than George Miller. 

Bergholz: I don't know why. He was the first president but George was 
a much more aggressive, much more political operator than 
Alan Cranston ever was, or is. 

Morris: Why didn't Miller himself ever run for governor? 
Bergholz: He ran for lieutenant governor. 

Morris: Yes. But somehow that doesn't seem as significant a job as 

Bergholz: [laughs] No, it isn't. I think George was abundantly aware of 
the difficulties of somebody from Richmond, representing 
Standard Oil, running on a liberal Democratic ticket. That's 
kind of tough. 

Morris: Was he identified as being close to Standard Oil? 

Bergholz: Sure. 

Morris: How did he manage to combine those two? 

Bergholz: Very carefully. [laughter] You know, this is one of the things 

you learn in covering the legislature the voting record of people 
with conflicting sponsors, and it's a very neat bit of footwork 
to keep them all happy, or keep them all from getting unhappy. 

Morris: Did you feel that he feLt an obligation to Standard Oil? 

Bergholz: No, no. They were a very substantial employer and political 

force in his district, and state senators represented districts, 
very specific districts. They don't have a statewide view at all. 

North-South, Rural-Urban Dynamics; Highway Funding 

Morris: Senators don't have a statewide view? 

Bergholz: Very few. You can't survive long, I'll tell you. 

Morris: Is this a factor in what's referred to as the north-south split 
in California politics? 

Bergholz: It's a factor, yes. When I first covered the legislature, I was 
appalled that a county the size of Los Angeles would have one 
tiny little voice in that forty-member house, the senate, and 
as you are aware, the senator at that time was Bob Kenny. 

Bob was one of the most fascinating political figures I 
ever met. I was quite impressed by him originally because he 
had a certain amount of pragmatism that went with his basic 
liberalism. He was dealing with thirty-nine other senators, 
each of whom had pretty much an anti-Los Angeles bias, and 
that's pretty tough. 

Morris: Why was there an anti-Los Angeles bias? 

Bergholz: It's where all the votes are. The interests of the strictly 
urban portions of Los Angeles are totally different than the 
interests of Merced County, in the state senate at that time. 

Morris: At that time. Do you feel that has changed over the years? 

Bergholz: Some. Some. Busing is still not an issue in some areas, but 
it obviously is in Los Angeles. But the old fight used to be 
over division of highway funds, and it always seemed incredible 
that sparsely-populated areas would wind up with a disproportion 
ate share of gas tax money. 

Morris: Because of the square miles involved? 

Bergholz: No, because of the political clout of the senate. You couldn't 
get a bill through unless it took the so-called "rural vote" as 
opposed to city vote. 

Morris: Was this difference in north and south as noticeable in the 
assembly as it was in the senate? 

Bergholz: Oh, no. It was there, but obviously there were at that time 
gosh, I don't remember the figures, but say, twenty-five, 


Bergholz ; 



Bergholz : 

twenty-eight assemblymen from Los Angeles county, out of eighty, 
which is quite different than one out of forty. No, it was much 
more diffused in the assembly. But the senate had the whip hand. 
You couldn't pass a bill without getting it through the senate. 

Some of our interviewees have said that their observation was 
that a number of pieces of urban legislation had not only the 
support, but had originally been thought up by some of the rural 
senators. Did you have any sense of that? 

It could well be, but they don't come to mind, 

No. My memory is not working too well. 

Could you name 

Well, the bill that created the state freeway system was co- 
authored by a senator from Humboldt County, and his interest 
Why would he want a state freeway system? The reason is that 
he happened to be chairman of the Senate Transportation 
Committee at the time, and then subsequently, Senator Collier 
came in also Senate Transportation Committee and co-authors 
were people who obviously controlled the destiny of legislation. 
The freeway system, sure it had a great effect on urban develop 
ment. Obviously it opened a lot of suburbs to commuters, but 
it also had a great effect on some of the rural areas. 

Governors and the Media 

Morris: What about press conferences? How did Goodwin Knight and 

Pat Brown compare with Warren in terms of dealing with the 

Bergholz: As far as Warren's press conferences were concerned, when it 

came to responding to anyone's question, calling anyone by name, 
he had a terrible time. I think he probably knew who people 
were, but he just couldn't remember names. He knew who I was. 
He knew who Squire Behrens was, and he could handle names some 
names , anyway . 

The first governor I knew when I went up there was 
Governor Olson, and Olson had a terrible reputation as a very 
hot-tempered, intransigent type of guy, but he always impressed 
me as a real gentleman because when we would come into a press 
conference that white hair, that classical profile he would 
stand up and greet us by name, everybody, and very friendly. 


Morris : Did they have any differences in the use they made of press 

Bergholz: You're going to have to be more specific. I don't remember. I 
can remember there were some times with Knight when it got a bit 
tense. I think we would be trying to get something out of him, 
and he didn't want to talk, but all governors go through that. 

I think sometimes we may have been a little overly impressed 
with Warren's abilities. I don't know, he was governor at a 
time when the Republican party was going through a change. He 
was obviously more liberal than most of his party. 

Goodie had some things about him. He was sort of a mixture 
of liberal and conservative. But how they used the press 
conference, every governor uses it the best way he knows how gets 
the most out of it. 

Morris : In terms of getting ideas back from the press? 

Bergholz: Oh, no, no. He didn't care about that. He wants us to write 
what he wants . 

Morris: And that means floating their ideas and programs. 
Bergholz: Sure. 

Morris: Will they call in the press to exhort the legislature to pass a 

Bergholz : Sometimes. They all use us as a means of whipping the legislature 
at one time or another. 

Morris: So is it a matter of a weekly press conference that you can build 
your schedule around, or do they call them when they need them? 

Bergholz: Again, you have to ask the people who did it. It seems to me 

they were all regularly scheduled, all of them. With the advent 
of television, we used to have terrible problems because, initially , 
television would send people who didn't have the foggiest idea 
what they were doing there, and they would rely on us to ask the 
questions that would give them the picture that they could use 
on their news shows . 

And we, I'm sure, were real dogs in the manger there. It 
got so bad at times that we wouldn't ask a question if there was 
a TV camera there. We'd say, "Okay, you guys go ahead and ask 
your questions," and they'd just sit there. "Now are you through? 








Bergholz ; 

Okay." Get them out, then we'd go ahead with the press conference. 
But fortunately, as we all matured, learned a little more, we 
outgrew that. 

It got to be a sort of a status thing. Certain people would 
sit at certain chairs every press conference, largely on the 
basis of seniority or how big their newpaper was or whatever their 
classification. And there used to be competition between AMs 
and PMs, whether you have a press conference in the morning for 
the PMs or in the afternoon for the AMs. And I'm sure all the 
press secretaries had to wrestle with this and resolve it one 
way or the other. They used to alternate, it seems to me, in 
Knight's day, and maybe under Brown's, too. I don't know. 

It'd be the press secretaries that you'd go through if you 
wanted to go in and talk just one-to-one with the governor? 

Depending on the activities of the press secretary. 
Did they vary from governor to governor? 

Yes, yes. Warren's, Verne Scoggins, was a very quiet, sedate 
Stockton reporter who Well, I don't know. He was helpful, 
but he sure as hell didn't originate anything as I recall. Now, 
maybe I was so green and far down the totem pole that he didn't 
mess with me, paid more attention to others. 

Goodie's, Newt Stearns, was very good in the sense that he 
was 110 per cent devoted to Goodie, and everything was if 
it looked like it was going to be an embarrassment to the 
governor, he would try his best to see that it never came off. 

"If it was going to embarrass the governor" you mean something 
that a reporter ? 

Yes, if he knew you were going to ask him something that Knight 
didn't want to talk about, he would try to see that you just 
didn't get to him. I guess all press secretaries go through that 
in one form or another. It does seem so strange they were such 
organized events, press conferences, that it seems so strange 
now to have a governor that has absolutely no press conference 
at all. You may have one or two a year, and that's about it. 
But conversely, if you want to see the governor, you can see him 
almost any time, any day, if you just have the patience to stand 
there wait. 

Morris: Pat Brown's press secretary was Hale Champion. 


Bergholz: Started out, it was Hale Champion, and then he went to finance 
director, and Jack Burby came in. 

Morris: Let me turn this tape over so I don't stop you in the middle. 

Bergholz: Then when we began to get transcripts of press conferences, we 
used more direct quotes than we used to. 

Morris: It takes time to go back through the tape and get the quotes. 

Bergholz: Sure does. Sure does. But you can really embarrass somebody if 
you quote them verbatim. I'm trying to remember, did anybody 
ever talk about whether Did we get transcripts of press 
conferences in the old days, with Warren and, particularly, Knight? 
I wonder if we did. We probably did, at least probably under 

Morris: Let me check on that. 

Bergholz: Oh, it's a small matter, but I was just curious. See, when I 
worked for the AP, it was terribly competitive, timewise. You 
came out of that press conference, and you wrote just as fast as 
you could because you knew that UPI right next door was writing 
just as fast as they could. And we'd often serve the same papers, 
and the first one in there got the play. 

Then, as I remember, we started getting transcripts, and 
now at least the way it used to be you would write an initial 
story just as fast as you could, right off of what you heard, 
but you would wait for the transcripts to come up to do your 
re-write and do your second leads or your overnights. It makes 
it a lot nicer having that typed-up transcript right in front 
of you of what the governor said. 

Morris: The governor's office provides those, from the press secretary? 
Bergholz: Yes. 

Morris: Hale Champion and Verne Scoggins are generally considered to have 
had a fair role in the governor's political planning and decisions, 

Bergholz: Scoggins? Who said Scoggins? 

Morris: Scoggins. 

Bergholz: He thought he had an influence? 


Morris: Yes. That he went to work for Warren as Irving Martin's boy. 

Bergholz: Yes, but the influence part. Gee. Maybe, I don't know, you see, 
what goes on behind the doors of the governor's office, we don't 
know. He would know better who decided what. Jim Welsh is my 
source. Ask Jim Welsh and see what he says. 



Amateurs. Leaders, Friendly Sources 

Morris: How about the legislature? 
Bergholz: How about the legislature! 

Morris: All hundred and twenty of them. Did you deal with them as 
individuals, or is there any kind of a mechanism for press 

Bergholz: At what point? When I went up there, as you know, they got $100 
a month, and there was one secretary for two assemblymen. They 
shared an office, as well as a secretary, and it was a totally 
different operation. The senate had all the political power 
most of it, anyway. 

They were obviously in many parts amateur legislators. They 
would be a legislator ninety days a year, and a lawyer, merchant, 
chief whatever the rest of the year. 

Morris: Would the speaker or the senate pro-tern have the press in for 
words of wisdom? 

Bergholz: Rarely have them in, but that's where you would go to find out 
what's going on. 

Morris: Your view was that the speaker and the pro-tern were the most 
important sources of information? 

Bergholz: You can't generalize on that. It depends on what you were looking 
for. Each legislator has a vote, but some of them obviously 
are more influential than others. 

It always used to amaze me when I went up there I was 


Bergholz: exceedingly idealistic. I guess I still am. But it used to 

puzzle me how some guys could go up there and spend literally 
term after term and have absolutely no influence whatsoever in 
what happened. They were just figures. And I said, "Hell, I 
could send my little daughter up, and she could tell the differ 
ence between red and green, and if she sees nothing but red lights 
up on that board in assembly, vote red. Vote no. And if everything 
is green, vote green. And she could have just as good a voting 
record as any of you guys." 

But to get some of those reds to move over to green or 
greens to red, that's where the test comes. There were some 
very good guys up there, who were good at persuading people, 
and then there were others who just were persuadees. They just 
went along for the ride. 

Morris: Were the persuaders generally the people who had a position, a 
point that they were trying to make? 

Bergholz: Sure. 

Morris: So that in the legislature, your observation is that a few people 
with strong ideas can make the difference as to what is passed. 

Bergholz: Sure. They always have. They always will. Sometimes it's a 

negative force. At the end of every session, the press used to 
get together and have sort of post-mortem drinking sessions. 
We'd consider all of the good things and bad things that had 
happened by our standards and when I was first there, it always 
used to. amaze me that out of the several thousand bills that 
we would have gone through, most of the bad bills were defeated, 
and sometimes some of the good bills passed, and somehow the 
system worked. There was no divine force that said, "These are 
all good bills, and these are all bad, and act accordingly." 
But somehow the collective judgement worked. 

Now, sometimes we'd get distressed that what we thought 
were very important and necessary bills didn't get passed. But 
if they didn't get passed this session, they'd get passed the 
next one, or the one after that sooner or later. If a bill was 
palpably bad a crooked, terrible bill somewhere along the line 
it probably would get stopped. 

Morris: What kind of percentage of bad bills? 

Bergholz: I'd never attached a mathematical proportion to it. It's just 
that it is an amazing system. 


Bergholz: Again, when I was up there for the wire services and then for 
a newspaper, we really had to read the bills to know what the 
bills did, and there were great numbers of legislators who didn't. 
They didn't have to read the bill. They just knew that when it 
came out of committee, and if Ways and Means Committee recom 
mended "do pass," and they had faith in the Ways and Means 
Committee, they'd vote "aye." But you'd ask them what's in it, 
and they wouldn't 'have the foggiest idea. 

But there were always some legislators that we could turn 
to who would tell us what's in the bill. If we didn't understand 
ourselves, we could usually go to somebody that we trusted that 
could tell us. 

Morris: Who would you go to? 

Bergholz: There were a number of people, but I don't want to name them 

because if I leave somebody out, they're going to be hurt. There 
were identifiable people, and of both parties. It was no partisan 
thing. There are just some people who worked at their job, and 
others didn't. 

We're getting into personal history now. When I lived in 
San Diego, I would go up to the legislature, and I'd You know, 
about a week is long enough to be away from home, but two weeks 
is the absolute limit. So at least every other week, I was 
making that long trip, all the way from Sacramento to San Diego. 
I used to drive back and forth as far as Los Angeles with a 
couple of legislators here, and then I'd catch the bus or train 
or something and go on to San Diego, get there just in time to 
turn around and come back again. But during those long trips, 
we would discuss the file bills that were coming up, and what 
they did and the aspects of them. Similarly, as you probably 
know, Jesse Unruh and I used to come back home just about every 
other weekend, and we couldn't obviously afford to fly. So 
we would have these long car trips where we would discuss 
legislation and everything else. 

I used to occasionally fly back with Joe Shell when he was 
up there as a legislator. He was a pilot had his own plane 
and would fly home weekends, and I can remember flying down to 
Burbank airport with him and going back and forth. Same way with 
an assemblyman by the name of Stuart Hinkley from Redlands . He 
used to have a plane, and I'd fly back with him. 

But in all of these long hours going back and forth, you 
would spend time talking about what's going on in Sacramento 
and, as I say, regardless of party, get an insight. 


Morris: Would you feel that they would be kind of sounding out their 
ideas on you? 

Bergholz: No. Purely personal friendship. Joe Shell was a very conser 
vative assemblyman, and probably was aware that the paper I was 
working for then, the Mirror, was not conservative. As a matter 
of fact, I think we opposed him when he ran for governor. He 
was aware of what the political outlet was that he was talking to. 

Morris : Did you feel that you represented your political views with him? 

Bergholz: No. I'm a newspaper man, which is a neuter. It doesn't represent 

Morris: That's the theory or policy on which you operate. 

Bergholz: Sure. 

Morris: And it works? 

Bergholz: I don't know. I've survived. 

Assembly Speakers 

Morris : Luther Lincoln was speaker of the assembly when Goodwin Knight 
was governor. 

Bergholz : Yes , he was . I see Abe about every two years now when I go up 
there, keep in touch with him now and then. Saw him last year. 

Morris: Did he work closely with Goodwin Knight? 

Bergholz: Yes. He was, I'm sure, frustrated at times by Knight. Abe was 

an interesting guy. I think he had fairly progressive instincts, 
but he had pretty conservative sponsors, and it was a conflict 
every now and then. 

Morris: How would that come out in his leadership of the assembly? 
Bergholz: Just in the people that he dealt with and appointed, talked to. 

Morris : When you say "conservative sponsors , " do you mean the people in 
his district who financed his campaign? 


Bergholz: Yes. He was a builder, a construction contractor, and the 

building industry is not exactly one of the liberal f ountainheads , 
But Abe was a very nice guy, very personable, and I think we all 
got along very well with him. 

Morris: Was his election as speaker a major struggle? 

Bergholz: Oh, yes. I think Sam Collins was his predecessor. Silliman was 
in there somewhere, but I don't remember where it was. Was 
Silliman before Lincoln or after? 

Morris: He was before Lincoln and after Sam Collins because didn't 
Sam Collins leave under a cloud? 

Bergholz: Yes, he did, and that was the old-style politics changing to the 
newer style. Sam was a real old-style operator. 

Morris: How would you describe that old-style politics? 

Bergholz: Well, again, these are impressions and they may not be valid at 
all, but I seem to recall that Sam preferred to operate 
essentially in private closed doors, private meetings, a very 
strong speaker. He knew exactly what he wanted and how to get 

Morris: And Silliman was kind of a reform candidate. 

Bergholz: Yes. He didn't last very long. 

Morris: Did Luther Lincoln challenge Silliman for the speakership? 

Bergholz: No. As I say, I think Silliman ran for something and lost. It 
must've been lieutenant governor that he ran for. Again, you'd 
have to research the record. 

Morris: But you said Abe Lincoln had a struggle getting the votes to 
become speaker. 

Bergholz: No, I don't remember that well. I just don't. 

Morris: Was he of a new breed, looking for new kinds of people to be 
candidates for office and trying to develop his own 

Bergholz: I don't remember that well. I'm 'particularly close to him 

because one of my closest friends was Don Thomas, the political 
editor of the Oakland Tribune who you should talk to, by the 
way. Don was from Alameda county, and he knew Abe personally, 
whereas I was from Southern California, and I just came to know 
him through Don. 


Morris: Through Mr. Thomas, rather than through seeking him out yourself. 

Bergholz: Well, he was there, of course, but Don was much closer to him. 
He knew him personally. Don's up in Santa Rosa, by the way, 
and would be delighted to talk to you. 

Morris: He's retired now? 

Bergholz: Yes. He was also very close to Bill Knowland, and sooner or 
later you're going to get into Bill Knowland, I suspect. 

Morris: Yes. 

Bergholz: Don came up to the legislature about '46, '47, and covered it 
until 1958, when Knowland ran for governor and was Knowland' s 
press agent in the campaign, and then he went back to Let's 
see. He wrote TV scripts for a couple of years a very 
successful series. Then he went back to the Oakland Tribune, 
and he came down here as editorial writer and retired two, three 
years ago . 

From the press, he would know as well as anybody this era, 
from the tail end of Warren to the end of Goodie's. 

Morris: And somebody who worked closely with Knowland, too. As you say, 

Bergholz: He had worked for Bill Knowland and J.R., his father, for many 
years. He knew him well. 

Morris: Would he be interested in this kind of a historical, reflective ? 

Bergholz: He sure would. 

Morris: Paul Manolis has been very cautious and not very 

Bergholz: He hates Paul Manolis with a vengeance which makes him all right. 

Morris: Let's see. Then after Luther Lincoln, they had Ralph Brown as 

Bergholz: By now, the Democrats had taken over control. 

Morris: Yes, and they have a majority. So it's automatic that a Democrat 
will become speaker? 

Bergholz: Well, it's not automatic, but that's the way it usually works. 

Brownie was just a competent but not spectacular assemblyman from 


Bergholz: Modesto. I remember the press was quite appreciative of his 

efforts in opening up public meetings. The Brown Act, of course, 
is a tribute 

Morris: Is that ? 

Bergholz: That's Ralph Brown. So in matters of press freedom and press 

accessibility and open government, Brownie was very helpful to 
all of us. So he became speaker, and he was speaker for a 
relatively short time when Pat appointed him to the bench. 

Morris: Is that what Mr. Brown wanted? 
Bergholz : Ralph Brown? 
Morris : Yes . 

Bergholz: If he didn't, he didn't have to take it. I assume he did. I 
guess most lawyers, when they get up in the morning, they look 
in the mirror, and they say., "Good morning, Your Honor." I don't 

Differing Approaches of Jesse Unruh and Hugh Burns 

Morris: So the job was vacant then in '61 and did Jesse Unruh have other 
rivals for the job of speaker? 

Bergholz: Oh, I'm sure he did, but again, I couldn't tell you who he was 
running against. I don't remember. 

Morris: He made more impression on the assembly than most people in 
those years . 

Bergholz: He certainly did. 

Morris: Could you evaluate why he was so successful in the control of the 

Bergholz: Control? 
Morris: Yes. 

Bergholz: Nobody had better control than Sam Collins. What do you mean, 


Morris : 


Bergholz ; 

Morris : 

Bergholz : 
Bergholz : 
Morris : 

There are a number of people who feel that he had really strong 
ideas about government, and as time went on, came to disagree 
with Governor Brown, and he was strong enough to challenge the 

Oh, heavens! Speakers have challenged governors from time 
immemorial. So there's nothing unusual in that. It's a matter 
of degree. Jesse did challenge Pat Brown. I don't know what 
you're getting at. You can ask the question another way. 

Jesse was a practitioner of the idea that a legislator should 
have adequate staff and facilities to know the answers to problems, 
even if he didn't vote right when he got them. At least he 
should have the machinery to make it work. Obviously it was 
during his time that they started adding research staff and 
personal staff and all the accouterments that made life at 
least easier for a legislator assemblyman. 

By then the legislature is a full-time job. 

No, it wasn't, but it became during his time. 

Did that make any difference, say, in the job of a reporter? 

It meant you didn't have one home down here and another one up 
there, sure. 

It 'meant that you were full-time in the ? 

Yes, but you see, in '62 I stopped it. So I didn't have to live 
up there. The people who did cover for us lived there full-time, 
right as they do now. Well, most of them do. San Diego still 
I guess they've even changed. It used to be there were some 
reporters that would still go back and forth, but most of them 
live up there the year round except for the Bay Area people. 
God knows what they do. 

The L.A. Times people in the Bay Area? 

No , no . 

Oh, you mean the Bay Area press? 

The people from San Francisco who cover the legislature. 

Yes, it was '66 that we have a full-time legislature. Through 

most of this period, Hugh Burns was the pro-tern in the senate. 

Was he as strong a person in the senate as Unruh was a speaker 
in the assembly? 


Bergholz : 

Morris : 

Morris : 
Bergholz : 
Morris : 

Bergholz ; 
Morris : 


Morris : 
Bergholz : 

It's hard to measure, 
style of operating. 

In what way? 

He may have been. It's just a different 

Well, you've heard it expressed many times that the senate is, 
to a large degree, a gentleman's club, and the assembly is a 
rabble molded into some kind of a functioning force. The 

senate has been very clubby and still is, I 
extent. It certainly was under Hugh Burns. 

guess , to some 

It used to be terribly frustrating to me to go to a senate 
committee meeting and find that all the decisions had been made 
before they even held a hearing. They had had a meeting before 
hand and decided what bills were going out and which ones weren't. 
They had a regular program they were following, but we didn't 
have the benefit of it, down below. 

They never invited the press to any of their informal meetings. 


Or told you what their program was? 

No, rarely would they tell you. Sometimes they would, but 

mostly As I say, these are the key committees, important things. 

Rev and Tax. 

Jesse Unruh was also involved in developing legislative funding 
for campaigns. Was this also unusual? 

Maybe it was to some extent. There may well have been some 
funding of campaigns by the speaker or by the Republicans, 
particularly, there in the earlier days, but it certainly came to 
flower anyway, under Unruh and his successors. 

Is this an unofficial activity, or is it a state law that says 
that ? 

It's very official now. It's not state law. It's just that 
they have a regular organization. They have caucuses, and they 
form political committees out of that, and it's legal and it's 
functional. It works. 

Morris: Was this developed by Mr. Unruh, the idea of a party caucus? 




Bergholz : 
Morris : 

Bergholz : 

Morris : 

Bergholz : 

Oh, no. They've always had caucuses, but I guess he advanced it 
as a campaign mechanism. I don't know. You have to ask the 
question another way. Jesse was a very effective political 

Was one of the things that he wanted to do as speaker to see 
that like-minded people were elected to the assembly from 
other districts? 

that was. 

Yes, that's fair enough. Like-minded, whatever 

I assume that on different issues Mr. Unruh would have different 
opinions. In other words, that he wanted a say in who was going 
to be elected from other districts. 

His first concern was seeing that there were forty-one votes in 
the assembly to elect him speaker. Their opinions about child 
welfare or hospital benefits notwithstanding. He wanted to be 
sure they were votes for speaker. 

So therefore he was interested in finding the money for 


Any information as to his sources of funding? 

They're all a matter of record. Honestly, I don't know what 
you mean. 

Pat Brown's Declining Effectiveness 

Morris: And the sources of his difficulties with Pat Brown were those 
political, or were those philosophical, on how the water plan 
should be developed, or ? 

Bergholz: I don't think there was much of a problem with the water plan. 
There sure were other things, though. You've got to remember 
that Brown had been governor for a couple of years before Unruh 
became speaker. Brown had a marvelous first two years of his 
term. He came in and did everything that a governor wants to 
do. Then things began to stumble a little and he had the 
Chessman case. He did get himself re-elected in '62, but from 
then on the governor any governor develops a whole growing 


Bergholz: stable of enemies the longer he's in office, and Brown certainly 
accumulated more than his share in his second term. By the 
middle part of his second term, his effectiveness was pretty 
badly shot. 

Unruh abhors a political vacuum. He goes where there's an 
opening. I don't mean to belittle Jesse's motives. I'm sure 
he must've had conscious issue differences with Brown. Again, 
you'd have to go over each one, but it was Brown's growing 
weakness as much as Unruh' s lust for power that brought this 

Morris: Did he think seriously at all, would you know, of trying for the 
governorship himself, either in '62 or '66? 

Bergholz: Not '62. In '66, yes, but not '62. I don't remember any. 

Morris: There's some thought that Mr. Brown and Mr. Unruh had different 
friends in Washington and that there was some rivalry on party 

Bergholz: I'm sure there was. 

Morris: And that this could' ve contributed to some of Pat Brown's 
difficulties in the '66 election. 

Bergholz: In '66? 

Morris: Yes. 

Bergholz: Sure. He got no help from Unruh in '66. 

Morris: Did you spend a lot of time covering the water plan, reporting 
on it? 

Bergholz: You mean during Brown's term? 
Morris: During Brown's term. 

Bergholz: I just covered the legislature. Whatever happened in the 

Morris: Up North it's considered a very hot topic. Was it ? 
Bergholz: As it was here, too. For different reasons. 

Morris: There were various stuggles developing it and getting it through 
the legislature. 


Bergholz: Oh, yes. 

Morris: Our understanding is that as it came down the point of being 
approved that Hugh Burns was the last holdout, and nobody has 
been able to -determine what .Mr. Burns' objections were. There 
have been some suggestions that he held out for budget conces 
sions things he wanted funded or cuts in things he didn't 
want funded in return for supporting the water plan. 


Bergholz: That's where he's most effective, yes. 
Morris : Because he had been there so long? 
Bergholz: That was the way he operated. 

Morris: Did the senate ever let any of the assemblymen into their 

Bergholz: Gee, I wouldn't know. I don't seem to recall that well, I don't 
know. It may have, but I doubt it. 

Morris: You touched on the Chessman case. Was that one of the first 
instances where Pat Brown began to develop enemies? 

Bergholz: One of the first. Yes, I guess that's fair enough. It wasn't 
so much enemies as it was a feeling of ineffectiveness or 
weakness. He really had a terrible time with that decision. 

Morris: Because of personal beliefs or because of political pressures? 
Bergholz: Ask him. I don't know. 

Morris: In his speeches and his budget messages, he made much of 

financial pressures on the state, that the costs of government 
were going up. From your view, were there real financial 
difficulties, or was he looking for leverage to get some of his 
programs through in other words, looking for ways to cut money 
from one item so that he could fund new programs? 

Bergholz: I'm not aware of that. I don't know. All of us who covered the 
legislature were, to almost a disgusting degree, reliant on 
the state government to tell us what the financial picture was. 
If they said they had deficit of X hundred million dollars, we 
either had to accept it or be smart enough to disprove it, 
and that's a pretty Herculean task. So generally, we went with 
what they told us. 


Morris : Would things like the financial pinch and tax reform and the 
Chessman case and then, later on, the minority problems and 
farm labor did you see those as legislative issues, or did 
they also become election, political issues? 

Bergholz: They were both. 

Morris: How can you separate what's a political story and then what's 
the difference between ongoing politics and the election year? 

Bergholz: I don't follow that. I don't know what you meant by that. 

Morris: For instance, the farm labor question went on for some years 

while they were debating whether or not to expand or discontinue 
the bracero program. When does it cease becoming a legislative 
matter, and when does it become a political matter? 

Bergholz: I don't know. What difference does it make? Whatever a governor 
does, or a legislator does, it becomes part of the campaign 
cumulatively or separately. So I don't know 



Television Influence, Party Organization 

Morris : 



Morris : 


How about campaign styles and issues? How have they changed over 
the years since you've been reporting? 

Television has made a great difference. Earl Warren would've 
had a terrible time as a campaigner because he was a lousy 
speaker. He had a monotone, kind of a squeaky voice, and he had 
practically no sense of humor in his speeches, and he would have 
had a hard time. Just like Goodie was almost a caricature 
politician, bouncing all over, kissing babies. That's great, 
but it also reaches a point where it almost becomes a caricature. 
So, obviously, television has required candidates to meet 
different demands. 

Reagan was a quintessential candidate because he came in at 
a time when, one, you had to be photogenic and speak well; and, 
two, he had absolutely no record of politics, so that you 
couldn't reach anything out of his political past to attack him. 
But obviously television, and electronic media generally, has 
made candidates pay more attention to their style. 

Do you think television has led to more people being interested 
in politics? 


Does that have an effect on making politicians more cautious 
or more energetic? 

I don't know what you mean. There are more candidates, and that 
means more incumbents get challenged. I guess that's what you 
mean. And that's good. 


Morris : 
Bergholz : 
Morris : 
Bergholz ; 


Bergholz : 

Morris : 
Bergholz : 
Morris : 

Bergholz : 

It's a good thing there should be more candidates? 


That's an interesting view. 

Why? Competition is what keeps them on their toes. I've been 
represented by an assemblyman for the last twenty, twenty-five 
years same guy. He never has a contest. His own party rarely 
challenges him. The other party you know, it's hopeless. I'm 
not saying he's a bad legislator. All I'm saying is that he 
certainly has had no competition. In some regard he's a very 
good one because he can probably take positions that he might 
not be inclined to if he had to worry about whether he was going 
to lose his seat or not. But for everyone who sees independence 
in this, there are others who see absolute sloth and they don't 
do anything. 

How about the end of cross filing? 

Did that make any noticeable 

Sure. Parties didn't amount well, the Republican party did, but 
the Democratic party was virtually meaningless as long as there 
was cross-filing. But when that ended, there was competition 
for party nominations. Again, competition is the key to this. 

Do the party political structures help or hinder competition? 
What do you mean? 

Well, it sometimes appears that there isn't really much connection 
between the party and the candidate. More and more and I guess 
it's always been true candidates have had their own organization, 
and what the connection is between those campaign organizations, 
whether the party organization helps or hinders the process of 
getting people to run or to get elected. 

I'm not sure of what you're getting at. The party, particularly 
in the recent decades, has been interested in challenging the 
opposite party incumbents and, sure, they'll go out and try to 
recruit people, get the best people they can. They also will 
protect as best they can their own incumbents that are in danger 
of losing. But that "party" is kind of a general term. Neither 
the Republican nor Democratic party has much influence or perhaps 
ever did have but party caucuses and groups within parties may 
have some. Again, television and electronic media have changed 
a lot of this. Obviously, as we have seen, candidates can now 
run virtually without a party just ignore the party. 


Morris: Is that a growing trend, do you think? 
Bergholz: It seems to be. 

Morris : It also appears that there is not necessarily much connection 
between legislative campaigns and statewide or national ones. 

Bergholz: That's probably true. There's some, but not much. Usually when 
there's a trend going one way, there'll be a trend the same way 
in the other, but not necessarily. 

Morris: In terms of campaign interrelationships? 
Bergholz: Who wins and who loses, yes. 

Morris: No, I was thinking more during a campaign, is there much inter 
action between campaigns for different levels, statewide and 

Bergholz: Sure. 

Morris: In addition to the official party organization, how important 
have the grassroots organizations, like the Democratic Council 
and the California Republican Assembly, been? 

Bergholz: Minimal. Particularly CRA never has had As I'm sure you're 

aware, that started out as a Warren organization, as a so-called 
moderate, middle-of-the-road Republican, and it wasn't until 
the early sixties until it suddenly, for whatever reason, did 
flip over to the staunch conservative side. But its influence 
in either life was relatively limited. Their only power was 
endorsement. As other mechanisms of campaigning developed, their 
endorsement meant less and less. 

Morris: How about the other organizations the United Republicans of 
California and various others? Is their purpose then mostly 
for their members, to give them a feeling of power? 

Bergholz: Yes, and it is a source or manpower in campaigns, to some extent. 
And it's a philosophical guide for people who want to be guided 
by it. Just like CDC, when it started, was a revolt against 
machine politics and a desire to get more people involved. But 
it ran into troubles, and the membership got so relatively small 
that it wasn't a major factor in politics. 


1958 Knight-Knowland Big Switch 

Morris : Could we touch on some of the elections in particular? We touched 
on 1958 before, and I wondered if there was any relation between 
Knight's try for vice-president in '56 and Nixon and Knowland 

Bergholz: Where did- you get the idea he tried- for vice-president in '56? 

Morris: That's one of the things we're trying to check out. Various 

people who worked with him said that he had national ambitions. 

Bergholz: He may have treasured them in his own heart, but he had about as 
much chance as I did. This was when Eisenhower was president. 

Morris: Right. 

Bergholz: There was a predictable development. They weren't going to dump 
Nixon . 

Morris: I would agree that it was an unlikely chance, but would Knight 

have been at the '56 nominating convention and made some gestures 
about his own candidacy? 

Bergholz: I can't even remember whether he was there, but if he was, he was 
just a non-person, a non-factor. I'm surprised that anybody was 
trying to tell you that. 

Morris: When somebody does, we try to check them out. Were there any 

sources of conflict between Nixon and Knight that would have led 
Nixon to endorse Knowland' s effort to run for governor? 

Bergholz: That led Nixon to endorse Knowland 's effort, is that what you 

Morris: Right. 

Bergholz: I don't know what differences there might have developed between 
Nixon and Knight. Just going from a very bad memory, Knowland 
decided he wanted to run for governor, and Knight had to either 
oppose him or get out, and he chose to get out. It pretty much 
came down to that. But I don't see that Nixon was a factor in 

Morris: Nixon ended up supporting Knowland. 
Bergholz: Knowland was the only candidate. 


Morris : 


Morris : 

Bergholz : 


Bergholz : 

Yes, he was, but in the preliminary effort because apparently 
Mr. Knight struggled long and hard trying to develop support for 
his own candidacy. What we understood was he did not want to 
run for the Senate. 

He didn't. But as I say, he had a choice he either got out, or 
he ran for Senate, or he opposed Knowland. He didn't want to 
get out, and he found out that he didn't have at least, he felt 
he didn't have the resources to oppose Knowland. So he did all 
that was left, run for Senate. 

So he did. 

Do you remember talking with him at all about his 


Sure! He was very bitter. 

Yes. And continued to be. Did he have any chance at all of an 
organization that would've elected him to the ? 

In hindsight, any number of us could 've said, "Goodie, if you 
had stayed in there, you would have won." But he didn't feel 
like it. 

Was this a serious suggestion, that he stay in the primary and 
challenge Knowland? 

I'm sure, in his own group. I'm sure there must have been some 
of his people said, "Hang in there." 

I hate to ask this of a Times man, but was the Los Angeles Times 
the decisive factor, do you think? 

You're getting into an area now where I'm not totally competent 
to inquire. I think you probably already talked to Jim Bassett, 
and Bassett, I'm sure, must have covered this. He was very 
much closer to it that I was. See,- I was working. for the Mirror 
and the Mirror was sort of the poor relation to the Times ; but 
at that time, the Times political editor was obviously an 
important factor in Republican politics, and it would appear 
that he indeed endorsed Knowland 's decision to run for governor 
and in effect force Goodie to go for Senator. But whether this 
was the decisive factor again, I'm sure Jim's stuff will cover 
that better than mine. Did you do Jim's? 

He is an advisor to the project. We had several background 
discussions with him, but they were not tape-recorded. 

Bergholz: Well, he's dead now. But his researcher is downstairs. 


Bergholz: His whole research on this is available downstairs. I assume it's 
available. It hasn't been published and he 

Morris : In your reference files at the Times? 

Bergholz: He was writing a book for the Times , about the Times , and a 
good part of this dealt with this very subject what was the 
influence of the then political editor, and the Times , and the 
Chandlers, in the political developments of the time. 

Morris: I should say, yes. The book is not going to be published now? 

Bergholz: Let's say it's in abeyance. 1 I don't know. It wasn't quite 

finished when he died, and I don't whether they're going to try 
to complete it or not. They may, I don't know. 

Morris: Going back to '58, were the right-to-work or agricultural 
interests an important factor in that campaign? 

Bergholz: They were decisive, yes. 

Morris: Because of the initiative was on the ballot. And was that feeling 
stronger in Southern California, that right-to-work should not 
be passed? 

Bergholz: I don't know, comparatively. We didn't have the advantage of 

polls. At least, I don't remember polls at the time, but it was 
obviously a tremendous factor, all across the state, as far as I 
can tell. 

Problem with Polls 

Morris: Have the polls also made a difference to your work and to the 
major political campaigns? 

Bergholz: Sure. For several years, I ran the poll that the Times had. We 
contracted with Opinion Research of California, and we would 
order and conduct polls during campaigns issue polls, candidate 
polls. And then we gave that up and went to Mervin Field. Now 
we've given that up, and we're back into commissioned polls. 

Morris: When you say "commissioned polls" 

Bergholz: We hire a pollster to do what we want him to do. 


Morris: In other words, you develop the questions you want asked ? 

Bergholz: With him, with the pollster. 

Morris: And the kind of a sample you want? 

Bergholz : Right . 

Morris: Once you've got the poll results, do you use that as a basis for 
any analysis or interpretation that you ? 

Bergholz: Sure. That's what it was for. 

Morris: Mr. Field has said a couple of times recently that he didn't 

think that people did analyze his results, that they just printed 
his reports . 

Bergholz: That's all he wants us to do. 
Morris: Is that why the Times discontinued ? 
Bergholz: Well, there are other reasons. 

Morris: You mentioned commissioned polls. Nowadays candidates' campaigns, 
I understand, use their own commissioned polls, and sometimes 
the suggestion is made that they design a poll which will get 
the answer that they want. 

Bergholz: That's very likely. It makes it very hard on us. 
Morris : Can it have an effect on a campaign? 

Bergholz: Sure, if the media is so gullible as to fall for it. We had that 
problem for a number of times. Field is what we call a published 
poll. That is, he doesn't work for a client. He works for a 
group of newspapers or his subscribers. But it is fairly common 
practice among candidates to take a poll and then release just 
the part they want to release. Of course, they're privileged. 
But a reputable pollster will not be party to that, and so we 
have worked out a code of conduct with the American Association 
of Published Opinion Polls to provide that whenever a candidate 
tells us what a poll shows , we can then go to the guy that took 
the poll and say, "Okay, give us the facts. When was it taken? 
What was the size of the sample? What was the specific wording 
of the question, and are the figures that the candidate gave us 
truly representative of the finding?" In other words, we can 
check the validity of the poll, and that is a protection which 


Bergholz: I've used several times when I haven't felt comfortable with 

what a candidate tells me. And as I say, reputable pollsters, 
who belong to this organization, they're as anxious as we are to 
see that their information is not tilted by what a candidate 
wants you to know. 

Morris: I'm interested that there are enough pollsters that they have 
an organization like that. 

Bergholz: Every special interest has an organization of some kind. 

1962 Candidates; Sam Yorty, Richard Nixon 

Morris: Somebody else we're interested in is Mr. Yorty and the fact that 
he's been a continual candidate, and why he's been so popular 
with the Democrats to get elected over the years. 

Bergholz: He's never been elected by the Democrats, except as a congressman. 

Morris: Didn't he run against Pat Brown in the primary? 

Bergholz: And lost. 

Morris: Okay. And his mayor elections are 

Bergholz: Non-partisan. 

Morris: Non-partisan. What does he represent in the political spectrum? 

Bergholz: You've got to ask it another way. I don't know. Sam was a very 
effective personal campaigner. He understood politics, but not 
really as a Democrat. Aside from his election to Congress in 
essentially a safe Democratic district, he was never elected to 
anything by the Democrats. 

Morris : He was a Republican in the assembly? 

Bergholz: No, a Democrat in a safe Democratic district. Then he went to 
the Congress, briefly, from a safe Democratic district. But 
other than that, everything else that he's won Obviously his 
three terms as a mayor were bi-partisan. 

Morris: I misspoke. I meant to say "Democrat." Did I say "Republican?" 

Bergholz: No. You did once) but he was a Democrat all his life, as far as 
I know. 


Morris: But as an individual, his personal politics am I right? shifted 
from the left to the right. He was elected first as a reform 

Bergholz: Reform. I don't think "reform" is the right word. When he first 
came to the legislature, he was I guess you could call him a 
liberal. Yes, I guess briefly. 

Morris: Briefly, and then within short order he became a member of the 
Assembly Un-American Activities Committee, according to my 

Bergholz: I guess so. Yes. 

Morris: Was his running in the primary in '62 because he thought he had a 
chance to beat Pat Brown? 

Bergholz: I guess so. I don't know what you mean. If he didn't, what 
would he be in there for? 

Morris: Well, that seems to have been an odd campaign. Joe Shell was in 
the primary, and I think I found Howard Jarvis running for the 
senate, our Howard Jarvis of Proposition 13. 

Bergholz: The very same one, yes. I can remember covering a couple of his 
meetings. He was the most wild-eyed, radical right-wing guy 
[laughs] you ever saw. 

Morris: Was he then campaigning for tax limitation and that kind of thing? 

Bergholz: I don't recall that ever being mentioned. As I say, he was very 
conservative. He still is. 

Morris: Yes. But it was a surprise to find him campaigning that far back. 

Bergholz: Oh, yes. He's been active a long time. 

Morris: Would you recall how he did? 

Bergholz: Badly. 

Morris: He just did not give up. 

Bergholz: He gave up for a long time. There's a big gap between '62 and 

Morris: Was he involved at all in any kind of ? 


Bergholz: Oh, I think he had run for Board of Equalization or county 

supervisor. I don't know. The record would show. I think he's 
run for a couple of other things, but with no success, obviously. 

Morris: Could you compare the 1962 campaigns, Mr. Brown's and Mr. Nixon's 
campaigns? What was the press view 

Bergholz: Tell me what you want to know. 

Morris: What was the press view of why Nixon ran for governor? 

Bergholz: Why he ran? 

Morris : Yes . 

Bergholz: It's all printed. It's all there. It obviously speaks for 
itself. He wanted to stay alive politically, and I guess he 
decided this was the place to go. 

Morris: Did you have any sense that there was a likelihood of his winning? 
Bergholz: Of his winning? 
Morris: Yes. 
Bergholz: Heavens, yes. 


Bergholz: I know what happened, but I don't know why, if you ask me why 
Nixon's campaign flattened out, and Brown's came on. I recall 
that Nixon became more and more shrill and abrasive in the 
latter stages of his campaign. Brown had pretty good management, 
and began to take advantage of it. 

Morris: You said, "Nixon's campaign flattened out." Would that be the 
phenomenon called "peaking?" Does that exist? 

Bergholz: Yes, well, campaigns are either going well or they aren't. He 
calls it "peaking." 

Morris : Is that a campaign management phrase? 
Bergholz: Oh, sure. Sure. 

Morris: But "peak" indicates that there is a curve effect, and was that 
what happened to Nixon? 


Bergholz: Obviously he lost, so he must have gone down, yes. Polls became 
a considerable factor in that race, and as the polls got closer, 
Nixon obviously became more shrill, and it just mushroomed on him. 

Morris: What about the John Birch Society at that point? Were they a 
factor, or beginning to be? 

Bergholz: Yes, only in the sense that they were probably given more 

influence at that time than they deserved in point of numbers. 
They were extreme in their views, and perhaps Nixon's opposition 
to the Birch Society may have cost him some support. I don't 
know. It's hard to tell. 

Morris: Was the John Birch Society a sign that there was an increasing 
conservative feeling beginning to build in the voters? 

Bergholz: No, not at that time, ^because there obviously wasn't. Increasingly 
liberal view at that time, nationally as well as state. 

Morris: Before we get past that, were there more or different dirty 
tricks than usual in that campaign? 

Bergholz: Oh, yes. [laughs] 

Morris: I'm thinking of the postcard poll that the Democrats sued the 

Republicans over, and it finally went to court. Were there more 
of that kind of thing? 

Bergholz: I don't know. Numerically, I wouldn't know. 

Morris: Do they have a noticeable effect on campaigns? 

Bergholz: Did they? 

Morris: Yes. 

Bergholz: Gee, I have no opinion. I don't know. Were they? You're talking 
about then. 

Morris: I'm talking about '62. There were also charges that the Democrats 
had done a similar dubious mailing, and they didn'/t go to court. 
Is this the sort of thing that the press likes, to add interest 
and liveliness to the campaign? 

Bergholz: It's not a question of liking. We covered it, sure. 


Reporters as Audience 

Morris: Sometimes, in talking to a politician, their feeling is that the 
press looks for 

Bergholz: They're just deliberately out there looking for some of this. 

Morris: Looking for dirt, and whatever a politician says, the press will 
quote in a bad light. 

Bergholz: There has always been an adversary relationship. 

Morris: That's interesting. You kind of need each other, don't you? 

Bergholz: I suppose it's inevitable in the two different functions. There 
are obviously examples where the press gets friendly with a 
candidate or with an officeholder and they can't see his faults, 
and coversely, I'm sure there are candidates who feel so mad at 
all reporters that they can't see good reporting when they come 
across it. 

Morris: Do you usually travel with candidates during campaigns? 

Bergholz: Sure. 

Morris: Do you pick one candidate throughout the campaign? 

Bergholz: No. We try to keep rotating because, I can tell you, you hear 
the same speech day after day for a couple of weeks, and you 
find yourself listening for what he doesn't say, rather than 
what he does say. You start losing your perspective. Two to 
three weeks is usually about the maximum. That's what I did in 
presidential races. 

Morris: When you say, "listening to what he doesn't say," you mean things 
you think ought to be addressed? 

Bergholz: No, it's just that some candidates many of them, I guess 

develop your standard speeches, because they're presumably talking 
to a different audience every time, and they will give the same 
speech, and if you're sort of listening with one ear, and you 
find that point A isn't followed by point B, you prick up your 
ears. But as long as point B follows, you just sort of go to 

It is one of the strange things about candidates that they 


Bergholz: seem to feel that if they talk today in Paso Robles and tomorrow 
in Yreka, they're two different audiences. Therefore you can 
give the same speech, and one audience won't have heard the 
other one. What they don't consider is that us, the reporters, 
are the same audience, and they really don't care what the 
audience in Yreka thinks as much as they care what we write. 
That's why it always puzzled me why candidates didn't gear their 
speeches and their press conferences and their activities to 
what appears in print or on TV, rather than what some local 
women's group or chamber of commerce wants to hear. 

It was one of Nixon's great attributes that he could take 
a standard speech and drop in two or three paragraphs of new 
material, something topical, and he would know that two or three 
paragraphs would make the story. The other forty-five minutes 
of the speech would just be a blank. 

Morris: That the press would pick up the new material, so that there was 
a sense of continuity. 

Bergholz: As a matter of fact, he would promote the idea that this is new 
in the speech. 

Morris: In passing it out beforehand? 
Bergholz: Sure. 

Morris: What about the story that has come to us that Mr. Nixon told the 
press they couldn't travel on his bus with him at some point 
because at a press conference, you said something about, "We 
don't have background discussions with candidates in governor 

Bergholz: I don't remember that specific incident. I know there were 

times in the '62 campaign when he was terribly unhappy with me 
and with the Times both of us and he may have said, "You can't 
travel." I don't remember a specific thing about not traveling, 
although there may have been. I just don't remember. 

"Off the Record" and "Reliable Sources" 

Morris: It sounded as if at one point he had said something was off the 
record. He didn't want it reported, and you challenged that 


Bergholz: May have been. Most reporters these days will resist candidates 
who want to hide behind anonymity on what they're saying, 
saying that they will talk to you off the record, but they don't 
want to say it on the record. This is an easy way out. They 
want you to do their work for them. So there is a feeling that 
the press shouldn't be used. The candidate should talk straight 

Morris : But you do respect that request that it be off the record? 

Bergholz: If you agree to off the record, you've got to respect it. Sure, 
if you agree. 

Morris: In non-campaign 

Bergholz: In anything. Once you make an agreement, you can't then say, 
"I don't want it off the record." 

Morris: How are you doing a politician's work for him if he tells you 
something off the record? 

Bergholz: Well, he doesn't really mean off the record. He means attributable. 
If it's off the record, that means you can't use it under any 
circumstances, but that doesn't often happen. If they don't 
want you to know it at all, they won't tell you. I don't know. 
You have to ask the question differently. I don't know what, 
specifically, you want. 

Morris: What kind of controls are there on information that is given off 
the record or that you acquire ? 

Bergholz: You don't take stuff "off the record." You take it "not for 
attribution." You're not using the terms right. If it's not 
for attribution, you can go ahead and use it, but you can't 
say that candidate Joe Doakes said so. You can say, "Sources 
close to," or "a campaign aide," or something like that. But 
you can't say that he said it. Then he can always back off and 
say, "Hell, I didn't tell him that." 

Morris: So that's the way a candidate gets an opinion or an attitude out, 
and then he sees what happens to it? 

Bergholz: Sure. Better they should just come out and if they want to say 
it, just say it. 

Morris: Do you find that often that material that's given to the press 
is somebody on a fishing expedition, trying to ? 


Bergholz : Sure. All of us have taken stuff on a "not for attribution" 

basis. There are times when you can't get it any other way and 
if you trust the guy you're talking to, you have reason to believe 
that they're being square with you, then you go ahead and do it. 
But that's not "off the record." That's "not for attribution." 

Morris: All right then, what's the distinction? What's "off the record?" 

Bergholz: "Off the record" you can't use under any circumstances. If you 
can't use it under any circumstances, then there's no point in 
even talking, or there's no point in the candidate or the official 
saying it if he doesn't want it used at all. 

Morris: It's of no use to you. 

Bergholz: No, if that's what they really mean. The term, just like you, 

has gotten kind of screwed around. There's background, and then 
there's deep background, and there's all the various shades of 
it. But what it comes down to is: You can use it, but don't 
let anybody think it's coming from me. 

You know, Henry Kissinger made a career out of this. He 
would never say it, but "a high State Department official" would 
say it. Same guy, and yet if anybody ever asked, he could say, 
"Don't see my name on it." 

Morris: And in recent years, that's caused some problems for the press. 

Bergholz: Sure. We all have trouble with these blind quotes "a reliable 
source said so and so." What reliable source? 

Morris : Does a reporter ever make up a reliable source? 

Bergholz: Unfortunately, some do. Yes, indeed. There are, unfortunately, 
reporters who start out with their own idea of what a situation 
is, and then they will call people to say, "Isn't it true that ?" 
You make enough calls, you'll find somebody who says, "Yes, that's 
absolutely right." So then you go ahead and write what you 
started out to say anyway. 

Ronald Reagan: Handlers and Administration 

Morris: Okay. I've got just a couple more questions here, 
Bergholz: Yes, because we're running out of time. 


Morris: In '64, by then it looks as if there was a strong conservative 
tendency, at least in the Republican party. 

Bergholz: The state committee, the volunteer organizations, had all been 
captured by the conservatives, right Republican party. 

Morris: In the Republican party. Was it the superior Goldwater 

organization, or was it Rockefeller himself that gave Goldwater 
the nomination for President? 

Bergholz: The nomination, or the California primary? Which? 
Morris: The California primary. 

Bergholz: Okay. The California primary, the Goldwater people had a 

superior organization. There was also a different style in 
campaigning, but it was primarily organization. Rockefeller 
had virtually no organization. 

Morris: The impression is that he put a lot more money into it. 
Bergholz: Indeed he did. He had to make up for the lack of having people. 

Morris: His family life and the fact that his second wife had a baby just 
before the election does something like that affect the voters? 

Bergholz: Some. 

Morris: Enough to make a difference? 

Bergholz: I don't know. Enough to make a difference, you never know. They 
may have voted against him anyway. It's hard to get people to 
tell you why they vote the way they do and believe what they 
tell you. 

I used to have an aunt who would vote this was in the days 
when the Los Angeles Times endorsed candidates and she'd clip 
that out and take in the polling place. I'd ask her why. 

"Well, I believe what the Times does," and that's why she 

votes the way she does. If you took that away from her and asked 

her to vote, I don't know what she'd do. But there aren't many 
of those people. 

Morris: And the Times no longer endorses? 

Bergholz: No we don't do that. We don't have a marked ballot, where we give 
a check and say Sure, we endorse some candidates, but not in 
the form of a ballot. 


Morris: Because you didn't think people paid attention? 

Bergholz: That has been suggested as one reason. It's not the reason, but 
that's been suggested. 

Morris: Why did you take out the ballot? 

Bergholz: The editor and the publisher have spoken on that. 

Morris: Okay. Did the fact that the national convention was in San 
Francisco in 1964 give California forces influence? 

Bergholz: Well, I don't know. California's influence obviously, it was 

at that time the second largest state, and it had a winner-take- 
all primary. So that all of California's votes were for 
Goldwater. Numerically it had an effect. That fact that it's 
in California I don't see had anything to do with it. The 
gallery was anti-Rockefeller, but 

Morris: And that was local Calif ornians , presumably? 

Bergholz: Presumably, although I don't know. I suppose a lot of them were. 

Morris: One of the things we're kind of curious about is the Brown and 
the Reagan campaigns. You mentioned a different style of 
campaigning coming along. Did that mean that the two campaigns 
were different to deal with from a reporter's point of view? 

Bergholz: Sure different people. 

Morris: How were Reagan's people in terms of providing information or 
access to Mr. Reagan as a candidate? 

Bergholz: Generally very professional. Now, you understand that the 

people who were handling Reagan were the same people that handled 
Rockefeller two years before, and they knew and they do now 
know the requirements of the media. They were obviously dealing 
with a candidate who was totally unschooled in dealing with the 
campaign press. So he had problems with issues that their 
briefings hadn't prepared him for. But it was a difference in 
style. He was kind of standoffish He wasn't necessarily 
unfriendly. He just was not comfortable, I think, around the 
press, whereas Pat Brown was just like an old shoe. He knew 
everybody, and everybody knew him, and you called him "Pat." 
I don't know anybody who ever called Reagan "Ron." Mabye they 
did. I don't know. It's just that they're different individuals. 

Morris: Was it evident during the campign that Brown was having problems? 


Bergholz: Oh, sure. Repeatedly. 

Morris: Were the problems organization, or finance? 

Bergholz: Part organization. Finance he had a lot of money. Any governor, 
any incumbent I don't know whether he had enough, but he had 
a lot. But there were organization problems, differences within 
his campaign staff over some issues. As I say, he had an 
accumulation of black marks against him from two whole terms, 
and they began to crowd up on him. 

Morris: And you think those were more important than Reagan's style of 

Bergholz: I don't know whether they were more important. They were 

obviously important. Even if he hadn't had them, Reagan still 
might have won. But you came away from that election with a 
feeling that Brown lost, rather than Reagan won. Maybe that's 

Morris: That's interesting, because it looks like two terms is becoming 
almost standard for a governor. 

Bergholz: That's what Jerry Brown says. "No governor can last longer than 
two terms." Warren was kind of the aberration because he came 
at a time Well, the war intervened in there, and it was a 
period of non-partisanism where parties really didn't amount 
to much. But since then it's going to be awful tough for 
anybody to go more than two terms. 

Morris: You said earlier that when Pat Brown first came in, he had things 
he wanted to do, and set out to do them. Is is possible for a 
governor, or even a legislator, to keep renewing his concept of 
what he wants to do? 

Bergholz: I would hope a legislator would. Take Reagan's case. When he 

came in, he and his people had some rather dogmatic views of the 
legislature and the relationship between the governor and the 
legislature and as a result, there was almost total impasse for 
the first four years. You look at the record of what was done, 
and relatively little was done. I think when he got re-elected 
and went into his second term, I think he suddenly realized that 
he's going to go down in history as a do-nothing governor unless 
he starts moving stuff and starts getting going, and that involves 
backing off from some of the intransigence he had shown before in 
the legislature. So they did start to cooperate a bit better, 
and things did start happening in his second term. 


Morris: But legislators do tend to be elected again and again. 

Bergholz: They certainly do, and they do. 

Morris: Why don't they suffer the same problems that a governor does? 

Bergholz: Anonymity. It's one of the great mysteries, why voters don't 
know or pay more attention to voting records. The most recent 
case is last year, when Prop 13 was so much in everybody's minds. 
The very people who opposed Prop 13 and who said it would never 
work and who are fairly well identified in Sacramento as, if not 
big spenders, spenders anyway they generally succeeded, at the 
same time the Prop 13 movement was going. 

Now, why? Because somehow they never made the linkage 
between being wrong on Prop 13 and being up there, incumbent, 
running for re-election. 

Morris: Is that a function of the campaign that was run for Prop 13? 

Bergholz: Part of it is, but it amazed me that opponents of quote, "big 
spenders," whichever party, never seemed to be able to make a 
case despite those things. I don't know. 

Morris : I was thinking that one of the things that has been said is that 
campaign-management firms have packaged issues like Prop 13, or 
packaged somebody like Ronald Reagan. So that it's not a true 
picture of the situation that the voters are getting. 

Bergholz: Candidate's a free soul. He can either accept it or not. 
Nobody really gets dragooned into running for office. 

Morris: True, but in some cases are campaign-management firms actually a 
part of the decision-making ? 

Bergholz: Oh, sure. In most cases. Sure. In many cases that's true. 

Morris: So that they really come to be more than just technicians who 
place your advertising. 

Bergholz: Indeed. 

Morris: And that affects, then, what happens in political campaigns. It's 
more than the candidate that you're actually getting. You're 
getting the campaign firm, too. 

Bergholz: Yes, it all comes out as a total picture. Yes, sure. 



Morris: One last question. We may have touched on it in some of the 

other things we've said. When the L.A. Times was re-organized 
in the sixties, did that have any impact on how political 

Bergholz: Oh, yes. It sure did. That, I think, gets back to the Nixon 

thing. The '62 gubernatorial campaign really was the first one 
in which the Times coverage varied sharply from what it had been 
in the past. At that time, Otis Chandler had just taken over, 
and the editor here was Nick Williams. We were all dedicated 
to getting out of the conservative -Republican-oriented news 
coverage that had marked the Times in the past. So I was brought 
here from the Mirror, and Carl Greenberg was brought here from 
the Examiner , and the two of us covered that campaign with a 
clear understanding all the way around that we would simply 
report the campaign. We weren't going to get involved in any 
slanted coverage of any kind whatsoever, and this obviously was 
a shock to Nixon, who had had very favored treatment by the 
Times in the past. I'm sure he felt that something had happened, 
and he didn't know what it was. I gather he blamed Carl and me, 
when it was really a change in the policy of the paper. 

Whatever the case, I had occasion to look over that coverage 
a while back, and we did pretty well, considering all the things. 
There were stories that I wish we had expanded more on, but we 
still did a good job, the two of us. Ever since then, we've 
tried to expand on that. That's why I say we do not stay with 
a candidate long enough so you become part of the campaign. 
Inevitably, you drink and you eat and you pal around with people, 
sooner or later you become part of them. I'm not saying you 
should be unfriendly. It's just that you've got to guard against 
becoming a part of the campaign apparatus. 

Morris: And partisan? 
Bergholz: Yes. 


Morris: Does that mean that after the reorganization there's been more 

distance between the publisher's office and the editorial office? 

Bergholz : Oh, they never told us what to write. The publisher's office 

never did. The news coverage is out of the news room. I'm sure 
there were complaints about the way we were writing things, but 
nobody ever said "Hey, go easy" on somebody or "Do something for 
this guy and not that guy" or anything like that. It just didn't 
happen. Both Carl and I had been through enough campaigns so 
that we knew how to write objectively at least as best we could. 

Morris: So does that mean that there are not any occasions when a 

reporter's personal opinion will differ from the official position 
of the paper? 

Bergholz: Oh, heavens. You're asking a question where there's no answer. 
I don't know what the official position of the paper is. So 
whether it differs, I wouldn't know. How is it expressed, in 
our editorials? 

Morris: That would be the most visible. 

Bergholz: Well, our editorials they're all over the lot. I don't know 
what our position is on some things, and it wouldn't make any 
difference anyway, since we have no connection with the 
editorial page. 

Now, there is getting to be more news analysis, which is 
bordering on commentary where there is opinion involved in that. 
But that, again, as far as I know bears no particular relation 
ship to editorial policy. Maybe to some people it does, but 

Morris: And that's up to the nature of the news analysis and the person 
who writes it. 

Bergholz: Yes. It's like what you would call a background story why did 

something happen? You can reconstruct it, and you can say, "This 
happened because this happened." It'll be your opinion, and 
presumably your opinion is based on your experience. But it is to 
that extent subjective. And it's dangerous, you know. You can't 
let your biases show up in your analysis. 

Transcriber: Bob McCargar 
Final Typist: Matthew Schneider 


TAPE GUIDE Richard Bergholz 

Date of Interview: 22 February 1979 

tape 1, side A 1 

tape 1, side B 13 

tape 2, side A 26 

tape 2, side B 37 


INDEX Richard Bergholz 

Birch, John, Society, 38 

Bonelli, William, 5, 7 

Brown, Edmund G., Jr., 12 

Brown, Edmund G., Sr. , 7, 21, 24-26, 37, 44-45 

Brown, Ralph, 20-21 

Brown Act, 21 

Burby, Jack, 1 

Burns, Hugh, 22-23, 26 

California, assembly 

Ways and Means Committee, 17 

Speakers , 20-22 

Revenue and Taxation Committee, 23 
California, legislature, 15-17, 45 
California, senate, 8-10, 23 
California Democratic Council, 8, 30 
California Republican Assembly, 30 
California State (appointive) 

Equalization, Board of, 6-7 
Chessman case, 26 
Collins, Sam, 19, 21 
Cranston, Alan, 8 

election campaigns, national 
1956 vice presidential, 31-32 
1964 presidential, 43-44 

election campaigns, state, 24, 29 
1954 gubernatorial, 6-8 
1956 gubernatorial, 25 
1958 gubernatorial, 31-33 
1962 gubernatorial, 36-38, 47 
1966 gubernatorial, 44-45 
1978, Proposition 13, 46 

election campaign techniques, 30, 46 
cross-filing, 29 
opinion polls, 33-35, 38 

Field, Mervin, 33-34 

Graves, Richard, 7-8 
Greenburg, Carl, 47-48 


highways, funding, ,9-10 
Hinkley, Stuart, 17 

Jarvis , Howard , 36 

Kenny, Robert, 9 

'Knight, Goodwin, 6-7, 11-13, 28 
1958 campaign, 32-33 

Leake, Paul, 6 

Lincoln, Luther ("Abe"), 18-19 

Los Angeles 

political influence of, 9-10 
Los Angeles Mrror, 4-5, 18 
Los Angeles Times, 32, 33, 43-44, 47-48 

Miller, George, Jr., 7-8 

Nixon, Richard M. 

1962 campaign, 37-38, 40, 47 

Olson, Culbert, 10 

Opinion Research of California, 33 

the press, political coverage, 3-4, 8, 16, 23, 28, 41-42, 47-48 
press conferences, 10-13, 15 

and accessibility of information, 21 
influence of television, 28 
use of polls, 33-35 

on election campaigns, 39-40, 43-44 

Reagan, Ronald, 28, 44-45 
Ringer , Roy , 1 

Scoggins, Verne, 12-14 
Shell, Joseph, 17-18 
Snyder, Elizabeth, 7 
Standard Oil Company 

and the legislature, 8 

television, 11 

influence on election campaigns, 28-29 
Thomas, Don, 19-20 


Unruh, Jesse, 17, 21-25 

Warren, Earl, 10-12, 28 
Weinberger, Caspar, 5 
Welsh , James , 14 

Yorty, Sam, 35-36 

Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 

Governmental History Documentation Project 
Goodwin Knight /Edmund Brown, Sr., Era 

Sydney Kossen 


An Interview Conducted by 

Sarah Sharp 

in 1979 

Copyright (c^ 1981 by the Regents of the University of California 








Highways 6 

Water 9 

Private Meetings 15 

Taxes and the Budget 16 

Lobbying Efforts at Several Levels: CTA, Oil, and Labor 18 

Conclusions 24 



V CAMPAIGN COVERAGE: 1956, 1958 30 




Because of the special role that newspaper reporters have in observing 
state government, the staff of the Goodwin J. Knight-Edmund G. Brown, Sr. 
era oral history study was eager to interview Bay Area journalist Sydney 
Kossen for his perspective on Goodwin Knight as governor of California. Mr. 
Kossen had covered the state legislature for the San Francisco News beginning 
in 1956, after previous experience as Sacramento reporter for the International 
News Service. His comments included contrasts of Knight with earlier Republi 
can governors Earl Warren and Frank F. Merriam, whose activities Kossen also 

Mr. Kossen now holds the demanding position of political writer for the 
San Francisco Examiner and lives in San Francisco. He took time from constant 
deadlines to talk with the interviewer on 5 July 1979 at his office in the 
Examiner building in downtown San Francisco. Mr. Kossen kindly met the inter 
viewer at the elevator and guided her to a large wood-paneled conference room. 
A large window that looked out over the city was set into one wall of this 
room, while an oversized map of the world covered another wall. Interviewer 
and interviewee sat in suede cloth chairs at one end of a long, heavy wood 

The main topic for this single, brief interview was Mr. Kossen*s insights 
into Governor Knight from the viewpoint of a political reporter. Focusing on 
the larger picture rather than on many fine details, Kossen assessed Knight's 
relationship with the legislature and his handling of controversial issues 
such as highways, water, taxes and the budget, and various lobbying efforts. 
Mr. Kossen also displayed a special capacity to recognize the complex dimen 
sions which lobbying adds to state government. In addition, since the San 
Francisco News had assigned him to cover the capital from the perspective of 
San Francisco, Mr. Kossen kept a watchful eye on legislation that would 
critically affect this city. Also, he delighted in describing Governor Knight 
in his frequent press conferences and Knight's able juggling of questions from 
the press. 

Kossen quickly reviewed and returned the rough-edited transcript of this 
interview, making slight changes in wording only. His interview is a worthy 
contribution to our knowledge of Goodwin Knight and his relationship with the 
legislature and the press in Sacramento. 

Sarah Lee Sharp 

15 March 1980 

Regional Oral History Office 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office 

Room 486 ^ 

The Bancroft Library 

University of California 

Berkeley, California 94720 

Governmental History Documentation Project Interviewee 

Your full name Sydney Kossen 

Date of birth Oct - 24 ' 191S 

Father's full name Harrv Kossen 

Father's place of birth Mogilev, Russia 

Mother's full Sadie Grisdov Kossen 

Mother's place of birth Mogilev, Russia 

Where did you grow up? Seattle 

Education B.A. (Journalism & Poli Sci) U. of Washington 

Early employment International News Service, San Francisco News 

& S.F. Examiner (reporter, assist, city editor, political _ 
editor & editorial page editor) 


Positions held in state government none 

Employment after leaving state government 

San Francisco News_. 11/1/57 


Trr --, - '.< -:- .- ' 



r ' " 


l^^^* 1 !"** 



A'ru-t Political Idiiar 

Governor Knight has backed out of his campaign 
to bf re-elected. 

He'll let. Senator Knowland have a clear field for 
the. GOP nomination for governor next year. 

Knight will nm for the U. S. Senate against Mayor 
(Jeorge Chri.stophrr and other Republicans. 

Mayor Christopher has no intention of getting out 
of the Senate campaign. 


THE MAYOR TOLD THE NEWS hy phone from 
Athcn^. Greece, today that he is "in the fight to the 
finish " 

Ho said Knight had "broken his solemn \vord of 
honor" by entering the Senate rare. 

"My campaign is all set, and my financing is all 
pt " declared M.ivor Christopher. "I'm happy and 
eager al the thought of an exciting campaign " 

Kmsht did not directly announce his switch. 

HE WENT INTO SECLUSION a coupte of days ago, 
then U't the word "leak" out through Republicans in 
California and Washington. 

When reportora tried to reach Knight today, they 
got (hi- brush-off from his secretaries, who. said he 
'simply is not available." 

Rut the fart that Knight was "not available", and 
did not -immediately deny the reports of his switch^ 

RELATED \EWS- Ruth FMHIPJ/ tells C,OP prrs.wi? 
or Knfj/!f. Pnqr 7 Arthur Crnjlnr and Jack Poscnbnvm 
ron/wrtit.'/'nfje 37. 

made it clear he had yielded to pressure from high- 
rankyjfc-ftepubli< ans. ano woi^d give^Kn.owland the 
cMnce to run for the governorship without sl-rious 
(W)P opposition. .' 

from his Alhrns hiXel suifp. whrtre he - i.s- reslin^ bofors 
jiomj; to fsrl^ol. . -' 

"I have talko'l with holh Mr Knouhnd and' Mr. 
Knight N at least thrcr occasions about thev Senate 
race, the mayor said. '" 

"Iti each caw, thev ass)irnl, me ..they 'Wrttfld not 
M-y to interfere wjlh my camp.Tin. 

"THE LAST TI'ME f talkcd/with* Mr. JCnlght was In 
the presence of Jiis wife and mine. 

"He gave me his word of honor that -he wo'ufd; not" ~ 
run for the Senate. ~ -- 

"If it is true that he now is fn Ou? Senate -race, he 
has brpken his Solemn void of honor. 

"I am unhappy U> learn that Mr. Knight may not 
be a man of his word 1/fjave had every reason t6 be 
lieve that he. was.^ 

THE MA VCR denied reports that he had received 
phone calls from California last night and today, with 
drawing financial support to him. 

"I have had no calls from back home until yours, 

just TOW," he said 
"My financing is assurrd and 
I am in the race to the finrsft"' 

I - 

THK NEWS inform*"! 'Mayor 
ChriMopher that hi.x r<tmp*icnj 
manager. f)on V. Nirhol^on. hail j 
isMirrl a slalfmont. today that , 
chri^tophor v-culd "r?vi' i w hi< j 

"I have nul hern in toiich w;th t 
N'iiholsim He is not speaking j 
with any authority from me on 
ihis -subject. If he is saying 
that I will get out of the raee. he 
i.s dead wrong,'' said Christo 

("hristopher said he d be hack 
Nov. 9 "full of fisht " 

"It's a matter for the mayor's 
persona! derision." Nicholson 
said. "Obviously, he will reap 
praise hi* position upmi his* re 
turn to San Francisco Nov. 11. 
He i a Republican a psrty,man 
and unuld probaMy/fei-ide i 
what i.s the hcs tjxTTftor th' 
party, as against his own ambi 


parenily has been harmoniously j 
resolved. It would be desirable j 
(or the party, of course, if imi- 
lar aciion rould. be achieved in 
the senatorial rm-e. 

"The mayor is the oii'^t;tndins 

can.j'-late. a* shown hy a state- 

ui-ie {.oil taken hy our commit- 

t>' : . However. Knisht ' name 

; was not on that poll because he 

j wa*- not considered a candidate 

i at 'hat time " 

and -->:! in Oak 
land lodi' lTT3*-4ny Knigh'. de- 

cision "has hren taken hy him 
on his o*n responsibility." 

mitment directly or indirectly 
on my part or my represent 
atives to support Knight for any 
other offirp. rlcrthe or appoint 
ive." Knowland said 

Knowland said hU_orily infor 
mation on>.Kni2hts plans was 
based on newspaper reports to 

"A* 1 stated in my announce 
ment of candidacy, the purpose 
of the direct primary is to offer 
the voters a choice," Knowland 
went on. 

"REfJARDLKSS of what Gov 
ernor Knight finally determines 
to do. we shall still 6 ive the 
Republican and D e m oc r a t i c 
See KNIGHT. Page 4. 

KM IGHTi Scared^ 

Of feace for Governor. 

Continued Jnrn Page 1- 

vnten a choice between the at 
torney general (Democrat Ed 
mund G. Brown) and nryself." 

Knight, just over a tiege of 
the flu. reportedly reached hU 
decision yesterday at his out-of- 
state hideaway. 

Knight's campaign managers, 
the San Francisco husband and 
wife team of Clem Whitaker and 
.Leone Baxter, also were report 
ed out of town. This suggested 
that they had "a 'hand inShe 
strategy, recognizing Knight 
could not be re-elected. 

The move, if completed, would 
leave Democratic .candidate 
Brown in a lone struggle with 
Knowland in June. 

BROWV HAD counted on the 
GOP rivals to rip their party 
ipart. He had expected Knight 
to get a large labor vote but 
Knowland to win. 

Unopposed in Lis own party, 
B,rown, of course, will get the 
Demo nomination. Then, in Nov 
ember, Brown figured he would 
pick up Knight's labor sXpport, 
plus Democratic votes, and win. 

NOW BROWN charged the 
Republicans have pulled off a 
"cynical deal." 

It's part of a pli>< to help build 
up Knowland for Pr sldcnt, 
Brown believes. 

State Demo Chairman Roger 
Kent said that with Knight out 
"of the governor's race Brown's 
changes' are improved. 

"Knight's labor support is not 

transferable," Kent said ''He 

can't take it with him if he runs 

for another office. 

^ "It certainly won't go tn 

Knowland. with ijis anti- labor 

BROWN, in Los Angeles, cited 
polls showing Knowland running 
3-to-i. ahead of Knight 

He said Knight "became the 
victim, of a plot that dried up 
the aources at his campaign 
funds and enticed away many of 
his big-name supporters," and 
"then was served with an ulti 
matum to get out of the gov 
ernor's race and campaign for 
the Senate." 

KENT AND other Democrats 
predicted that a member of their 
own party would stand a better 
chance of getting elected to the 
Senate than would Knight, for he 
would be viewed as a man who 
ran away from a fight. 

While Knight maintained last 
week that he was in the race for 
re-election to stay, Rep. Pat 
Hillings at the same time said it 
had already been arranged for 
Knight to shift his political goal.' 

TWO OTHER announced GOP 
candidates for the Senate are 
State Controller Robert C. Kirk- 
wood and Warren Atherton, 
Stockton attorney. 
.. Kirkwood said: 

"I don't know what my'posi- 
tion will be until I have a chance 
to know what's going on. 

'If Governor Knight has lined 
up solid support for his candi 
dacy for the Senate, I will have 
to re-examine my position." 


"surprised at the sudden 

"Of course 4 would want to' 
size up the situation in view of 
the governor's past record and 

"However, hundreds of sup 

porters throughout the * Stato 
have indorsed me and agreed to 
work on committees with me. I 
wish to contact them, before 

making a final decision. v unuj I 
learn their opinion I -intend to 
continue my campaign." ".. '__ 


[Date of Interview: July 5, 1979] ## 

Sharp: Well, I wanted to ask you first of all what your full name was. 

Kossen: That is my full name. Sydney Kossen. I have no middle name. 

Sharp: When were you born? 

Kossen: October 24, 1915, 

Sharp: What were your parents' names? 

Kossen: My mother's name was Sadie, and my father's name was Harry. 

Sharp: And your mother's maiden name? 

Kossen: My mother's maiden name was Grisdov. 

Sharp: Did you have any brothers and sisters? 

Kossen: Yes. If all had lived there would have been seven children in the 
family. I have two brothers and one sister. 

Sharp: And what are their names? 

Kossen: The oldest one is my sister and her name is Rose Abrams. My 
brothers' names are Jack and Carl. 

is symbol indicates that a tape or a segment of a tape has 
begun or ended. For a guide to the tapes see page 36. 

Sharp: What was your parents' ethnic background? 
Kossen: They were Russian Jews. 

Sharp: Did you have religious influences in your family when you were 
growing up? 

Kossen: Yes I did. I was raised as an Orthodox Jew. 

Sharp: I now have a few questions about school, which may seem humorous 
to you, but future researchers like to know more about you than 
just the fact that you were a reporter. So, bear with me; I'll 
go ahead and ask them! 

Kossen: Sure. 

Sharp: First of all, did you like school? 

Kossen: Sometimes, not always. 

Sharp: What did you like best about it? 

Kossen: Well, the old gag, recess, [laughter] 

Sharp: Yes. [laughter] Did you like to write when you were a child? 

Kossen: Yes, yes. 

Sharp: Did you think about being a reporter or a writer? 

Kossen: Yes. Well, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to be an engineer or a 
journalist, kecause my father was a blacksmith and he worked with 
mechanical engineers. He thought it would be nice if I were one, 
too. So, when I entered the University of Washington I started out 
as an engineering major, but I soon switched. 

Sharp: Did you have a lot of books at home to read? 

Kossen: Yes. 

Sharp: Were they more religious books, or ? 

Kossen: No, not many. The sort of religious books I read were those that 
I was exposed to during the seven years I went to Hebrew school, 
after school. A lot of that. Some of the only religious novels 
and so on I read were part of lit courses and so on. I didn't sit 
around reading religious tracts, by any means at all. 

Sharp: Just magazines and periodicals, and stuff like that? 

Kossen: Yes, just a normal diet for a kid. 
Sharp: What did you do for fun as a child? 

Kossen: For fun? I'd swim; played a lot of baseball. I grew up in Seattle 
[Washington] and swam in Lake Washington whenever I could. I played 
basketball, too. The usual activities sports. Tennis a great 
deal. One of my brothers was an all-city high school champ. I 
took tennis too. Finally beat him after I got out of the navy. 
Took a long time! 

Sharp: Really! 

Kossen: Well, that was because he was in the army and didn't have much 
opportunity to play during the war. The navy had courts near 
Pearl Harbor and we'd get to use them whenever our ship came in. 

Sharp: That's great, 

So, you grew up in Seattle and went to the university 



Sharp : 
Sharp : 


That's correct; I went to the University of Washington. Actually, 
I was a couple of years behind because I got out of high school 
during the Depression and worked. After getting out of the 
University of Washington, in 1938, I went to Sacramento and 
started as a reporter there. Then I came here [to San Francisco] 
a year later. 

When did you first get interested in reporting on politics? 
Maybe when I was taking a lot of poli-sci courses at Washington. 

Was doing political reporting your first assignment when you got to 
the San Francisco News , or ? 

No. You see, I started in Sacramento working for International 
News Service, which is gone now, merged into United Press. That 
press got the international news, yes. The bureau was in the state 
capitol in Sacramento, so I was exposed to government workings 

Sharp: We can pick that up again a little bit later. 

The next section of questions I have I just called your early 
impressions of Goodwin Knight. You have told me when you first 
came to Sacramento. When were you first aware of Goodie Knight 
being around? Was this when he came up to be lieutenant governor? 

Kossen: Yes, I was aware that he became lieutenant governor, but I had no 

contact with him until 1956, when I was put on political assignment 
for the San Francisco News and sent back to Sacramento to cover the 

Sharp: Was Goodie Knight popular with the press when he was a lieutenant 

Sharp : 

Sharp : 

Yes, he was; he was well-liked. 

Was he more popular than Earl Warren? 

Well, I don't know. I can't compare them because I didn't cover 
Earl Warren in this era. I had this lag; a year in Sacramento, 
and then down here [San Francisco] , and then the war and so on. 
Then when I went back to Sacramento it was after the Warren era 
already. He'd already gone on to the [U.S.] Supreme Court. But I 
know Warren was highly regarded by the reporters. 

Those who've covered both [governors] have told me that Goodie 
was more accessible than Warren. Warren often brushed off reporters' 
questions with "no comment." Knight didn't do that. He would give 
you an answer. It might have been an evasive answer, but at least 
you went away with some quotes. 

I want to go back to that later on, about Knight's evasiveness, 
because it seems pretty important. 



Sharp: The next set of questions, I think, will probably take up most of 
our time because it's about Goodie Knight and the legislature, 
from '53 through '58. I'd like you to make some general comments 
about Goodie Knight's relationship with the legislature, later, 
but first of all I broke this section into seven different parts: 
the development of the ABC (the Alcoholic Beverage Commission) , 
highway development, water and the Feather River Project, lobbyists, 
oil, tax increases, and labor. I thought I'd just ask you a few 
questions about each of those to see if we can get some kind of a 

Kossen: Some of those projects were completed before I got there, though. 
The ABC particularly. That went through before my era. 

Sharp: Okay. I don't know if there were still any rumors floating around 
by the time you got there [1956] or not, but Caspar Weinberger's 
Joint Investigative Committee on Liquor Law Enforcement came out 
with criticisms of William Bonelli's running of the State Board of 
Equalization in '54. After that, Mr. Weinberger came out with a 
plan for the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and Goodie Knight, 
somehow, tried to claim this as his own bill, as a governor's bill. 

Kossen: This is true, and he [Governor Knight] did that with many bills 
that went through the state because it happened during his 
administration. He wanted it to reflect on his honor. Goodie 
isn't the only governor, or president, or mayor, to do something 
like that with legislation. They call that "highjacking" the bill. 

Sharp: There were other attempts by Goodie Knight to do this? 

Kossen: There must have been. Yes, he was taking credit for a lot of good 
legislation, and by the same token he would shun any association 
with what might have turned out to be embarrassing legislation. 
He was more of an extrovert about that than some other governors. 
It was quite evident what he was doing in those cases, yes. 

Sharp: The development of highways is seen as one of Knight's best 
accomplishments . We were wondering if you would remember if 
there was any particular struggle about where the highways would 

Kossen: Yes, there was. There was a lot of jealousy, particularly among 

the legislators, because in those days communities weren't fighting 
to keep highways out; they were trying to get them. They didn't 
want them splitting the cities; this was one of their fears. San 
Francisco was an exception. Neighborhood organizations, homeowners, 
and park lovers didn't want the freeway running up the [Golden Gate] 
Park panhandle. But the rural counties particularly wanted the 
highways, and the legislators, particularly state senators, were 
the most outward ones who were getting the most freeway money. 

Randy [Randolph] Collier, of Yreka, is a good example. I can 
remember driving through northern California we used to go up 
there every summer. We'd drive to Seattle. We found freeways in 
the best condition up in his district, and that figured. 

Same was true over in Solano County where the state senator 
there had a great deal of influence. 

Sharp: Can you remember who that was? 

Kossen: The man who was publisher of the paper there, Luther Gibson; he 
was the state senator from Vallejo, Solano County, for a number 
of years. 

Sharp: Was there also a north/south struggle for the highways? 

Kossen: Yes, there was a split on the money. The north tried to get most 
because they had the most mileage, but the south tried to put it 
on a population basis claiming that it contributed more to the gas 
tax than we did up north, which was true. We [northern California] 
had a valid argument too because of the distance. I believe they 
ended up on a 55/45 formula, the south getting the 55 because it 
put more money into 

Sharp: Do you mean 55c? 

Kossen: Fifty-five percent. Fifty-five percent of the road construction 
money went to the south; forty-five to northern California. 

Sharp : 


Sharp : 



Sharp : 
Sharp : 

Sharp : 


Were there any particular senators or assemblymen who were really 
strong in defending the south' s position on that? 

Oh yes. There were men from San Diego [Hugo Fisher and Jack 
Schrade] and there were some from the desert counties whose names 
I don't remember right now.* The entire Los Angeles delegation 
was in on the battle; that's how they got so much of that freeway 
money down there. Los Angeles is just honeycombed with freeways, 
as you know. 

Oh, it sure is. 

Yes, the freeway system is a tribute, or a curse [laughter] 

How did Governor Knight talk about his position on highway develop 

He always took the sort of noble stance that he was for the people. 
Yes, and could you ever break through that veneer? 
It was difficult, and we got that on water, too, especially. 
Yes, I want to ask you about that. 

It's one of the situations where [he said,] in effect, "Half my 
friends are for it, and half my friends are against it, and I am 
for my friends." Knight was used to talking out of one side of 
his mouth in the south and the other side in the north but he 
denied that, of course. 

Of course, he was from southern California. Did you ever try to 
document any meetings that Governor Knight might have had with 
southern California legislators, talking about highway development? 
Could you ever break through that kind of barrier? 

No, I never broke through that kind of barrier. I don't think I 
ever tried, because there was no feeling that he was trying to 
shaft the north, really. He was trying to be the governor of all 
the people. He was being tugged from both sides. 

*Mr. Kossen remembered Fisher's and Schrade 's names during his 
editing of this transcript. 


Sharp: Okay. Let's move on to water. I think, of all these topics, 

water is probably the most complex one. To help you come through 
this, a little bit, did you report at all on any of the committee 
hearings that Caspar Weinberger held in '54 and '55 on water 

Kossen: No. That was before I got there. I got there in '56. 

Sharp: I just thought, maybe, you might have heard something about them. 

Kossen: But I had to play catch-up on a lot of the water development stuff 
when I got there. 

Sharp: How did you do that? 

Kossen: Reading, talking to these people. Of course, I'd been reading the 
paper all the time I was working on the paper. 

Sharp: This article by Harvey Grody I sent you just a brief portion of 
it sees Governor Knight as a real failure, in the sense of not 
being a leader, not being a real governor in terms of water 
legislation.* Grody says that Knight really failed in that '54- '55 
period, and failed again in the '57- '58 period. But in '56 he did 
sort of get it together in the sense that he pushed for two things: 
the separate agency, the Department of Water Resources; and then 
the budget appropriation. Knight tried and did get through 
$25,000,000 to begin the Feather River Project. Do you remember 
reporting on all that? 

Kossen: Yes, I remember reporting on that. True, Knight did fail in the 
early parts, but I wouldn't blame him entirely for it. He had 
terrible obstacles. There were legislators from the northern 
counties, the counties of origin, where the water came from, who 
didn't want to part with their water under any circumstances. 
There were other northern legislators who didn't feel that the 
north should give any water to the south. 

*See Harvey P. Grody, "From North to South: The Feather River 
Project and Other Legislative Water Struggles in the 1950s," 
Southern California Quarterly, Fall, 1978. 


Kossen: Also, there were legal complications riparian rights, and that 
sort of thing. Who owns the water, and how far down the stream 
can you start tapping it, or how far upstream? Debates like that 
just went on for weeks and weeks in fact, months. They'd just 
wear you out. 

A lot of lawyers have made careers out of water law. They'd 
get the case in court that lasted as long as some of these anti 
trust cases that IBM gets involved in now. I remember a state 
senator named Eddie [Edwin] Regan who went up from San Francisco 
to Trinity County to practice water and timber law. He made a 
fine living at it [because] his cases lasted so long. 

Sharp: As a reporter, how did you try to report on the squabbles and the 
differences that you saw in the state legislature, for water? 

Kossen: Well, being a San Francisco reporter my first consideration was 

what facet of it [the water controversy] would interest my readers. 
Then too, as you know, writing is a process of selection, and you 
try to pick what you consider the most interesting. Conflict is 
always interesting you get drawn into it. At the same time, you 
want to get in what's important to you; you must not overlook the 
important developments. It's just a case of judgment, picking out 
what you thought was important reading. And then, trying to 
compress it limits the amount of space you'd give. News editors 
weren't fascinated by the subject of water. [laughter] If you 
could get conflict in the lead then you'd have a better chance of 
getting the story in the paper. 

Sharp: Well, there was plenty of conflict to draw on, it seems. 
Kossen: Yes. 

Sharp: There was, of course, a north/south position as far as the water. 
The south was the main geographic area that needed the water, and 
the north was the main geographic area that had it. So, there was 
that basic squabble. 

There were also, I guess, differences, say, among farm groups 
regarding federal versus state water, and the 160-acre limitation. 

Kossen: Labor and liberal Democrats wanted to apply it to the state water, 
too. That came up later, during [Governor Edmund G., Sr.] Pat 
Brown's administration; he tried to resolve that. 

Sharp : Right . 


Kossen: But you're right. Those conflicts went under all sorts of conflicts 
of jealousy. Again, in keeping with Goodie Knight's character, 
because he was trying to be nice to all sides and trying to compro 
mise the issue, he wasn't able to get anywhere for a long time on it. 

Then finally, Pat Brown came along and in the first year got the 
water bond passed, as you know. Fresh face, new approach, and all 
that, plus a Democratic majority in the legislature, of the same 
party as the administration; that helped a great deal too. 

Goodie had to fight a rear-guard political battle, too, a 
partisan battle, because the Democrats were becoming stronger and 
stronger in the legislature. 

Sharp: There were differences among farm groups also, and probably in the 
Metropolitan Water District of L.A. [Los Angeles] , over whether the 
state should be involved in a water project at all. Did the Metro 
politan Water District loom as a very large, powerful body at this 

Kossen: Yes, they had a very powerful team of lobbyists there and they even 
hired some retired newspapermen from Los Angeles such as Chester 
Hansen, a former Los Angeles Times political writer, who would try 
to make friends with the press and try to get them to see their 
viewpoint . 

Sharp: Did you have any contact with these people? 

Kossen: Yes, but they weren't too interested in me. They were more 

interested in the southern California press because they thought 
they could do more good. 

Sharp: What was San Francisco's position on the Feather River Project? 

Kossen: Well, I don't know if the city had an official position, but the 
papers were against it at first. Then some of them went for it. 
I know we did, at the News, at the time, and I believe the Examiner , 
which came a little later, did too for the same reason. That was 
because of the big flood control feature. The 1955 Marysville 
flood was the horrible example; Christmas Day the Yuba overflowed 
and did a great deal of destruction. 

Sharp: That seemed a real selling point for Goodie Knight. 
Kossen: Right, yes, that was. 

Sharp: I had one interview with Doug Barrett and he was telling me that as 
one of Governor Knight's executive secretaries he went up in a 
plane and took the governor up there to see the flooded area. Were 
you on one of those planes? 


Sharp : 


Sharp : 

Sharp : 


No, I wasn' t, no. 

He showed me some pictures of the Yuba City area, 
was pretty complete. 

The devastation 

Yes. That's what brought a lot of northern California newspapers 
around, the flood control feature. And the south pushed that; that 
was a great opportunity for them. 

And also, there was the recreational feature. Pauline Davis, 
who represented Plumas County and some other northern counties 
up there in the area or origin along the forks of the Feather 
[River] , wanted to be sure that there was water left there for 
recreation areas. That's how Lake Davis came to be. 

I didn't know that. 

Yes. It was named for her husband, actually. He was an assembly 
man and then, after he died, she replaced him in the assembly. It 
[the lake] was supposed to be a memorial to him. 

So, Goodie Knight had quite a bit of balancing to do in terms of 
all the conflicts and the different interests that he needed to 
appeal to. There was also the general political overlay of his 
running for re-election, at least in 1958, and he had to try to 
balance these people.* 

In your article that appeared in Harper' s was when I first heard 
you say that Goodie Knight said that he was for his friends so he 
couldn't make any decision about any particular legislation. ' I 
wonder if you ever were able to find out who he meant by "his 
friends" in terms of water legislation; who were the people who 
got to him, who convinced him? 

Oh, he used the term "friends" in sort of an umbrella sense, that 
all the people were his friends. He seemed to be saying, "Half my 
friends are for it, and half are against it, and I'm for my friends." 

*He planned to run for re-election but got pushed into the U.S. 
Senate race so that Senator William Knowland could run for 
governor . 

**See Sydney Kossen, "California's $2 Billion Thirst," Harper's 
Magazine, March, 1961, pp. 94-95, 100, 102. 


Kossen: I don't know that he was thinking, necessarily, of the manager of 
the Metropolitan Water District or somebody from San Francisco. 
With all these friends he was trying to play the Solomon-like role. 

Then another facet in his politics was that he was politically 
ambitious. He wanted to run for vice-president, too. For a while 
he was a candidate at that Republican convention [in 1956] . 

Sharp: Yes, I want to ask you about that later on when we talk about the 

campaigns. That's a pretty intriguing episode; it's sort of a half- 
episode, really. 

Back to water, what do you think ultimately produced the final 
compromise of getting the Department of Water Resources established 
and getting the $25,000,000 budget appropriation? 

Kossen: A long series of trade-offs accomplished it. Some happy group was 
given something half a loaf and this [group] was given something 
else. Finally they worked out a satisfactory compromise by every 
one being able to go home and say that he got something out of it 
to brag about. Pauline Davis 's streams and lakes they called 
Pauline's Fishing Pond, as an example. 

Sharp: This compromising that occurred, does that seem pretty typical, for 
you, now looking back on it as a reporter, for. the legislature? 

Kossen: Yes. When most legislators get into something complex then they 
live by the credo that politics is the art of compromise. It's 
better to take a half a loaf than nothing. That's something that 
young people today find hard to understand. 

Sharp: Yes. Did you observe Paul Mason, who was Goodie Knight's legis 
lative secretary, working in this compromising? 

Kossen: No. 

Sharp: Did Caspar Weinberger seem a leader in the assembly in getting the 
legislation passed? 

Kossen: Yes, Caspar was. He was one of the brightest legislators up there. 
I was fairly close to him because we were both from San Francisco. 
He was chairman of the Ways and Means, which is a very powerful 
committee, as you know. It controls the budget pursestrings and 
so on. Caspar always was a loyal Republican and he worked hard to 
make the administration look good. 

Sharp: Was he, then, primarily loyal to Governor Knight, or was he more 
pushing his own interests and his own concerns? 


Kossen: I think it's a combination of both of those; trying to help the 

governor look good and at the same time, he [Weinberger] was going 
to do what he felt was right and involved his own concerns. He 
never lost sight of the fact that he represented San Francisco and 
a northern constituency. 

Sharp: Did you talk with Weinberger about his having to be convinced that 
the Feather River Project was a good idea or, even though he was 
from San Francisco, did he seem to think it was a good idea 

Kossen: I don't recall. But San Francisco really wasn't worried about a 

water shortage itself because it had its own water system. It was 
cited as a beautiful example of a foresighted city in the develop 
ment of the Hetch Hetchy Project near Yosemite. 

Sharp: Were there any particular leaders in the senate, pushing Governor 
Knight's water legislation, that you could remember? 

Kossen: I remember several fighting it. 

Sharp: Who were the ones who were fighting it? 

Kossen: Well, Randy [Randolph] Collier, I think. He was opposed to it first 
of the northern state senators. [pauses] I don't recall. It's 
hazy. I must have it in some place.* 

Sharp: Well, I'll write you a note when I send you the edited transcript 
and maybe they'll come to you between now and then. Randy Collier 
seems to have been a problem for Governor Knight several times . 

Kossen: Oh yes, he was a problem for a lot of people I 
Sharp : Why? 

Kossen: Oh, he was a feisty old guy and he sort of liked to bend with the 

political wind. He started out as a Republican in the legislature, 
and then rumor was around that he was going to change his registra 
tion to a Democrat. 

*Mr. Kossen later remembered the names of others: George Miller, 
Jr., Edwin Regan, Virgil O'Sullivan, and Stanley Arnold. 


Sharp : 
Sharp : 

Kossen: I asked him about it and he said, "Yes, I'm probably going to do 
that, but not yet." He said why he was thinking of doing it was 
because, "All these lumberworkers coming into my county are Demo 
crats. Just as soon as there are a few more of them, I'll have to 
be a Democrat too to get re-elected." 

That's pretty realistic. 

Yes, it -is; a practical politician. [laughter] 

There was some idea that one of the chief water engineers, whose 
name was A.D. Edmonston, and Governor Knight had quite a few 
disagreements and that's why a real California water plan never 
got off the ground. Does that story ring any bells with you? 

Kossen: No, it doesn't. 

Sharp: Harvey Banks was the man who was appointed the head of the new 
Department of Water Resources. Do you know where he came from, 
or why he was appointed by Governor Knight? 

Kossen: No, I don't. I don't remember his background. I did at the time. 

He made a good impression at the start there; he was highly regarded, 

Sharp: We just didn't find any background on him and wonder why Knight had 
chosen him. 

Kossen: Yes. Wasn't he working for the state at the time? 
Sharp: Yes, I think he was. 

Kossen: Yes, he came to Goodie's attention as a competent engineer, I 
believe, as I seem to recall. 

Private Meetings 

Sharp: On another topic, there were luncheons that Governor Knight held 
twice a week. Some of the people who were invited to these 
luncheons were like Luther Lincoln, when he was speaker, and some 
of the other key senators and assemblymen. Did you ever get wind 
of any of these luncheon meetings? 

Kossen: Yes, we knew they were going on, but this was not considered 
unusual, for a governor to eat with the legislative leaders. 
Luther Lincoln, known as "Abe" Lincoln, was a Republican just as 
Goodie was, and they used to talk about legislation and anything 
else Knight wanted to talk about. 


Sharp: Did you ever get to go ? 

Kossen: No. 

Sharp: Or know where they were, or get to report on them, or anything? 

Kossen: No. They were private luncheons. I'm sure there were breakfast 
meetings. You see, Pat Brown walked across the park for private 
breakfast meetings at the El Mirador we thought nothing of it. 

Taxes and the Budget//// 

Sharp: I wanted to ask you about taxes. From the research that we've done 
on the budget increases that occurred during Goodie Knight's 
administration, they were considerable and Knight always avoided 
raising taxes. So, the money had to come from somewhere and it 
came from various funds like Earl Warren's rainy day fund that he 
had set up, and the tidelands oil revenues. How did you perceive 
this finding of funds that Goodie Knight and his subordinates were 
able to do? 

Kossen: We were critical of it, the papers were, because he was emptying 
the cookie jar. Warren had accumulated a surplus during the war 
[World War II] because there was more revenue coming in than the 
state could spend. The feeling was that you shouldn't eat up all 
your savings and Knight seemed to be doing that to avoid taxes, or 
increasing taxes. 

Sharp: Did he avoid raising taxes because it was politically unfavorable? 
Kossen: Yes, I think that's the reason for that. 

Sharp: Did anybody ever confront Governor Knight about this raiding of 
the cookie jar? 

Kossen: Yes. Well, Knight read the editorials and also his opponents in 
the legislature were always making speeches about that, but he 
tried to justify it, saying that he was protecting the people; 
he wasn't raising their taxes and, "Who could dislike me for not 
raising their taxes?" 

Sharp: Yes, that's true. Did you, for instance, press him on how the 
state was going to pay for the Feather River Project? 

Kossen: Oh, yes, we always asked him where the money was coming from. 


Sharp: And what did he say? 

Kossen: He said there were ways of funding it; bonds that would pass 

later, in Pat Brown's era were one way. And then there was the 
tidelands oil money which was supposed to be earmarked for that. 
As a matter of fact, Cap Weinberger getting back to him played 
a big role in that, dedicating they called that dedicating 
money from resources to resources; tapping one resource, our oil 
taking that out and devoting the money to the development of 
another resource, water. 

Sharp: There's a fairly long story about how the state, meaning California, 
got to have those tidelands oil revenues anyway. A bill was passed 
in 1956 that said that those revenues really did belong to the 
state. I was amazed at the enormous amount of money that came into 
state coffers as a result. Long Beach had been feathering its own 
nest for quite a while and rebuilding its whole city. 

Kossen: Sure, rebuilding the city and overcoming its subsidence problem. 
The city built a lot of waterfront projects that it didn't need 
buying the old ocean liner Queen Mary, for example. 

Sharp: They bought that with ? 

Kossen: Yes. They sure did the British a big favor there. 

Sharp: Really. They didn't know what they were going to do with that big 
old ship . 

Kossen: No. The British wanted to get rid of it. [laughter] These 
suckers from Long Beach 

Sharp: Really. [laughter] 

Kossen: Another big tourist attraction. 

Sharp: It is, I guess. 

Kossen: Yes, but it's not that good though; it doesn't generate as much 
revenue as it costs. It's a real white elephant. 

Sharp: Very white, and very large I 
Kossen: Yes. 

Sharp: I had a question about Alan Post, who was the legislative analyst 
at that time. For the '58- '59 state budget, Post really trimmed 
it down considerably from what Goodie Knight had asked. Then 


Sharp: Knight heard Post's recommendations and agreed automatically with 
those recommendations. I wondered if you ever interviewed Alan 
Post and [asked him about] his feelings about the budget and these 
increases, and what he thought about them. 

Kossen: We often interviewed Alan Post, yes. I had a lot of respect for 
him. He was very non-partisan, very objective, I thought. The 
only thing that motivated him was the desire to guide the state 
toward more efficient operation. 

Sharp: What was his relationship with Goodie Knight? 

Kossen: None. He was very careful about that. He worked for the legis 
lature and he worked for both Democrats and Republicans. He was 
very careful to maintain this non-partisan image throughout his 
career, and he was highly regarded. He had a good mind, knew the 
problems of the state. In fact, that's why he was brought back 
out of retirement in fall of 1977 by [Governor Edmund G., Jr.] 
Jerry Brown for that Prop [Proposition] 13 study commission. 
Unfortunately, his work wasn't taken more seriously; it turned 
out to be just a facade on Jerry Brown's part. I think that 
he [Jerry Brown] gave people the impression that he was going to 
do something. But Post was a real professional. 

Sharp: His position would be certainly a tricky one. 

Kossen: Yes. He managed to carry it off and now his nephew has succeeded 
him as legislative analyst. 

Lobbying Efforts at Several Levels: CTA, Oil, and Labor 

Sharp: I did send you this article about the CTA [California Teachers 

Association] lobbyists written by Jackson Doyle.* [leafing through 

Kossen: Oh yes California Teachers Association 

Sharp: That one; it's a very small one. Jackson Doyle was not too 

charitable towards Goodie Knight and essentially said that Knight 
bent very easily to the CTA. 

*See San Francisco Chronicle, 7 March 1954. 


Kossen: Well, in a sense he's right. The California Teachers Association, 
at that time, was the most influential lobby; bigger than the 
highway people, and the truckers, and liquor at that time. They 
had some very bright lobbyists, capable; they were respected, had 
access to the legislators. And the postwar baby boom was coming 
along and a lot of school money was needed, and they were lobbying 
for that. 

Sharp: As a reporter for mostly the legislature, how did you perceive that 
lobbyist, "third house" dilemma? 

Kossen: Well, I had to fight off the notion that all lobbyists were sinister 
characters. They really weren't; a lot of them were really helpful. 
Some of them had very fine minds and could explain bills to these 
legislators that didn't understand and would help draft some good 
bills. On the other hand, there were some of the sneaky types who 
would put in special interest bills that were of no value to the 
people. You just had to sort them out. 

Sharp: Did the lobbyists seem then just another ingredient to covering a 

Kossen: Yes a major ingredient to covering a legislature; they were part 
of it. I tried to get to know them, but I tried not to be too 
friendly toward them so that I didn't owe them anything. 

They could often come up with good tips on stories. They 
wouldn't stand still and be the source of a story because if you 
quoted one of them, he knew that this was the end of his career 
in Sacramento . 

Sharp : 

For example, I knew one San Francisco lawyer who was a lobbyist 
for a couple of industries up there and told me of an attempted 
shakedown by some state senators. "Gee, that would make a great 
story." [Kossen 's thought] He [the lawyer] said, "Well, if you 
print it I'll have to deny it because I'll just have to go back to 
writing wills for old ladies, and practicing business law back in 
the city." 

So, this was a consideration, but you could take it from there 
and try to develop a story. I found them useful, but at the same 
time I didn't want to know a lot of them too well. On the other 
hand, the city of San Francisco had a lobbyist in those days, 
named Don Cleary, and he was very well informed. 

I did have one interview with George Christopher about this period 
and, primarily, about his running in various state campaigns for 
governor and U.S. Senator. He was telling me about Donald Cleary 
and his role as a lobbyist for the city of San Francisco and it 
seemed a very unique position. Cleary, I guess, was pretty well 
respected as being a very successful lobbyist. 


Kossen: He was. He was a successful lobbyist, and he was a former news 
paperman and he could smell a good story, too. He often tipped me 
off to a good story. 

Sharp: Oh, that's right! 

Kossen: Yes. I knew his wife I worked with her for a while, once and so 
we were good friends. 

Sharp: Did you ever do any reporting on Donald Cleary's activities as a 
lobbyist for the city? 

Kossen: Yes. All the San Francisco reporters, from time to time, would do 
a story on Cleary. He didn't seek publicity, but we did stories 
on him. 

Sharp: Was he the lobbyist when BART was being bandied about? 

Kossen: I believe he was, yes. In fact, I'm sure he was because BART was 
bandied about for a long time before it came to fruition. 

Sharp: Did you report on that? 

Kossen: Yes. 

Sharp: How was BART perceived by the state legislature? 

Kossen: Well, they weren't sure that it was the state's problem. They 
always take that attitude at first; why should the state go in, 
especially if they [the legislators] are from some faraway county, 
namely rural county, which had little sympathy for urban problems 
they had to be sold. Why should the state come and finance it, or 
why should the state be involved? Why couldn't San Francisco get 
together with San Mateo, for example, and set up a regional agency 
and take care of it on their own? We will just pass the authoriz 
ing legislation, and don't come to us for money or anything like 

There's always a problem with something. Then, also again, the 
regional jealousies of San Francisco and Oakland that if the 
communities around it were going to get something like that [BART] , 
why shouldn't Los Angeles and its neighboring towns get the same 

Sharp: Sure, and Los Angeles certainly needs it because it is so spread 

Kossen: That's right, yes. Well, they once had a good rail system when I 
first went to Los Angeles red trains that ran to Long Beach and 
to Santa Monica. Then, I believe, an oil company bought them out 
so that people would drive. 


Sharp : 
Sharp : 


Sharp : 

Sharp : 

That seems sort of dumb to me, but anyway 

Yes, in retrospect. It was dumb at that time too selfish. 

The whole question of lobbyists, especially in the 1950s, I think 
is an important one because it seems like there were so many famous 
lobbyists. For instance, talking about the CTA, which has only 
increased in power since then, but also the various oil companies 
like Richfield and Standard, and all of the rest of the oil 
companies . 

Did you ever get any sense of the structure of the oil companies' 
lobbying efforts in California the majors versus the independents, 
and any of that? 


Well, first, I don't consider the CTA, as a teachers' lobby, as the 
strongest anymore. They lost that position some time ago. But I 
was always baffled about how the oil companies operated up there 
[in Sacramento] . For example, there was Al Shults , a San Fran 
cisco lawyer who came from the firm of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, 
the biggest law firm in San Francisco. He represented all the 
major oil companies, plus DuPont Chemical and the Ethyl Corporation, 
and yet, each of the oil companies seemed to have its own lobbyist. 
Whether he was the team captain or not wasn't quite clear to me. 

And then there were other oil lobbyists for the smaller compan 
ies. They didn't seem to be fighting the big producers up there. 
I know there was a ballot measure they were sort of party to. 

Proposition 4?* 

That's right the so-called "millionaires versus the billionaires." 
I know they were among the most lavish entertainers of the legis 
lators; setting up golf tournaments for legislators, and wining 
and dining them, and so on. 

Did the battle for tidelands oil revenues threaten the oil 
companies in terms of their profits? 

*In 1956 major oil companies such as Richfield, Standard, and Shell 
attempted to get state support for unitization of oil production 
in California by getting passed Proposition 4 on the November 
ballot. Although this effort failed, it set the stage for other 
agencies to get unitization passed for state lands. 


Kossen: Yes, it did. They wanted to keep the royalties for the state at 
the lowest figure, of course, and they were constantly badgering 
the legislators. 

Sharp: Was that much of what the wining and dining was about? 

Kossen: Yes, I would say so. They were always against raising the gas tax 
because to the motorist it didn't matter whether the increase in 
price was part tax and part the price of the gasoline. The total 
price was up so they [the oil companies] would rather raise the 
price themselves and not have so much included in tax. 

Sharp: The other part of the lobbying effort that the oil companies were 
involved in certainly had something to do with the State Lands 
Commission, because it was this commission that decided which 
companies would get which leases where. I wonder if you had done 
any reporting on the State Lands Commission and its granting of 

Kossen: I did some, very little, because that wasn't a topic that involved 
San Francisco so much. You might think I was rather insular or 
parochial, but that's true. We had the wire services too, you 
know, and they covered us on general stories. My major assignment 
was to look for stories of San Francisco interest. 

Sharp: Oh, I see. For this period, then, what were the major stories as 
far as San Francisco was concerned? 

Kossen: BART was one of them, as you mentioned, and sales tax problems, 
highway problems. And then, our legislators are always involved 
in something or other. I would often do a story of statewide 
interest if one of our legislators were involved in it. At other 
times, when there was nothing of great San Francisco interest, then 
I would branch into an overall piece. I did a lot of stories on 
the Feather River. It wasn't just San Francisco; the Bay Area and 
then northern California, and the Feather River Project which was 
a big interest in our readers. 

Sharp: Did Candlestick Park get in the papers too much during this period? 

Kossen: It got in the papers, but I don't think it caused a stir in Sacra 
mento . 

Sharp: The acquisition of the park and everything the building of the 
park did that have any state money involved in it? 

Kossen: I don't recall state money going into it. 


Sharp: I didn't think so. When I asked Mayor Christopher about it, he 
didn't remember that there was any, but I wasn't sure at all. 

Kossen: I don't remember any legislation involving it. 

Sharp: To go back to the tidelands oil revenues, once this money began 
flowing into the state coffers, there was sort of a pork barrel 
aspect to where the funds were going to be going. Everybody had 
their own idea about where they ought to go. For instance, Goodie 
Knight thought that the development of beaches and parks shouldn't 
be given such heavy weight and that this money should be saved for 
water development. 

Kossen: Some wanted it to go to schools noble cause, you know, we'll give 
it to the children, something for the children. They weren't able 
to sell that. 

Sharp: Then did everybody seem to think that the main source for the 
Feather River Project was going to be this tidelands oil money 
that seemed to be floating around? 

Kossen: Yes, but there were still some, other than those who wanted to give 
it to the children, who felt it should go into the general fund to 
hold down taxes. But at the time, yes, thinking came around to the 
point where they thought that the tidelands oil would be the major 
source of money for water development. 

Sharp: Another kind of lobbying effort was done by labor. Goodie Knight 
was very close to labor in California throughout his whole admin 
istration. It's clear that labor made tremendous gains, in terms 
of increased disability benefits and unemployment compensation, 
during this '54 through '58 period. I wonder why it seemed that 
Goodie Knight was so predisposed towards labor and its needs? 

Kossen: Goodie Knight was a friend of the people and he wanted to be 

friendly to labor. It meant a lot of votes to him and his heart 
may have been in it too. Maybe he was sympathetic to the cause of 
labor, but he saw a lot of political capital in that, and labor was 
strong politically in those days and remained strong for a long 
time. It was only in recent years that its political influence 
has kind of gone into some decline, but I still wouldn't write off 
labor as being politically unimportant. 

Sharp: Did you do very much reporting on Neil Haggerty or Tom Pitts or 
the California Labor Federation, since that was a San Francisco 


Kossen: Yes, I did. Yes, right. I knew them. I knew Haggerty quite well. 
Pitts was from southern California. He was the one who replaced 
Haggerty, wasn't he? 

Sharp: Yes. 

Kossen: Yes, right. I didn't know him quite so well. He was quieter. 
Haggerty was more outgoing. 

Sharp: We were just interested to see that Governor Knight was so inclined 
towards labor, even though he was a Republican. I mean, it seemed 
more like a Democratic thing to do. 

Kossen: Yes, yes. Well, the San Francisco Republicans in the early days 
were the labor people. 

Sharp: Oh, I guess I didn't know that. 

Kossen: It's an old tradition of liberalism in some wings of the Republican 
party. In the old days, most of the San Francisco legislators were 
Republicans . 

Sharp: So Knight fits pretty well? 
Kossen: Right, yes. 


Sharp: What would you conclude about Goodie Knight's relationship with 
the legislature, then? 

Kossen: I think he had good relations with the legislature. He had his 
battles with the two houses from time to time. But considering 
the difficult period he was going through, and the programs he 
was trying to put through, I thought he carried it off a lot 
better than some of the other governors. When I first came to 
California, there was Frank F. Merriam. As far as I could tell, 
he was strictly a do-nothing governor. He seemed to hope nothing 
would happen. Goodie was trying. 

Sharp: Some people have said that Knight had sort of a laissez faire 

attitude towards the state government, at least towards the state 
legislature, that it was just a sort of "let them do whatever they 
want" sort of thing. 


Kossen: "And I'll veto the bill"? 

Sharp: Yes. 

Kossen: Oh, I don't know. Maybe at times he gave that impression. He was 
a total extrovert and there were times he may have felt that way, 
but he knew that he had to work with them too. 

Sharp: How did you check out stories about Goodie Knight and the legis 

Kossen: By going back and talking to the legislators involved. 

Sharp: How did it work? Did you start by hearing something that Goodie 
Knight said in a press conference and then work backwards through 
the legislators? 

Kossen: Well, yes. Well, if he said it in a press conference, that was 
enough right there. We'd go on it. And if he accused some 
legislator of something, of course, we wouldn't use it unless we 
gave the legislator an opportunity to answer it. But if it was 
just something he was saying in the form of an announcement or 
talking about developments or things he was going to sponsor, that 
was good enough to go on. But then always we'd talk to the 
legislators involved and go out and interview them. 

Sharp: For instance, Knight would say something about pushing the Feather 
River Project, and then would you go back maybe and talk to Caspar 
Weinberger, who was the key assemblyman? 

Kossen: [We] might. Well, usually it was the other way around, that some 
legislator would introduce a bill involving the Feather River 
Project, and we knew, of course, eventually we'd get to him [Knight] 
if it passed both houses and wonder whether he was for it or 
against it and how he felt about it. Sometimes he'd comment on it; 
other times he would sort of brush us off politely by saying, "I 
haven't read the bill yet." 

And next time we'd come back to him, and if he gave us that 
answer, [I'd say,] "Well, I've read the bill, Governor, and it's 
been translated for me. May I explain it to you?" He'd say no, 
that the bill might have been amended since he last saw it. 
[chuckles] If he didn't want to talk about it, he was very adroit 
at side-stepping it. 



Sharp: What were your days like then? Did you do some of the same things 
every day, like going and sitting and listening in the galleries? 

Kossen: No, not in the galleries. We had press sections reserved desks 
on the sides of the chambers, and in those days we had access to 
the floor. The press could wander around on the floor and go out 
and interview legislators during the session. Now they're barred 
from doing that, but you can always get the sergeant at arms to 
beckon one over to talk. Se we just listened, took notes, and 
talked to the legislators when they'd come by or sometimes meet 
them in the coffee shop. 

Sharp: So you had quite a bit of accessibility. 

Kossen: Oh, yes. And then there were committee meetings. In the committee 
meetings there was far more accessibility. All the bills, as you 
know, have to churn through committees. So you'd talk to them. 

Sharp: I wanted to ask you then about Goodie Knight's treatment of the 

press. You said that the press seemed to really like him when he 
was lieutenant governor, and I wonder if this changed once he 
became governor . 

Kossen: Well, it changed to the extent that sometimes you felt that he 

wasn't quite answering the questions. You'd come away frustrated 
or you couldn't get him to confirm something you were after. But, 
oh, I always respected him. I enjoyed covering his press confer 
ences because he was so outgoing that you could always get a story 
out of him. It wasn't like again, going back to Frank F. Merriam 
where you'd just get a series of "no comments" or "I don't know 
anything about that" answers. 

Sharp: Did you think you had enough access to Goodie Knight? 



Sharp : 



Sharp : 


Sharp : 

Sharp : 

Sharp : 

Well, there were times when I wanted more, but yes, I think he was 
accessible. I had more access to him than reporters have to Jerry 
Brown now. Pat Brown was accessible. 

He was? 

Did you ever get to make an appointment with Governor Knight and 
ask him more questions yourself? 


And was there any specific incident that you remember now that you 
wanted to talk to him about and then got to talk to him about? 

Yes, there were a couple of times when I wanted to do some in-depth 
stories, on the Feather River Project, for example, and I got the 
governor's views. But I don't think the entire story was wrapped 
around what he said, but it was a major part of it though. I got 
more out of him than I did in the press conferences and we talked 
about other things, about politics a great deal too. Yes, I set 
up interviews with him. 

I noticed in most of the articles that I read that you had written 
and that's about this era and then a couple that I'd seen recently 
in the San Francisco Examiner that you always seemed really 
interested in detail and in information and that that was sort of 
your main effort. 


Was it easy to get that kind of detailed information out of Knight 
when you met him in one of these private meetings, or was it very 
difficult for him to be specific? 

The latter part of your question [chuckles] yes, it was difficult. 
[I was] rephrasing the question quite often, but I enjoyed it. 
It's sort of a game you play. 

Did he seem any different in a private meeting than he did when you 
met him as just another reporter in amongst other reporters at a 
press conference? 

Kossen: No. He managed to be friendly enough. 

That was before the days when there were a lot of television 

cameras around. I don't remember television cameras being there 
at all. 


Sharp: So it was a little more relaxed? 

Kossen: More relaxed, that's right. You could see that when TV started to 
come in all public figures knew they were on stage and they were 
very careful about what they were saying. 

Sharp: Yes. I'm a television baby and so when I see a press conference 

it's sort of a frantic, aggressive experience, both for the reporter 
and for the governor or the president or whoever is involved, and 
they're obviously adversaries. 

Kossen: That's correct. 

Sharp: Was there a lot of planting of questions done by Governor Knight? 

Kossen: Planting with reporters? 

Sharp : Yes . 

Kossen: No, not with me. I don't recall one question that they [Knight's 
staff] planted with me. Maybe it's because I was young. 

But Pat Brown's people a couple of times tried to plant questions 
with me. Even in those cases, the ones that [Pat] Brown's press 
secretary, Jack Burby, tried to plant with me were harmless; they 
were on subjects we were interested in. It was really intended to 
keep Pat Brown from having to put out some big formal announcement 
on something that they were interested in. 

Sharp: Did you cover any of the activities of the governor's office and 

the occurrences that happened within the governor's office itself? 

Kossen: You mean briefings with his cabinet and so on? 

Sharp: Yes. 

Kossen: No, I didn't. 

Sharp: Did anybody? 

Kossen: Yes. When they had open cabinet meetings, reporters would go to 
them, but a lot of the meetings in those days were closed. That 
was before the days of the Brown Act. 

Sharp: What was the Brown Act? 

Kossen: I think it was the Brown Act. Yes, yes, it was called the Brown 

Act. That's the one that barred private discussion of legislative 
matters. I don't know whether it applies to the legislature; they 
made themselves an exception. It applies to county and state 


Kossen: agencies. The board of supervisors, for example, is not allowed 
to hold closed meetings and discuss city business unless it 
involves personnel, the firing or hiring of somebody, or litiga 

Sharp: Oh, that's right, yes. 


V CAMPAIGN COVERAGE: 1956, 1958## 

Sharp: The last set of questions I have, then, are on various campaigns. 
You probably, then, weren't involved in Governor Knight's original 
campaign for election in '54. 

Kossen: I wasn't involved at all. 

Sharp: Okay. Then we'll talk about '56 and the Republican national con 
vention. Did you cover that convention? 

Kossen: Very minimally. 1 was still on the San Francisco News in those 
days and that was a Scripps-Howard newspaper. They sent out a 
big team of national reporters from the Washington bureau and they 
sort of pre-empted everything. 

Sharp: I thought maybe since it was held at the Cow Palace that 

Kossen: On the Examiner , that's the way we work it. Even if it were held 
in Chicago, we'd still have our reporters there, particularly to 
cover California's role, its delegation and candidates for president, 
if any. But I had very little to do with the '56 campaign. 

Sharp: But you were aware of Goodie Knight attempting to run for vice- 

Kossen: Yes. 

Sharp: What do you remember about that? 

Kossen: That's all I remember. I know he fell on his face, but I don't 
recall any of the details. [chuckles] 

Sharp: [chuckles] Yes. That's sort of the end result that we get from 
everybody, that it was not even an informal bid; it was just a 
wish [on Knight's part]. 


Kossen: Yes. He tried to outflank [Richard] Nixon. Nixon got the nomina 
tion again. I remember it was [President Dwight] Eisenhower who 
renominated and that he took Nixon for the second time. I think 
you expressed it well. It was more of a wish than a 

Sharp: Yes. Well, there was this feeling that Ike was not going to have 

Nixon run a second time with him, although with the newspapers and 

everything perhaps that was more just a story or an idea but not a 

Kossen: Well, also, I think there was some reality to it because Ike treated 
Nixon sort of cold, as though he didn't quite trust him. There was 
that Checkers incident earlier, during the first time around; and 
then Nixon obviously wasn't making the right impression. That came 
out at the end of Ike's second term when reporters asked Ike what 
Nixon had contributed to his administration, and Ike said, "Give me 
a week to think about it." [chuckles] 

Sharp: Oh, boy! [laughter] 

Kossen: So that said something for Ike's regard for Nixon. 

Sharp : Really I 

I'd like to spend the rest of our time, then, just talking about 
1957 and '58 and the occurrence of the "Big Switch." Now, you 
wrote quite a few articles, from what I could tell, mostly about 
1957, about what was happening with Senator [William] Knowland and 
his deciding not to run for re-election, Knight's pretty early 
announcement that he was going to run for re-election, and then 
Knowland 's subsequent announcement that he himself was going to 
run for governor. 

The first article I saw that you had written was November 1, 
1957, and you said that high-ranking Republicans had scared 
Governor Knight out of the race. 

Kossen: For re-election? 

Sharp: Yes. I wasn't sure if you meant only Nixon and Eisenhower scaring 
Knight or if you had California Republicans in mind as well. 

Kossen: I had California Republicans in mind too. As I recall it, a dele 
gation of them called on him [Knight] , but if you ask me to name 
them, why, I just can't do it. I don't remember who they were. 
But there were a lot of fat-cat California Republicans involved 
in this cabal. 

Sharp: Who were more interested in Knowland 's being governor? 


Kossen: Well, they were more interested in doing what they thought would 
help the California Republican party the most. It was felt that 
Knowland would make it as governor and then go on to the presidency 
from there, and that they would have a president from California. 

Sharp: Oh, so they were looking ahead? 

Kossen: Right, they were looking ahead, but they didn't want Nixon to be 

their president, although at the same time they were taking program 
from Nixon because Nixon was supposed to have been the Prince 
Machiavelli who helped get this through. 

Sharp: Would these be considered just conservative Republicans then in 

Kossen: Yes, largely. 

Sharp: Did their lack of support for Knight for re-election then have 
anything to do with right-to-work?* 

Kossen: Yes, I would say it did, because much of Knowland 's money came 
from the right-to-work people, big manufacturers who wanted to 
break the unions . 

Sharp: Do you know anything about the role of the L.A. Times and the 
Chandlers in? 

Kossen: Only what I've read, actually. [David] Halberstam deals with that 
in great detail in his book too now, you know, The Powers That Be. 

Sharp: What I understand is there was a taking away of funds or possibility 
of funds from Goodie Knight to run for re-election. 

Kossen: I heard that too, but all I know is what I read in the papers 
[chuckles] and heard in conversation. 

Sharp: You also mentioned Clem Whitaker and Leone Baxter and that they 

may have helped Governor Knight decide not to run for re-election. 

*Right- to-work was an old controversy in the state legislature. 
Briefly defined, those people who favored a right-to-work law 
opposed the union shop concept. This battle was fought as 
Proposition 18 in 1958 and the right-to-work forces lost. 


Kossen: At the time, I may have been told that was true, yes. 

Sharp: Were they acting as his public relations firm, or were they acting 
as Republicans for somebody else? 

Kossen: Well, yes, I always felt that they were his public relations firm 
and political advisors. 

Sharp: And they just said he wasn't going to make it? 

Kossen: If that's what I said at the time, yes. 

Sharp: Yes, that is. I just wondered if you still thought that. 

Kossen: I'll stand by it, yes. [chuckles] 

Sharp: Do you know anything about the role of Clint Mosher? 

Kossen: Yes. I worked with Clint. In fact, I succeeded him as political 

editor of the San Francisco Examiner. There was one man in between 
us, but I knew Clint well. He was the one who encouraged me to 
come to work for the Examiner . He told me that he called on Goodie 
Knight at the Governor's Mansion in Sacramento and told him that he 
wouldn't have the support that he needed if he wanted to run for 

Sharp: He seemed to us to have been very important because of what other 
sources had told us about his having quite a bit of contact with 
Vice-President Nixon. 

Kossen: Right. He knew Nixon well and he used to phone him up and, yes, 
he is supposed to have carried the message from Nixon to Goodie, 
telling Goodie he'd be cast adrift by the GOP unless he got out of 
Knowland ' s way . 

Sharp: What was the main reason then that Goodie Knight didn't run anyway? 

Kossen: Because he would have been cut off at the pockets. He wouldn't 
have had the money. He wouldn't have had the important party 

Sharp: Do you think he might have won anyway, even if he had stayed in? 

Kossen: Against Pat Brown? In 1958 I thought so, but a Democratic resurgence 
was coming at the time. They had formed the clubs. The California 
Democratic Council of clubs was formed at Asilomar. It [the re 
surgence] grew out of the Adlai Stevenson movement. You might say 


Kossen: it came out of the ashes of Adlai Stevenson's defeat. The Democrats 
were getting their act together and were able to put together a good 
team and they hired some very capable talent . 

Sharp: Meaning Baus & Ross?* 

Kossen: Baus & Ross, among others. There was Don Bradley of San Francisco, 
who was working on northern California legislative campaigns. This 
year, Republicans are winning the special elections for the legis 
lature, these off-season elections. In those days, Bradley f s 
Democratic candidates were picking up old Republican seats, so it 
was sort of a reverse situation. 

So whether Goodie could have weathered it and made it or not, 
I really don't know. I think he would have been a more formidable 
opponent for Pat Brown than Knowland turned out to be. Knowland 
was a fiasco. He was a Johnny one-note. I can remember starting 
to cover him on Labor Day weekend up at Lake Shasta the year before 
the [1958] election, and we [reporters] covered his right-to-work 
speech there, and we heard it again at a service club luncheon in 
Redding, and then moved on to Red Bluff [where he] delivered the 
same speech. And even at a Republican women's tea party in the 
back yard of some fine home in Chico, he delivered the same speech, 
[chuckles] You could sing along with him on his right-to-work 

Sharp: That was his main idea. 

Kossen: That was it, yes. He had a one-plank platform. Right-to-work was 
on the ballot too and he felt that working with that, he'd be swept 
to victory. 

Sharp: How would you assess the press's reaction to Goodie Knight's 

dropping out of the gubernatorial race you know, the thoughts of 
your other reporters? 

Kossen: Well, we felt he had been done in, actually. 
Sharp: And you felt more sympathy with him? 

Kossen: I felt sympathetic toward him, yes. But then we accepted it and 
went on and covered it, that's all. 

*Baus & Ross was a political public relations firm. 


Sharp: That's all the questions that I have. I wondered if we have not 
covered something while you were a reporter that you may want to 

Kossen: Well, there's one thought that occurred to me about George 

Sharp : 

Sharp : 

Sharp : 
Sharp : 

Christopher's role in running against Goodie.' 
covered that with him [Christopher] though. 

Yes, we did. 

Yes. He accused Goodie of violating his solemn word, 
how solemn his word was . 

I'm sure you 

I don't know 

Yes. That's hard to assess because it's a political reality that 
it's a rough ball game and that everybody goes out there and does 
what they need to do. 

Yes, yes. That's true. As much as I liked Christopher, and we all 
did, we found it hard to buy that line though that he was a victim 
of a broken solemn pledge. That's the way the ball bounced, 

Yes. Well, that's all the questions that I have. 
I think you're a very thorough reporter. 
Oh, thank you! 

Final Typist: 

Nicole Bouche", Marilyn White 
Marilyn White 

*George Christopher and Goodwin Knight opposed each other for the 
Republican nomination for U.S. Senator in 1958. According to 
Christopher, Knight promised him he would not run for Senator. 


Tape Guide Sydney Kossen 

Date of Interview: 5 July 1979 

tape 1, side A 1 

tape 1, side B 16 

tape 2, side A [side B not recorded] 30 


INDEX Sydney Kossen 

Alcoholic Beverage Commission. See liquor control 
Arnold, Stanley, 14 

Banks, Harvey, 15 

Barrett, Douglas, 11 

BART [Bay Area Rapid Transit]. See San Francisco 

Baxter, Leone, 32-33 

"Big Switch". See Republican party (state) 

Bonelli, William, 6 

Bradley, Don, 34 

Brown Act, 28-29 

Brown, Edmund G., Sr. (Pat), 10-12, 16, 17, 27, 28, 33-34 

Brown, Edmund G. , Jr. (Jerry), 18, 27 

Burby, Jack, 28 

California assembly 

Ways and Means Committee, 13 
California Democratic Council, 33 
California Labor Federation, 23 
California legislature 

Joint Investigative Committee on Liquor Law Enforcement, 6 
California Teachers Association. See lobbyists 
Christopher, George, 19-20, 23, 35 
Cleary, Don. See lobbyists 
Collier, Randolph, 7, 14 

Davis, Pauline, 12-13 

Department of Water Resources, California, 9, 13, 15 

Edmonston, A.D., 15 
Eisenhower, Dwight D. , 31 
election campaigns, state 
1958, 32-35 

Feather River Project. See water 
Fisher, Hugo, 8 

Gibson, Luther, 7 


Haggerty, Cornelius J. (Neil), 23, 24 
Hansen, Chester, 11 
Hetch Hetchy Project. See water 
highway development, 6-8, 22 

Knight, Goodwin (Goodie), 4-35 
Knowland, William F., 31-35 

labor, 6, 23 

right-to-work, 32 
Lincoln, Luther ("Abe"), 15 
liquor control 

Alcoholic Beverage Commission, 6 

State Board of Equalization, 6 
lobbyists, 6, 18-24 

California Teachers Association, 18-19 

Cleary, Don, 19-20 
Long Beach, 17 


Los Angeles Times, 11 

San Francisco Examiner, 27, 30, 33 

San Francisco News, 4, 11, 30 

Merriam, Frank F., 24, 26 

Miller, George, Jr., 14 

Mosher, Clint, 33 

Nixon, Richard M. , 31, 33 

oil, 6, 20 

gasoline tax, 22 

lobbying by industry, 21 

Proposition 4 (1956), 21-22 

Richfield, 21 

Shell, 21 

Standard , 21 

tidelands oil revenues, 17, 21-23 
0' Sullivan, Virgil, 14 

Pitts, Tom, 23-24 
Post, Alan, 17-18 


Queen Mary, 17 

Regan, Edwin, 10 

Republican national convention 

1956, 30-31 
Republican party (state) 

"Big Switch," 31-35 

San Francisco 

BART [Bay Area Rapid Transit], 20, 22 

Candlestick Park, 22-23 

labor in, 23-24 

representation in Sacramento, 14, 19 
Schrade, Jack, 8 
Shults, Al, 21 

State Board of Equalization. See liquor control 
State Lands Commission, 22 
Stevenson, Adlai, 33-34 

taxes, 6, 16-18, 22 

Warren, Earl, 5, 16 

Feather River Project, 6, 9, 14, 16, 22-23, 25 

Hetch Hetchy Project, 14 

Marysville flood (1955), 11 

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, 11, 13 
Weinberger, Caspar, 6, 9, 13-14, 17, 25 
Whitaker, Clem, 32-33 

Yosemite, 14 

Amelia R. Fry 

Graduated from the University of Oklahoma, B.A. in 
psychology and English, M.A. in educational psychology 
and English, University of Illinois; additional work, 
University of Chicago, California State University 
at Hayward. 

Instructor, freshman English at University of Illinois 
and at Hiram College. Reporter, suburban daily newspaper, 

Interviewer, Regional Oral History Office, 1959 ; 
conducted interview series on University history, 
woman suffrage, the history of conservation and forestry, 
public administration and politics. Director, Earl 
Warren Era Oral History Project, documenting govern 
mental/political history of California 1925-1953; 
director, Goodwin Knight-Edmund G. Brown Era Project. 

Author of articles in professional and popular journals; 
instructor, summer Oral History Institute, University of 
Vermont, 1975, 1976, and oral history workshops for 
Oral History Association and historical agencies; 
consultant to other oral history projects; oral history 
editor, Journal of Library History, 1969-1974; secretary, 
the Oral History Association, 1970-1973. 

Gabrielle Morris 

Graduate of Connecticut College, New London, 
1950, in economics; independent study in 
journalism and creative writing; additional 
study at Trinity College and Stanford University. 

Historian, U.S. Air Force, documenting Berlin 
Air Lift, other issues of 1945-1952; public 
relations and advertising for retail and theater 
organizations in Connecticut; research, writing, 
policy development on Bay Area community issues 
for University of California, Bay Area Council 
of Social Planning, Berkeley Unified School 
District, League of Women Voters. 

Interviewer-editor, Regional Oral History 
Office, The Bancroft Library, 1970-present; 
coordinator, Government History Documentation 
Project, 1979-present. 

Sarah Lee Sharp 

B.A., University of California, San Diego, 1971, 
with major in history. 

M.A., University of California, San Diego, 1975, 
with major field in United States history; 
Teaching Assistant in Comparative Americas, 

Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 1979, 
with major field in United States history; 
dissertation entitled, "Social Criticism in 
California During the Gilded Age." 

Interviewer-Editor for Regional Oral History Office, 
1978 to the present, specializing in California 
political and legal history. 

%. J