The Los Angeles “Oligarchy” and the Governance of Water and Power Networks

Fionn MacKillop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In a city where the social and political importance of business is paramount, water and then
power were municipalized in the first decades of the twentieth century, with wide-ranging
public support. The municipal department then proceeded to ensure universal access to
these services, with great efficiency, contributing to the impressive growth of the City of
Angels, where water and power provision are still under municipal control, despite recent
challenges to this status. Yet, this does not mean that municipal control, particularly of
power, went without controversies and challenges, nor does it imply that a form of “municipal
socialism” was introduced; in this article, we analyze how an original form of governance
and funding of a municipal utility was crafted to accommodate powerful business interests,
but also Progressive politicians and the rising technocracy in charge of municipal …
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-34
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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