John Randolph Haynes: California Progressive

For four decades, John Randolph Haynes (1853-1937) was in the forefront of social-reform crusades and political action in Los Angeles and California, with his most important legacies in the fields of direct legislation and public ownership of utilities. He was the individual most responsible for the adoption of the initiative, referendum, and recall in Los Angeles in 1902 and in California in 1911. His vigilant protection of these measures thereafter and his promotion of direct legislation throughout the nation earned him the title 'father of direct legislation' in California. For almost twenty years after 1920, Haynes's chief priority was to shape the Los Angeles Department of Water and power into a glowing example of public ownership of utilities. Today, the LADWP operates the world's largest municipal water and electrical power generation and distribution system, continuing to serve the needs of an ever-growing region whose extent even Haynes could not have envisaged. In one way or another, Haynes participated in all the major social and political events that shaped California and Los Anglels in a most dynamic era of their development. In a broader sense, Haynes's life serves as a yardstick with which to measure other progressives of his time and as a key for understanding the motivation of those idealists who helped shape our present political institutions.<