Sunday, April 15, 2012

Citizen Clinton Enters Politics

By publicizing waste and graft in the Los Angeles County Hospital's food budget in 1936, Clifford poked a beehive of municipal and county corruption. The report saved the county $120,000, and also drew the ire of city officials and the Los Angeles Times that called him a meddler.

Radio broadcasts began at Clifton's in 1936.
CC_Flickr: jschneid
"We were very confused by this strange attack, but when we inquired we were told 'you have stepped on a lot of toes, bigger than you realize,'" Clifford later wrote in his memoirs. "A new city and county election was near however, and the more we saw and heard, the more convinced we became that the city and county needed some replacements in the ranks of its officials."

In September of 1936, District Attorney Buron Fitts faced reelection. A year later, Mayor Frank Shaw would defend his seat against challenger and County Supervisor John Anson Ford, who had recruited Clifford to investigate food service at the county hospital.

Clifford would set his sights on both races. To defeat Fitts, Clifford backed Harlan Palmer, a county judge and publisher of the Hollywood Citizen-News. Time Magazine described Palmer as a "pious progressive from Minnesota."