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Jonathan S. Dodge
L.A. County 5th District Supervisor, 1917-1921


Jonathan S. Dodge

Jonathan Sherman Dodge served one term as county supervisor. He assumed office on Jan. 8, 1917. Dodge resigned on July 7, 1921, and was replaced by Henry W. Wright as an appointment by the governor.

Dodge was born April 9, 1867, in Portsmouth, Scioto County, Ohio. He grew up there and after his graduation from Lebanon University, he attended the University of Cincinnati, where he received a scholarship to study law.

After earning his law degree and practicing in his hometown for 10 years, Dodge moved to California due to his wife's ailing health, settling in South Pasadena. Dodge soon organized the First National Bank in that city, and was the president for almost 10 years. He also ran an ostrich farm and operated out of a real estate office on Hill Street, where he was engaged in property development.

Dodge was in his second term as mayor of South Pasadena when in 1916 he was elected to the Board of Supervisors. His campaign materials identified him as a Christian who would enforce liquor laws, and he ran on a platform of fiscal prudence.

Opponents in the 8-29-1916 primary election
Click image to enlarge

Dodge took office in January 1917. At the time, the County of Los Angeles was struggling with a deficit of more than $1.5 million in its general fund, and 29 of the funds handled by the County were overdrawn.

Dodge helped to unite the members of the Board and ultimately draw down the budget deficit. He believed every member of the Board was a businessman of superior ability, and that it was their duty to manage the affairs of the County in order to serve the best interests of the taxpayer.

During his three and a half years of board service, Dodge’s responsibilities included being the general supervisor of all committees and departments. He oversaw the Law Library; the Museum of History, Science and Art including Otis Art Institute and Hancock Park; the Grand Jury; and his responsibilities included Custodian of Buildings and Janitors.

Honors included membership in the Masons of South Pasadena No. 367, Pasadena Knights Templar, Shrine and Grotto, Modern Woodmen, Good Templars, Calvary Presbyterian Church of South Pasadena, Union League Club, Chamber of Commerce of South Pasadena and Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles. He was also a director in the First National Bank of South Pasadena, the South Pasadena Savings Bank and the California Realty Corp.

Dodge died March 17, 1935.

Sources: County of Los Angeles; genealogical references; campaign advertisement below.


For Efficiency and Lower Taxes

There are a number [sic] of candidates who have announced themselves for the position of Supervisor of the Fifth District, to be made vacant by the expiration of the term of Mr. R.W. Pridham. One of the candidates who has received much encouragement is Jonathan S. Dodge, present mayor of the city of South Pasadena. His former administration as mayor of that city met with such favor that at the last election he was again elected by an almost unanimous vote.

Ten years ago he organized the First National Bank of South Pasadena, and was president of that organization until last year, at the present time being vice-president, but not active in management. Three years ago Mr. Dodge was chosen president of the Cawston Ostrich Farm, and although business conditions have been very depressed, he has made a very great success of his work in that institution.

Mr. Dodge was formerly in partnership with the well-known firm of Althouse Brothers, and some of the largest subdivisions of the city were placed on the market by him. At the present time he maintains offices at 353 South Hill street, in the general real estate business. The friends of Mr. Dodge present especially splendid qualifications to fulfill the difficult duties of supervisor and his business integrity will go far to assist him in this campaign. His slogan is "Efficiency and Lower Taxes," which is a good one, and it is to be hoped that whoever is elected will be able to bring about economy in the county affairs so that the burden of taxation will be greatly reduced.

The question of the enforcement of the liquor laws will probably enter largely into this campaign and the friends of Mr. Dodge insist that he is in favor of the strict enforcement of such laws and the elemination [sic] of blind pigs[1] and undesirable places that injure society. Mr. Dodge is a Christian man, with high ideals and good business judgment. He is owner of various properties in different parts of the district and is interested in the safe and economical management of the county affairs.


Notes.

1. A blind pig, aka blind tiger, is an establishment that sells illegal liquor; i.e., a speakeasy. The term relates to clever inkeepers who would circumvent liquor laws by charging customers a fee to see an attraction, such as a blind pig or a blind tiger, and then offer a "complementary" alcoholic beverage.

COUNTY SUPERVISORS

thumbnail Jonathan S. Dodge 1917-1921

thumbnail Warren Dorn 1956-1974

thumbnail Baxter Ward 1974-1980

thumbnail Michael D. Antonovich 1980-2016

thumbnail Kathyrn Barger 2016—

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