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Orfa Jean Shontz


Picture of Orfa Jean Shontz
CA Blue Book 2000
Date Party Office Votes Result
11-06-1934 Democratic SBOE4 547260 Win

Candidate Biography:

Born: November 1, 1876 in Avoca, Iowa
Died: May 6, 1954 in Los Angeles, CA

1911-1914: Probation Officer, Los Angeles County Juvenile Court
1914-1915: Secretary to the Los Angeles County Probate Court
1915-1918: Woman's Department Referee, Los Angeles County Juvenile Court*
1918: Primary Candidate for Los Angeles County Superior Court (Lost)
1920-1921: City Clerk, City of Los Angeles
1932-1934: City Attorney, City of Los Angeles
1935: Resigned from the Board of Equalization on December 13th.
1935-1947: Justice, Los Angeles Municipal Court

  • As Referee, Shontz was the first female in California to "sit on the bench and administer justice" [Source: Los Angeles from the mountains to the sea by John Steven McGroarty (1921)]
  • GOOD GOVERNMENT FOILED: Elected as a "good government advocate", on her first day (January 1935) in office Shontz fired and replaced eleven investigators from the Board of Equalization's Los Angeles Liquor Division staff. In July, the state senate began an investigation into liquor licensing, which Shontz protested, calling for the hearings to be made public. As the hearings continued into October, Shontz called for control of alcohol licensing to be removed from the Board of Equalization, the end of alcohol being sold in drug stores and grocery stores, and that the sellers fee be increased "to drive out 'small and careless' beer and liquor dealers. On December 13th, Shontz resigned from the Board of Equalization and was appointed as a judge in the Los Angeles municipal court. After his appointment, to replaced Shontz, Ray L. Edgar "announced a complete reorganization of the liquor and sales tax offices in Los Angeles from which he has already ousted more than a dozen men" on December 27th.

Source: "Miss Shontz Ousts 11 Rum Investigators" San Pedro News Pilot, Volume 7, Number 265, 8 January 1935
Source: "MISS SHONTZ CHALLENGES PROBE MOTIVE" Imperial Valley Press, Volume 35, Number 66, 8 July 1935
Source: "STATE LIQUOR CONDITIONS FLAYED Orfa Jean Shontz Raps Set-Up, Asserts Vice Is Still Rampant" Santa Ana Journal, Volume 1, Number 145, 17 October 1935
Source: "MERRIAM HOLDS BOARD POWER" Madera Tribune, Volume LXVII, Number 35, 13 December 1935