James Brown; Former Judge, Councilman


James Harvey Brown, retired Los Angeles municipal judge and former Los Angeles city councilman who helped develop Dodger Stadium and Los Angeles International Airport, has died. He was 89.

Brown died Monday of heart failure at Glendale Adventist Hospital, said his daughter, Dorothy O'Leary.

First named to the City Council to fill a vacancy in 1959 when Ernest E. Debs was elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Brown won reelection and represented the 13th District, covering the Hollywood area, for five years.


In 1964, Gov. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown Sr. appointed him to the lower court bench, where he served until his retirement 10 years ago.

A conservative Democrat, Brown ran unsuccessfully for seats in the Assembly and House of Representatives.

Before he earned his degree from Southwestern University School of Law, Brown was a radio engineer. Just out of high school, he went to sea as a chief wireless operator and later worked as a disc jockey at radio stations KFOX and KGER.

He earned a degree in engineering from UCLA and worked as chief engineer at KFAC and KFVD. In 1937, Brown became master control supervisor for NBC.

During World War II, he was a Navy lieutenant assigned to airborne radar design, working at MIT and other research laboratories.

After earning his law degree, Brown served as president and attorney for the National Assn. of Broadcast Employees and Technicians.

Brown was one of the first amateur ham radio operators licensed in Long Beach, a charter member of Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters, president of the Society of Wireless Pioneers and a member of Radio Club of America.

He was a charter member of the Shrine Club in Long Beach and a member of the Peace Officers Shrine Club and Queen of Angels Clinic and Research Foundation.

In addition to his daughter, Brown is survived by his wife, Margaret; his son, retired Lt. Col. James Harvey Brown Jr.; two sisters, Blanche Tibbot and Betty Dykstra, 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Services are planned for 1:30 p.m. today at Church of the Recessional, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale.

The family has asked that any memorial donations be made to the Shriners Children’s Hospital.