What Can We Learn From the Failings of William Mulholland?

The ‘Father of Los Angeles’ Was a Link in a Chain of Theft and Loss—And Its Consequences Ripple Into the Present

For much of my life I have been in conversation with a man who died 86 years ago.  He was born in Dublin in 1855 and grew up poor, with a face bruised by the fists of his father. He ran away from home at 14, joined the British Merchant Navy, and came to America. His name was William Mulholland, though he went by Bill, and by some he is known as the father of Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the country and the 13th in the world.

I was …