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Angelo Joseph Rossi

Angelo Joseph Rossi
31st Mayor of San Francisco
In office
January 7, 1931 – January 8, 1944
Preceded by James Rolph
Succeeded by Roger Lapham
Personal details
Born (1878-01-22)January 22, 1878
Volcano, Amador County, California
Died April 5, 1948(1948-04-05) (aged 70)
San Francisco, California
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Grace Mabel Allen Ross and daughter Eleanor Rossi Crabtree
Profession Florist
Religion Roman Catholic

Angelo Joseph Rossi (January 22, 1878 – April 5, 1948) was a U.S. political figure who served as the 31st mayor of San Francisco. He was the first mayor of 100% Italian descent of a major U.S. city (top 10 most populous U.S. cities between 1776 and 1931).

Rossi was born in Volcano, Amador County, California, and came to San Francisco in 1890 with his widowed mother and six siblings after the family home and general store burned to the ground in minutes. (His father, also named Angelo, left Italy in 1849 at the age of 16 aboard a ship loaded with marble that departed from Genoa. When he arrived in Amador County, he mined for gold and opened his general store.) When Angelo arrived in San Francisco with his family in 1890, he attended school but left after 6th grade to work in jobs that ranged from cash boy to a clerk in a couple of different florist shops, including Carbone and Sons and Pelicano and Sons, which became Pelicano and Rossi when he became a partner in the early 1900s. Eventually he opened his own company, Angelo J. Rossi, Inc., and during his tenure in office the florist company continued to operate in a sparkling Art Deco-motif building Angelo owned at 45 Grant Avenue.

He was first appointed mayor when mayor Republican, he served as San Francisco's mayor from 1931 to 1944. Rossi was mayor when the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge were built, and he presided over the building of Treasure Island and the Golden Gate International Exposition (World's Fair) of 1939. Under his administration, the city resisted compliance with the Raker Act which required San Francisco to sell power from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite to municipalities or municipal water districts, and not to any corporations, a condition of use of the Hetch Hetchy Valley. He dedicated the Mount Davidson Cross in March, 1934. He was a strong proponent of the New Deal alphabet-soup roster of work programs and worked vigorously and constantly with Washington to bring as many dollars to the City as possible in order to create jobs and improve the City's infrastructure.

Political campaign card of 1921 showing Board of Supervisor candidates, including Angelo J. Rossi

Rossi was adamantly Governor Merriam to send the National Guard to quell the strike, but argued successfully against the governor who wanted to declare martial law. Two strikers were killed by bullets, and eighty-five were hospitalized.

On July 19, 1934, Mayor Rossi spoke on national radio, "I congratulate the real leaders of organized labor on their decision and the part they have played in ending the general strike. San Francisco has stamped out without bargain or compromise an attempt to import into its life the very real danger of revolt... We will deal effectively with the small group who opposed peace and plotted revolution."

When his police force raided political offices and worker organizations after the strike, Rossi issued a statement: "I pledge to you that as Chief Executive in San Francisco I will, to the full extent of my authority, run out of San Francisco every Communist agitator, and this is going to be a continuing policy in San Francisco."

During a period of publicized police scandal, he asked for and appropriated seventy thousand dollars to investigate corruption in the department. The District Attorney, Matthew Brady, hired Edwin Atherton, a private investigator, who published the Atherton Report on police corruption in 1937. He presided over groundbreaking ceremonies for the San Francisco City College in April 1937. He befriended and hosted Fiorello La Guardia in San Francisco and visited New York as La Guardia's guest.

In an extended strike late in the late 1930s, Rossi lashed out at C.I.O. leader, saying the city is "sick of the alien" in a telegram to President Roosevelt, asking for federal intervention. In May 1942, six months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, at the Tenney Committee hearings held in San Francisco, Rossi was subpoenaed, having been accused of supporting Italian fascism. According to the New York Times of

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