It has often been written that Captain Loomis had a disdain for politics. That he left the police force due to politics as a young man, and that he eventually left the city forever for the same reason.

Despite this expressed disillusionment with politics, he held a number of political positions during his lifetime. He was driven by a strong sense of justice for all men, and was dismayed by the selfishness and self-interest that were prominent in society, especially in the city and in its leaders. It is likely that these characteristics of his personality led him to try his hand at politics in an attempt to improve the situation.

Prior to joining the LAPD at the age of 23, he had already been a deputy sheriff in two counties. While performing these jobs, he had many opportunities to see how the justice system operated. From his experiences, he felt that the justice system needed a complete overhaul. He advocated elimination of lawyers and the jury system, to be replaced by a three-judge court system. He thought that this system would provide fairer and more equal justice for all people, rich or poor.

He was quite active in Los Angeles city politics for several years, from the time he resigned from the LAPD in 1889 until he departed for the Klondike in early 1898. Well known in the young city, he was elected a ward representative to several political groups and party conventions. In 1896, he was reported to be a candidate for the Republican nomination for Councilman from the Ninth Ward, where he lived. He was said to be supported by banker L.N. Breed, who he had known since he arrived in Los Angeles in 1887.

From his journal entries, it appears that he did not accept this backing, and did not enter the race. He tells of a meeting with an unnamed friend, an influential man in the city, during which his old friend suggested that he run for councilman for the ward in which he lived. Loomis replied that he really didn’t want the job, and didn’t have the means to wage the hard fight that would be required to win.

His friend said, “Oh, don’t let that bother you at all, we’ll attend to that and it won’t cost you a cent either. “ To which Loomis replied: “Well, what do you expect in return for all that?” “Nothing at all,” his friend replied, “Nothing at all.” Loomis declined and that settled it. The councilman eventually elected to that office, who prior to his election had nothing, within a year's time built himself a fine residence, spent money freely, and lived in grand style. To Loomis, this was more evidence of the corruption and self-interest that dominated city politics.

From his personal experience and observation of the political system, he felt that most politicians were dishonest, driven by selfishness, and had little regard for the will of the people. From his perspective, politics and government at the time was a racket for the benefit of a few, with most politicians working for the interests of certain small groups.

Finally, after years spent trying to improve the failures of the political system, he abandoned politics, and eventually the city, to go into the mountains to live the simple, honest, and just life that he felt all people deserved.

[Initial Version: 02/01/07]
[Sources: Lester Loomis Journals, LA Times articles]