Hired Guns: Part 5

March 29, 2017 § 42 Comments

Part 5: Let the Past Speak for Today

If you had told me last July, when I participated in the first protest against the PV Estates police department and the city’s failure to seriously deal with cyclist safety, that I would be digging into old newspaper articles about the PV elite’s choice of Halloween costumes in the 1960s, I would have given you five dollars and suggested a shelter.

But here I am, doing exactly that, following the wicked strands that explain how PV Estates became what it is, and trying to figure out how that can inform someone trying to decide whether, as a rider, your fortunes are best with the local cops or with the county sheriff. Because racism in PV Estates didn’t simply begin in 1923, it is alive and well in the present.

Indeed, it never left, and in the words of the city’s own boosters, it was until recently something to be bragged and chortled about in the society section of the Palos Verdes News. This newsclip from 1965 tells you much of what you need to know.

1965_halloween_party

And for those who think that 1965 is ancient history, that things have gotten so much better, there’s the memoir by Jennifer Baszile, who recounts the welcome her family received when it moved from “low-rent” RPV to toney PV Estates:

braszile_black_girl_next_door

This bit of “ancient history” occurred in 1975. Still, some will argue that 1975 was more than forty years ago and that surely things have changed. Except that as of 2014, they hadn’t. At a Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration, one of the surfers alleged to be a member of the Lunada Bay Boys surfer gang purportedly donned blackface and an afro wig. Did I mention it was on MLK Day?

lunada_bay_boys_blackfaceA year later, garden variety racism in PV Estates had blossomed into allegations of a full-on hate crime. On the September 11 anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York, PV Estates teens savagely attacked a Pakistani liquor shop owner in the city, beating him to a pulp and causing serious injuries. In this amazing bit of reporting by the Daily Breeze’s Larry Altman, readers are presented with the anguish and suffering… of the teens’ parents, who now find themselves being sued by the victim. Instead of focusing on the teens’ admissions that they almost beat the victim to death, the Daily Breeze makes sure that its readers know that defense counsel believes the victim is “looking for dollar signs.” Getting beaten with bats is a tough way to earn your payday, is all I can say to that.

 

And why stop in 2015? 2016 had this gem:

racial_slur_on_car_pvhs

Finishing with a current racism update for 2017.

swastika_pvhs

So there you have it, racism fans: A founding document enshrining segregation, and an unbroken string of hate crimes and racist activities stretching right up until three days ago. Does anyone doubt that PV Estates has a problem?

Department of Justice investigation, anyone? And yes, this has something to do with cycling. But even if it didn’t please tell me you’d still be appalled.

END

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§ 42 Responses to Hired Guns: Part 5

  • Barbara Radnofsky says:

    So 3 days ago, someone in your community had the courage to report to police about swastikas and a pro-Hitler message drawn on a student’s car…a message which isn’t quoted in the Crime Report “Daily Breeze” bc it would offend the tender local readers. It’s conceded it’s pro-Hitler and so shocking as to be unprintable…. And that’s not enough to categorize it as a hate crime? What the heck is the special standard in your community to reach the level of hate, if not a crime which directly, publicly and specifically invokes the murders of over 6 million people on the basis of religion, race, sexual orientation and disability? We know all this without even knowing the specific, too-offensive-to-write language.

    • fsethd says:

      In the beating of the Pakistani with a baseball bat by a defendant in the surf gang lawsuit, PVE police didn’t see evidence of hate crime even though it coincided on 9/11 and nothing was taken in the “robbery.”

      Just kids having some fun and letting it get out of hand.

    • GoodGrief says:

      Those with their heads in the sand will conveniently assume this is the first time this happened (overlooking swastikas on mailboxes – Google it). Think about how many times these Bay Boy Initiates did this to other kids, where the victims were too embarrassed or humiliated to say anything. Every high school has bullies and troublemakers. What is different about PVHS is that it is racially motivated. You’d be shocked how many wonderful Asian families living within 200 yards of PVHS that have their kids go to Peninsula High simply to avoid the Bay Boy element. Pretty sick.

      The vast majority of newer PVE residents are fine folks. But it is only after they’ve made a huge financial investment – buying a house – that they find themselves in the racial sewer. Then they face a choice – remain silent so kiddo can graduate, or speak out and get swastikas on their mailbox.

      What is the connection with cycling? The first step is understanding that words matter – terms like “quality of life” and “retaining the character of PVE” are perfectly innocuous to the outside world. Make no mistake – they have a very specific meaning, and speak to a very specific minority (#irony) of residents who keep local government – and PVEPD – afloat. To deny the double meaning of these words within Lunada Bay is to deny reality.

      Irony is that as a minority, PVE generally and Lunada Bay specifically are the only two places in Southern California that I will not ride. The streets are not safe. It isn’t a matter of engineering (PVE’s streets aren’t special), it is a matter of the core of the Bay Boys terrorizing riders. If you haven’t had your ass run off the road in PVE, then you haven’t been riding there long enough.

      Take a walk in another’s shoes… one driver will pass a couple cyclists and be around a couple cars while on PV Drive. But one cyclist will be passed by hundreds or thousands of drivers on PV Drive. That’s why most drivers don’t see it. That’s why every cyclist does.

      • fsethd says:

        Nails it.

      • Mark says:

        Case in point on segregation – the PV School District has “open enrollment” for high school whereby parents can pick which of the two schools to send their kids. Here’s the most recent stats:

        PV High School (in the heart of PVE & Lunada Bay): 73% White / 13% Asian

        Peninsula High School (where the PV ‘middle class’ students go): 43% White / 40% Asian

      • fsethd says:

        One of my sons went to PVHS, the other to Peninsula. Markedly different environments, to put it mildly. Also, one was significantly more academically challenging than the other. I’ll let you guess which.

  • Sibex Czar says:

    Consumed. Thank you.

  • Tom says:

    “…Department of Justice investigation, anyone?…”
    Calling Jeff Sessions, calling Jeff Sessions….yeah, right.

  • Glenn M. says:

    great work breaking down the facts. Jaw dropping for sure. Having lived next door in San Pedro in the 70’s, my dad always felt ‘uncomfortable’ driving through PV. Me being 7 at the time never knew why. I mean, we are of Filipino descent, dad in the US Navy of all things – for context

    • fsethd says:

      There is still hostility and selective law enforcement towards non-whites on the peninsula.

  • Toronto says:

    Back in ’69, dad vetoed mom’s first choice on our post-divorce home that sat on a bluff in Rocky Point Estates. We ended up in the Hollywood Riviera instead. As a kid, I resented this for many years. Heck, I could have been a Bay Boy instead of a Torrance Beach local. It took me awhile to understand that this decision was a blessing – in many ways. Trivia: I bought my first surf board off of Bay Boy. He OD’d a couple of years later. “John, I hear Sue is wearing Ubangi Lips, we absolutely MUST wear our Ku Klux Klan costumes.”

    • fsethd says:

      Such a fitting article for a high quality publication. And the Daily Breeze’s coverage of the beating in PV Estates and giving coverage to the poor parents of the kids who attacked the victim shows that news coverage hasn’t improved much.

      • Toronto says:

        THAT is remarkably upsetting. I heard about the brutal assault a day or so afterwards. And my first thought (nor my second nor my third) wasn’t ‘those poor parents’. It is really eff-d up that suppressed and slanted news coverage in PVE is de rigueur with a gotta protect our ‘own’ mentality.

      • fsethd says:

        Which translates nicely into harassment of two-wheeled outsiders as well.

  • Mark says:

    Even in 2017 PVEPD seems pretty happy to publicly promote their efforts to target minority intruders into their community (page 42). At the recent city council meeting, this slide drew the greats laughs from the locals in attendance….. http://www.pvestates.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=3385

  • Brian in VA says:

    I’m discovering that racism, in all its forms, is everywhere. This sounds like the sort of thing one hears about in the deep south, in the past. In fact, it’s everywhere TODAY. It’s disgusting and disturbing in every way imaginable.

    Thanks for shining the light, Seth. I hope it has some impact but recognize it’s up to all of us.

  • dangerstu says:

    Apparently Ridley Scott took inspiration from the Carson Refinery for Blade runner, and know I know where the Cobra Kai students came from in Karate Kid.

  • Chris says:

    Guys, I don’t disregard the issue of racism but aren’t you getting a little over focused? From your info, it looks like they just hate everyone that isn’t from here and not like them. That’s pretty much every police force I have run into, Pasadena, Arcadia (Chief has a southern battle flag in his office) Sierra Madre (Where the police are the motorcycle gang), etc. Cyclists are VERY easy to hate because they aren’t “you” in most cases. Mark: Which page, you mean all the booking photos or the page about the beach patrols?

    • fsethd says:

      I don’t think it’s over focused. In terms of harassment of outsiders, many police forces do that. The question is why, and more importantly, whether PVE police are a better or worse alternative for cyclists than LASD.

      Much of the unequal enforcement and illegal targeting is an outgrowth of racist policies that were designed to keep out blacks. So it’s important to understand that the origin of this is racism, and in many cases, such as the PVE PD’s slide show, continues to be racism or at least the appearance of it.

      This is just the beginning of the analysis, starting with the origins and leading up to the present day.

      Next week I’ll be focusing on specific individuals in PV Estates and their actual role in backing or opposing the PVE police. Finally I’ll take a look at PVE PD v. LASD in terms of how they treat cyclists, cost, and ancillary issues.

      I think the fact that some few people are questioning the value of the PVE police ($7 million per year) vs. LASD ($3.6 million) is healthy, although it seems that given the community’s racist origins and current racist atmosphere there is zero chance the city will get rid of its police force.

    • Mark says:

      Booking photos.

      In a culturally diverse landscape like Los Angeles, the vast majority of people are completely welcoming, open, and non-discriminatory. Having said that, there’s no question that a small sub-set of the PVE community really does not want any outsiders in their town (surfers, cyclists, etc.). And with a minuscule 13% voter participation rate, that vocal minority’s can carry a lot of weight with the City Council and PD.

      • fsethd says:

        It does more than carry weight, it makes the decisions. This of course points to the fact that having a segregated community is something that most residents are happy with. If they weren’t, they would likely vote, and are instead happy to let the more vocal among them make the public decision.

    • GoodGrief says:

      “From your info, it looks like they just hate everyone that isn’t from here and not like them”. The final chapter of this story has not yet been written. Wait for the LBBOMC comments on NextDoor.

      What’s different about the Peninsula? Three dead cyclists in 12 months.

      What’s different about PVE? The only City on the Peninsula that refuses to take affirmative action – even when begged for by hundreds of cyclists, endorsed by science, and wait for it… recommended by the PV PTA. Yup, the Bay Boys have more influence than the PTA. You’ll find the PTA letter of recommendation on the City website.

      Question: From a basic CYA and community perspective, what city would ignore requests from dead family members, ignore the pleas for safer streets by assaulted residents, and dismiss the PTA speaking for thousands of children? Answer: “they just hate everyone that isn’t from here and not like them”.

      “they” doesn’t mean all residents because most don’t give two shits about this issue. “they” means the vocal minority with the most influence over PVE couch sitters and anonymous keyboard warriors – its an echo chamber in a bubble in the depths of denial and specialness. “they” are easily identified as the most vocal on NextDoor. And if you aren’t a resident of PVE, you can’t see the conversations. Which is how they like it.

      • fsethd says:

        Exactly. The community may have been common in its approach in 1923; it’s a freak outlier in 2017.

  • Hank from Pasadena says:

    Well, apparently RPV is more than a couple of miles away from Lunada Bay in terms of mentality. It seems like this localism, which lived on far longer than I would have thought (but since I’m not a surfer I would not be paying any attention either), sort of permeates the whole attitude.

    PVE is not very large, but somehow the defensiveness exists on a much larger scale.

    • fsethd says:

      RPV is different from PV Estates. It’s smaller and easier to control and it’s more expensive. It has a dedicated group of residents who are committed to keeping out blacks and others.

  • LesB says:

    “The vast majority of newer PVE residents are fine folks.”

    Great!

    But they need to be more than fine.

    Since they are the vast majority they have the power available to them, should they decide to get activist about it, to turn the community around 180 degrees real fast.

    • fsethd says:

      Exactly. And how fine are they when they tolerate this kind of behavior? If the three deaths on the peninsula were kids it would be a whole different approach.

      Fine is as fine does.

  • Dave says:

    Saw a vanity plate today on PV West and Hawthorne that generally fits this discussion, It reads “TURFER”.

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