Wednesday, December 14, 2011


The Avenues Holiday Gathering

Remember that tonight's Avenues meeting will be taking place tonight and it is our annual Holiday Gathering.

There will be lots of food, holiday goodies and plenty of cheer for all. Be sure to bring a neighbor with you and remember to bring an unwrapped toy for the South Seas House Winter Wonderland.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
The Wilfandel House
3425 West Adams (corner of 5th and Adams)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011



We'll be meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, November 9 at 7PM. We'll be covering local issues and items and have some special guests from other neighborhoods.

Please remember to bring an unwrapped toy for the South Seas House Winter Wonderland happening in December.  

And, of course, there will be time afterwards for chatting with neighbors and catching up over some goodies and punch.

7PM Wednesday, NOVEMBER 9, 2011
The Wilfandel House
3425 West Adams (corner of 5th and Adams)

Saturday, October 29, 2011



Normally, Wayback Wednesday falls on...well Wednesday. But today with Halloween approaching we present a "Wicked Wayback" to enjoy on a spooky Saturday. Be forewarned that while this is a valid history of our neighborhood, it truly is a gruesome tale. So lock your doors, close your windows and turn on all your lights.

A special thanks to Mark Masek of for permission to post this story. 

On Thursday, Dec. 15, 1927, shortly after noon, a well-dressed young man with dark, wavy hair rushed into the Mount Vernon Junior High School on 17th Street in Los Angeles. The man went into the school office, found registrar Mary Holt, and told her that he worked at the Los Angeles First National Trust and Savings Bank and that his boss, Perry M. Parker, had been involved in an automobile accident and was seriously injured. 

The man said Parker was asking for his daughter, who was a student at the school, and he had been sent to retrieve her. Holt said she was a little suspicious about the man because he asked for Parker's "younger daughter." Parker had two daughters, Marion and Marjorie, both students at the school, but they were 12-year-old twins. When questioned further, the man said he was sent to pick up the "smaller one." 

When Holt hesitated, the man said, "I am an employee of the bank where Mr. Parker is chief clerk, and if there is any doubt in your mind, here is the bank's telephone number. You may call there." 

Holt said the man's sincerity convinced her, and she sent for Marion, who was brought from a Christmas party being held in one of the school classrooms. When Marion arrived at the school office, the man reassuringly patted her arm, told her that her father had been in a car accident, and that he was going to take her to him. Marion, thinking her father was injured, eagerly went with the man, who escorted her out to his waiting car.

As Marion and the man walked out to his car, Marjorie Parker saw them, and she later told police that she didn't recognize the man. The man who took Marion was described as a white man, 25 to 30 years old, 5-feet-8, with a slender build, thin features and dark brown, wavy hair.

That evening, Perry Parker received a telegram at the family home at 1631 South Wilton Place, less than a mile from the school. The telegram had been sent at 6:20 p.m. from the Western Union office in Alhambra, Calif., and told Parker that his daughter had been kidnapped, and to expect further telegrams with ransom demands. "Marian (sic) secure," the telegram read. "Use good judgement. Interference with my plans dangerous." Police suspected that the man was familiar with the Parker family, since Perry M. Parker did work at the bank, but he was home that day, celebrating his 48th birthday, with his wife, Geraldine.

The next day, Parker received a special delivery letter, demanding $1,500 for his daughter's safe return. According to the letter, "Fulfilling these terms with the transfer of the currency will secure the return of the girl. Failure to comply with these requests means no one will ever see the girl again -- except the angels in heaven. The affair must end one way or another within three days -- seventy-two hours. You will receive further notice." The letters and telegrams were first signed "George Fox," then simply "The Fox." As more than 2,000 police officers worked on the case throughout Southern California, police initially told Parker not to make the payment. But after Parker received additional telegrams and phone calls, with increasing threats to kill Marion if the kidnapper's demands weren't met, police decided that the best hope to get Marion home safely was to pay the ransom. The kidnapper called Parker and arranged a meeting for that evening at 10th Street and Gramercy Place, but the kidnapper noticed that police vehicles were following Parker's car, so he didn't keep the appointment.

One of the special delivery letters to Parker included a letter written by Marion: "Dear Daddy and Mother, I wish I could come home. I think I'll die if I have to be like this much longer. Won't someone tell me why all this had to happen to me. Daddy please do what this man tells you or he'll kill me if you don't. Your loving daughter, Marion Parker. P.S. Please Daddy I want to come home tonight."

Newspapers in Los Angeles and across the country were filled with stories and photos about the search for the missing girl, and the family's vigil, including family photos of Geraldine Parker with Marion and Marjorie and even photos of the family dog, Patsy, sitting on a double scooter belonging to Marion and Marjorie, "vainly seeking its missing mistress."

On the morning of Saturday, Dec. 17, Parker received another telegram, again demanding $1,500, and saying that if Parker didn't come alone to the next meeting, Marion would be killed. That evening, at 7:35 p.m., Parker received a phone call from the kidnapper. He was told to immediately leave his home with the money, and drive to the corner of Fifth Street and Manhattan Place in Los Angeles. The kidnapper said he would pull up beside Parker's car, show him that Marion was safe, take the money, and would drop Marion off a block away.

As instructed, Parker left his home with $1,500 in marked $20 bills, and did not tell police about the rendezvous. Shortly after he arrived at the meeting spot, in front of 428 Manhattan Place, a Chrysler coupe pulled up beside Parker's car, with Marion sitting motionless in the front seat.

The driver, with a white handkerchief over his face, pointed a large-caliber handgun at Parker. "You know what I'm here for," the man told Parker. He then pointed at Marion in the front seat of the coupe. "Here's your child," he said. "She's asleep. Give me the money and follow instructions."

Parker handed over the money and, as he had been instructed, followed the coupe to 432 South Manhattan Place, where the car door opened, and Marion was pushed out onto the lawn. Parker tried to get the license plate number of the car, but the kidnapper had bent the ends of the plate in, so Parker was only able to get a partial number.

As soon as the coupe drove off, Parker jumped from his car and rushed to his daughter's side, took her in his arms, and realized that she was dead. When passers-by heard Parker's screams, they called police.

Marion Parker had been horribly mutilated, and her body wrapped in towels. Both of her legs had been cut off close to the body, her arms had been cut off, and she had been disemboweled and her body stuffed with rags. A wire had been twisted tightly around her neck, cutting deeply into her skin, then went up the back of her neck and was wrapped tightly around her forehead, in an attempt to hold her head up. Her eyelids were sewn open to make it appear that she was still alive. A medical examination determined that Marion was killed just a few hours before her body was dumped out of the car.

With the recovery of Marion's body, the case escalated from a kidnapping to a murder investigation, and all of Southern California seemed ready to join in the hunt for the killer. Police investigators worked on reports that the murderer might have fled south to Mexico, or north toward San Francisco.

On Sunday, Dec. 18, police announced that they had recovered the Chrysler coupe driven by the kidnapper in a parking garage in the Westlake Park district, and five separate bundles containing missing parts of the slain girl's body were found, dumped along roadways in Elysian Park, near the current site of Dodger Stadium. The car was determined to have been stolen during a hold up in Kansas City, Mo., more than a month before Marion was abducted. About a block away from the spot where Marion's body was dumped, at 620 South Manhattan Place, a resident found a suitcase containing blood-soaked papers, and a spool of thread. Identical thread had been used to sew Marion's eyes open during the kidnapper's meeting with her father.

Warner Brothers' radio station KFWB broadcast a call to raise money for a reward fund. The station had hoped to raise $1,000, but quickly received contributions of more than $20,000. Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson broadcast a plea for her followers to contribute to the reward fund. Within a few days of the crime, the total reward reached $50,000 -- over $600,000 in 2010 dollars.

Thousands of police officers from San Francisco to San Diego were actively working on the case, and thousands of calls were received from citizens hoping to provide useful information. An estimated 12,000 members from American Legion posts throughout Southern California, described as "the greatest group of ex-servicemen ever called out in a peacetime emergency," organized and offered their services to the police effort. The U.S. Secret Service also volunteered to help the L.A. Police Department in the search for the killer, and 100 Los Angeles firefighters assisted in the search of the areas in Elysian Park near where the bundles containing her body parts were found.

California Lt. Gov. Buron Fitts sent a telegram to Gov. Clement C. Young, calling the murder of Marion Parker, "the most vicious and atrocious crime in California history," and asking that the state offer a substantial reward for the capture and conviction of the murderer.

Meanwhile, private funeral services were held for Marion at the Little Church of the Flowers at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park in Glendale, Calif. Marion's body was cremated and quietly laid to rest inside Forest Lawn's Great Mausoleum, in the Columbarium of Peace on the Evergreen Terrace.

The first major clue in the case came from one of the towels wrapped around Marion's body. A label on the towel identified it as coming from the Bellevue Arms Apartments, in an area of the city northwest of downtown known as Angelino Heights. The manager of the 88-unit apartment building, at 1170 Bellevue Ave., said a man fitting the description of the suspect had rented an apartment the preceding month -- Room 315, in the back of the building -- giving the name "Donald Evans."

"Evans" was later determined to be William Edward Hickman, 19, who had been arrested in June 1927 for attempting to cash a forged check at a bank in Los Angeles. Hickman had worked for six months as a messenger at the same bank where Parker worked, but he lost his job after pleading guilty to the forgery charges. After Hickman was convicted of the forgery charges and given probation, he returned to the bank and asked to get his messenger job back, but his request was denied -- by Perry Parker. Parker also said that, shortly after Hickman lost his job at the bank, he applied for a job with another company, and Parker was asked to supply a reference. He refused, and Hickman didn't get the job.

At the time of his forgery arrest, Hickman lived with his mother and sister on Birch Street in Alhambra, Calif. Shortly after his arrest, the family moved back to their hometown of Kansas City, Mo., and Hickman found a job as a theater usher. In early November 1927, Hickman stole a 1927 Chrysler coupe at gunpoint from Dr. Herbert Mantz in Kansas City, drove to Chicago, then drove back to Los Angeles. On Nov. 23, he rented the apartment at the Bellevue Arms, giving the name "Donald Evans," and requesting a quiet room in the back of the building.

By the time police arrived to search the apartment, Hickman was gone. Fingerprints found at the scene matched prints found on the Chrysler coupe, and on the ransom telegrams. The prints also matched those taken from Hickman when he was arrested on the forgery charges. A key piece of evidence, police said, was a piece of a Brazil nut found in a trash can in Hickman's apartment. Police said the piece exactly fit with another piece found in the pocket of Marion's dress when her body was dumped out of the kidnapper's car.

On Tuesday, Dec. 20, Hickman was formally charged with kidnapping and murder, and the massive search was on. Men all over the country who fit Hickman's description were arrested and questioned. Los Angeles police detectives on two planes flew to Las Vegas to arrest a possible suspect on a bus headed to Terre Haute, Ind. Hickman sightings were reported in Chicago; New York City; Tucson, Ariz.; Tulsa, Okla.; Wichita, Kans.; and Des Moines, Iowa, and all along the West Coast.

One man who lived a few miles from the scene of the abduction was arrested five times before police finally gave him a letter stating that he was not Hickman, and he shouldn't be arrested again. A man fitting Hickman's description was surrounded by an angry mob at Sixth and Hill streets in downtown Los Angeles. Police arrived just in time to rescue the man, questioned him, and released him. "This and many other occurances of similar type demonstrate the fever pitch into which the details of the horrible crime have thrown the citizens of Los Angeles," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Hickman, however, was long gone. The day after his meeting with Parker, Hickman hijacked a 1928 green Hudson sedan on Hollywood Boulevard, stole $15 from the driver, and headed north to San Francisco where he spent one night in a hotel, then continued on into Oregon, then Washington.

On Wednesday, Dec. 21, Hickman purchased a hat, gloves and underwear at a store in Seattle, and paid for his purchase with one of the $20 bills he had received from Parker. The clerk in the store recognized the serial number on the bill as one from the murder case, and called police, but Hickman had left before officers arrived. Another of the marked $20 bills was used to pay for gasoline at a garage in Kent, Wash.

Hickman was finally arrested on Thursday, Dec. 22, on the road near Echo, Ore., near the Washington border. Inside his car -- the green Hudson sedan he had stolen in Los Angeles -- was a sawed-off shotgun and a .45-caliber handgun, as well as $1,400 remaining from the ransom money. When he was stopped by police, Hickman surrendered quietly, saying, "Well, I guess it's all over." In his initial statements to police, he admitted being involved in Marion's kidnapping, but he said he didn't kill her. He told police he was working with two accomplices, and one of them -- Andrew Cramer -- killed the little girl. Hickman said he became involved in the kidnapping plot because he needed money for college.

But Cramer, the man Hickman identified as Marion's killer, had a solid alibi -- he had been in jail in Los Angeles since four months before the kidnapping.

While Hickman was being held in the City Jail in Pendleton, Ore., hundreds of people crowded into an alley next to the jail, hoping to get a glimpse of the famous prisoner. In response to their requests, Pendleton Police Chief Tom Gurdane, who was one of the two officers who arrested Hickman, brought Hickman to a door of the jail where the crowd could file past and get a look at him. According to the Associated Press, "gaudily blanketed Indians stared impassively at the youth, pretty women stopped to peer into the grated room, grim cowmen with their own ideas of justice stalked past with audible comment, and business men made hurried trips to the scene and took their places in the line."

Fearing possible mob violence, police transported Hickman back to Los Angeles by train under tight security and secrecy. On the train, accompanied by Los Angeles police officers, Hickman finally confessed, saying that he had acted alone and had no accomplices. He then provided police with a detailed, 19-page confession in which he said the girl was cut up because he thought that would make it easier to successfully dispose of her body. Hickman also wrote a six-page document outlining his motives for the crime. (During Hickman's trial, when his actions in killing the girl were detailed, the Los Angeles Times decided that the information was "unprintable." The Times did report, however, that "the confession made horribly plain the fact that Hickman's little victim did not die of strangulation or of fright, but as the result of dismemberment by Hickman.")

Hickman also said in his confession that his decision to kidnap Marion Parker was not an act of revenge against her father, but simply because he had worked at the same bank as her father, and he had seen her coming in to visit him. Hickman said that he needed the money to go to college. He wanted to attend Park College in Parkville, Mo., a religious institution near Kansas City. After college, he said, he planned to "go straight from then on."

Hickman said he brought Marion to his apartment and strangled her with a towel because, he said, "I was afraid she would make a noise." He placed her body in the bathtub, cut off her arms and legs, sliced her open at the waist, and then put her body on a shelf, with a towel beneath it to soak up the blood.

Hickman said he then realized that he would have to prove that Marion was still alive to receive the ransom money. So he combed her hair, put powder on her face, used a needle and thread to hold her eyelids open, then carried her body out in a suitcase to meet with Parker.

Hickman also confessed to a series of drug store robberies in Los Angeles, including one in December 1926 in which the store proprietor, 24-year-old Clarence Ivy Toms, was shot to death.

At his trial for the Marion Parker murder, Hickman attempted to plead not guilty by reason of insanity -- one of the first such efforts in the state of California -- but, after 13 days of testimony, that defense was rejected by the jury after only 36 minutes of deliberations. One of the key pieces of evidence against the insanity defense was a letter written by Hickman to a fellow prisoner, asking for his advice on how to secure an insanity verdict. "I've got to throw a fit in court," Hickman wrote, "and I intend to throw a laughing, screaming, diving act before the prosecution finishes their case -- maybe in front of old man Parker himself." Hickman was found guilty and sentenced to death.

"The state wins by a neck," Hickman said after the jury's verdict was read. "I don't think I have much to live for, and I don't know yet why I killed the Parker girl, but I did it, and I'll take my punishment." In a separate trial, Hickman was also found guilty in the Toms murder, and was sentenced to life in prison.

Hickman spent his final days on Death Row in San Quentin writing letters of apology to the people he had wronged, reading the Bible and listening to jazz records on his phonograph.

After unsuccessful appeals all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Hickman was hanged on Oct. 19, 1928, at San Quentin State Prison -- 10 months after Marion Parker's murder -- then quickly buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Lawndale (later Colma), south of San Francisco, in an unmarked grave. Ironically, the cemetery also contains the remains of two victims of sensational murders in California -- coffee heiress Abigail Folger, who was stabbed to death along with actress Sharon Tate by followers of Charles Manson in Los Angeles in 1969, and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, who was shot to death in his office by City Supervisor Dan White in 1978. (The L.A. Times also reported that Hickman's father planned to take the killer's body back to his birthplace of Hartford, Ark., where he would be buried in the village cemetery.)

Although Hickman told prison guards and his cellmate that he would walk confidently to the gallows, strengthened by his new-found religious beliefs -- he converted to Catholicism while in prison -- he only got about half way up the 13 steps before he slumped, and guards had to prop him up to assist him to the top. As he reached the trap door, he looked toward the ceiling and began reciting a quiet prayer, witnesses said. When the black hood was placed over his head, he started to collapse again, and the executioner quickly signaled for the rope to be cut, releasing the trap door at 10:10 a.m.

Since Hickman was already slumping forward when the trap door opened, witnesses said the drop didn't have the desired effect of snapping his neck and causing an immediate death. Instead, his head hit the side of the gallows, and he dangled at the end of the rope, violently twitching and jerking. The prison doctor climbed a step ladder next to Hickman and put a stethoscope to his chest. Fifteen minutes after the trap door opened, the doctor stepped away and nodded, signifying that Hickman was dead -- not a quick death from a broken neck, but a slow strangulation.

Pages from Hickman's confession are on display at the Los Angeles Police Historical Society museum, along with a thick album of clippings from the newspaper coverage of the case.

The school from which Marion was kidnapped, the Mount Vernon Junior High School, has been completely rebuilt, and was renamed the Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Middle School in 2006. Although the original school building is gone, a large stone piece from the original building, carved with the name "Mount Vernon Junior High School", was saved, and is currently located on the grounds of the school, next to the main entrance.

The Bellevue Arms apartment building, where Marion was killed, is currently being remodeled into condominiums, to be known as The Brownstone Lofts. The original exterior and interior brickwork will remain, including the original archway over the front door, where Marion likely entered. The condominiums will correspond roughly, but not exactly to the layout of the original apartments, and there will be a Unit 315. And, yes, Unit 315 will have a bathtub.

Marion's father, Perry Marion Parker, died in 1944 at the age of 65. Her mother, brother and twin sister moved out of the family home on South Wilton Place in 1948. Marion's mother, Geraldine Heisel Parker, died in San Diego, Calif., in 1963, at the age of 75. Her brother, Perry Willard Parker, died in Los Angeles in 1983, at the age of 75. Marion's twin sister, Marjorie H. Parker, married, moved to San Diego, and died in 1987, at the age of 71.

Visit and view Mark Masek's eBooks and eBook guided tours for Hollywood Forever Cemetery and Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale which are available at Amazon for Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books and Sony eBooks.

Friday, October 28, 2011



I remember hearing "Your mother doesn't live here" time and time again from my teachers as a growing boy. Well, that saying still rings true today. Join your fellow neighbors tomorrow, Saturday, October 29, 2011 for a HUGE cleaning happening on Adams Boulevard.

OCTOBER 29, 2011
8:00 AM to 12:00 PM

  • Free Food and Community Service Credit
  • Remove Overgrown Weeds
  • Install Community Trash Cans
  • Remove Graffiti
  • Pick Up Bulky Items

After all, our mother doesn't live here...but if we don't do it, who will?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

City Hall's ATM

The following article is reposted from City Watch LA with permission of the author, Jack Humphreville.


On Wednesday morning, the City Council approved a ten year, 77% rate increase in our Sewer Service Charge.  Over the next five years, our rates will increase by 30%, or about $175 million.

At the same time, our Department of Water and Power is proposing a three year rate increase of 22% and 25% in our water and power rates.  Over a five year period, rates are anticipated to increase by almost $2.2 billion, including the impact of the incremental 10% City Utility Tax.

In five years, the City’s General Fund will receive approximately $775 million a year from Ratepayers, consisting of the 8% Power System Transfer Fee ($330 million) and the 10% City Utility Tax ($445 million).  This is an increase of 41% from the current level of approximately $550 million.

But these increases of almost $2.4 billion per year are just the beginning.

On Wednesday afternoon, there was a Special Joint Meeting of the Public Works and Budget and Finance Committees to discuss how the City is going to offload its $1.5 billion obligation to fix our sidewalks onto the City’s property owners.

And last week, the Ad Hoc Committee on Waste Reduction and Recycling started the process to establish Trash Hauler Franchises for businesses and apartment buildings, a payback to the Teamsters and other unions for their financial support of the Mayor’s political agenda.  This will cost Angelenos an estimated $100 million extra per year. 

We are also going to be on the hook for the $8 billion Stormwater Program that was last discussed back in 2009 in connection with a proposed parcel tax.  However, this program has now been dumped on the County of Los Angeles when our Elected Elite realized that any ballot measure was doomed. 

But we will still be hit with increased assessments for this massive infrastructure project that, like sewers, sidewalks, and trash collection, is also the responsibility of the five politically appointed, highly compensated  members of the Board of Public Works.

The Board of Public Works has also failed to maintain and repair our streets.  They are now in such a state of disrepair that it is going to cost more than $3 billion over the next ten years just to bring our third world roads up to a passing grade.

Nor has the Board of Public Works addressed the City’s 386 “structurally deficient” bridges that will more than likely cost a billion or more to repair.  Unfortunately, this appears to be news to Mayor Villaraigosa and Controller Greuel as they were forced to comment on a new report by Transportation for America, a Washington, DC based nonprofit advocacy organization.

The City has also not addressed the costs associated with maintaining and repairing our street lights, our parks, our trees, or our buildings and other facilities.  Rather, they have been the subject of continuing neglect as City Hall continues to ignore our basic infrastructure and quality of life.

The City will also need to update its management information, information technology, and accounting systems at a cost that has been estimated by City officials to be around $2 billion, and that is before cost overruns.

Of course, we cannot ignore the $11.7 billion unfunded pension liability for the two major pension plans that require ever increasing budget busting contributions from the City’s General Fund.  And this amount is understated by several billion since the City continues to rely on the overly optimistic Investment Rate Assumption of 8% as opposed to a more realistic rate of 6.5% recommended by Wilshire Associates and Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway. 

Needless to say, City Hall will try to pick our pockets to fund all these liabilities, claiming they have taken drastic measures to balance the budget, such as the elimination of 4,500 employees. 

In fact, there have been no more than 500 layoffs, as 2,400 employees were essentially paid $150,000 to retire as part of the Early Retirement Incentive Program and another 1,600 were transferred to the three proprietary departments (DWP, LAX, and the Port of Los Angeles) and special revenue departments.

It is not like we have had a free ride. 

Since the arrival of the Mayor Who Broke LA, the Solid Resources tax on our DWP bill has more than tripled, increasing from $11 a month to more than $36 a month, a $300 a year hit to homeowners.  This has resulted in increased City revenues of around $175 million.

And Measure R, which authorized the half cent increase in the sales tax to fund selected transportation projects, will cost City residents about $12 billion over the next 30 years, an average of $400 million a year. 

Unfortunately, there is not much that we can do in the short term. 

We can suggest that the members of the Board of Public Works have a level of experience and expertise that is currently lacking.  We can demand that the Mayor, the Controller, and the City Council develop a long term operational and financial plan.

But more than likely, nothing meaningful will happen as our herd-like Elected Elite will not make the hard decisions to balance the budget and eliminate the long term structural deficit for fear of alienating the campaign funding municipal unions.

But there will be opportunities for Angelenos to express their rage at the Occupiers of City Hall.

If the City wants to increase taxes (and now fees thanks to Proposition 26 - the Supermajority Vote to Pass New Taxes and Fees Act), we have the right to vote for or against any of these ballot measures.  And after the rejection of the flawed Measure B in March of 2009, the Elected Elite are very wary of the voting public, especially when it comes to our wallets.  That is why they ceded control over the Stormwater Program to the County.  But they still need our vote!

We also have City wide elections in March of 2013. 

As part of the election cycle, we must demand that each candidate for Mayor, Controller, and City Council present the public with a detailed four year operational and financial plan on how they intend to balance the budget, focus on core services, fund the pension plans, and repair and maintain our infrastructure.  And at the same time, these candidates must be prepared to defend their plans and the underlying assumptions. 

The old standby of eliminating “Waste, Fraud, and Abuse” will not pass muster. We need facts and hard data, not more hot air. 

The financial and political pressure on the City will continue to mount as the Mayor and the City Council refuse to address the City’s inefficient and bloated operations.  Already, the City is facing a $200 million budget gap for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2011 that is causing considerable political tensions as the City is being forced to focus on its core services.

Hopefully, some of our Elected Elite will get the message before the City implodes.  But don’t bet the ranch on it.  Their self interest knows no bounds.

But rest assured, we will not continue to be City Hall’s ATM. 

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler -- He can be reached at: ) –cw

Vol 9 Issue 84
Pub: Oct 21, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

West Adams Avenues Meeting OCTOBER


We'll be meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, October 12 at 7PM. Items that will be covered are local police issues, happenings in the Tenth District and a magnet school in the Avenues with representatives from the LAUSD.

And, of course, there will be time afterwards for chatting with neighbors and catching up over some goodies and punch.

7PM Wednesday, October 12, 2011
The Wilfandel House
3425 West Adams (corner of 5th and Adams)

Friday, September 30, 2011



The Southwest Community Police Advisory Board is holding a "Town Hall Meeting" on Monday, October 3, 2011 starting at 6:30 PM.

This is your opportunity to not only speak with our Senior Lead Officer (SLO) but also interact with Captain Melissa Zak and other area SLO's. Provide your neighborhood concerns or provide solutions that can help protect the safety and quality of life in your area.

This particular Town Hall is being organized by Senior Lead Officer Biondo who canvases the Jefferson Park area, and works closely with our own SLO Tracy Hauter. Plan to attend and bring a neighbor with you.

Monday, October 3, 2011 6:30 PM
3010 Crenshaw Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90016
For more information call the Southwest Community Relations Office (213) 847-5800 or Officer Biondo (323) 387-9622

Thursday, September 29, 2011



On August 9, 1961, a group of Los Angeles students boarded a train headed to Houston, Texas. The group's assignment was to aid members of the Houston Progressive Youth Association (PYA) to non-violently, desegregate Houston's Union Station Coffee Shop. The group would then proceed to Jackson, Mississippi to join the scores of other Freedom Riders converging on the city to protest racially segregated public travel facilities throughout the American South.

Instead, these California Freedom Riders were arrested for unlawful assembly while trying to desegregate Houston's Union Station Coffee Shop.The story of their Freedom Ride, arrest, brutal treatment in jail and subsequent court trial is an important chapeter in the unique civil rights history of Texas and thee national struggle for racial equality in the United States. 

Get on Board recounts the ascendance and determination of this movement. More than 100 compelling photographs are featured within an exhibit that utilizes evocative oral histories, music, rare historical artifacts and documents. There is also a recreated section of the Birmingham, Alabama bus terminal, a Parchman Farm prison cell and a section of the lunch counter of the Houston Union Station Coffee Shop. Experience dynamic history.

The Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum
Get On Board Exhibition
Through October 16, 2011
4130 Overland Avenue
Culver City, CA 90230
Tuesday -- Saturday 10:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Sundays 12 Noon -- 4:00 PM
(310) 202-1647

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Avenues Get a Facelift


Well, sort of.

Actually, we now have our very own Facebook page. You always knew that The Avenues were social. Now, we're even more social. We encourage everyone to "friend" and "like" us. This is yet another way to get and share information about our wonderful neighborhood.

  • See Pictures Posted by Others
  • Get Important Meeting Information
  • Crucial City Contacts and Phone Numbers
  • Share What You Are "Liking"

You'll find us on Facebook at West Adams Avenues.

Historic Films at Wilfandel Club


We recently discovered that Pete Carter is running a film festival showcasing the history of Blacks in film. Held the last Friday of every month at the Wilfandel Club, Pete provides history and then a showing of the film itself.

This month's feature is "Siren of the Tropics" with Josephine Baker. Marquis Severo, a rich, lazy Parisian, wants to divorce his wife so that he can marry his own goddaughter Denise. But Denise herself loves Andre Berval, an engineer employed by the marquis. Filled with jealousy, the marquis sends Andrea to the Antilles, to prospect some land he has just acquired. He promises Andre that he can marry Denise if he is successful in the tropics, but he then writes to Alvarez, his manager at the site, asking him ot prevent Andrea from ever returning to France. The brutal Alvarez forms an instant hatred for Andre when the engineer breaks up Alvarez's attempt to rape Papitou, a beautiful native girl. Papitou becomes devoted to Andre and protects him against Alvarez's schemes. But she faces a crisis herself when she learns that Andre plans to marry Denise.

Refreshments are provided and donations are appreciated to help cover the cost of food. Call (323) 933-2676 to RSVP which helps provide a head count.

Friday, September 30 2011  12 Noon
The Wilfandel Club
3425 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90018

Monday, September 19, 2011



Google and Feedburner are having some in-di-gestion!

I'd personally give them some Pepto-Bismol but that's kinda of hard to do with the internet.
In the meantime, please ignore email links to older posts.

West Adams Avenues Association

Friday, September 16, 2011


They say "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." But this Saturday, September 17, 2011 the Doctors are coming to you.

Come and participate in St. Paul's 2nd Annual Senior Health Fair. There will be free health evaluations, prizes, health education, entertainment, lunch and plethora of vendors and resources. 

There are also gift cards for the first 150 seniors that complete all the health evaluations.

9AM -- 4PM
2535 9th Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90018

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Well the summer break is over, vacations are done and the kids are back in school.

Join us for our first meeting this fall. Remember, the next meeting of West Adams Avenues Association is tonight, Wednesday, September 14 at 7PM.

Be sure to show up for this meeting to hear what happened over the summer and provide your input for items to focus on for the remainder of 2011 and going into 2012.

So BRING A NEIGHBOR and afterwards enjoy some munchies. See you there!

Wednesday September 14, 2011 7PM
West Adams Avenues Monthly Meeting
3425 West Adams (corner of 5th and Adams)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Annual Jazz in the Avenues


It's that time of year again, where vacations wind down, the kids are back in school and we get THE last holiday until November. That's right...Labor Day weekend!

We invite you to the Avenues for our annual "Jazz in the Avenues" where your family and friends can get together with other neighbors to enjoy an evening of dancing and dining smack dab in the middle of West Adams.

Bring your chairs or blankets, a loaded picnic basket or sample the cuisine from local vendors. Then sit back and relax--or DANCE!--as we enjoy a night of music with Women of Drums, Salsa, and the Michael King Group.

If you haven't been yet, you are missing out on the most unique experience in the middle of Los Angeles.

Sunday, September 4, 2011
6:30PM to 11:00PM
7th Avenue (Between Adams and 25th Street)

View Larger Map

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Our Neighborhood; Our Officer Highlighted in the New York Times


It is not very often that our neighborhood is highlighted in the press. Sure, we get film shoots and yes, from time to time, the Los Angeles Times will erroneously highlight our neighborhood in their crime report--they tend to stick to zip codes and NOT actual neighborhoods.

So it comes as a pleasant surprise to see West Adams Avenues, our neighbors and our Senior Lead Officer Tracy Hauter highlighted in an article in the New York Times.

Below, follows the entire article with a link directly to the New York Times:

In Los Angeles, a Police Force Transformed

Monica Almeida/The New York Times
LOS ANGELES — It had all the makings of another turbulent moment for the Los Angeles Police Department, an agency once notorious for an “L.A. Confidential” style of heavy-handed policing, hostile relations with minorities and corruption. Two months after triumphantly announcing the arrest of a suspect in a brutal beating at Dodger Stadium, the police admitted that they had arrested the wrong man, and charged two other people with the crime.

But unlike other potentially explosive episodes that have rocked this department over the decades, there were no indignant denials or attacks on critics. Instead, the police chief, Charlie Beck, wrote an op-ed article in The Los Angeles Times explaining what had gone wrong and expressing regret at some of his own public comments. “We can do much better,” Chief Beck wrote.

The moment reflected what has been a revolution for the police department that was once the model for Sgt. Joe Friday and “Dragnet.” Twenty years after the police beating of Rodney King was caught on videotape, and 10 years after the Justice Department imposed a consent decree to battle pervasive corruption in the Rampart Division, this has become a department transformed, offering itself up — in a way that not so many years ago would have been unthinkable — as a model police agency for the United States.

“It’s been an amazing transformation,” said John W. Mack, a former head of the Urban League who is the president of the Police Commission, the civilian board that oversees the force. “The L.A.P.D. of today is very, very different than 10, 12 years ago, when I was one of the people who was constantly battling them.”

Constance Rice, a civil rights lawyer who regularly sued the department two decades ago, said, “We’ve gone from a state of war to becoming partners here.”

The department, once widely assailed as racist, homophobic, authoritarian and corrupt, is now viewed as more friend than foe by most people in this city, including blacks and Hispanics, according to polls. A 2009 poll by The Los Angeles Times found that 8 in 10 voters strongly or somewhat approved of the performance of the department, with 76 percent of Latinos and 68 percent of blacks giving the agency positive grades; some analysts said that given the relative lack of contentious issues and the continuing drop in the crime rate, the department’s approval numbers have if anything continued to improve since that time.
What is more, officials announced last month that the violent crime rate had declined 9.6 percent from last year, the ninth consecutive year of decline.

The number of homicides last year, when 297 people were killed, was the lowest since 1967, when the city was one-third smaller. “We are on track again this year to have under 300 homicides — that’s a number I thought I would never see in Los Angeles,” Chief Beck said.
The decline, reflecting trends in other big cities, is particularly striking in Los Angeles because of the department’s troubled history and because the force, which has just under 10,000 uniformed employees, is smaller per capita than many of the nation’s largest cities, including New York.

The turnaround reflects initiatives that have changed the way the department looks, how it battles crime and how it relates to the community. It reflects the considerable success of the last police chief, William J. Bratton, who took over at a time of turmoil and imposed many of the reforms that he had brought as New York’s police commissioner, among them statistical models to track crime and establishing personal relationships between police officers and residents.

“Bratton took them from the police force with the biggest police corruption scandal in the country and the biggest riot in American history on its résumé to a police force that was producing declining crime, had won the confidence of a liberal police commission and won the respect of the black middle class,” Ms. Rice said. “The L.A.P.D. was hated by everybody. Bratton didn’t only reduce crime. He created a new policing atmosphere.”

Erwin Chemerinsky, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, who wrote a report on departmental abuses after Rampart, said, “Bratton made clear that the culture that tolerated an excess of force, where a code of silence was just pervasive, could no longer be tolerated.”

Mr. Bratton, who left the force in 2009, said he found the challenges here much tougher than what he faced during two years in New York. “The N.Y.P.D. was more ready for change,” he said. “The L.A.P.D. was a very proud organization, was resistant to change, very resistant to me coming in as an outsider.”

The changes were apparent during a recent visit at the Southwest Division headquarters in South Central Los Angeles, long identified with gang violence.

Monica Almeida/The New York Times
Charts on the walls tracked, day by day and neighborhood by neighborhood, upticks in crime. Tracy A. Hauter, the senior lead officer, put on a wide pair of sunglasses and took off from roll call to spend her Sunday morning tooling from one side of her turf to the other. She visited community leaders, who ran out of their homes to greet her, gazed down alleys to check out efforts to clean up trash and graffiti and offered a running travelogue on the neighborhood.

Officer Hauter stopped at one point to issue a stern warning to two men repairing a car out on the street, in violation of the law and in defiance, she reminded them, of repeated complaints by neighbors. She pulled over a man in red — gang colors — for a quick pat-down and conversation. A crucial part of the department’s success is the battle against gangs, responsible for 60 percent of homicides.

“When I came here in 2000, we were still rolling to shooting after shooting after shooting,” Officer Hauter said as she drove along West Adams Boulevard, her cruiser’s windows kept open so that she could hear gunshots. “Now we don’t roll out to many shootings at all.”

The morning roll call, which 20 years ago would have been, for the most part, a lineup of white men with military haircuts, included blacks, Latinos, Asians and women, evidence of what Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa described in an interview as the result of an aggressive and crucial effort to diversify the department.

In 1991, the year of the King beating, the department was 61 percent white and 87 percent male. As of last month, it was 36 percent white and 81 percent male.

Many of the changes were the result of recommendations from outside commissions and the strictures imposed in the Rampart consent decree, after dozens of officers were accused of perjury and tampering with evidence. A commission appointed after the King beating, and subsequent riots, recommended strengthening the Police Commission and imposing term limits on police commissioners.

Mr. Bratton was hired in 2002 by James K. Hahn, then the mayor, forcing out a sitting police chief — Bernard Parks — to try to get the department stabilized. “Bratton spent most of his time talking about what needed to be done to reform the L.A.P.D. and improve its image,” Mr. Hahn said of their interview. “He also said, ‘I can bring crime down in your city by 25 percent, and if not I’ll resign.’ That was an offer I could not refuse.”

Rick J. Caruso, who led the Police Commission at the time, said the department was in deep despair then. “Morale was at a low point,” Mr. Caruso said. “There were more officers leaving than coming in.”

Joe Domanick, the associate director of the Center on the Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, wrote a 1994 book on the department — “To Protect and to Serve: The LAPD’s Century of War in the City of Dreams” — and said that in many ways, the agency was worse than remembered.

“It had this reputation for being America’s cops, which wasn’t true,” Mr. Domanick said. “They weren’t good. It wasn’t just that they were brutal and all that. They were not effective.”
Mr. Domanick said he was stunned by how the department had turned around. He is now writing a sequel. 

Original New York Times Article: