• Is anyone else out there? – Mary Getelin
  • Oakwood Park – Laddie Williams
  • Police Sweep the Beach – Mark Lipman


Is anyone else out there?

Dear Beachhead,

A young man I know is in jail, partly because he is Salvadorean, and is harassed for “driving while Mexican.”

He needs to have a new public defender, reduced bail and be bailed out.

Is anyone else out there?

Has anyone else been unfairly arrested, harassed, set up, entrapped or just plain tricked into getting a ticket? Then the ticket goes to a warrant and you’re in traffic court with a very cranky judge lecturing you on the California budget. No more community service- still gotta pay the whole fine, $640.00 bicycle ticket or a guy who obviously has a drug problem has a public defender who is trying to get him 8 years and won’t do a drug deferment. Public Defender says, “Well who knows if you can stay clean or not!” This P.D. working is not working for her client! She wants him jailed for 8 years!

Lliana needs to have him at the birth of their baby. Most people with money have had adult children with drug problems. But they are also able to bail them out, get them a really good lawyer, mount a credible defense, admit to having harmed oneself, get a drug deferment and go to rehab. Hopefully rehab and the birth of a new son or daughter will turn Norberto’s life around. I’ve met Norberto, and he was a very nice, sweet young man. The family accepted him immediately,

When I was all freaked about getting evicted with last year’s “new owner”, he went back to work, wrote down all this information on my rights, told it to me in a very slow fashion, gave me this piece of paper with all my rights written on it- gave me a big smile,”Don’t worry Mary, we’ll all help you, whatever happens. You can come to O.P.C.C. and we’ll get you a section 8 Housing Voucher in sixty days and help you find a new place to live.”

So you know how it was in the old days- the 70’s? People would go to door to door asking for $10 to bail someone out of jail. This is how you know you are in a community or not, when you ask for help. Does anybody answer? We’re asking for help. We know you all and love you all.

Thank you, Love,    Mary Getlein

PS. I love the Beachhead!!! It helps your mind to use it!!!


Oakwood Park

Dear Beachhead,

As I came home from work at 4:54pm on Feb. 19, Oakwood Park was surrounded by CRASH and LAPD. Venice’s young teens were being harassed and were patted down. LAPD told them they ‘are in the Venice Shoreline Crips’ (VSLC) and continued to treat the teens as gang members because they were at Oakwood.

Isn’t this too much? Isn’t this insidious? Isn’t our park where teens should be? Isn’t this what a class park teen program is supposed to be about? Is this Venice’s Teen Program?

Many of the young men told CRASH they are in a basketball league at Oakwood. This got a response from one of LAPD Officers, “The powers inside stated that you’re loitering and causing the community grief because you are standing around at the park.”

We know who that is inside the park, and it needs to stop. The Oakwood Park Advisory Board (PAB) needs to speak about this so the community can let CRASH know, ‘they need to go to Los Angeles where people are being killed on a daily basis.’ Oakwood Park is for everyone!

Laddie Williams


Police Sweep on the Beach

Dear Beachhead,

On Thursday night, February 12, 2010, the day before the start of the long Valentine’s Day weekend, the LAPD made a massive sweep of Venice Beach.  At three o’clock in the morning anyone who was sleeping or destitute was taken into police custody – reminiscent of Oakwood 2006.

Locked away safely in cages throughout the city, counting the slow drip of time, the unlucky finding themselves in L. A. County Jail – with nothing to eat, but soggy, stale peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, for five days straight.

“I’ve heard of some horror stories at county,” says one guy caught in the net.  Later in the day the same man would wind up having a epileptic seizure, because the guards refused to give him his medicine.

As Friday was a state furlow and Monday was President’s Day (now I know what it’s for), the soonest anyone would be able to be processed out would be Tuesday.

“I was just sleeping in the tennis courts – sleeping,” says a scruffy inmate listed as J. Smith (his real name was Mike).

“They’ve got us sitting around in paper pajamas,” says Anthony, now in his sixties, from his perch on the cold concrete floor.  He’s been through the wringer a few times.  This time around he was arrested for reading the newspaper.  “It didn’t used to be like this,” he remembers.  “And it’s completely illegal too.”

“What we need is a class action suit,” chimes in another scraggily elder.  “But that takes money.”

“They did this once,” Anthony responded.  “We sued.  Everyone got like $2,500.  The Supreme Court’s already ruled that it’s illegal, but they don’t care – they keep doing it.  It keeps the system going.”

And going it was, with upwards of thirty, forty musky men crammed into holding cells designed for ten – “Whites and Latinos” in one cell, “Blacks and Others” in another.  16 to 20 cells in all, with women’s cells included.

Officially the sweep took in fifty, however County Sheriffs were overheard saying one hundred.  100 false arrests.

And the processors didn’t care.  They were there to guide you through the steps and they didn’t tell you twice before they reminded you of where you were.  “If you don’t like it,” snapped one female sheriff, “stay out of jail.”

Together with the regular weekend drinkers and fighters, all the way up the line, more than 600 cases needed to get through the court in one single day.

“Sure, they’re going to release us,” at 9PM, with no bus fare, from the LAX courthouse.  “But who’s going to give me my time back?” Anthony demanded.  “Our time has been stolen and no one cares!”

Mark Lipman

Categories: Letters