• Albert Vera – Arnold Springer
  • Vending on Ocean Front Walk – Della Franco
  • Free Speech on Ocean Front Walk – Therese Dietlin

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Albert Vera

Dear Beachhead,

Albert Vera died last week in Culver City.

I went to his ‘commemoration’ at Holy Cross Cemetery on Slauson in Culver City.

I saw Sol Grammatico there.  He ran against Ruth Galanter in her first race for Council District 6.  He was from Culver City.  All the politicos were there as well, elected officials and their wives….and an honor guard of the fire and police departments, and the priest actually asked the people to give Albert Vera a loud and sustained applause for his service to the community.  Can you image that?  It was a Catholic ceremony.

Albert Vera ran the Sorrento Market on Sepulveda in Culver City, down by the mall there at the Richard M. Nixon Freeway appendage.

Well,  Anyway.

Albert Vera was an Italian and he came to California in 1947 as a teen or so,  after WW II. Then, what happened?

He worked hard.  Got Married.

He raised a family.

He became a small business man in Culver City.  He was successful. His neighbors liked him, and trusted him, and he gave back, and back, and back.!

Because he was trusted and loved by the community people  (we can say the ‘citizens’ which we in Venice cannot!) of Culver City, he was elected Mayor three times in popular votes of the people.  He was trusted and loved and respected.  A very simple immigrant.

And then after his service he went back to his Sorrento Market:  Where he worked with his partner and comrade Ursala until he was suddenly struck by a heart attack and died right there and then in his home. He was about 75.

Ursala had just hours before been admitted to the hospital with a high fever.  She is really ill with a kidney problem.

I knew Albert Vera from the Sorrento Market where I often shopped —for the best of everything and service etc—great, great bread and fresh pasta for example.

I knew his name from the campaign signs during election days when driving through Culver City.

I was always glad to see him and Ursala at the Sorrento Market.  What agenerous, wonderful, honest, concerned and caring Man.

Arnold  Springer

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Vending on Ocean Front Walk

Dear Beachhead

I am writing about the terrible situation the crafts people of the OFW are finding themselves in and it is getting worse as the summer season begins.

There are TOO MANY COMMERCIAL VENDORS taking up vital space on the OFW. The ordinance is not being enforced, vendors are not asked to display their work to Recs and Parks before getting a permit, anyone and any age can receive a permit. It is so sad to see over 200 real artists not receive a permit to set up while there are endless tables selling plastic factory-made goods that takes away the authenticity and uniqueness of Venice Beach.

Why can’t the old rule of “MAKE YOUR ART ON THE SPOT” be enforced in some or most designated areas? It has always been a solution to some of these problems.

The main issue with the lottery these days is that people are just joining the lottery to get a space in order to “sell it” to the highest bidder. Also, you now have vendors paying people to join the lottery to ensure they get a space. You also have several (or more) family members joining the lottery even though half of them do not participate on the OFW.

There has to be more control over the permit and lottery system, before Venice Beach becomes just another swap meet. The lottery has long been a corrupt system that does not protect the rights of the artists of the OFW. I encourage fellow Venetians, artisans and other concerned members of the public to write to Bill Rosendahl at bill.rosendahl @lacity.org and tell him of your concerns. Help Save Venice Beach!

Della Franco

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Free Speech on Ocean Front Walk

Dear Beachhead,

On Sunday, June 20, Dave Bradt (Mr. Anti-circumcision), Norman and Stella (Urantia), and I (general political commentary) were set up in the Sunset Pagoda area, as we had been led to believe by second hand reports from LAPD officers on the Pacific detail that we had every legal right to do. Our displays were compact and did not impede any traffic into, out of, or through the Pagoda area.

Early in that afternoon, LAPD officer Quesada approached Dave Bradt as I watched from the other side of the pagoda area.

After a few minutes of observed discussion between Officer Quesada and Dave, I joined the exchange, explaining that I was part of the group who had opted to do this. One of our justifications for being in the Pagoda was that the eight (8) black spaces purportedly set aside for first amendment people like us (LAMC42.15 section B (5)) were all occupied by aggressive commercial vendors of various inclinations and that we had been informed we could set up in the Pagodas.

Officer Quesada, while being very sympathetic to our plight, told us that we had been misinformed. We could NOT set up in the Pagodas. If we were allowed to be there, soon many others would be vying for the spaces. She told us we needed to go to the Recreation and Parks Office on Windward Plaza and ask them to make those black spaces available to us as LAPD had nothing to do with space allocation and usage. I told her I was willing to move but would not do so until my partners returned from a rest room break; the woman is 91 years old and I was not about to abandon her without telling her what was going on.

Shortly after, Officer Quesada returned to our little group in the Pagoda and told us she had found us a space but we needed to move there right away. Dave and I gathered what we could of our displays and took them to the space Officer Quesada had cleared of an illegal vendor for us. After moving all our stuff, Dave and I walked the Boardwalk to the Rec and Parks office to request that the people there remove the illegal vendors in the black spaces, with Dave taking pictures of the black spaces on the way.

We hoped to document the evidence of unacceptable commercial vending in those spaces. At space P-28 we encountered threats and hostility. We later learned that one of the individuals involved threatened to “kill” us.

When we got to the the Rec and Parks office, it was closed and a message on the door gave the hours (for permit purchase) as Mon-Sat 12noon to 4pm.

We returned to our new space and reorganized our prematurely disrupted displays.

My usual routine is to walk the Boardwalk after I have dismantled and stored my display. I look for plastic that may contaminate the ocean and kill our fish and fowl. I also pick up discarded evidence of city-sanctioned commercial vending on the Boardwalk. I now have two grocery bags full of “evidence,” should any civic minded soul care to look at it. Last Sunday, I did not do this routine check. I did not feel safe after the verbal threats that I learned were directed at me.

We are concerned that:

1. Commercial vendors are being allowed to occupy those black spaces, which have purportedly been set aside for First Amendment Free Speech Activists such as Dave, Norman, Stella and myself.

2. That the people occupying those spaces feel free to threaten us with bodily harm when we gather evidence to support our claim.

3. That Recreation and Parks has let these commercial vendors occupy those eight spaces and sell with impunity for over two years, while we have been afraid to take them due to threats to our persons.

4. We request that these spaces be identified in situ as available “for Free Speech Activity only; NO VENDING.”

We ask that this unacceptable and unconstitutional situation be remedied at once.

We further ask that steps be taken to insure our safety from assault or other harm while, before and after occupying those spaces.

In addition, we ask that those spaces be relocated further north on the Boardwalk where they will be less vulnerable to possible assaults to legitimate occupants by aggressive commercial elements masquerading as religious or other organization.

Therese Dietlin

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