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Webslave's note: Each month, back
when I lived in Venice, someone from the Beachhead Collective would
drop off a bundle of a hundred copies at my door, and I would distribute
them house-to-house around Oakwood. My way of continuing to be a Beachhead
volunteer is to resurrect and re-type selected articles from its past
(pre-computer) issues, for which the Beachhead has graciously granted
Tuum Est: a 70s Program stands up to the 80s
by Beaumarie St. Clair - Dec. 1979
The 1980s loom ahead. Golden years:
gold $400.00 an ounce, gold smog belt on the western horizon and gold
sun energy alternatives.
The 70s are closing down. Like the boardwalk flea
markets and the nomadic sidewalk entertainers, all abandon the chilly
seaside to the damp, winter wind.
These days mirror the holidays we are swiftly passing
through: savage, Halloween-colored sunsets draw crowds to the shore at
dusk. Misty, Thanksgiving-cool mornings make it hard to rise and a Christmas-lit
coastline bracelets the night.
These are seasonal changes. For those living at
Tuum Est there are more. Standing innocuously between the Figtree Cafe
and the Bay Cities Synagogue, 503 Ocean Front Walk's facade looks well
kept, but hardly different from the other 1920s-style buildings on the
Inside however, a life-directing force so high in
energy is occurring that residents claim one full day in Tuum Est is the
equivalent to seven days on the streets. It can be that intense. Nowhere
in the community, perhaps the world, do things happen like they do in
Tuum Est is the formal avant garde of drug abuse
treatment. Its goal is the emotional, educational and vocational advancement
of drug abusers and alcoholics.
Before the 1970s (except for the wealthy) there
were few alternatives for drug users, jails and mental hospitals.
With the rash of drugs that entwined the 60s came
a new understanding of the deeper, psychological reasons people abused
them. Drug treatment centers rose out of this new awareness.
Tuum Est was instituted in Venice in 1970. Since
the beginning of the decade the program has followed a rapid evolution.
Early in the 70s the program was geared primarily toward heroin addicts.
The hopeless cases with 10, 20, even 25 year old habits came to get help.
Many had spent their lives in and out of penitentiaries like San Quentin,
Folsom, C.R.C., Chino and Soledad.
These people were the sort of challenge Tuum Est
welcomed, and it became the foundation for establishing the program's
reputation for being one of the best of its kind in the world.
Tuum Est has grown. It is a dumping place for enormous
amounts of human pain, where residents learn and grow. New drug problems
(like PCP and cocaine) arise, but the human struggle to endure remains.
It is "the people business." A Cinderella story with two possible
outcomes, life or death.
With the 80s upon us, so come revisions of codes
and regulations. Next year the state will begin licensing drug treatment
centers. Despite its sturdy appearance, Tuum Est's building will not meet
earthquake and fire safety code requirements.
This means the program is seeking to locate a bigger
and better facility in the Santa Monica Bay area. "Tuum Est is an
institution in the Venice community," explains Executive Director
Jim O'Donnell. "We'd like to remain at the beach."
In regard to the program itself he states, "I
think Tuum Est is the essence of where a drug program should be today.
We'll continue to add to it to keep it that way."
The golden 80s are upon us and Tuum Est keeps stride.
Skill Center Success Story
Ron Clanin, age 35, is a resident of Venice. He
was raised on a midwest farm in Amish Territory, third in a family of
six children whose parents did not believe that having an education would
"put food on the table." He therefore received only a third
grade education. Having previously spent most of his adult life in various
drug and alcoholic programs, in 1977 he came to Tuum Est at 503 Ocean
Front Walk in Venice. Tuum Est is a therapeutic Community Program for
the rehabilitation of alcoholics and drug addicts. After being assisted
by Vocational Rehabilitation, he was referred by Tuum Est to Venice Skills
Ron remembers mostly the difficult time he had in
meeting the requirements for enrolling, which included verifying his residency.
It took approximately three months for preparation before he was actually
ready to take the big step toward enrollment. Some of this time included
going before the Department of Motor Vehicles to have his driver's license
restored after being revoked at age eighteen. It also included going before
Performance Review Boards at Tuum Est. One must be reviewed before advancing
to any level at Tuum Est.
But, being persistent, sincere in his efforts and
honestly desirous of changing his life style, he enrolled in the Auto
Mechanics program, completed the training and is now leaving the program
to accept employment at Tuum Est as Counselor in Automotive Self Reliance
and House Maintenance.
In the 19 months since he entered Tuum Est, he has
climbed the ladder of performance from Janitor to Supervisor, to House
Manager, and now after completion of training at Venice Skills Center,
to employment as Counselor.
His goal is to help some alcoholics and drug addicts
regain their sense of composure, obtain a skill, and become self-sufficient.
He feels the experiences gathered through his involvement with Tuum Est
and Venice Skills Center have provided him with the necessary tools to
succeed in this endeavor.
Being the first referral from Tuum Est to complete
a training program at Venice Skills Center, Ron hopes that his success
can be a bridge between the two programs over which others may be able
Anyone feeling they have reached a stage in life
where they no longer wish to continue downward through unemployment and
low self esteem can, by calling Venice Skills Center at 392-4153, become
a success as Ron Clanin has become.
CLARE-i-fying the question
by Moe Stavnezer
Free Venice Beachhead June 1980 #126
AND update, exclusive to Virtual Venice, July 2005
To those who know it at all the Clare Foundation
is a good group. An alcoholic rehab organization with an office here in
Venice, on Lincoln, and headquarters in Santa Monica on Pico Bl. Some,
like me, may be most familiar with Clare because it runs the DWI (Driving
While Intoxicated) classes required by the S.M. and L.A. courts in lieu
of a bigger fine or going to jail. The sell is soft-core by the instructors
who are sincere, ex-alcoholics trying to alert the still-drinking population
of the evils of demon alcohol. And without any kidding at all theres
a whole lot of evils for us to be concerned about.
But the Clare Foundation is a bit more or should
I say less than it appears to be. Recently a series of events have taken
place that call into question the squeaky-clean image that Clare has tried
so diligently to maintain. Seems that Clare purchased an apartment building
on 9th St. in S.M. right behind the main office of the Foundation. Dont
know if Clare did that with the idea of converting the place into an alcoholic
rehab center right from the beginning but thats what they
claim they want to do now. And in order to do that they have to get rid
of the current tenants. And there of course lies the rub. Cause
Santa Monica, as you may recall, has a Rent Control law that requires
landlords, no matter who they are, to obtain approval from the Rent Board
before removing a rental unit from the market. It also contains a good
cause eviction section that sets limits on the reasons a landlord
may evict a tenant.
Do the Means Justify the Ends?
Clare has applied twice to the Rent Control Board,
under different sections of the law, to have the apartments it owns removed
from jurisdiction of the law. The first time Clare claimed it was exempt
from the law because the apartment was an alcoholic rehab center when
that was NOT the case. That application was denied by the Rent Board.
Then Clare submitted a removal request which has the effect of removing
the units from the jurisdiction of the law and allowing the owner to proceed
as if the law didnt exist. But his portion of the law has very strict
criteria and it was obvious that Clare could not meet those standards
so that application was withdrawn. So far so good, at least as far as
compliance with the law goes. But Clare, it seems, had other ideas that
dont seem to jibe with the law or Clares image.
Several tenants in the 6-unit building were told
that they had to leave and that Clare Foundation would not accept their
rent checks. Other tenants couldnt pay rents because Clare had failed
to designate any particular person to be available to collect rents. When
they did not pay rent Clare gave them e-day notices to quit
or pay rent, a kind of eviction notice that is usually satisfied if the
rent is paid. After the tenants were given these notices they again tried
to pay their rent. Again the rent was refused by the Clare Foundation
employees under instructions from its lawyer. These tenants were then
given 30-day notices to leave - for non-payment of rent!
Another tenant, a mother with 5 children, claims
to have been given an illegal rent increase as a condition of remaining
in her apartment. Because she felt intimidated, she has failed to seek
help from the Rent Control Board. Other tenants have filed violation complaints
against Clare with the Rent Board.
Ken Shonlau, who runs Clare, denied all of this
when I spoke to him on the phone. He claimed, just before having to answer
an important long distance call, that Clare tried to help all the tenants
find other, comparable housing and that the tenants hadnt paid rent
for a long period before they were served eviction notices (he would not
specify the length of time.) Further, he said that none of the violation
claims were correct and the Rent Board had not or would not work with
Clare to help convert the apartment to an alcoholic rehab center. Clare,
according to Shonlau, is completely faultless. Its the tenants who
are all wrong.
But some tenants claim that Clare is much more a
landlord than a rehab center. One recovering alcoholic claims to have
paid rent to Clare for nearly a year and though grateful for the apartment,
says that he has received no counseling during that time. Hes been
referred to another agency for help and apart from that his only contact
with Clare has been to pay his rent.
Whether Clare Foundation or its tenants are telling
the truth will soon be decided by the Rent Board. In the meanwhile I must
confess that Im a bit uneasy about Clares position and its
real intentions. Part of the Clare credo seems to be being honest, especially
with ones self. Cant help feeling that the current situation
is a do as I say not as I do problem for the Foundation and
the people who live in that apartment building.
Sunday, July 03, 2005: CLARE, REVISITED
by Moe Stavnezer
It's kind of eerie reading something I wrote 25
years ago. Though what I wrote then was accurate for the context, it is
not at all how I feel about the CLARE foundation a quarter century later.
CLARE saved my life about 10 years ago and, more than that, has helped
saved many others.
The apartment building in question 25 years ago
has more than lived up to the to the purpose that CLARE envisioned. I
have no idea how many people have benefited from living in that building
while recovering from one form of addiction or another, but I was one
of them. Some 10 years ago I became addicted to crack cocaine. I found
myself in deep trouble with the law and was fortunate enough to be assigned
to a rehab program called Drug Court. I was completely broke, in terrible
straights and in desperate need of a place to live. I was fortunate enough
to be given a place to live at CLARE. Ironically, it was in the very apartment
building which was the subject of my earlier article.
CLARE not only administered the Drug Court program
but also had a rehab program for the residents. These were rigorous programs,
especially since I was going through both simultaneously. CLARE may have
side stepped the letter of rent control but certainly not its spirit which
was to providing housing for people who could not pay the rising rents
in Santa Monica.
I don't know what one person's life is worth. I
can tell you that I am alive and living well because of what CLARE gave
Playing the Pavilion
by Chris Toussaint
After more than five years of neglect and disuse
the Venice Beach Pavilion Theatre is once again gearing up to become an
active theatrical house and community arts center. The refurbishment project
undertaken by the Venice Beach Foundation comes largely through the efforts
of Stephan Tompkins, a long-time Venice resident and director of the current
production called "The Lady Who Cried Fox."
The 1250-seat facility was originally an open air
amphitheatre which featured the L. A. Philharmonic Orchestra and Shakespearean
productions under the "Theatre by the Sea" banner. In 1970 the
City of Los Angeles put a roof over it, turning the theatre into a virtual
echo chamber. Gutted by vandalism and trashed by derelicts who had made
the theatre their home, it was estimated by the City to cost nearly $1
million to renovate.
Tompkins approached the City with a grassroots concept
of putting the Pavilion back into business as a community cultural center.
Revitalization efforts have so far included a community cleanup crew,
a "paint day" which drew local residents to sling paint at the
years of accumulated graffiti, and installation of "basics"
such as carpeting, new seating, lighting and stage repair.
Tompkins's plans for the Pavilion include eventual
full-time use as a community arts center with local theatre presentations,
dance, music, art, mime, workshops and classes, and special entertainment
"I'm counting on the spirit of Venice to make
this work," says Tompkins. The Venice Beach Foundation seeks volunteers
and donations of funds and materials to complete the renovation. If you
wish to help, contact Mr. Tompkins at 396-9661 or 396-4761 (evenings).
by Arnold Springer
October 1982 #154
Down on Main Street near the traffic circle, Venice's
lone laundromat is being cleaned up and renovated. It's the work of John
Stanton. He called the Beachhead and said, "Listen, I want to publicly
thank all the friends and neighbors who pitched in and volunteered to
help me transform this place from a dirty and disreputable heap into a
safe, clean and sanitary community asset."
John was born and raised in Venice, a home boy who attended
Beethoven, Mark Twain, and Venice High. He recently bought the laundromat
with the double intent of using it to support himself and his recently
widowed mother and to clean it up so it could be used by the community.
He mortgaged his home and spent his last savings to do it.
When he took over, 8 of the 12 dryers were fritzed, 11
out of the 32 washing machines were zeroed. Local residents donated their
labor to help John with his project. They painted, hung doors and built
folding tables, pulled an entire dumpster of hair, rags, paper and junk
our of the broken washing machines.
The place is now open for business and it has changed.
Every washer and dryer has been completely overhauled. An employee (usually
John himself) is always on the premises. The machines are cleaned and
disinfected after each use, the floors are swept several times a day,
and washed and disinfected each night.
Gone are the vagrants and transients who were wont to
use the laundromat as a sort of warm waiting room and pissoir. Now 10,000
watts of light, inside and out, add to the security of the establishment
and the block surrounding it.
John wants the laundromat to be a neighborhood place,
secure and friendly. It was an eyesore and dangerous, he said, and his
effort has been as much a social issue as a pursuit of profit. "When
I see all the neighbors coming back," he says, "it makes me
The hours for the Venice Laundromat are 6:30 - 10 pm,
with the last wash allowed at 9:15. Coffee is served for patrons on Sunday
May 1983 #161
Family Clinic Benefit:
Take an Art Walk
by Carol Doumani
First, let's clear up a few misconceptions.
The Venice Family Clinic is NOT a shelter
for drug users and abusers. Less than 1% of the 10,000 patients seen at
the Clinic this year will come in because of problems related to drugs.
The Venice Family Clinic is NOT a shelter
for the homeless who populate Venice's beaches and boardwalk. These people
could receive medical treatment at the Clinic, but it is not a rescue
mission offering food or shelter to people who wander the streets.
The Venice Family Clinic is NOT a family
planning center, doling out birth control pills and arranging abortions
for women in trouble. Counseling is available to members of both sexes
at the Clinic, but it is not the place to come to pick up a monthly supply
Now, let's talk about what the Venice
Family Clinic is.
It IS a full service medical center providing
FREE primary medical care to low income residents of the Venice area.
This means that anyone who is sick and who cannot afford to pay for expensive
private doctors and hospitals has a place to come and get help. For many
people, the Venice Family Clinic has been helpful when there has been
nowhere else to turn.
Here's how it got started. Twelve years
ago a group of local people who cared about Venice got together to discuss
a common concern, the lack of available affordable health care for local
residents including the elderly, the non-English speaking residents and
the very poor, all of whom are part of the melting pot that is Venice.
This group wanted to do something tangible to help provide medical services
to the community. So, with what government and local funding they could
procure, this group of concerned citizens founded the Venice Family Clinic.
At first, the Clinic operated only at night, out of a borrowed dental
clinic. Supplies and equipment were kept in a few plastic trays, and a
closet full of donated drug samples served as a pharmacy. Right from the
start there were doctors who were willing to donate some of their precious
off hours to work at the Clinic, but in the beginning, "full staffing"
meant four evenings a week with one volunteer doctor, a hard-working volunteer
pharmacist, one or two largely untrained volunteer assistants, and a part-time
receptionist/translator/coordinator. Certainly, it took courage simply
to open the door each evening and try to cope with the serious medical
problems of these people on such limited resources.
But the Clinic was an immediate success
- not financially, for there are never enough funds to support a non-profit
organization of this type. And most of the patients were unable to pay
for their treatment, not because they weren't working, but because every
penny that they made generally was needed just to keep their families
alive. But the Clinic survived and flourished simply because it filled
a very vital human need, by providing free primary medical care to people
who could not afford to get it elsewhere.
Over the past twelve years, this small
community organization has forged a unique and responsive network of resources
and medical service providers, including volunteer physicians, and other
health workers. These professionals along with a supportive staff now
offer a broad range of quality medical services every weekday and evening.
The Venice Family Clinic has become the "family doctor" to thousands
of people who cannot find or afford a place in the traditional medical
Who, you may be asking, are these thousands
of people who come to the Clinic?
The Clinic is open to any needy person,
and the patients now come in from all parts of Los Angeles. This year,
more than 10,000 patients are expected, a 12% increase from last year.
This means that an average of 55 patients a day line up to be registered
to see a doctor in one of the various programs offered by the Clinic.
Appointments are made for weekly specialty clinics such as women's, seniors
and high blood pressure, but no appointments are made in advance for the
walk-in pediatric and adult clinics; patients are treated on a first come
first served basis, which means that on many days people must be turned
away because there is not enough time or enough medical staff to see them.
Almost 41% of the patients live in Venice
itself, most within easy walking distance of the Clinic. Approximately
56% are Hispanic, necessitating bilingual volunteers, staff and literature.
37% are under fifteen years of age. 86% have yearly incomes under the
federal poverty level. And 100% have come to the Venice Family Clinic
because they need help and have nowhere to go.
Serving the enormous number of people
has required the dedication and hard work of volunteers on many levels,
creating a thriving and energetic family unit to reach out to the community.
Our volunteers include 550 community
people. 100 are doctors, 70 are clinic assistants who are backed up by
10 fulltime and 5 parttime employees.
Twelve years ago all the Clinic could
afford was simple medical care, barely over the level of first aid. Now
the Clinic offers general pediatric and adult clinics on Monday through
Thursday, plus regularly scheduled clinics for women; for senior citizens;
eye clinics, both optometry and ophthalmology; high blood pressure testing;
dermatology clinics, ear, nose and throat, neurology, cardiology clinics
and nutrition counseling.
Further, the Clinic's doctors have initiated
a much needed referral system helping obtain medical specialty services
not available at the Clinic, or hospitalization for patients who would
otherwise be unable to get specialized treatment.
Needless to say, all this costs money.
And in the face of ever-diminishing government funds, the Venice Family
Clinic is striving to increase its support from private sources. To keep
the Clinic open this year will cost nearly $450,000. And it is no small
task to make ends meet.
For the past four years the major source
of income for the Clinic has been the annual Venice Art Walk, a day long
open house of local artists' studios and art galleries, with a crafts
faire and silent auction of contemporary art, culminating with a fabulous
dinner. Last year more than 2500 people contributed $25 each to walk and
ride buses throughout Venice. The profit from this day was an incredible
$145,000. This year the Clinic is striving to increase that profit to
$200,000. The Art Walk relies on the support of local artists, who contribute
by opening their studios for the day and on more than 400 volunteers who
help with the pre-Art Walk arrangements as well as serving as guides to
those who participate in the tour. Each year a local artist is generous
enough to create the Art Walk poster, which announces the tour and then
is sold city-wide. This year an extraordinary poster has been created
by world renowned artist David Hockney. It will be available unsigned
at a price of $25, and signed by the artist for $100.
Another way local merchants and friends
can aid the Clinic is to purchase advertisements in the Art Walk Guidebook
which, in addition to a map of the studios open the day of the Walk, gives
biographies of local artists and is a compendium of services and merchants
in the area whose advertisements range from a few lines to a full page.
The date of this year's Art Walk is Sunday,
May 15. Some of the local artists who have been generous enough to open
their studios include: Guy Dill, Eric Orr, Stephanie DeLange, Margit Omar,
Claire Falkenstein, Diana Hobson, Laddie John Dill, and much more.
After the Art Walk there will be a dinner,
entertainment and dancing at Santa Monica Place. The theme of this post-Art
Walk party is the Venice Boardwalk, and the cost will be $150 per person
which includes the Art Walk admission.
The Venice Family Clinic is located at
322 S. Lincoln Bl.
October 1983 #166
FOR THE RECORD
(Note: This letter was written in response to Stan Price's letter on behalf
of Tuum Est which appeared in the Sept. Beachhead)
I can only guess at your reaction to
the letter you sent me, if it had, in the past, arrived on your desk at
Venice Legal Services. But I certainly don't have to guess about my reaction,
especially having heard from a number of the current tenants of the St.
Charles and having seen a copy of the eviction notice they received only
15 days ago.
I erred in my article only as regards
the actual legal lessee of the St. Charles. In our phone conversation
you stated that the relative of a person connected with Tuum Est had lease
the building for use by Tuum Est. I have now been informed that a group
of people from Tuum Est "inspected" the building. You are splitting
a very fine hair by stating "Tuum Est is thus not involved in the
eviction from the hotel..."
Your statements concerning the letter
and spirit of the Rent Control law and that neither you nor Tuum Est know
anything about the future of the building are difficult for me to reconcile
with the facts in this matter. The owners, or whoever is leasing the building,
may be complying with the letter of the law, though even that is debatable,
but the spirit is quite a different matter. We are, after all, dealing
with 40 people who have been given 30 days to find new places to live
at the height of the summer months in what I'm certain you know to be
a very tight rental market. Given the current rental situation, where
it costs a minimum of 3 times the rent simply to move into a new apartment,
the offer of $1,000 is quite minimal these days. So, neither the time
allowed nor the relocation "benefits" appear to have much spirit
attached to them.
As to the future use of the building
you might want to look at the eviction notice, especially given your statement
about having been informed of the eviction process. That notice quite
frankly declares that the eviction is proceeding in order to remove the
building from the residential market "to be converted to commercial
use. Said conversion is to be accomplished as soon as the units have been
vacated." Furthermore, if, as you contend, Tuum Est is such a good
neighbor don't you feel that they ought to be concerned about the future
use of the hotel as it may affect the environment in which Tuum Est functions?
As to my single reference to Sienna,
it had nothing to do with the Tuum Est drug program nor any other aspect
of that organization save its current involvement at the St. Charles.
It was not meant as a scare tactic, and the reference to red-baiting is
patently absurd, but for many people here the analogy holds quite strongly.
You, and the people of Tuum Est, are quite out of touch with reality if
you do not understand that many people make a connection between the two
organizations, especially considering the origin of Tuum Est. Tuum Est,
by its almost total non-participation in the community, has done nothing
to dispel the partially negative image it has. Having attempted on a couple
of occasions to contact and involve Tuum Est in community issues some
years ago and having met with great disinterest, I had little reason to
feel that matters had changed presently. But now, partially due to what
I wrote and certainly in no way die to Tuum Est taking the slightest initiative,
the (last) Beachhead contained articles from the Hotel residents
and from Tuum Est.
I understand and empathize with Tuum
Est's housing problem due to the necessity to bring the building up to
seismic safety standards. I have been aware of their dilemma for some
time. The fact that Tuum Est has not been able, for more than a year,
to find a building or a community to which to move is testimony to the
unique quality of "live and let live" found in Venice people.
I hope you will make your client aware of this accepting attitude and
impress on them the fact that the very people who are being displaces
are among the most tolerant type of Venice resident. No matter who replaces
them, if the past few years are any indication, they will be more affluent
and less tolerant of such things as a substance rehab program in their
neighborhood. Tuum Est is, in my judgment, working against its own interest
in this community by its involvement in the eviction of the 40 residents
of the St. Charles Hotel.
All of the above is my personal opinion
in this matter. It in no way attempts to represent any other person or
party. I hope this letter clarifies my feelings in this matter and that
you understand the broader implications of the eviction of the residents
of the St. Charles.
Yours truly, Moe Stavnezer
I appreciate your concern about the eviction of the residents of the St.
Charles. However, Tuum Est is irrevocably committed to its renovation
plan and cannot alter it at this point.
Tuum Est has only a short term sublease
interest in the property. What the owners intend to do when Tuum Est vacates
the premises is something you'll have to ask the owners about.
Sincerely yours, Stanton J. Price
October 1983 #166
St. Charles Blues
Andre Hall, Ex-St. Charles tenant
Will the struggle to keep the tenants
of the St. Charles Hotel on the corner of Windward Avenue and Speedway
from being evicted become a rallying point of protest within the community
of Venice against forced evictions, or shall it be swept aside by the
profit seeking co-owners of the St. Charles Hotel, whose past and present
intentions have not been in the best interests of the tenants?
The St. Charles Hotel. more than 80 years
old, has been a home (roach infested, of course) for many Venetians of
the avante garde persuasion. It has also been a place of residence for
many people with a low income.
The forced eviction with a relocation
bribe is tantamount to total disregard for the welfare of the St. Charles
Hotel tenants. The Co-owners (Reesy Shaw, Tom Lochtefeld $ Co.) of the
St. Charles and others will more than likely claim that the relocation
bribe fee sill suffice as being adequate compensation.
What they will have failed to understand
is that no price can be put on the months and years of living in a building
where one has planted roots of care and love of one's surroundings and
To those who accepted the eviction bribe
with or without a feeling of remorse; it can only be said that life itself
is worth living if one struggles for the benefit of all against exploitation
and oppression being perpetuated by the ruling rich class and not for
one's individual greed and self-interest.
The letter submitted to the August '83
Beachhead by the attorney for Tuum Est, Stanton J. Price, should
be examined closely. It should be noted that the Tuum Est attorney's statement
of finding an "empty" building such as the St. Charles Hotel
is a distortion of the truth. The St. Charles is, in fact, presently housing
tenants who wish to stay on in their rightful place of residence.
The point of contention is not whether
or not Tuum Est has been a service to the Venice community. The line of
demarcation is the rights of the people vs. business interests.
A question arises as to why Tuum Est
would seek temporary residence at the St. Charles Hotel knowing full well
that they would indirectly be accomplices to the eviction of the St. Charles
tenants? Was the bid for the St. Charles lucrative in regards to the profit
margin for both parties involved?
And, for what reason could the co-owners
want to evict the tenants of the St. Charles for the relatively short
period of eight to twelve months occupancy by Tuum Est? Are the co-owners
of the St. Charles planning to turn the building into a business enterprise?
One may toss this about: the 1984 Olympics.
It has been reported in the Westside
section of the LA Times (9/8/83) that the tenants of the Cadillac
Hotel on Ocean Front Walk have been given eviction notices. A suit challenging
the evictions of the Cadillac tenants claims that the owner, Werner Scharff,
plans to convert the hotel into a restaurant, hotel or bed-and-breakfast
inn for the 1984 Olympics. Could the same 1984 Olympics debacle also be
in store for the St. Charles Hotel before or after the possible temporary
take-over by Tuum Est? And, after Tuum Est and the Olympics...
SUPPORT THE TENANTS OF THE ST. CHARLES
HOTEL TO CONTINUE THEIR TENANCY with your moral and written support at
this time of need. The St. Charles Tenants Association is circulating
a petition regarding their eviction. They may be contacted by writing
them at 25 Windward Ave, Venice CA 90291 or call (213)----
As a result of the St. Charles Tenants'
Association's having challenged their evictions, the case for Unlawful
Detainer was dismissed and rents were collected for September.
The tenants, represented by attorney
Steve Clare, raised the defense that they were not provided with their
relocation benefits and that the purported conversion of the building
for commercial use was nebulous. Further, the owners had not complied
with the Municipal Code. At this point, it remains to be seen whether
rents for October will be accepted of it new Notices to Vacate will be
issued. PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION!
October 1983 #166
by Arnold Springer
Elderly tenants living in the Cadillac
Hotel (Dudley and Ocean Front Walk in Venice have obtained a temporary
restraining order which forbids the building's owners from evicting or
harassing them. Owner Werner Scharff denies that he intended to evict
However tenants report that notices were
posted in the building lobby informing occupants that extensive repairs
and renovations to the structure would take place at some unspecified
future date and encouraging those wishing to avoid the noise and inconvenience
to move at their convenience.
Elderly tenants became frightened and
with the aid of the Israel Levin Center contacted the Bet Tsedek legal
services agency which specializes in aid to low income people. Lawyer
Janna Zimmer went into Santa Monica Superior Court in Sept. and convinced
conservative judge Lawrence Rittenband to issue a temporary restraining
order against Scharff. Rittenband ruled that no repairs or renovations
could begin prior to Scharff's obtaining all necessary permits from the
City of Los Angeles and the California Coastal Commission. Pending issuance
of those permits the owners were cautioned not to harass or attempt to
evict the Cadillac tenants.
News of the alleged harassment and evictions
followed publication in the Sept. Beachhead of a long interview with Mr.
Scharff in which the prominent landowner announced his "return"
to Venice development, acknowledged his recent purchase of the Cadillac
Hotel, and pledged to build low cost senior housing near the beach in
Venice, in part to house those seniors who would eventually be displaced
from residential apartments to a tourist hotel.
Lawyer Zimmer is presently seeking a
permanent injunction against Scharff. The hearing on that request is scheduled
before Judge Rittenband in Dept. C, Santa Monica Superior Court on Oct.
controversy was so very Venice. Here are 3 pieces from the Free Venice
Beachhead, plus one by local writer Thomas Pleasure that was in the
Fox Features Fascist Flick
Feb 1981 #134
What do you think of a "children's
movie" in which Black people are slaves, are shown to be happy working
all day and singing all night, in which they are portrayed as grown children,
never angry at their condition of enforced dependency or at the whites
who rule them, and in which they are filled with love for those who oppress
Should you let your children be exposed
to these vicious and harmful racist ideas and images in this film?
Well, Walt Disney Studios is celebrating
Ronald Reagan's election be re-releasing Song of the South as their
contribution to the resurgence of the right wing. At a time when the Ku
Klux Klan has reemerged in California and in North Carolina to kill people
in the streets in broad daylight, at a time when Black children are being
murdered in Buffalo, Atlanta and Oakland, the Fox Venice has scheduled
Song of the South throughout the day and evening of Sunday, Feb.
8th so that all the families of Venice and Ocean Park can share in the
"great family fun" of seeing "an imaginative combination
of animation and live action."
The lesson of the film is that life is
as it should be. Any person - Black or white, child or adult - who wants
to change their unhappy situation and leave the "plantation"
for a better life will always experience something worse. What is animated
so cutely is the brutality of tarring, hanging, burning, and mutilation
that are used to enslave people. These punishments are presented in cartoon
form of Br'er Rabbit, who, after he ventures from his "plantation"
- the briar patch - is always happy to avoid the dangers of life by escaping
back to where he came from. The psychological lesson learned by children
who identify with Br'er Rabbit is that what is, is better than what could
Many of us grown-ups
haven't seen Song of the South for 20-30 years and only remember
a warm, happy film with live people and funny carton characters. Remember
Br'er Rabbit and his thorny shelter, the Briar Patch, the beautiful singing
Bluebird, the happy people working and singing who are never really dirty
or tired? Well, only vaguely, and certainly not as a racist movie! But
these happy people were slaves and the whites, whom they supposedly loved
so much, had the power of life and death over every one of them.
The book, from which the movie is taken
was written in about 1870 and it depicts slave live in an earlier time
on the plantation. Around 1870, the Ku Klux Klan was on the rise and preparing
to force the recently freed slaves into a kind of servitude almost as
bad as slavery. Reconstruction would end in only 6 years with the deal
that put Hayes into the White House and the slaves "back in their
The last 20 years have seen many strides
made by the civil rights movement and the resulting, though very slight,
bettering of life for some Black people here. But now, with the economy
in a mess, the Klan is on the rise again to once more put Blacks, and
other non-white people, in their place. The political manifestation of
the rise of racism is the election of Ronald Reagan espousing the politics
of the right replete with the same "states rights" policies
of Rutherford B. Hays 100 years ago. This is once again, the beginning
of the end of Reconstruction -- a call to return to earlier and simpler
times when Blacks knew, and stayed in, their place. Small wonder that
this is also a time for the re-issuance of Song of the South.
A group of community people from Venice
and Santa Monica have asked the management of the Fox Venice not to show
Song of the South because of its racist message for children. The
management has refused to pull the movie. But our main message is to you,
especially those of you with children.
We are asking parents not to attend or
allow their children to attend this film showing, both as a protest to
the racism in the picture and as a statement of awareness and concern
about the period of increasing race hatred and violence that our country
is now entering.
Please join our picket line on Sunday,
February 8th at 1:00 p.m. in front of the Fox Theater, 620 Lincoln Blvd,
and bring your children to a FREE showing of several Charlie Chaplin films
to be shown from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Methodist Church, located
a few blocks south of the Fox Venice Theater at the corner of Lincoln
Blvd. and Victoria Avenue. The films include "The Immigrant,"
"Easy Street," and "Kid Auto Races in Venice," (otherwise
known as "The Pest"). Let us unite as a concerned community.
INSERT to this issue:
RACIST FILM WITHDRAWN! COMMUNITY
repeats part of the above article, then goes on to say;
This was the film to be shown at the Fox Venice Theatre, Sunday February
8th. Divergent people, offended by this film and concerned about the rise
of racism is this country, came together to protest the showing of Song
of the South at the Fox Venice. Our efforts convince the owners of
the Fox, Landmark Films, Inc., to review the film and finally, only a
few days ago, to withdraw it from their schedule. The cooperation, patience
and perseverance of the many people demonstrated to Landmark that such
examples of racism will not go unchallenged in our community.
This successful effort to have Song
of the South removed from our neighborhood theater is only one aspect
of a continuing need to make latent and overt racism the object of swift
and strong protest. Far from being settled, the question of racial inequality
in America has barely moved from the picture painted by this film. In
fact the re-release of the film comes at a time when the small gains minorities
and women have achieved in the last twenty years are being threatened.
To celebrate this victory and encourage
others to voice their opposition to these kinds of racist occurrences
the coalition which led the effort to stop Song of the South will
hold a celebration at 1 p.m., Sunday February 8th in front of the Fox
Venice. Please come and join us - and send in the coupon below if you
would like to participate further in the ongoing fight against racism
in America. (return to Anti-Racism Coalition, 212 Pier Avenue, Santa Monica
Song of the South Wrap-Up
by Ed Pearl
March 1981 #135
As one of the organizers of the protest against
the racist film, Song of the South, I am most appreciative of the
BeachHead's placing it as last month's feature story. You are to
be commended as consistent fighters against racism, sexism, and attacks
against non-wealthy people. We, the Venice Community, need you as a trustworthy
clarion; our own Paul Revere, so to say.
Because of that immense value, I was dismayed at
the overkill of your headline, "FOX FEATURES FASCIST FILM.":
First of all, it is inaccurate. Nobody claimed it
as fascist, genocidal, or anything other than "Mickey Mouse"
pernicious racist. After all, what will you say when the Fox plays a truly
fascist film - Triumph of the Will, say, or worse, an American
film promoting fascism? The forces of reaction will no doubt point to
this headline to label both yourselves and the protesters of this film
as reckless leftists and censors of cartoons. This diminishes your voice
and our effectiveness as organizers against the growing racism of this
political period. We do not wish to be dismissed and that headline did
I hope our community protest will call to the attention
of parents and educators the subtle mis-education of these clever films
and lend strength to the demands of color that Hollywood stop producing
bigoted stereotypes for our children and begin showing people as they
are in their real life situations. At the same time we have to deal with
two facts: almost all cartoons - not to mention films for adults - are
outrageously sexist, racist, violent, and generally misogynist, and that
parents have also been brought up with these films, remember them fondly,
and defend their right to see them or anything else they wish. Many parents
in front of the theater were responsive when we pointed out that Hollywood
had made almost no films which dealt with Black people fairly, let alone
racism in life or in film. Our struggle for a more human culture must
be built both by bold actions like the successful film boycott and ongoing,
sensitive education, mindful of parental protectiveness and civil liberties.
Some people felt that the community should have
been openly thankful to the Fox for substituting Lady and the Tramp
for Song of the South. But the Fox pulled the film because we began
distributing leaflets, NOT because of any agreement. In fact, they refused
to meet with our community delegation. My own feeling was that we were
more in the position of a union winning a small concession from management
- the UAW really doesn't go around thanking GM, does it? In the end, the
Fox acted like the traditional redbaiting boss. At the Sunday 5:30 showing
of the substitute film, only two of us were distributing our leaflet explaining
our position. We were not asking people to boycott Lady and the Tramp.
The Sunday manager came out three times and announced to people that someone
attached to our group had called threatening violence to the theater,
perhaps bombing, and that was the reason they'd pulled the film. This
was a blatant lie, proven by their interview five days before in the Feb.
5 Ocean Front Weekly, stating: "We agreed to cancel the presentation
after reconsidering the position taken by the people protesting the film.
We're trying to be a community-oriented theater." One customer almost
punched me for wanting to do violence to his 12-year-old. We spoke for
over ten minutes until he calmed down, understood our ideas about the
film and saw the list of ministers and community leaders endorsing the
boycott. He was then angry at the Fox for this rotten slander. The next
day, Reverend Michael Cowan or our coalition called Terry Thorne, manager
of the theater and asked for an explanation. Thorne not only didn't deny
the slander but refused to discuss it.
Our common struggle intensifies and we need the
BeachHead ever so much as a respected voice to set the record straight.
Take yourselves seriously and don't overkill on headlines and rhetoric.
Letter to the Editor from David Fertik
I feel compelled to write to you in response to
your February issue with the frightening headline "FOX FEATURES FASCIST
FLICK", which resulted in the Fox Venice's decision to cancel the
showing of Song of the South.
1. Your enormous letters of your headlines seemed
to be used to incite your readers and to frighten and coerce the Fox management
to capitulate to your wishes.
2. The Body of your story never proves your headlines.
Certainly the film contains racial stereotypes. But to equate stereotyping
with racism and equate racism with fascism is pushing it. No adult would
take this piece of fantasy entertainment as overtly projecting racism
or fascism. It is not Triumph of the Will. Can you even imagine
the KKK using Song of the South for propaganda purposes?
3. Your article's thrust decries the dangerous effect
this film would have on innocent children - as if seeing Mary Poppins
would convince children that all nannies could fly with umbrellas. If
The Song of the South is so dangerous, how did you guys manage
to grow up to be the equalitarians you are? You admit in the article only
"remembering the film as a warm happy film with live people and funny
4. Your assessment of the South's content
is very subjective anyway. I remember the film communicating that Black
people are the loving, joyous people in the world. The White people are
troubled frustrated and unhappy. The young white boy finds the greatest
warmth and joy by associating with blacks. Spiritually, the film suggests
that happiness is not a function of wealth and power - what a threatening
idea for the Reagan administration.
5. Your article suggests that The Song of the
South was to be shown by the Fox and was released by Disney studios
to celebrate Reagan's election and the return of right wing power. This
is then linked up to the KKK and the killing of black children around
the country. To me, this is irresponsible, yellow journalism of the worst
kind, especially considering the proximity of the Oakwood neighborhood,
a neighborhood beset by unemployment, drug abuse, and violence. This is
why I believe your paper coerced the Fox Venice. You created a dangerous
situation by suggesting the Fox was showing a film that you say creates
a climate for the killing of black children. This coercion is not calm,
clear, rational communication. This is fascism.
6. To me censorship especially in the arts and communications
is the worst sign of impending fascism in a free society. By your article
you have justified censorship and created a healthy environment for intolerance
and fascism. Are your actions any different form the "moral Majority"
stopping a local movie theater in Yahoo, Mississippi from showing Hearts
and Minds by calling it commie propaganda, or Last Tango in Paris
by calling it a film of sexual perversion? How would you feel if the local
paper had intimidated the local theater? I'd feel ripped off.
"Song of the South":
a Fascist Film?
by Thomas Pleasure
(This article appeared in the Sunday
Calendar section of the L.A. Times. Thomas Pleasure is a longtime
Venice activist and writer of social commentary.)
Last spring, the Fox
Venice Theater scheduled a Saturday showing of the Walt Disney classic
"Song of the South." Immediately, it was attacked by a community
organization called Coalition Against Racism, which opposed the screening
on the grounds that Uncle Remus was a fascist tool and that the animated
fables were clever devices designed to keep the "natives" down
on the farm, to keep them accepting of slavery.
"A Fascist Flick"
roared the headlines of the community newspaper, Venice Beachhead, and
the management of the Fox Venice yielded to the demands for "censorship."
Well, comparing a film
of yesterday with today's standards isn't, in and of itself, a very compelling
reason for censorship. The charge that a film about the antebellum South
is biased and racist against blacks goes without saying. What film of
As far as the charge
of promoting slavery, what biblical feature of Cecil B DeMille's could
pass the stringent tests the coalition put forward, i.e., Does the film
portray slaves as passive and accepting of slavery? That would wipe out
"Spartacus," "Quo Vadis," "Ben Hur," and
"The Ten Commandments." And don't discount those slaves just
because they were white. Slaves are slaves, no matter what color. What
Disney seems guilty of is portraying black slaves as happy, instead of
sad, like DeMille's white slaves. But then, Disney was making a musical.
What is of questionable
value is the film's *funky portrayal of white people. Over the years I
have seen "Song of the South" four times. Each time I left the
theater feeling elated but with the distinct impression that the white
people had been raked over the coals in a subtle way. Whether it was the
rich plantation owners or the poor white trash, these white Southerners
were portrayed by Disney as unfeeling, uptight and downright stupid.
The father finks on the
family and splits for the big city, seeking fame and fortune as a newspaperman.
His wife, a typically beautiful Southern belle, is slightly nutty and
seriously spoiled. Grandma's a crank and grandpa is conspicuously absent
from the scene. No wonder the little boy (Bobby Driscoll) wants to run
away from home.
And who should save the
day but Uncle Remus (James Baskett) and his controversial tales. As a
matter of storyline, it's the blacks who come out smelling like night-blooming
jasmine, with Uncle Remus the star of the show. However, in my opinion,
biased by four years of working in an office of minorities (I was the
showcase "white" in a department of black and brown poverty-program
officials), the censorship of the film hurts the black-awareness movement
far more than it helps it.
The film, though, is
so blatant in its anti-white bias that one can't help but think that Disney
had something other than a "fascist plot" in mind when he adapted
Joel Chandler Harris's literary tales. The result was a widely successful
The key to its popularity
lies in the tales Uncle Remus tells of Br'er Rabbit's struggles in the
Briar Patch with Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear. The tales succeed in keeping
Bobby Driscoll from running away from home' they show Bobby and Luana
Patten, his exquisite girlfriend (of the poor-white family) how to cope
with her two mean brothers (who parallel Fox and Bear both in appearance
and deed), and in the end they help the white plantation family to come
No matter your skin color,
these animal stories are rich in human truths. Caught by Br'ers Fox and
Bear, Br'er Rabbit pleads, "Do anything you want to me, but whatever
you do *don't throw me in that briar patch" (which I know like the
back of my hand). Each of Uncle Remus's animated messages is about survival
in the Briar Patch (of Life). There's a way for everyone to survive, including
a poor rabbit.
We all know that to survive
slavery you have to do many unthinkable things. What "Song of the
South" shows us is that to survive, the black people banded together.
When the slaves went to the fields, it wasn't, as the coalition claimed,
all peaches and cream - they were singing soulful spirituals. At night,
around the campfire, they sang about freedom. When Uncle Remus goes down
the road with Mr. Bluebird on his shoulder, he is singing, and by the
end of the film, so is the audience.
What also comes out of
Disney's pro-black film is an appreciation of the close familial relationships
that existed between black and white, so close that they raised each other's
children despite the strict codes of conduct that separated them. Plantation
life was, indeed, a curious paradox.
Whites, though, may wish
to censor this film just to save face. There is, however, an obvious consequence
to censoring it. We, and especially our children, would not get to see
an enjoyable, positive black Southern folk-hero, nor would we hear the
African animal fables that Harris and Disney left in Uncle Remus's care.
Et Tu, Tuum Est, et al
KICKING THE HABITANTS
by Ann Clayton
September 1983 #165
Rumors flew in June '83 at the St. Charles
Hotel. Jack at the liquor store had been formally evicted and we residents
figured it was a matter of time for us,and we were right.
We had a tenants' meeting with a representative
from the Tenant Action Center. At that time we understood that a party
from Tuum Est had looked at the building and said they would be interested,
provided the environment was "drug free." This seemed consistent
with the eviction of the liquor store. In order to eliminate the confusion
generated by rumor, one tenant telephoned Lochtefeld, a nonresident owner,
and was informed that Tuum Est was negotiating to lease the place. The
Tenant Action Center lawyer was reluctant to get involved with any action
that would involve local citizenry opposing the introduction of a drug
rehab center. He said maybe there would be a zoning restriction on Tuum
Est, but otherwise we hadn't much legal grounds for opposition at that
An inchoate resistance already seemed
afloundering, but various parties responded various ways, and by July,
it was obvious Jack was in, and we weren't evicted. Optimism. Then, August
1st we were served a "30 Day Notice to Quit." Pertinent phrases
read: "The landlord in good faith seeks to recover possession of
said premises in order to remove the rental unit permanently from rental
housing use"; also, "premises are to be converted to commercial
use. Said conversion is to be accomplished as soon as all units have been
vacated...there is a relocation fee of $1,000.00 available for your unit.
Upon surrender of the premises said fee shall be paid. Attached hereto
is a current list of vacant and available units of comparable size and
A local business owner has said that
a gentleman names Steinbach who works with the Building and Safety Department
has informed him that Tuum Est cannot occupy the St. Charles without violating
local code. Back in June, Sergeant Tucker of the Pacific Division of the
LAPD said Tuum Est had no record of negative activity. Yet no one would
rent to them. Sgt. Tucker's statement of no problems with Tuum Est leaves
a question of Tuum Est being closed out of housing unjustly. Collective
landlord guilt or perhaps a hallmark of justified concern?
The point is now, we do not know who
is coming into the building for a fact. Whoever it is, the eviction notice
indicates that the new use of the building must be commercial.
We also know that the residents of the
St. Charles Hotel, mostly creative, working, self-sufficient (read: it's
up to you) people are being put out into the street unless they go along
with this deal and accept this thousand dollar bribe. A flowering community
of residents who enhance the neighborhood (the Venice Chamber of Commerce
has expressed concern) is being evicted. Why?
Speaking for myself, I spent my early
childhood (1952-1957) in Carmel and have lived my adult life in what sociologists
euphemistically refer to as "transitional neighborhoods." I
am tired of moving.
I ask the community to offer its consideration
and advice. We can continue to let our neighborhoods be raped, year after
year; perhaps there is an alternative. The time is now.
Re: Tuum Est, Inc.
Staff note: the following letter was sent to the Beachhead* by the attorney
who represents Tuum Est.
Dear Mr. Stavnezer,
In connection with the St. Charles Hotel,
you would have best served the community if, instead of, in your own words,
relying on rumor, you contacted either the owners of the Hotel or Tuum
Est to obtain first hand information. You would have done the community
an even greater service if, when I contacted you, you listened to what
I had to say rather than acting as defensively as you did. In any event,
whether or not you care to pay any attention, I feel obliged for the record
to make clear to you the facts in the situation.
Tuum Est, as you know, has been running
a substance abuse program with great success in the Venice community for
over ten years. The building in which Tuum Est residents live, however,
must be brought up to current seismic safety standards. The building,
though, cannot be rehabbed with the residents remaining in it. Accordingly,
the Program had to find relocation housing for the residents. It is not
an easy mater to find an empty building meeting the Program's need that
anyone is willing to lease in its entirety for the relatively short period
of time - ten to twelve months - needed for the construction work on the
building the Program owns.
Tuum Est is thus not involved in the
evictions from the Hotel, but has been offered the property as a possible
relocation site. I have been informed and believe that the owners of the
Hotel are complying with the letter and spirit of the Los Angeles rent
control ordinance and are providing each of the tenants with all relocation
rights and benefits.
As I indicated, the Program will be in
the Hotel for a relatively short period of time, probably through the
end of next summer, although the exact amount of time will be a function
of the time it takes to rehab the Program's building. As Tuum Est does
not own the Hotel, neither the Program staff nor I know what will happen
to it after the Program returns to its own building. That is something
you might want to talk to the Hotel owners about.
You should also be aware that this whole
matter has nothing to do with Synanon and your references to Synanon in
your article were inappropriate and simply amounted to a scare tactic,
a form of red-baiting.
I hope, if you continue to write about
the St. Charles Hotel, you will make use of the facts of the situation
as outlined above rather than rumor. I hope also, you will keep in mind
that Tuum Est operates an outstanding and much-needed program.
If you think about all this for a few
minutes you will realize that Tuum Est's continues existence on Ocean
Front Walk is an essential factor in the maintenance of the ethnic, social
and economic mix that the Venice community has long prized. If Tuum Est
leaves the community, that mix loses one of its main anchor points. You
sill thus do your community no service by attacking one of the community's
major friends and supports.
Stanton J. Price
(Note: Mr. Price was, at one time,
an attorney with Venice Neighborhood Legal Services and later with the
National Health Law Program.)