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Matt Weinstock

July 18, 2007 | 10:58 am

Matt_weinstockd July 18, 1957

Don Bailey Jr. has no red tab on his rear license plate.

He applied for it like other motorists during the renewal period but never received it. Apparently it was lost in the processing at Sacramento or in the mail.

He is stopped almost every day and asked about the tab.

He explains the situation to the officers. He shows them his canceled check for $84 ($601.88 USD 2006) dated Feb. 4 and a memo that he is authorized to drive the car, a 1955 Olds, License BBS664. He tells them this has been verified by the Inglewood and L.A. offices of the Motor Vehicle Department and he has been instructed to carry the check and memo with him at all times until the matter is cleared.

The officers sympathize and let him go.

On July 7, at about 1:30 a.m. Bailey was stopped near 39th and Crenshaw. His wife, sister-in-law and sleeping child were in the car.

One officer put a flashlight on his rear plate and asked to see his 1957 license. Bailey handed him his "evidence."

The officer was unconvinced and wrote a citation. He listed three counts--wrong address on operator's license, lights out of adjustment and "no evidence of '57 registration."

Bailey refused to sign the citation. Then, as he puts it, "We both got pretty hot."

The officer said he'd have to take him in if he didn't sign the ticket. Bailey remained adamant.

The officer handcuffed him behind his back and Bailey told his wife to drive their car home.

At University Station, Bailey was given the usual alternative--sign the ticket or be booked in jail. He finally decided to sign.

He explains, "The reason I didn't want to sign it was that to do so would be conceding that I was driving my car illegally and that I'd thrown away my $84."

When the case comes up in court, Bailey plans to plead not guilty.

CULTURAL NOTE--Remember the ubiquitous wartime phrase "Kilroy was here?" Well, in the men's room of a Hollywood Boulevard restaurant-bar, reports Tom Lempertz, someone has written, "In hoc loc Kilrex erat."

CURE FOR INSOMNIA

My body is ready for slumber
Except for my worrisome head;
It's best to abandon the blankets
And watch the late movie instead.

--Martha Manheim


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