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Matt Weinstock -- March 26, 1959

March 26, 2009 |  4:00 pm

Progressive Pains

Matt_weinstockdThat noise you hear down Santa Monica way is not another hunk of palisades sliding toward the ocean, it's the indignant uproar over progress, with our without quotes. With the opening of Pacific Ocean Park  last year, the city of Santa Monica launched a modernization program.

A Redevelopment Agency was appointed with the power to condemn property, and a master plan was created which would replace the so-called slum areas with handsome new multiple dwellings, some 20 stories high.

first step was to acquire more and more beachfront property for parking space. An immediate complaint was heard from small-business men along the waterfront who said chasing away the bathers was hurting business. Streets also have been closed off and rerouted, confusing visitors.

1959_0326_comics TO COMBAT the Redevelopment Agency, residents have formed the Santa Monica Property, Homeowners & Tenants Assn. They claim skulduggery is afoot. They call the procedure a land grab. It is claimed also that there is oil in the 36-acre strip just north of the amusement pier, the section in dispute, making it very desirable.

The homeowners agree, perhaps belatedly, that their property needs a face-lifting, and they say they are willing to improve it, if given the chance. They point out also that other areas in the city are more blighted than theirs. Why, they ask, is the city so eager to dispossess them? They call it a political squeeze.

In short, they like it there. They don't want to sell their property, especially under pressure.

As elsewhere, the matter doubtless will have to be settled in the courts.


teacher at a nearby college recently conducted a class discussion on the collapse of the French government and the resultant rise of De Gaulle.

A principal reason for it, he said, was there were so many parties which couldn't agree on issues and became dissident, obstructionist groups.

On an examination paper a week later a student who apparently hadn't been listening attentively wrote, "The French government collapsed because of too many parties."

Let this be a warning to the cocktail crowd in Washington.



Elizabeth Duncan trial in Ventura, defense attorney S. Ward Sullivan showed reporter Roy Ringer a letter from a 16-year-old L.A. high school boy asking for a transcript of the entire trial. He wanted to write a play based on the trial, he stated, for his drama class. Sullivan still was shuddering -- the transcript has about 660,000 words --- when he came to the final sentence: "If you can't comply that's all right. I'll just do a Perry Mason, but I don't think my teacher will let me put that on, either."


1959_0326_abby PUBLIC AT LARGE
-- Bill Gooch tells people one of his greatest joys is holding Lily Pons on his knee. When he has them hooked he builds it up, relating how she gazes wistfully into his eyes. Then he confides Lily Pons is a neighbor, almost 3, and her father, Tony Pons, is an Air Force sergeant ... A man with a mustache ordered a beer in a downtown pub and sure enough, as it foamed while being poured, Dick Hunt, who knew him, remarked, "Ah, a drinking man's filter."


-- The Rosarito Beach hotel, scene of a sensational gambling raid recently, has Mexican federal flags over every door, signifying it is closed by government decree. So reportsDarr Smith, who stopped for a look on the way home from Ensenada ... Sy Korman , Chicago Tribune correspondent here, whose play, "A Year of Waiting," will be given a reading by the Original Only group tonight in Hollywood, has mingled feelings. He hopes it clicks but he fears he faces more rewrite ... W.R. Scott of Reseda had a horrible nightmare. He dreamed his phone bill arrived and he was charged with the message units for that call to Venus and back.