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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: April 26, 2009 - May 2, 2009

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Voices -- Jack Kemp, 1935 - 2009


Bringing bankruptcy home

January 18, 2008

By Jack Kemp, Jack Kemp, a former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is founder and chairman of a strategic consulting firm in Washington.

When I was Housing and Urban Development secretary in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, we fought against economic pessimism every day in the effort to spread the American dream of homeownership, particularly for moderate- and low-income families. Over the last 15 years, homeownership, especially among people of color, has risen to historic levels. In just the last five years, 2.8 million families bought their first homes. Now, the sub-prime mortgage crisis is threatening to roll back this progress.

It is clear that sub-prime loan foreclosures are only going to get worse. How can the government help homeowners without putting taxpayer dollars at risk or sending the wrong signals to the housing market?

There is no single answer. Some ideas being floated are intended to bail out Wall Street fund managers who made bad decisions on mortgage-backed securities. Other proposals have the unintended effect of propping up investors who bought property for speculative gain. Some notions, such as programs to educate and counsel homeowners, are a positive but small step. But the reality is that markets do work, and although credit markets are in distress, progress is being made.

I applaud the White House efforts to encourage mortgage servicers to modify existing adjustable-rate loans for a limited number of borrowers who cannot afford interest rate resets. However, depending solely on the goodwill of an industry that bears no small measure of responsibility in this crisis is unlikely to be the full answer.

What is missing is a rational and urgent push to help the estimated 2.2 million families in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure in the near future. Congress is considering a small fix that would have more impact on these families than any other option under consideration: temporarily allowing bankruptcy courts to give the same relief to homeowners on principal-residence mortgages that businesspeople get on real estate investment loans, that farmers get on farm loans and that individuals receive on loans for vacation homes, cars, trucks and boats.

Bankruptcy law is wildly off-kilter in how it treats homeownership. Under current law, courts can lower unreasonably high interest rates on secured loans, reschedule secured loan payments to make them more affordable and adjust the secured portion of loans down to the fair market value of the underlying property -- all secured loans, that is, except those secured by the debtor's home. This gaping loophole threatens the most vulnerable with the loss of their most valuable assets -- their homes -- and leaves untouched their largest liabilities -- their mortgages.

In the absence of modification, many of today's loans will result in foreclosure. When servicers are unwilling or unable to voluntarily modify exploding, unsustainable home mortgage loans, Congress has a duty to consider involuntary modification in bankruptcy court, where the same relief is granted on all other secured loans. The proposed Emergency Home Ownership and Mortgage Equity Protection Act being considered by Congress would do just that. It is targeted at only sub-prime and nontraditional mortgages and will be available for only seven years after it is enacted in order to mitigate against the next wave of exploding interest rate resets.

The key is to avoid an overreaction that would have negative long-term effects on the housing market. Allowing certain distressed homeowners limited bankruptcy protection provides the greatest potential benefit with the least market disruption, and it will not cost the Treasury a dime. Moreover, a tweak to the bankruptcy code is a narrowly targeted solution. It is estimated that more than 600,000 homeowners could use bankruptcy protection to modify their loans and stay in their homes.

Some argue that expanding bankruptcy relief for homeowners would encourage frivolous bankruptcy filings, but recent reforms have made filing a very onerous process. People who bought homes with the intent of flipping them two years down the road are not going to go through the aggravation, embarrassment and cost of bankruptcy.

Why do we need to keep people in their homes? As HUD secretary, I saw firsthand that homeownership makes neighborhoods safer, encourages investment and raises our overall standard of living. People care more deeply about their neighborhoods if they have an ownership stake.

Homeownership is not about left or right, conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican. The House Judiciary Committee has passed a bipartisan compromise version of the bill, and the full House is expected to take it up next month. Both the House and Senate need to pass it -- and soon.



Be Not Afraid, Use Genetics to Feed the World's Hungry

* Agriculture: If we don't use science to farm more intelligently, we put people and ecosystems at risk.

December 3, 1999

By JACK KEMP, Jack Kemp, the 1996 Republican nominee for vice president, is a distinguished fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington.

The fast-waning 20th century has brought tremendous improvement in the human condition. People live longer, healthier lives than they did 100 years ago, largely because of stunning advances in medicine and agriculture.

These advances include products of genetic engineering. Former President Carter, whose Carter Center is doing outstanding work on agricultural production in the developing world, says that by increasing crop yields, genetic engineering reduces "the constant need to clear more land for growing food. Seeds designed to resist drought and pests are especially useful in tropical countries, where crop losses are often severe." Carter makes clear that the poorest, hungriest people of the world have the most to lose in the public relations assault on new bioengineered foods.

Science deserves most of the credit for advances in food production and nutrition, but so do education, the economics of wealth-creation, philanthropy and enlightened political leadership. Together these have put to rest the old Malthusian fear that population would outstrip our capacity to feed the world and that there was nothing we could do about it. There was something, and we did it: Today we feed 6 billion people much better than we fed 4 billion 20 years ago.

Yet this is no time to rest on our laurels. The 1996 U.N. World Food Summit reported that 800 million people are chronically undernourished, and the International Food Policy Research Institute projects that we will have to increase grain production 40% by 2020 just to keep up with population growth. We can do that; but to bring better nutrition and more food to the neediest people of the world, we have to use every resource at our disposal.

Superstition and sheer misunderstanding, however, are being used to browbeat the public--particularly in Europe, but increasingly in the U.S.--into opposing agricultural biotechnology, which the world needs to feed its growing population, improve nutrition and head off famine.

Despite numerous studies, there are no known hazards associated with bioengineered foods, which sound science shows to be as safe as--or safer than--the foods that have been on supermarket shelves for a generation. Norman Borlaug, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work to attack world hunger with better food crops and who now heads the Carter Center's effort to improve crop yields in Africa, points out that what some in Europe are calling genetically modified foods are just advances in conventional plant breeding, which has been used for years to increase yields, nutritional value and pest and disease resistance.

Some critical studies of genetically engineered crops merit further investigation, while others can't meet the basic standards of scientific peer review. Surely we can agree on sound science standards for bioengineered crops, as we should for all scientific breakthroughs with commercial applications.

The extremist opposition may be satisfied with nothing less than halting the agricultural advances altogether. Already, Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. has asked farmers planting its genetically engineered soybeans to segregate those crops, and Monsanto is apologizing for bringing more disease-resistant crops to market."Solid scientific evidence" has been all too lacking in this debate--a war of words and slogans, not ideas and initiatives. Let us suggest some facts that must not be forgotten: Without dramatic improvements in crop yields, people will starve; they will suffer disease and death from malnutrition. The world's wildlife, habitats, endangered species and entire ecosystems will be put at risk as we are forced to draw more agricultural land into production. Pest-resistance, which we now know can be bred precisely into plants, will be supplanted by wider use of chemical pesticides. The promise of improving the nutritional value of indigenous crops in the developing world may be lost for a generation.

Is this what the radicals want? Surely not. Those of us in affluent societies have the luxury of pondering such questions. In doing so, we have an obligation to give the benefit of the doubt to innovations in science and technology that will most aid those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

Britain's Prince Charles, in his multi-pronged attack on the entire bioengineered foods industry, asserts that "where people are starving, lack of food is rarely the underlying cause." Let the prince eat cake. The people of the Sahel region, south of the Sahara, have no such luxury. It is our moral duty to help them with the most promising means available to us, and that must include applying advanced biotechnology to agricultural production.



Forget Europe as a Model for Creating Jobs

Clinton's health plan has the same blind spot--broader benefits require higher taxes.

March 20, 1994

By JACK KEMP, Jack Kemp, a Republican former congressman from New York, is co-director of Empower America, a conservative advocacy organization based in Washington.

One of the most consistent facts about American economic life over the past several years has been the almost weekly announcement of massive job cutbacks or layoffs by Fortune 500 firms.

What should America do? President Clinton thinks he has the answer. "We simply must figure out how to create more jobs," he said back in January. "We have a lot to learn form the Europeans," he added, citing European job-training programs and the ability to move people "from school to work into good-paying jobs."

There is only one problem with this job- growth tutorial. Europe has nothing to teach. Every country on that continent, except Switzerland, is experiencing unemployment well above America's 6.5% rate. Several European countries have unemployment rates well into double digits, including Belgium, 14%; Denmark, 12.4%; France, 12%, and Spain, 23.1%. Britain is the only European nation with an unemployment rate lower today than a year ago.

Europe's high unemployment rates have a single root cause: the failure to create enough new jobs. Between 1982 and 1992, the six largest European countries combined created just 6.9 million jobs, while the European labor force increased by 7.5 million. Over the same period, the United States created 18 million new jobs, while the labor force grew by 16.8 million.

There are many reasons why we created so many more jobs in the 1980s, but one of the most important is that European employers pay significantly higher taxes on labor. In Belgium, for example, government-mandated charges on labor as a percentage of GDP have risen from 19.6% in 1970 to 29.5% in 1991; in Italy, from 12.7% to 23.6%. Only Great Britain's rate has remained steady. By contrast, the U.S. rate was 15.9% in 1970, 19.4% in 1991.

So, this much we can learn from Europe: A welfare state with national health insurance and expensive fringe benefits has an insatiable appetite. And the main burden of financing this largess always falls on working men and women.

With his national health-care plan, President Clinton would set America on Europe's descending path. Although he tells us that few workers will pay more than they do now, history is clear: All national health-insurance schemes inevitably cost far more than anyone projected when the programs were adopted.

Government has a dismal track record in predicting the burden its programs will impose on future taxpayers. Look at Medicare. When that program was enacted in 1965, the Johnson Administration estimated that it would cost $8 billion per year by 1990. The actual cost? $98 billion.

Even if we take the Clinton projections at face value, his health plan will still lead to a 27% increase in federal taxes by the year 2004, according to a study from the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution.

Clinton defends this vast expansion of federal taxation on the grounds that higher taxes will be offset by lower health-insurance costs. This is just a semantic game. Would people really be better off if the government increased their taxes by the amount of their annual food costs while providing free food at the same time? Of course not, because the government cannot provide anything as efficiently as the market and because the costs would quickly rise far beyond expectations, leading to tax increases or reduced benefits. Also, in the process, people would lose the freedom to choose.

Health care will not escape this fate. Quality will decline because patients and doctors will be forced into more rigid government constraints. As in Canada, a model for the Clinton Administration, people will wait months or even years for simple operations, and many will be denied access to treatment because the plan managers judge them too old to benefit, never mind their physicians' opinions.

To these costs we must add a price paid in jobs. As the European example shows, higher benefits lead to higher taxes, which, in the end, lead to higher unemployment. A recent DRI/McGraw Hill study predicts that by the year 2000, the Clinton health plan would cause 1 million jobs to disappear--a conservative estimate.

Instead of invoking a European model of job creation that creates no jobs, President Clinton should study the lesson of America's job explosion in the 1980s. He would find that the key to job creation lies in unleashing the creative power of America's entrepreneurs and small business owners through lower taxes on both labor and capital. Viewing entrepreneurs as a endless funding source for an insatiable federal government is a prescription for employment stagnation--or worse.

Found on EBay -- Florentine Gardens

Florentine Gardens Ebay
This program from the Florentine Gardens has been listed on EBay. These items turn up somewhat often and aren't especially rare -- at least when you consider the Florentine Gardens seated a couple thousand people for several shows a night. But they're interesting curios. Usually they have been cut out of someone's scrapbook. I would never pay any big money for one, but bidding on this item starts at $4.99.

The menus from the gardens can be somewhat more collectible but I would never bother buying the "Playgoer" programs that turn up once in a while.

Matt Weinstock -- May 2, 1959


Matt_weinstockdFor many parents Thursday was Back to School Night, a solemn event at which they dragged themselves through the routines their little darlings must endure every day. They went to the same classes their youngsters do, met the teachers and learned what was being taught and why, so they might better understand what is going on in the educational world.

All in all, it was a pleasant and satisfying experience and, as far as is known, the parents resisted the impulse to tell the teachers what they taught of them and viceversa. Naturally they picked up a little knowledge along the way.

A HOMEMAKING TEACHER at Paul Revere Junior High had a class of parents aghast when she casually mentioned that, in addition to teaching the girls to cook, bake and set the table, they had received instruction in house cleaning, polishing windows, washing and ironing. After a spot check, the parents unanimously advised her that the girls had kept this a secret at home.

May 2, 1959, Dance One father asked the teacher, after class, if she could please give his daughter additional coaching in baking cookies. The last batch she proudly brought home, he said, almost broke a tooth.

A young gym teacher was well along with her spiel about basketball, softball and taking showers when she exclaimed, "Oh, this is the 8th grade class -- I was giving my 7th grade speech!"

A social studies teacher had written on the blackboard, "I teach grammar, spelling, reading, speaking, listening."

That word "listening" stood out like a lighthouse, and she explained, "I try to teach them they have to work at listening and yet sometimes when I read a few paragraphs of classic literature I see their glassy stare and realize they haven't heard a thing I've said."

"Most of them," she went on, "also confuse reading and studying. We try to teach them that studying is picking out the important facts from what they're reading and putting them in their own words, but I'm afraid we don't always get through to them."

May 2, 1959, Suicide And then there was the young father, going from one class to another, who was overheard remarking hopefully to his wife, "Maybe we'll get a Martini at the next one!"

HURRAY FOR Dizzy Gillespie, one of the jazz greats. After finishing a number disturbed by inconsiderate talkers, he said into the microphone at the Crescendo, "Thank you very much for your total indifference."


APROPOS OF the current togetherness craze, Carl C. Jenkins found this line in "The Prophet," written by Kahlil Gibran in 1926 on the subject of marriage: "But let there be spaces in your togetherness that let the winds of Heaven dance between you," So it isn't that new ... Enchanting description of the Mississippi steamboat John J. Roe in "The Autobiography of Mark Twain": "Upstream she couldn't even beat an island. Downstream she was never able to overtake the current."

May 2, 1959 Abby LET US BE evocative, a very expensive word for a Saturday. Mack Tuesday nicked a finger the other day and the staff broke out a pre-space age first aid kit. It wasn't colored or plastic, just plain old adhesive tape, the kind that smells like disinfectant. Made him yearn all afternoon for the uncomplicated past.


For years we hung our heads in shame,
We had but one car to our name;
Now no longer neighbors hate us,
Two motor cars assure us status."


FOOTNOTES -- When writer David Chandler dropped in at a friend's house the children were watching TV, and when the program ended one of them asked, "Pa, why can't we live in the West?" ... A 1955 Ford station wagon with the license plate GUN 484 was seen in San Gabriel. Those gunslingers, willing to travel, are everywhere.

Paul V. Coates -- Confidential File, May 2, 1959


Mash Notes and Comments

Paul_coates(Press Release) "With so many people planning June weddings, a man who has helped arrange over 15,000 weddings during his career, Robert D. Howard, Hotel Edison executive, has compiled a list of 10 tips.

"They include the most common errors made by prospective brides from his experience of dealing with them:

"1 - Don't attempt formal wedding ceremony without a rehearsal a few days before.

"2 - Don't try to hold reception between the hours of 4 and 7. The dress problem is too complex.

"3 - Don't send out RSVP invitations until six weeks before the wedding.

"4 - Don't have a member of the family propose a toast to the bride and groom until the waiters have served the cocktails or wine.

May 2, 1959, Rape "5 - Don't serve hors d'oeuvres that are messy to the fingers.

"6 - Don't permit cocktail hour to be longer than one hour.

"7 - Don't plan a smorgasbord if you are entertaining more than 100 persons.

"8 - Don't attempt to seat a large party with place cards. Have a seating list.

"9 - Don't place the members of his family on one side of the room separated from your family on the opposite side.

"10 - Don't remain until the conclusion of the party -- quietly steal away."

(signed) Sy Preston, Public Relations, New York City.

-And then what?
"Dear Paul:

"You are cordially invited to a 'Fiesta de Periodistas' (Press Party en ingles) to be held Tuesday, May 5, from 5:30 p.m. to ???? at the exotic new Caso Escobar, 13321 Moorpark in Sherman Oaks.

May 2, 1959, JFK "This new Mexican restaurant is simply fabulous! You'll think you're in a tropical Aztec cave somewhere south of Acapulco!

"The gurgling water fountains, the bar, the jutting volcanic rock, the tropical Mexican raincoats, the fantastic pink and blue lights, the Bull Room with its painting of Lady Godiva (a female nude)..."

(signed) Vance Graham, 13321 Moorpark St., Sherman Oaks.

-Rumor monger!
"Paul, now you've heard everything!

"For the first time, there's a perfume in an entire line of new women's shoe polish called Lady Esquire. There's a different scent for each type of shoe material. They each create a different mood for the wearer. There are five different scents.

"In the polish for fine suedes there is a floral composition of jasmine and lilac mindful of a sophisticated garden.

"An oak-moss aroma that imparts sylvan character reminiscent of the outdoors dominates the scent in the product for cork and buck footwear.

May 2, 1959, Mystery "The polish intended for the car of smooth leathers is fragrant with the scent of bergamot from Italy and bois rose from Brazil. The polish to spray patent leather smells of garden flowers and herbs. Then there's a French lavender scent for delicate shoe fabrics.

"Under separate cover we are sending you a sample of Lady Esquire for your wife, and we bet this is the first time that anyone has ever sent you perfumed shoe polish for your spouse!"

(signed) Carl Erbe Associates, New York.

--Give her that, and the next thing you know she'll want shoes.

A Kinder, Simpler Time Dept.

May 2, 1912, Teeth

Union Station Turns 70

Nov. 6, 1937, Union Station Under Construction
Photograph by the Los Angeles Times

From left, Chester Gan, Chinese district leader; Arthur Kennedy of the city Planning Commission; Vic MacKenzie, American Legion national convention director; George R. Reilly, San Francisco County supervisor; Bruce Iliff, federal liaison officer; Drew Bernard, Los Angeles Legion convention executive; Frank Griffin, film representative; Henry Prussing, Legion representative; and E.F. Goodman, oil company agent at inspection of Union Station.

Lakers Beat Celtics, Sutton Pitches a Gem for Dodgers, May 2, 1969

Don Sutton, March 17, 1967

Don Sutton's throwing style, as portrayed by Times artist Russ Arasmith.

May 2, 1969, Sports Don Sutton capped off two consecutive nights of extraordinary pitching in the cold of Candlestick Park.

Sutton one-hit the Giants, giving up only a shot off the left-field fence by Jim Davenport in the eighth inning. The previous night, the Giants' Juan Marichal pitched a two-hitter. Bill Singer had one of the two Dodger hits.

There was some controversy in Sutton's game. In the eighth, Willie McCovey hit a grounder to second that Ted Sizemore knocked down. His throw was late and the play was ruled an error. Then things got interesting. Here's Dan Hafner's account in The Times:

"McCovey glared at the press box when the call was flashed on the scoreboard, then after the inning, he telephoned to file a protest."  

Marichal's victory might have been wind-aided. Hafner wrote: "The winds, which often reach hurricane proportions, were in full swing. ... San Francisco fans make a production of attending night ballgames at this park, which largely due to the high winds, is almost worn out.

"Most of them bring heavy blankets and wear long underwear. Others carry thermos bottles filled with something stronger than coffee."

Marichal said he couldn't remember the weather so tough and revealed his secret to surviving the winds: "The only thing you can do is put hot stuff on your body."


Jerry West pulled a hamstring late in the Lakers' 117-104 victory over the Celtics in Game 5 of the NBA Finals at the Forum. The victory gave the Lakers a 3-2 lead in the series, but West's injury and uncertain status gave the Lakers very little reason to celebrate.

West had another big offensive game with 39 points, 28 of which came in the second half. But he took himself out with 2:20 remaining. West had missed 21 games during the regular season with a pulled hamstring in his right leg. He hurt his left leg in Game 5.

Boston's John Havlicek said the Celtics weren't thinking about West's availability for Game 6 in Boston: "He's been hurt before in big games and he's always come back."

The Lakers weren't so sure. Here's how The Times' Jeff Prugh described Wilt Chamberlain's mood:

"And what if West is sidelined? Can the Lakers sustain their momentum without him? Chamberlain answered without any hesitation. 'I don't think so,' he said."

--Keith Thursby

Union Station Preview, May 2, 1939

May 2, 1939, Nazi Spy

"That I love peace is perhaps best shown by my work." --Adolf Hitler

May 2, 1939, Cover

Tim Turner covers Al Smith's arrival in Los Angeles, featuring quotes from a Negro porter and a Mexican bootblack ... in dialect: "Ahl Esmeeth." 
May 2, 1939, Election

The Times runs its political endorsements in a box next to the runover of the election story. Among other things, we support a $3-million bond issue for the airport.
May2, 1939, May Day

This May Day photo of Red Square complements the Page 1 story on a speech at the Hollywood Bowl by Rep. Martin Dies (D-Texas) about the dangers of communist subversives.
May 2, 1939, Pulitzers

"Abe Lincoln in Illinois" and "The Yearling" win Pulitzers.

May 2, 1939, Union Station

A preview gala at Union Station has a Gay '90s theme.

May 2, 1939, Vice Investigation

The grand jury investigates bribery allegations against the mayor's former public relations aide ... and another court battle to shut down the gambling ship Rex.
May 2, 1939, Whittier Avocado Festival  
The Whittier avocado show.
May 2, 1939, Theater

Casting for "Ninotchka": Cary Grant or William Powell?
May 2, 1939, Comics

Romance blossoms in "Gasoline Alley."
May 2,1939, Sports

The new Gilmore Field opens with a game between the Hollywood Stars and the Seattle Rainiers.

Found on EBay -- Earl Carroll's

Earl Carroll Souvenir Photo
This souvenir photo from Earl Carroll's nightclub has been listed on EBay. Bidding starts at $6.99.

Matt Weinstock -- May 1, 1959

A Call From Sam

Matt_weinstockdBill Stout of KNXT received a phone call the other day from a stranger who said he was Sam (Golf Bag) Hunt, a big man in Chicago hoodlum circles. He was calling, he said, to get off his chest a few scornful and unkind words about the LAPD high command for hollering Mafia every time the rising crime rate was pointed out.

"Hey," Bill said, "aren't you supposed to be dead?"

That was propaganda, he snorted.

They chatted awhile and then Sam said he'd call Bill again later in the day.

IN THE INTERIM Stout checked the files and came upon a clipping from an L.A. newspaper stating that Sam Hunt, who got his nickname from carrying a machine gun in a golf bag, had been slain in New York and buried in Birmingham, Ala., in August, 1956.

May 1, 1959, Mirror Comics True to his promise, Sam Hunt, or whoever he was phoned again that afternoon. When Stout said he'd seen a clipping about Sam's having been killed, the caller kidded, in his Southern drawl mixed with underworldese, "I wouldn't be caught dead in New York. My town's Chicago. I'm leaving tonight."

 The question naturally arises -- is Sam (Golf Bag) Hunt alive or dead?


OBSERVATION by a man who now lives alone: "The most amazing thing about being a bachelor again is how long a tube of toothpaste lasts."


Youth ere, water ewe dewing?
Ore ewe afore donor?
No, I'm justice tapt a baker.
Dew youth ink offer won chewed bee a stew dew baker?


FORMER employees of the defunct L.A. Daily News have received official notices from U.S. District Court informing them that the final meeting of creditors will be held before David B. Head, referee in bankruptcy, May 7. This is to alert court attaches that a raffish band of irrepressible Daily Newsers, holding the bag for some $700,000 in severance pay, plan to attend and boo.


HAD YOUR non sequitur for today? A tall, handsome young man left the steam room at the Beverly Hills Heath Club the other day and, Martin Ragaway reports, the following conversation ensued between two elderly gentlemen who remained:

"Who was that?"

That was Rock Hudson."

"Oh, the basketball player?"

"No, Rock Hudson the actor."

"You know, Rock Hudson wouldn't be a bad name for a basketball player."


May 1, 1959, Abby EVERYWHERE a person goes these days crews are hacking up the street for something or other, diverting traffic with those rubber dunce cap lane markers. However, a Burbank resident thinks a crew really hit bottom on his street. He awoke at 1:30 a.m. to flashing red lights and the whining of a power saw outside. For reasons that are not clear a crew was feeding fallen tree limbs into a chopper -- at that hour.


AT RANDOM -- The reporters on the sheriff's beat almost had a big story yesterday. This message came through on the teletype: "Missing person on muleback . Person returned home uninjured. Mule is still lost" ... Phi Mu Alpha, SC music fraternity, tonight is presenting an original jazz opera, "Archy and Mehitable," based on Don Marquis' fable about the cat and the cockroach, further evidence that Don's whimsy is imperishable.

Paul V. Coates -- Confidential File, May 1, 1959



Has the Black Hand a Grip on Our City?

Paul_coatesWithout trumpets to announce his arrival or news cameras to record it, a very controversial young man slipped into town yesterday.

His name: Alvin H. Goldstein Jr.

For the last month, he's been Page 1 copy in just about every newspaper in the state.

But when he stepped off his plane at International Airport, no one was around who recognized him. No one -- with the possible exception of LAPD undercover cops, who greet all planes and know anybody who comes in or goes out.

The LAPD apparently doesn't hold young Mr. Goldstein in very high esteem. That's the impression I get from the unkind words which its chief, William Parker, has been leveling at him lately.

Not that Mr. Goldstein is on the wrong side of the law.

May 1, 1959, Mirror Cover He isn't. He's very much on the right side of it.

The conflict is strictly one of opinions.

Parker opines that Mafia hordes are swarming over the Southern California landscape.

While Goldstein -- backed up by Gov. Brown and the reputation of being a crack New York investigator and racket-buster -- states that the nine-month survey which he conducted for the State of California last December doesn't support widely publicized assertions that the secret society of crime is active here.

Shortly after Goldstein's arrival yesterday, I met with him. And I listened as he reflected on the storm his secret, 62-page report to Sacramento ignited.

"My report was as thorough as I could possibly make it," the 32-year-old ex-aide to New York Dist. Atty. Frank S. Hogan told me. "I'm still willing to accept the claim that the Mafia is here. But I've got to see facts. I'm not going to go on dogmatic assertions."

Goldstein said that he went to the office of Chief Parker, currently his No. 1 critic, before his nine-month survey was 48 hours old.

May 1, 1959, Wrong ID "But," he shrugged, "Parker gave me nothing. He wouldn't allow me to examine any of his files."

I asked the investigator if that was his only meeting with the chief.

"No," he answered. "Later in the investigation, I went back -- after Brown had written Parker requesting that I be given a full briefing, evidence of Mafia activities.

"The result was the same. Nothing."
The word I got from around City Hall was that there was a reason for Parker's refusal. He reportedly felt that Brown's investigation was no more or less than a political gimmick, and angrily refused to have the department used in it.

Goldstein told me that he was introduced to Brown through Hogan, and that Brown had asked him if he'd be interested in doing a survey of organized crime and labor racketeering here in California.

"He said he wanted somebody from outside the state to do it," Goldstein explained. "Somebody who could take a fresh look at the situation."

"And you're satisfied with the job you did?" I asked.

"I am," he said. "I know it's too soon to tell if I've accomplished anything. Or if my report influences the expenditure of public funds.

"I can't see spending money to fight something that doesn't exist."

I asked Goldstein again: "You found absolutely no evidence of Mafia activities?"

Conspiracy by Criminals

"I saw evidence of groupings of Sicilians engaged in criminal conspiracies. But I also saw evidence of other nationality groupings engaged in the same thing.

"What I didn't see," he stressed, "was evidence that the strings were being pulled from Palermo. That's what I put in my report.

"And I'm sorry," he added, "if someone has that evidence and didn't give it to me."

He's a nice, bright young man, Mr. Goldstein. But maybe the intricacies of California politics were just a little too much for him.

Union Station Turns 70

May 1, 1939, Union Statio

May 1, 1939: The Times publishes a cutaway drawing of the new terminal.

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