Santa Monica Dispatch

The Santa Monica Dispatch is an independent newspaper founded and edited by Peggy Clifford. Our objective is to give voice to the community.

Monthly archives "August 2009"

Venice Health Care Vigil Wednesday

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MoveOn members have organized a candlelight vigil for  “people suffering under the broken health care system.”

On Wednesday, September 2, at 6 p.m. a vigil will be held at Lincoln and Rose

According to organizers, the vigil will open “with moving words from Senator Ted Kennedy, who called this fight ‘the cause of my life.’”

In addition,  stories of people struggling with the current health care system.

Progress Noted in Lincoln Place Talks

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The 15-year battle for Lincoln Place, one of the nation’s oldest, largest,  most historically significant and most beautiful affordable housing complexes may finally be approaching resolution.

Since the early 1990s, residents of the

Venice complex have opposed developers’ plans to remake it along more profitable lines.

The following joint statement suggests that substantial progress has been made.

“Los Angeles – On August 11 and 12, 2009, Aimco Venezia LLC (“AIMCO”), the Lincoln Place Tenants Association (“LPTA”) and certain tenant leaders and representatives executed a settlement agreement that will move the parties closer to resolving years of litigation over the future of Lincoln Place Apartments, help pave the way for a redevelopment of the property, including rehabilitation of existing structures, return many of the tenants to Lincoln Place, and help the return of much-needed rental housing to the Westside of Los Angeles. The settlement agreement is complex and subject to ratification by all settling tenants, a process which will take some time, as the documents must be reviewed and executed individually by all of the former tenants and current occupants involved. In addition, the city is still reviewing terms involving its participation in settling the litigation, and certain contingencies must be satisfied before the settlement agreement becomes a final reality. The parties have been meeting regularly for many months to achieve a workable compromise on some very thorny issues, and hope to have good news to report in the near future.”

First, The Firefighters, Then the Red Cross

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After knocking down a fire that ravaged an apartment  building on 20th Street early Saturday morning, the  Santa Monica Fire Department called the  Red Cross.

The American Red Cross of Santa Monica is now assisting the building tenants who were displaced by the fire.

It is providing five of them with temporary housing at two local motor inns through Tuesday morning. The victims have been given Red Cross debit cards that can be used for food, clothing, medications and other personal necessities. They are also receiving mental health counseling and will receive Red Cross support services and assistance in resettlement as needed.

The fire originated in one of the four  – units in the building at 1943/1949 20th Street. All of the apartments were  damaged. The unit where the fire allegedly started was the most seriously damaged The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

A disabled tenant, a woman, who lived in that apartment,  was taken to a local hospital for treatment and observation. Her live-in caretaker was not hurt,

The unit’s ceiling and roof were burned completely through. It and its contents are a total loss.

The adjacent unit, which was occupied by a man, received extensive smoke and water damage and one interior wall collapsed.  The tenant was not hurt, but the contents of his apartment were all lost the other two units in the structure received extensive smoke damage. All four units were declared  “uninhabitable” by the City’s building and safety inspector.

The American Red Cross of Santa Monica, is a publicly supported, 501(C)(3) nonprofit corporation that provides health and safety education, youth services, blood services, CPR and first aid training, disaster awareness and disaster relief efforts.


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By Ava Tramer


Sunny and hot

Highs: 72-82; Lows: 64-67


Hot and clear

Highs: 96-106; Lows: 63-68


Mostly sunny and hot

Highs:105-114; Lows: 77-85;

And Santa Monica…





I graduated in June and can be permanently reached at or

My Mother and Uncle Teddy

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By Bobby Shriver

Shriver remembers one of the last family gatherings of his mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver and his uncle Ted Kennedy.

In mid-June Uncle Teddy came to my mother’s Hyannisport home for a drink before dinner. My family and I had just arrived from Santa Monica. Even though we were tired, Teddy and his wife Vicki wanted to welcome us to town. So a little cocktail party was planned.

They arrived at 6:30 in a golf cart, just the two of them. We went out to meet them. “How’s Mummy?” was the first thing he said. “We’ve got to see Mummy.”

Of course he loved my mother, but this is also the Irish way of saying hello to us!  My wife and daughters were thrilled and escorted Teddy and Vicki into the room where my mother was waiting.

After some smiles and applause for our six-month-old daughter Rosemary, we settled into the real reason for all family cocktail parties: Gossiping about other members of the family. To wit: What was Ethel doing, who had won what races, who was expected for the weekend, how was the sailing, and what about the new puppy?

But Teddy always went for something big. He knew this time it had to be good, because my mother really needed cheering up. She was very sick. I could see him thinking, “What can I say that will get Eunie fired up?” Suddenly, he had a glint in his eye.

“Eunie,” he asked, “was Joe a good sailor?” He was referring to their oldest brother, who had, indeed, been a very good sailor.

“Yes,” my mother nodded.

“What about Bobby, was he any good?”

My mother looked a bit irritated, as though this was a silly question. “Not serious,” she suddenly said.

Teddy laughed. “Not serious, not serious. Really? I thought he was pretty good.”

My mother frowned. Her little brother was egging her on. She wanted to talk about debates going on in Washington. She usually wanted to talk about that.

What about Jack?” Teddy continued.

“He was serious,” my mother said, in a very matter-of-fact way.

“Well, we can agree about that,” Teddy said, laughing. He knew that Mother always stuck up for Jack no matter what. Even though she was very sick and could not speak well, she was sticking up for Jack. That was good!

“O.K., Eunie,” he said. He knew he had a live issue now. He smiled. He, too, was very sick. Some of the words did not come to him immediately. But the smile came and stayed.

“Let’s rank them all then. Serious or Not Serious.”

My mother frowned again and looked away. But there was a touch of a smile. Her baby brother had gotten to her. She loved ranking people. She particularly loved ranking people as sailors. She felt she was an excellent judge of sailing talent.

“O.K.,” she said. And she smiled. In those days, it was hard to get her to smile.

Teddy began, “O.K., what about Joe?”

“Serious,” my mother said.



“Kick?” he said, referring to their sister Kathleen.

“Harrump,” said Mother. “Not even interested.”

And so it went through their nine siblings. They laughed, and disagreed on one or two. They were having a fine time.

“Now let’s ask the big question,” said Teddy.

My mother looked at him. What was he up to now?

“Who was the best sailor of us all?” he asked with a wicked smile. Of course he knew what her answer would be.

“I was,” my mother said with no hesitation whatsoever.

We all howled. She was so aggressive.

“Come on now, Eunie, I was pretty good, wasn’t I?” he said—little brother all the way. And of course, no kidding, he was an excellent, excellent sailor, as was she.

Mother looked at me with that “Teddy is crazy” look. So I joined the game. “Not even close, Mother? Is that what you are saying? It’s not even close åbetween you and Teddy?” I played my role.

She gave me the look that only a mother can give to her son: Not disgust, not even disagreement—worse than that. More like, “Are you really related to me?” Teddy gestured to me to protect my head as though she might reach across and smack me!

“ABSOLUTLELY NOT,” she said. Teddy howled. He loved to get his older sister fired up.

Seven weeks later, she passed. And now he is gone too. Many words about their legacies, and the family’s work and legacy, will be written.

For me and my family, this moment of simple joy—the laughter, ribbing, competition, and intimacy—is our jeweled memory of their last days. We hope to live out our lives not only in their spirit of service, but also in the spirit of fun, family togetherness, and love embodied in this short evening moment.

Senator Ted Kennedy Dies

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Senator Edward Kennedy, 77, died early  this morning at his home in Hyannisport, Mass., after a 16-month  battle with brain cancer.

Known as the “Lion of the Senate,”he served 47 years, more than any other Senator except the late Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd of West Virginia.  But, more significantly,  he wrote more  important legislation than any other senator in history. He represented the people of Massachusetts, and all the people everywhere who had been left behind by society. He fought for civil rights, voting rights, health care, minimum wage increases, and so much more. He was Congress’s leading advocate for the poor, the disenfranchised, minorities, children, older people, and immigrants.

In the 1980s, when President Reagan made “liberal” a dirty word, virtually all of the leading Democrats ducked for cover, while Teddy Kennedy made a point, gleefully, of describing himself as a liberal.

Senator Kennedy’s death comes hard on the heels of the death of his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. In a very real sense, they were engaged in the same work: changing and making the world a better place.

He came to Santa Monica many times —- most recently to  campaign for his nephew, City Councilman Bobby Shriver.

What’s a Democrat? Wednesday

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“What Does It Mean to Be Democrat?” will be the topic of a

Santa Monica Democratic Club meeting on Wednesday, August 26.

Is “Democrat”  a label we put on to be part of a group, or is there an obligation that comes with the title?

Leigh Brumberg will lead the discussion.

In addition,  Frank Gruber will talk about his new book, “Urban Worrier: Making Politics Personal .” He was   involved in the development of the original Civic Center Specific Plan and a member of the late Ocean Park Community Organization,  the  Housing and Planning Commissions, and School District’s Prop. X Oversight Committee. Since 2000, he has written a weekly column in Surf  Santa Monica.

This week’s column is devoted to his frequently stated belief that Santa Monica is not a beach town.

The meeting will be held at  7  St. Anne’s Church, 2017 Colorado Avenue, at 20th Street. Free and open  to the public. Refreshments. Free parking.

PCH = Parking Lot Today

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According to KNBC News, a Eucalyptus tree fell across Pacific Coast Highway between Temescal Canyon and Sunset Boulevard this morning, blocking all traffic and   knocking out power to about 1200 customers.

PCH became a parking lot  immediately, with cars, trucks and buses lined up for miles on both sides If the fallen tree, as well as jamming up the 10 Freeway and alternate   routes.

The tree was removed, power was restored, and traffic was moving again by  mid-afternoon – but very slowly.

Recalling the Generosity, and Smarts of Eunice Shriver

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By Susan Estrich

For The Philadelphia Inquirer

She was the candidate’s sister, the former president’s sister, the wife of the former vice presidential candidate. Legend had it that she was smarter than any of them. I was nobody, 25, working on my first presidential campaign, the senior and junior woman in almost every meeting. I was, for want of any competition, in charge of what they used to call “women’s issues” in the campaign.

She did not agree with me on what was, then and now, the most explosive of those issues. Did not agree is putting it mildly.

One of the guys probably told her I was in charge so she’d stop   asking them why all the briefing papers said “Sen. Kennedy supports Roe v. Wade as the law of the land.” That was my carefully constructed effort to avoid both excommunication (for him) and hell to pay (for both of us). “Ask Susan. She wrote it,” they must have told her, assuming she’d never go to the trouble of even figuring out who I was.

She did. She called. Then she invited me to dinner.

I was seated next to the priest.

“Father,” she said to him, “Susan is handling women’s issues for my brother. Perhaps you have some thoughts to share with her.”

I have never met smarter, more interesting, or more challenging dinner companions than the priests I sat next to in my many dinners at the Shrivers’. They didn’t change my mind. The truth is, they didn’t really try. As the campaign progressed, we even dropped the “as the law of the land.”

But this isn’t about abortion. It’s about a woman who had all the cards, who could have run right over me and insisted on dealing with the guys who really had the power.

Eunice Shriver was probably born shrewd. She certainly understood power as well as any woman I’d ever met. She knew I didn’t have it. So she gave it to me.

By treating me with respect, she made me – in the crazy, topsy-turvy world of campaigns – someone deserving of respect. If she thought I had power, I must; if the candidate’s sister calls you directly, you must be someone. “Going to dinner?” the guys would tease me, only half in jest.

There weren’t too many powerful women around in those days, and the last person many of them wanted to deal with was a girl half their age. I understood why they wanted to talk to the men; after all, they had the power. Eventually, I’d have to go to them anyway. Why not cut out the middle woman? It happened. Some of the time, even world-famous feminists did it.

It takes a pretty special woman to understand that by extending a hand to a junior woman, you make her path that much easier than your own; that power is a gift that can be shared, and the one who receives it will never forget that generosity.

A great lady died last week. But her memory lives on in the millions she touched.

Susan Estrich’s column appears regularly in The Inquirer.

Whither Ugg Boots

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By Ava Tramer

Partly cloudy
Highs: 69-71; Lows: 60-62

Mostly sunny
Highs: 94-95; Lows: 60-64

Clear and hot
Highs: 106-108; Lows: 77-80

And Santa Monica…

Since our weather is even more boring and self-predictable this week than usual (highs between 69 and 71, lows between 60 and 62, partial sun and clouds, day after day after day after day), I will provide an instructive weather list for your benefit.

Weather: The List.

1.Things that don’t apply to Santa Monica, at any time of year:
1a. The song “Let it Snow”

2. Things that do apply to Santa Monica, at most times of year:
2a. A new version of the song “Let it Snow” that goes: “Oh the weather outside is delightful, but the fire is frightful”

3. Things that shouldn’t apply to Santa Monica, at any time of year:
3a. Ugg Boots.