Some Morning Excitement.


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Just some normal Saturday morning excitement of leaving to go to the gym at 8am
and witnessing three Latinos running from a home they had just burglarized.

LAPD showed up within minutes, along with helicopters.

The suspect(s) were caught near Van Nuys Boulevard.

After I took these photos, I was walking near a neighbor’s home and found a discarded Disney credit card that had been stolen and thrown into the bushes. I called the cc company and they said it had already been reported.

The Police, the People and the Prostitutes.


CVS, Erwin at Sepulveda, 9:30am

CVS, Erwin at Sepulveda, 9:30am

A few months back, April 17, 2013, to be exact, this community held a meeting at the Columbus Avenue School led by LAPD Officer Vince DiMauro. The topic on everyone’s mind was prostitution, its egregious and omnipresent existence a fact of life on our streets.

The group was well attended and there was seeming agreement that the vice problem was under control. Officer DiMauro assured us that what we thought was a growing problem was actually getting smaller as the LAPD monitored and restrained the famed whore motels, so the Room #37 Blow Job and Penetration Special at the Voyager, was now conducted in cars on Hamlin, Lemay, Burnett, Columbus and Kittridge.

Anecdotal stories are now pouring in from neighbors that the whores are back and bigger than ever.

The morning drive along Sepulveda now includes fat blondes in fishnet stockings, stiletto heels and pink satin dresses; and skintight pink leggings longingly leaning against the light pole at Erwin and Sepulveda. A neighbor, who works nights, assures me that when he returns home at Midnight there are more walking women than drivers in Van Nuys.

The idea that prostitution is under control because it’s out of the motel room and into the streets is ludicrous. What we see and know is what’s going on. The evidence of illegal activity is as apparent as the abandoned couch along the sidewalk.

There was just an election in this ungoverned section of Los Angeles and a new Council Person, Nury Martinez, will represent District #6. Along with her upcoming appearances at Cinco de Mayo festivals, she should take a walk on Sepulveda, camera in hand, in the morning, afternoon or night, and see the spectacle for herself.

Death Ends Police Chase: August 24, 1959.


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From the LAPL files:

“Robert Lee Daily, aka John M. Savage, aka George R. Gibb, was being sought in connection with over 60 burglaries in the Hollywood and Beverly Hills areas. He was shot dead by Investigator James McGrath when Daily tried to flee from McGrath in Encino. Detectives carry body of Robert Lee Daily, burglary suspect, from car in Encino after he was shot by district attorney’s investigator when he assertedly tried to get away. Police found nearly $15,000 in loot in his Woodland Hills home.”

Something, Something Just Wasn’t Right


After our monthly American event of mass shooting by semi-automatic weapon, the “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families” will roll out along with the blood, death, dismemberment and tweats.

Speculating on the motives of the killer is also a favorite sport.

The latest one, in Santa Monica, was purported to come from “a bitter divorce”. Which follows that life circumstances might conspire to produce evil.

Looking around, at family and friends, neighbors and people I know, anyone, anywhere could become the next serial killer.

Snippets and surface bios of people I hardly know:

• He lived with his mother, a gravely ill woman, and he had no job, smoked pot all day, and was rarely seen.
• He had an explosive temper, was unmarried at age 38, his backyard was full of dog shit, and he spoke out against corrupt cops.
• She was morbidly obese. Her husband had a bad temper and once ran out on her and didn’t call for three days.
• They were two lesbians living on the edge of poverty. She posted angry screeds online, railing against litter, crime and community indifference.
• He was 53-year-old and earned a living posing nude, but had once been a handsome young actor.
• There were people coming and going onto their property, which was littered with debris, and shopping carts.
• A 44-year-old man, he never spoke of any job he had, was secretive about his profession, and spent his days hiking and biking around the San Fernando Valley.
• He bragged about his guns and frequently lashed out against crime and prostitution in Van Nuys.

Every life, under a microscope, is weird.

A Community Meeting.


Dan Stroncak

Dan Stroncak

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Derek Waleko

Cat White, Andy Hurvitz, Dan Stroncak

Not often is Van Nuys convinced it is a community, but last night, about 40 of us pretended it was, and gathered in the Columbus Avenue School to hear LAPD’s Senior Lead Office Vince DiMauro talk about the crimes that are a trademark of our district: prostitution, gangs, tagging, noise, and vacant properties.

Two political candidates for the special City Council District #6 Election (May 21, 2013) showed up: Derek Waleko and Dan Stroncak.

We were in a well-ordered academic hall, which I had last seen at my elementary school, Lincoln Hall in Lincolnwood, IL some four decades ago.

An upright piano, lunch tables stacked into the walls like Murphy beds, a state and a national flag on either side of the stage, a cop speaking kindly to attentive citizens, present among us were these venerable elements of American civic life and values.

And then Donna from the Mary Magdalene Foundation got up to present her plea for the prostitute as victim, which set off some incendiary cerebral explosion in one of the candidates, who found her characterization of whore as human indefensible. His outburst provoked some other outbursts, but the uproar lasted only briefly, and back into good manners we went.

Middle-aged and older women provided, as they usually do, the moral backbone of the meeting. Voices, articulate, erudite, educated, spoke of grating and gross indecencies in the hood: thumping boom-box music parties, tagging, pot smoking derelicts, trash, litter, burglaries. Looking around at the room, at some of the carefully lip-sticked pale faces, nice tailored burgundy jackets and lovely little pink cardigans, one temporarily forgot that outside these school doors life was grosser, poorer and coarser.

Some of the attendees last night came out and admitted to being long-time residents of Van Nuys. One man moved here in 1958, others had been here since 1965, 1973, 1979. They had stayed here, lived and loved it, every bit as much as Sandra Tsing-Loh hated it. And it was those lovers of Van Nuys who go to community meetings. And dare to imagine that life can lawful and orderly, clean and respectful, decent and courageous.

Optimism, inserted into despondency, can be revolutionary.

The “Handicap” Parking Tag.


Without cars, without traffic, without parking, Los Angeles would be a much pleasanter place.

Rage, anger, aggression all the lovely emotions that cars and drivers emit, all of it would go away.

But until that day, we have parking lots, and we have people who abuse handicap parking.

My late father was handicapped for five years, going from cane to walker to wheelchair, so I have a particular familiarity with disablement. Now my mother walks with a cane and also has a sticker to hang from her rear view car mirror.

I am temporarily not old or disabled.

This morning, as I was driving away from LA Fitness in Van Nuys, a woman turned in front of me, and pulled her Black VW Rabbit right into the first disabled person space near the gym entrance. She got out of the car, a woman about 35, in her spandex and sneakers, fast going into the facility. I shouted out to her, “This is a handicap space”. To which she replied, walking fast, “I am a handicap…”

Parking Enforcement Bureau

Later on, I decided to report her. And this is where it gets funny. 818-752-5100 told me to call 818-756-8438 and when I called 818-756-8438 they told me to call 5100 again and press “option #2″. Then I called 5100 and a person answered and said there was no option 2. I told her I wanted to report the illegal use of handicap at LA Fitness on Sepulveda near Erwin. She said, “Sir, I need an address. Erwin at Sepulveda in Van Nuys is not an address.” I went home and turned on my computer and called them back with the proper address: 6161 Sepulveda. Then they asked me what cross streets the address was near! The answer: Erwin/Sepulveda.

It’s a small matter, one of the small illegalities I often mention in this blog. Yes, it’s just abuse of a handicap placard. Compared to murder, assault, drive-by shootings, or a meth lab, it’s not much. So just let it pass. Let the trash pile up, let the taggers tag, let the streets be swamped with garage sales, let the whores work, let the johns get blown, let the dogs bark all night, let it go baby, let it go….

LAPD: Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys Residential Burglaries


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Van Nuys Burglary Detectives are reporting serveral residential burgalries took place over the weekend in the area of RD991 (Mullholland Drive to Beverly Glen to Valley Vista Blvd. to the 405 Freeway.) All of these took place during daytime hours.

Several other burgalaries also occured in RD966 (Woodwan Ave to the 101 Freeway to Fulton Ave to Chandler Blvd.) Suspects are described at four male Hispanics, 20-25 years old driving a 2004-2007 Totota Camry or Nissan Altima metalic gold in color. Suspects were also discribed as wearing LA Dodger apparel.

In many of these burglaries the suspected enetered through open attached garages which gave them access to the residence.

If you have any additional information please call Van Nuys Burglary Detective Robert Kraus at 25895@lapd.lacity.org or 818-374-0031.

Out of Time.


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The following post has nothing to do with Van Nuys….

Looking back on events and news stories that once excited or amused Southern California, I came across this odd story found in the USC Digital Archives Collection.

It seems that in 1960, a group of San Fernando Valley women wanted to attend a meeting of the San Gabriel Humane Society. And they were excluded, which caused a ruckus, requiring a cop to come and restore order.

At the center of one photo, an old disabled woman, sitting in a wheelchair, covered in a plaid blanket, wears a fur hat, and is attended to by a young actress in a fur stole, Lily Fontaine.

The whole scene is very Hitchcockian, infused with a newsreel documentary feel, but somehow feels other worldly, very Twilight Zone. The women, stocky, frumpy, self-assured, are dressed in the workaday woolen dresses and coats of that time, and had gone somewhere out of their comfort zone, deep into the San Gabriel Valley, for humanitarian reasons. The motorcycle cop is like the mirrored sunglasses cop in Psycho (1960) who pulls up behind Marion Crane asleep in her parked car and knocks her awake.

Old photos show old fashions, clothing that was meant to cover up and to theatricalize. Ordinary events: car crashes, people eating lunch, women standing around, look interesting to us. They are interesting because the participants are in costumes: they are on a stage, they are emoting with sartorial gestures. Women in capes, women in furs, women in hats, women in earrings, women in heels; these are special and ornamented and enriching.

Most likely this photo depicts an utterly banal and boring event. But it looks like something fun because of the formality of the wearers.

What mission they were on, we cannot know. But they were stopped from completing it, and left outdoors, to commiserate and to contemplate, one day, 52 years ago.

“Photographer: Swaim. Date: 1960-01-21. Reporter: Swaim. Assignment: Humane hassle. 37/38: Group of woman [sic] (part of the 30) who were excluded from meeting of San Gabriel Valley Humane Society. They claim to be members. In wheelchair in center is Mrs. Elizabeth Cummer of Studio City. Stooping to talk to her is Lily Fontaine, Encino actress. 25: Shot from outside fence, showing San Gabriel officer who was sent to keep order.