Random Letters: 9-12-19


Kudos on Labor History

Kudos to Slobodan Dimitrov for his cover story in your special 2019 Labor Day Issue (Aug. 29-Sept.11, 2019). His piece is informative regarding the history of the crucial labor movement in San Pedro and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. A sequel, soon I hope.

And to Paul Rosenberg for yet another concise piece on legislation aimed at leveling the playing field for all workers, AB 5.

I find it disturbing, if not downright appalling, that Fleet Week has appropriated this most important holiday intended to celebrate labor, its struggles and the hard-won accomplishments of labor unions on behalf of all working people. Timing is everything, and this expensive military folly is no more than a smokescreen obscuring the real issues affecting workers today.

Ron Linden, San Pedro

Bukowski Bottoms Up

Paris has Jim Morrison’s grave around which to share a beer, London has Karl Marx’s sepulcher on which to genuflect, and San Pedro?  San Pedro ought to have the bust of Chuck Bukowski on which to rub noses or to spill a bit of ale.  Welcome German,  American, Indigenous Pedroids, misfits and assorted marginals, middle class groupies and filthy rich aristos to enjoy vicarious thrills of decadence and debauchery with their favorite poet, writer and philosopher.  We have Whiskey Flats, why not a bust of Buk, too?  If Charlie were alive, he would raise a toast to the bust of Henry Chinaski anytime, anywhere in his adopted port town residence.  No need to be stuffy about it.  Bottoms up!

Rick Matthews, Whiskey Flats, San Pedro


So I just heard today from one of my sources that the inspiration for the Bukowski bronze came out of a report back from the PBID staff who attended a tourism conference earlier this year. And the people in attendance heard from some German tourism specialists that Charles Bukowski is one of the most popular writers there.  “So why not have a statue of him here to attract more tourists?” they supposedly asked.

I’ll just let that sink in a little bit before I go on.

James Preston Allen,  Publisher

About Perry Mason

Finally got to finish my RL (Aug.  22-Aug. 29, 2019) with some cherry pie last night; noted you brought up Matthew Rhys being a UK citizen. But they imported him all the way from from Brooklyn, NY. He’s been working stateside a couple of decades now, and his son was born here in the US. And probably worth whatever they paid him. Loved reading about Eric Stanley Gardner, by the way.

Mark Haile, San Pedro

Help Get Justice for Grechario Mack

Grechario Mack was 30 years-old, a loving father of two daughters, and suffering a mental health condition. He was allegedly talking to himself and holding a standard kitchen knife, inside the crowded Crenshaw-Baldwin Hills Mall. Witnesses affirm that he was not attacking or threatening anyone.

It is unclear who called the police. Upon arrival, LAPD officers reportedly bounded up the escalators to the second floor where Mack was standing. Two officers, Ryan Lee, and Martin Robles, began firing upon Grechario. They didn’t clear the crowded mall. Videos, photos, and reports from the scene include strewn baby bottles and strollers; store windows were shot out, as was the glass railing that secured the second floor of the mall.

Then-Chief Charlie Beck acknowledged that the officers should have used “less-lethal” force. Grechario fell to the ground but survived the first shots. As he laid there, officers fired additional rounds at close range into his body, killing him. On March 19, 2019, the Los Angeles Police Commission issued a rare and unanimous “out-of-policy” ruling, which opens the way for the police chief to fire the officers. Chief Michel Moore recently made public statements regarding his refusal to fire or discipline the officers because he “[doesn’t] think they did anything wrong.”

Since the ruling, community organizations, including Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles have met with the chief, sent letters, and launched a call campaign demanding that he fire the officers. Grechario’s family has attended Police Commission meetings and spoken directly to the chief. There have been marches, banner drops, and news stories. Moore has been unresponsive.

Grechario was a black man who was viewed as a threat, not as a man suffering an illness. Black shoppers at the mall were also placed in life-threatening danger due to the reckless conduct of these officers. [Tell] Chief Moore that black lives are not expendable.

Dr. Melina Abdulla, Black Lives Matter, LA and Youth Justice Coalition, Los Angeles