Up Front

by Pasadena Weekly, Dec 29, 2005

Pasadena Weekly writer Carl Kozlowski’s recent experience at Pasadena’s Huntington Hospital was reminiscent of a scene from Paddy Chayevsky’s classic satirical film “The Hospital” in which otherwise innocent patients, doctors and nurses are murdered in the course of a busy New York hospital’s normal day. They might have lived had they not been neglected to death, as Chayevsky described it.

Kozlowski believes much the same thing happened to him, only he was lucky enough to have survived the experience — and write about it.

But having lived, the 34-year-old Kozlowski now has to pay more than $1,000 for a litany of services and tests that he underwent while at Huntington’s emergency room complaining of an infected leg.

The treatment apparently had no effect, forcing Kozlowski to go to LA County/USC Hospital, where he was admitted for five days.

The rub was that, had he not sought alternative care, he might not have ever known he needed to see a doctor, because the results of his tests taken at Huntington were not reported to him until a phone call 20 days after he first stepped foot into the emergency room — three weeks after first seeking treatment. He later received a letter about his condition five days after that, on Oct. 5.

Sadly, the diagnosis was not good, compelling the medical director of the hospital’s Emergency Department to tell Kozlowski to “Please find enclosed a prescription for [anti-biotic anti-bacterial] Cipro. … Please take as directed. If you have not yet done so, you should schedule an appointment for a prompt follow-up with your physician.”

Better late than never, as the saying goes, because by that time Kozlowski had long been cured and discharged from county General Hospital.

And to boot, he found that the ER personnel who attended to him left much to be desired in his manners.

“The doctor kept cutting me off even as I was explaining why I was there, and kept commenting on my weight rather than focusing on the severe leg infection I wound up spending five days in county for,” said the 6-2, 300 pound aspiring comedian.

“It’s been an experience that would be laughable if it weren’t so upsetting.”

— Kevin Uhrich

No jail for Murphy

Stacey Jo Murphy, the former Burbank City Councilwoman arrested in July following a gangland weapons and drug trade probe, pled guilty to charges of cocaine possession and child endangerment on Dec. 22.

The 47-year-old served as Burbank’s mayor twice but quit the council in August after the drugs and guns, which spawned child endangerment charges, were found in her home.

At her latest appearance in front of Pasadena Superior Court Judge Janice Croft, Murphy agreed to undergo drug counseling and parenting classes in order to avoid facing as much as three years in prison.

She and attorney Rick Santwier of Pasadena refused to comment.

Meanwhile, the Burbank City Clerk’s Office will send out ballots Tuesday for the Jan. 24 mail-in-only special election to replace her.

Murphy’s arrest was part of a larger investigation of the deadly Vineland Boyz street gang, who police believe are responsible for the 1998 shooting death of LAPD Officer James Beyea, the November 2003 murder of 26-year-old Burbank police Officer Matthew Pavelka and the attempted murder of his partner during that incident.

Murphy’s boyfriend and former City Cab Co. owner Scott Schaffer was arrested for trading guns for drugs with gang members when police found a weapon registered to him at the home of a known gang member.

At his Glendale apartment, Schaffer, who was a Water and Power Commissioner in that city, told police he stored weapons and drugs at Murphy’s house. He has pleaded guilty to a charge of trading two guns for cocaine in the hopes of receiving only a five-year sentence, but returns to federal court in June.

Murphy, charged with child endangerment because she lives with her 12-year-old son, is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 22 to prove she has enrolled in a drug treatment program.

— André Coleman

Postcards from Venus

The European Space Agency’s Venus Express will be the first spacecraft in more than 10 years to visit the second planet from the sun, and one lucky Pasadena contest winner could watch from mission control in Darmstadt, Germany, in April.

Sponsored by the Pasadena Planetary Society, the Venus Express Art contest calls on participants to draw or paint “postcards from Venus,” or what a bird’s eye view of the planet’s surface might look like.

Venus Express will study the planet’s dense atmosphere while a camera captures images of the surface by peering through the openings in the haze.

Rules and an entry form can be obtained at www.planetary.org.

The contest ends on Jan. 13.

The Planetary Society was founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman in order to involve the public in space exploration through advocacy, projects and education. Today, the nonprofit, non-government, member-supported Planetary Society is the largest and most influential public space organization in the world, dedicated to exploring the solar system and seeking life beyond Earth.

 —André Coleman


Late nights, tortured prose, tiny paychecks, exhaustion, burnout — being a Weekly reporter isn’t nearly as glamorous as some may think.


Working at a paragraph factory does, however, come with its perks.

The best one: Each day at work is an opportunity to change the world around us.

For every moment spent wondering if anybody’s actually reading this stuff, there are just as many instances in which stories in the Weekly have made a real, tangible difference in our little universe.

Sure, not everything we write can actually be proven to have changed the outcome.

Take the war in Iraq, for example. Hundreds of stories later, a terrible situation is still terrible. But by telling stories that may otherwise go unreported, we hope our community is not only better informed, but also better equipped to take action that will ultimately provoke change.

The following, however, is a short list of some of the stories over the past year that represent what we like to call results-oriented journalism, a news philosophy that’s apparently all too uncommon in newspapers today.

Results-oriented journalism is just what it sounds like — busting bad guys, purging inequity, getting criminal charges dropped, justice prevailing. You know: another day at the office.

Thanks for being a part of it. And Happy New Year.

— Kevin Uhrich and
Joe Piasecki

The Battle over B

Back in 2001, more than 60 percent of Pasadena voters chose to adopt Measure B, a charter amendment that would make it illegal for city officials to accept campaign contributions and other gifts from those contractors, developers and others whom their decisions about public funds had benefited. Believing the new law unfairly cumbersome and unconstitutional, Pasadena City Council members refused to certify the election. Several years later, after fighting the law all the way to the state Supreme Court and spending nearly $800,000 in taxpayer funds, the city resigned itself to following the controversial law, also known — and at this point, ironically — as the Taxpayer Protection Amendment.

That all happened, though, only after the Weekly discovered that six of eight council members had already taken thousands in campaign donations that were prohibited under provisions of the controversial law. The council responded by indemnifying themselves against prosecution, and talked of replacing Measure B with a competing ballot measure next year.

Following the blistering Weekly editorial “Stop the Backroom Deal Preservation Act,” former Pasadena Mayor Bill Paparian demanded that council members give back any potentially illegal gains or face a lawsuit.

While one council member heeded that request, others changed their minds and voted to end opposition to the measure. The council finally decided to sort out the mess by appointing the Task Force on Good Government to examine city campaign finance laws. That body now seeks to make Pasadena election laws “a model for the state,” task force Chair and former Attorney General John Van de Kamp told the Weekly.

Too Close for Comfort

In March, more than a dozen sex offenders, many of them convicted of crimes against young children, were living in a group home less than half a mile from Pasadena’s Cleveland Elementary School and blocks from two public parks. That home, as it turned out, was also operating without a license.

Following reports by the Weekly and schools activist Rene Amy’s Greatschools Internet listserve, the house was shut down by police and city officials. While potential tragedy was quickly averted in that instance, a follow-up Weekly investigation by Andre Coleman and Joe Piasecki found that the entire state apparatus of monitoring paroled sex offenders fell short of the intent of Meghan’s Law, with state authorities failing to quickly provide accurate information to the public and local law enforcement. State Assemblywoman Judy Chu, a Monterey Park Democrat, made an attempt to improve the situation by creating a state Sex Offender Management Oversight Board, but the bill was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in October.

El Sereno 3

It’s a story that began in 2003, when three teenage foster brothers got into a brawl with Pasadena police officers one evening near their El Sereno Avenue home. Police say neighbors complained about the gathering of boys, who jumped officers responding to calls. The brothers say police attacked them after the teens asked why they were being questioned. Charges were filed against all three.

Following reports by the Weekly, charges were dropped against one of the boys, while another boy received probation and had that conviction expunged from his record in May. The case of the third brother, Carlton Crayton, who has used all of this media attention for good by publicly standing with police to advocate community cooperation with law enforcement to keep neighborhoods safe and the justice system fair, is ongoing.

Schooling the schools

While many parents of children in the Pasadena Unified School District continue to clamor for change, the Weekly has done its best to keep on eye on the embattled institution our kids depend on to learn.

This year, we’ve covered stories that changed school policies, such the unsafe greasing of fences, bad behavior by coaches and a socially de-stabilizing locked-bathroom policy at John Muir High School. But we’ve also editorialized on the importance of supporting educators at the improving campus, and our news coverage provoked dozens of letters from Muir students demonstrating just how much those kids really care about their school.

In matters of elections, the Weekly endorsed a ticket of challengers promising reform, unsuccessful but for former teacher Scott Phelps, who had some ideas voters found attractive.

Just last week Justin Chapman, a 20-year-old Weekly freelance writer elected earlier this year to a seat on the Altadena Town Council, made news by successfully proposing a task force to study whether that community should form its own school district.

Speaking of elections, in 2003 underdog school board candidate Bill Bibbiani won a runoff battle after the Weekly reported concerns about his opponent’s campaign finances.

No More Mind Games

In an April 28 article about autism, Julie Riggott sent out a warning that brought a barrage of letters to the editor. While many in the media have latched on to the hot topic of childhood autism, science has, for the most part, been left out of the drama and the debate. The story “Mind Games” examined the prevalence of pseudoscience in the treatment of autism. Unfortunately, we found that so-called miracle treatments are most likely giving parents false hopes while wasting precious time better spent on proven methods of therapy.

Jane Orr Fights Again

Seven years ago, longtime Rose Bowl Executive Secretary Jane Orr accused then-General Manager Dave Jacobs, now retired, of sexual harassment. Rather than discuss a settlement, city officials battled Orr’s claims in an Alhambra court, which exonerated Jacobs. The decision crushed Orr, who had put in 37 years on the job but lost much of her benefits after taking early retirement following her harassment allegations.

Unknown to Orr, the court granted the city — which spent an alarming $750,000 in defending Jacobs rather than pay a much smaller settlement — the right to seek more than $23,000 in court costs from her. She discovered the debt in October, when it had become a lien that prevented her from refinancing her home to make ends meet.

After Weekly coverage of Orr’s new troubles, city officials cut the amount they were demanding from Orr in half and set up a payment schedule with her so she could obtain the loan and move on with her life. 

Up Front

by Andre Coleman, Pasadena Weekly, Dec 22, 2005

An Altadena Unified School District?

With the impending closure of elementary schools in their town, Altadena officials are now considering breaking away from the embattled Pasadena Unified School District.

As PUSD Board of Education members decided unanimously Tuesday to close four elementary schools — including Noyes and Edison elementary schools in Altadena — Altadena Town Council members decided to convene a task force to investigate whether that unincorporated community should create its own school district.

“I think it would be irresponsible not to take a closer look at how the closing of these schools will impact children in Altadena,” said Altadena Town Councilman Justin Chapman, who proposed the idea of a task force and will serve as its chair.

“It’s an intriguing proposal that the council has looked at before, and one that may be beneficial,” said 20-year-old Chapman, a student at Pasadena City College and a freelance writer for the Pasadena Weekly.

Pasadena school board members decided to close Noyes, Edison, Allendale and Linda Vista elementary schools after losing more than 1,000 students this year. That decline cost the district $4 million in state funds, forcing cuts to security and other costs.

Linda Vista students currently attend classes in Altadena because repairs to that campus were stopped due to budget constraints.

While governed by the LA County Board of Supervisors, Altadena has an elected, 16-member Town Council that acts as an advisory body to Supervisor Mike Antonovich.

All 13 council members who attended Tuesday’s meeting supported creation of the task force, though some aren’t sure if it will work.

“It would be a great thing,” said veteran Councilman Steve Lamb of the idea. “The problem is there is a state law that requires school districts to pay for the care of special ed students in their district. A high number of special ed students are housed in Altadena at Five Acres and Sycamores in Altadena,” he said. “I would absolutely support [a new district] if we could get the law changed, and we could come to some type of agreement regarding those kids.”

Because of the link between enrollment and funding, any attempt by Altadena to leave the district would likely meet with heavy resistance from the PUSD.

“Obviously we would not be supportive of that,” said PUSD Assistant Superintendent George McKenna, “nor could Altadena realistically do it. The cost issues, the facility issues. … What are they missing from what we give them now?”
Answered Chapman: “At the very least two schools.”

— André Coleman

Hickambottom honored

The Altadena Chamber of Commerce has named longtime Altadena resident and civil rights advocate Dolores Hickambottom Altadena’s Citizen of the Year.

A former field deputy for state Sen. Jack Scott, 74-year-old Hickambottom helped found the Altadena Town Council and Altadena Senior Center.

She moved to Altadena in 1941 with her late husband Elbie, who served many years as a Pasadena Unified School District school board member.

— André Coleman

Bush snubs, ‘railroads’ seniors

For Pasadena senior rights activist Marvin Schachter, the 2005 White House Conference on Aging was more than a little disappointing — it was nothing short of anti-senior.

“It was a conference organized by the administration to avoid discussion of the issues,” Schachter said. “It’s a railroad.”
Conferences have occurred every 10 years since 1961 and are designed to allow seniors to draft policy recommendations for Congress and the White House.

The 2005 conference, which was Dec. 11 through Dec. 14, was different than any other in several ways, said Schachter, a delegate appointed by LA Democratic Congressman Xavier Bacerra.

In an unprecedented move, delegates were not allowed to draft, amend or defeat resolutions put before them, but were instead forced to “prioritize” pre-packaged resolutions prepared by the Bush-appointed policy committee.

“What’s extraordinary about that is the arrogance of the administration — guaranteeing that there would be no active participation by the people who had come here,” said Schachter.

— Joe Piasecki

Don’t believe Bush, says Boxer

During an event promoting her new book “A Time to Run” Sunday at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium’s Little Theater, California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer said she was happy to have made a stand against the PATRIOT Act and that she had a hard time believing anything the Bush administration says anymore.

After being introduced by Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, Boxer spoke to a crowd of nearly 100 people, covering topics including the recently disclosed Defense Department eavesdropping program and the war in Iraq.

“I’m proud to be among the senators who defeated the PATRIOT Act,” Boxer said to enthusiastic applause a day after all but two Democrats joined a handful of Republicans to filibuster the debate, effectively enabling two key provisions of the act to expire on New Year’s Day. “We can protect our homeland against terrorism without eroding our basic civil liberties. It can be done.”

Although Boxer once believed claims that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons, “Literally everything they said proved to be wrong, every single thing. Now I’m at the point where I have a very hard time believing anything they say. They think the end justifies the means. That’s dangerous,” she said.

— Justin Chapman

Don’t believe Bush, says Boxer

During an event promoting her new book A Time to Run Sunday at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Senator Barbara Boxer said she was happy to have made a stand against the PATRIOT Act and that she has a hard time believing anything the Bush administration says anymore

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 12/22/2005

During an event promoting her new book "A Time to Run" Sunday at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium's Little Theater, California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer said she was happy to have made a stand against the PATRIOT Act and that she had a hard time believing anything the Bush administration says anymore.

After being introduced by Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, Boxer spoke to a crowd of nearly 100 people, covering topics including the recently disclosed Defense Department eavesdropping program and the war in Iraq.

"I'm proud to be among the senators who defeated the PATRIOT Act," Boxer said to the enthusiastic applause a day after all but two Democrats joined a handful of Republicans to filibuster the debate, effectively enabling two key provisions of the act to expire on New Year's Day. "We can protect our homeland against terrorism without eroding our basic civil liberties. It can be done."

Although Boxer once believed claims that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons, "Literally everything they said proved to be wrong, every single thing. Now I'm at the point where I have a very hard time believing anything they say. They think the end justifies the means. That's dangerous," she said.

Seniors prepare for disaster

The Senior Advocacy Council of Pasadena is hosting a free public forum on emergency preparedness

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 11/3/2005

With national focus trained on the devastation wrought by recent killer hurricanes, the Senior Advocacy Council of Pasadena is hosting a free public forum on emergency preparedness at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Pasadena Senior Center, 85 E. Holly St.

"We're going to talk about the roughly 18,000 seniors in Pasadena, thousands more with disabilities, and those who can't move without help who live independently and don't drive," said activist Marvin Schachter, an organizer of the event.

The forum will be hosted by James Graunke, executive director at the Scripps Home in Altadena, and Lisa Derderian, emergency management coordinator for the city of Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 791-7313.

Four for three

PCC board candidates stress the need for better construction planning, improved community outreach and more transparency

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 11/3/2005

Along with the eight initiatives on Arnie’s special election ballot, voters also get to decide Tuesday on whether Pasadena Area Community College District incumbents should be replaced over the next four years.

Only Area 1, represented by Trustee Geoffrey Baum, is uncontested, with one candidate each squaring off with incumbents in three other races.

In the Area 5 election, longtime incumbent Trustee Warren Weber is facing off against newcomer Hilary Bradbury Huang, a local businesswoman. While Weber is focusing on spending within the district’s means in completing on-campus building projects, Huang believes “We should focus more on designing rather than retrofitting. I’d like to see a greener campus. We can make a big dent with solar power. There’s also a big parking problem on campus. We should try to make this a more walkable city as opposed to building more parking structures.”

Area 7 incumbent Trustee Beth Wells-Miller is running against Brandon Powers, another local businessman. Powers declined to be interviewed for this story.

Wells-Miller said she looked into having the meetings televised, and “I was told it was cost prohibitive. … It’s very important that the public has an opportunity to see the public’s business being carried on and see how their tax dollars are being used.”

Meetings can be viewed on the Internet via Web cast.

“The issue I’m most concerned with is adding more core transfer classes to make it easier for students to move on to four-year universities,” said Area 3 incumbent Trustee Connie Rey Castro. “I will also continue to work to expand academic outreach in the community, particularly Northwest Pasadena. [The trustees] recently built a partnership with PUSD that targets at-risk students in local high schools. The aim is to offer academic support such as tutoring to help these students make the transition to PCC.”

Castro’s opponent, Jennifer Simmons Bekkedal, said she also wants more community outreach in Northwest Pasadena. “Student success and retention rates haven’t been a priority,” she said. 

Here on the ground

A firsthand look at some of the troubles that still lie ahead for victims of Hurricane Katrina

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 10/27/2005

NEW ORLEANS — In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, most media have portrayed New Orleans as a city completely wiped off the map. But that’s far from the situation today.

Two months after the Category 5 hurricane that swept through the famed Crescent City, as well as many other communities along the Gulf Coast, people have started returning to their homes, more businesses are opening back up; you can hear laughter in bars and music on the streets.

Café du Monde is packed with people eating beignets and drinking coffee, including the occasional smirking soldier with shopping bag in hand, and out-of-state National Guard troops are trickling back home. Police swarm the streets and workers clean up the piles of trash.

They still have a long way to go. The cleanup effort began on Sept. 26, but large piles of debris still sit dormant in the meridians, or "neutral grounds." The mountainous dumpsite on Pontchartrain and West End boulevards in Lakeview is one of three where 167,000 cubic yards of debris has been collected in Orleans Parish, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Friday.

Fences have been torn down, signs lean at a 45-degree angle, houses and buildings that collapsed have yet to be cleaned up, and every now and then a strong whiff of sewage and death hits your nose. The lawlessness is over, but there is still a sense of unease, and people don’t completely trust each other just yet.

Restaurants and other businesses have limited hours and menus, and they are all hiring. Wendy’s and other fast-food chains are offering $10 an hour. There are signs poking out of the ground near off-ramps and intersections all over the place announcing the reopening of certain institutions. The hurricanes left more than 281,000 Louisiana residents without jobs.

The city was also planning to start enforcing parking laws again by the end of the week. Traffic has been working largely on an honor system.

Driving over the Greater New Orleans Bridges one is struck by the sight of a sea of blue roofs. FEMA went around and inspected the damage to roofs and if yours qualified, it was draped in a blue tarp, whether you wanted it or not. Every house and building has an X spray painted on the front. On top is the date the structure was searched. On the left and right is who searched it, and on the bottom is how many dead bodies were found.

The signs that read "We will shoot" and "No looting—100% protected" remain, next to broken windows, burnt out buildings and skeletons of cars.

The National Guard, the American Red Cross, FEMA and others have been handing out boxes of MREs (Meals-Ready-to-Eat) to whomever wants them; no questions asked. These army rations contain everything you need for one meal, and they’re actually quite tasty.

"Ninety percent of the people whose houses were flooded didn’t have flood insurance because they were in supposed no-flood zones," said Darrin Chapman, a chief engineer for several hotels in the city and a cousin once removed of the author.

The population of the nearby capital city of Baton Rouge has doubled as property values have skyrocketed. Everyone’s doing the best they can, but some people don’t have the means to gut their homes to rebuild.

The big question is about the levees. Saturday’s Times-Picayune reported that the Army Corps of Engineers who designed the 17th Street Canal flood wall knew that they were building it on soft soil and weak peat moss.

New Orleans in a day

Chapman, who had passes from FEMA, took me on a tour of the heavily damaged areas on Saturday. The Superdome looms eerily over the adjacent freeway, its roof all but pealed away. Inspectors walk around on it, surveying the damage. The Convention Center is still a hotbed of activity. One of several military encampments is set up in a vacant lot nearby.

Chapman’s passes let us into a restricted area, the municipal yacht yard next to Lake Pontchartrain. We walked around hundreds of boats that had been flung around and smashed on the piers, docks, and shores. They were not salvageable.

We went to the 17th Street levee breach, which is about 20 to 30 yards long. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and others spoke about a conspiracy that involved intentionally blowing up the levee to rid the area of black people, but the community directly next to the breach was affluent and mostly white. However, that does not negate years of neglect on the government’s part in keeping the levees strong.

"President Bush isn’t planning urban renewal, he’s planning urban removal," Jackson said in a recent newspaper column. "The planners will turn New Orleans into a gentrified theme park. They’ll rebuild the white communities, even those like middle-class Gentilly and wealthy Lakeview that are as prone to severe flooding as the Ninth Ward."

After the incident where police beat an unarmed black man on Bourbon Street and the chief resigned due to reports that police let the looting happen — and participated in it themselves — the city has a lot of work to do to convince the black community to return to New Orleans and rebuild their lives here.

Police officers broke into a Cadillac dealership during the confusion, stole several cars, and drove around proudly. They told the community that the owner of the dealership let them in and told them to take what they wanted, a contention that turned out to be false.

The day after the storm, everyone thought the worst was over. It was just like any other hurricane. Then the levees broke and the looting began. The looters scavenged everywhere, all the way to the outskirts of the city. This left everybody vulnerable. When the power went out, the food in everyone’s refrigerators rotted and ruined the inside, forcing them to bring their fridges out to their parkways along with the rest of their damaged personal belongings.

When asked whom or what he felt resentment towards, Chapman, who waited out the storm in one of the hotel’s that he inspected, said, "FEMA obviously dropped the ball on this one, but I’m really upset with the people who took advantage of a bad situation. I can understand stealing water, food, diapers and other necessities, but what’s the point of smashing everything you don’t take and then burning the house or store down? The looters, which include poor white and black people and the police, made it 100 times worse for everybody else."

Nature’s thinning

On the plane out of town, the lady next to me ordered three bloody marys then turned to me and asked, "Have you ever been in a hurricane? It’s not fun. It took me three days to get out of Cancun. My hotel was flooded up to the third floor, connecting the lagoon to the ocean. The airport was closed, of course, and when they opened it up again we had a three-hour window. Then that got canceled. I’ve been surrounded by hysterical people this whole time. But the important thing is that we’re alive. I don’t normally drink like this. I just need to calm my nerves."

She drank her bloody marys and went to sleep. No rest for the weary as Hurricane Wilma makes landfall on Florida and record-breaking storm Alpha follows in her wake. 

Visit www.mapper.cctechnol.com/floodmap.php to find water depth information.  Call (800) 435-7669 or visit give.redcross.org to donate to the American Red Cross.

Bernie Zuber, 1933-2005

Bernie Zuber, a prolific community artist, died Friday

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 10/20/2005

Bernie Zuber, a prolific community artist, died Friday afternoon at Arcadia Methodist Hospital due to respiratory failure. He was 72.

Born in France, Zuber began his art career at the American Embassy, where his parents worked. Zuber lived in Brazil before arriving decades ago in Pasadena.

Here he made a name as an eccentric man-about-town as well as an accomplished sci-fi/fantasy artist and theater set designer.

Though homeless at times and never holding a driver's license, Zuber, it seemed, attended nearly every art event in the LA area.

Ben McGinty, owner of the Underground Arts Society galleries in Altadena, said the society will set up a memorial for him in the front window.

Zuber, who is not known to have any surviving family members, was also a member of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) California Board of Directors.

Zuber also attended Theosophy Society and Libertarian Party meetings. He was an organizer with the Light Bringer Project, which hosts the annual Doo Dah Parade and Absolut Chalk Festival.

A funeral service is being planned for Zuber at All Saints Episcopal Church, 132 N. Euclid Ave. in Pasadena. For a time and date, email Mary Torregrossa at slakita@juno.com.

Henke’s Octoberfest

The Underground Art Society will host an extended display of Darren von Henke’s art Friday

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 10/6/2005

You might remember Darren von Henke's painting from the Weekly's June 30 cover story, "Free to Be." His was the one where several UN peacekeepers advanced forward as innocent civilians' limp bodies hung from lampposts behind them.

But don't label him "dark and edgy."

"Though still a lover of NASCAR, TV and girls, Henke has also learned, like others, to acquire a taste for methodical, comprehensive, and precisely gauged expression," said Ben McGinty, owner of the Underground Arts Society galleries.

His work deals with a range of issues: war, oppression, censorship, innocence, corruption, murder and rape, without falling into cliches.

The Underground Arts Society in Altadena will be hosting an extended display of Henke's art Friday from 7 p.m. until midnight. His work will be on display for the entire month of October.

Henke will have a series of painted army helmets displayed on crosses in the front window. He will also have other painted and sculpted items.

The Underground Arts Society is located at 2473 N. Lake Ave., Altadena. Call (626) 794-8779.

A festival for the faithful

St. Elizabeth Church, a religious landmark since 1919, will host the 70th anniversary of the Fiesta de las Sierras

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 10/6/2005

St. Elizabeth Church, a religious landmark since 1919, will host the 70th anniversary of the Fiesta de las Sierras in the church grotto and parking lot Friday through Sunday.

This annual fiesta is a major fund-raiser for the church's capital campaign, through which several essential building upgrades at the school were possible. Proceeds will also benefit the pending renovations to the historic Wallace Neff-designated Parish Church.

There will be carnival rides, including a giant slide and Bounce House, and games such as the Dunk Tank and Cake Walk.

Burgers, hot dogs, Mexican Cantina, Filipino skewers, cotton candy, corn on the cob, crepes and more food from around the world will be offered along with beer and wine. On Sunday night there will be a BBQ dinner.

Live entertainment will include DJs, Mexican folk dancing and the Manning boys with Irish dancers.

They will also raffle off a 42" high definition plasma flat screen TV for $10 a ticket.

"Most importantly, this community event brings together the good people of Altadena and Pasadena for an exciting weekend of food, fun, and fellowship," said David Fields, an organizer of the event.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church is located at 1879 N. Lake Ave., Altadena. For more information, call (626) 797-1167.

McGovern: ‘Impeach Bush!’

At a visit to Pasadena City College Monday, veteran CIA analyst Ray McGovern spoke of the devastation caused by the Iraq War, which he described as illegal and immoral

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 9/15/2005

At a visit to Pasadena City College Monday, veteran CIA analyst Ray McGovern spoke of both the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and that of the Iraq War, which he described as illegal and immoral.

The 76-year-old McGovern, who prepared daily White House briefings during the Reagan administration, said the way to save our country from further devastation is simple: Impeach the president.

"For demonstrable offenses: First and foremost, violating our Constitution by tricking Congress into approving a war that was unnecessary and unprovoked, in which 1,900 young Americans have already perished," he told the Weekly.

McGovern is not alone in his calls for Bush's removal. On Sept. 24, tens of thousands of antiwar demonstrators, many of them also calling for impeachment, are expected to take to the streets of downtown Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC.

When it comes to war, death and the bungling of disaster relief, "We're talking about a basic moral question here, folks, about what our country is all about and what it intends to be," said McGovern.

(For more on why to impeach Bush, see our Editorial on page 5.)

Advice and Dissent

by Pasadena Weekly, Sep 8, 2005

Five, 10, maybe 20 people will die in Iraq today.

Soon one of them could be my friend Travis, a 21-year-old former Glendale City College student
who I met through Weekly Editor Kevin Uhrich and his son, Ted, himself a former Marine.

The Army just told Travis that he’ll be shipping out next month.

As of yesterday, more than 1,880 American soldiers, many of them teenagers, have died in Iraq.

An untold, unimaginable number of Iraqi civilians are also dead by our hand.

Though he’s been trained to be, Travis is not a killer. Not yet.

And he doesn’t want to be.

“We don’t even know why we’re there,” he said, speaking not just for himself but for many other Americans today.
In the 30 or so seconds that you’ve been reading this, about $77,000 has gone toward the $200 billion effort to destroy and rebuild Iraq, according to the nonprofit National Priorities Project at www.costofwar.com.

Meanwhile, we count the dead from the tragedy in New Orleans — death that could have been avoided but for the war, some say.

By ignoring the needs of our people, the destruction “is simply a part of the price of the Iraq War,” said Blase Bonpane, a former Maryknoll priest who has dedicated the past 40 years of his life to ending human suffering.

As we report on page 10, requests had been made to President Bush to shore up the levees that broke last week and washed away thousands of homes and lives. But, with all of our resources tied up in Iraq, those requests were denied.
For all of its costs, why are we in Iraq?

Cindy Sheehan, who camped out at Bush’s Crawford ranch all last month to ask him for what noble cause her son Army Specialist Casey Sheehan had to die, isn’t the only one who wants to know.

Like the rest of us, she got no answer.

So, as we do every year on Sept. 11, the Weekly has asked artists, activists, soldiers and other citizens to consider how our country has changed in the wake of the horrendous attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

What has war, from the death of one soldier to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal to no-bid multibillion-dollar corporate contracts to the rights-stripping USA PATRIOT Act, cost us?

Has 9/11 become nothing more to some of our leaders “than a get-out-of-jail-free card to abrogate our civil rights and start wars for profit,” as musician David Crosby put it?

“Collateral damage, tiger cages, lip service to values, addiction to violence, allegiance to oil, death to the innocent. Is this what we fight to preserve?” asked actor and activist Mike Farrell.

Asked Jane Bright, a local mom who lost her son to the war in Iraq, “Is this really the American Way?”
People like Travis need you to think about it.

—Joe Piasecki

The American Way?

We are at war on two fronts with a third war possibly looming with Iran. There are close to 2,000 dead American soldiers and tens of thousands of dead Iraqis. America and Americans are reviled around the world. We’re called imperialists. We are considered aggressors and invaders.

Is this who we really are as Americans?

My beautiful son lost his life and the lives of my surviving son, my husband, I and other family members are irrevocably damaged because of the loss of my son in a war that we started for no discernable reason.
Again, is this really the American Way?

— Jane Bright lives in West Hills and lost her son, 24-year-old Sgt. Evan Asa Ashcraft, to a rocket-propelled grenade in
Northern Iraq on June 24, 2003. (As told to JP)

Rebuild at home

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, Americans experienced a mixture of fear and a quickening of the national spirit. The extraordinary heroism of the firefighters, police and others in coping with death and destruction rebuked the mood of infectious greed generated by this era of market dominance.

But the moment was brief and did not last. Four years later, it is clear that we are less secure and more unequal. This president has practiced the politics of division — systematically dividing us within and from allies without. He has cruelly exploited 9/11 and the “global War

on Terrorism” for raw partisan purposes. In pursuit of empire abroad, this administration has endangered our Republic at home.

America’s citizens deserve better. Slowly, in these last months, the polls show that people — even those who were hoodwinked into voting for Bush — are waking up to the deceptions of this White House. What was once considered marginal — opposition to an unnecessary war which has made us less secure and more reviled in the world — is now entering the mainstream of our political debate. It will take real political leadership and courageous and wise activism, but this really can be the beginning of the end of a disastrous war and a bankrupt national security strategy.

At a time when the nation faces another (natural) disaster — in its way, perhaps as consequential in human and political terms as 9/11 — let us work to rebuild our country on truly moral principles: shared sacrifice and shared prosperity, a commitment to human rights, equality and democratic reconstruction.

— Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor of The Nation. (Via email)

‘Bring the troops home now’

Shortly after 9/11, 2001, I was deployed to the Middle East to provide direct combat support for Operation Enduring Freedom.

Seven months after returning, I again found myself in the Middle East. I was now taking part in the intensified bombing of Iraq while Bush was in the United States saying we were going to try diplomacy.

Now, in my post military life, I see that the US is headed in the wrong direction. We need to implement a new foreign policy based on respect and understanding. The best way to start this is to end the occupation of Iraq and bring the troops home now.

In 25 years, I have learned what some people may never learn in a lifetime: Violence only leads to further violence.

— Los Angeles resident Tim Goodrich served as an Air Force senior airman in Iraq and is co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War, www.ivaw.net. (JP)

Crisis and opportunity

To me, the worst effect of 9/11 was that the current administration saw it as a wonderful opportunity to advance their own agenda … a sort of get-out-of-jail-free card to abrogate our civil rights and start wars for profit.

— Musician David Crosby still hasn’t cut his hair. (Via email)

Justice for all
Looking back at the last four years, I think the 9/11 tragedy forced American Muslims to wake up, open up and speak up. Although American Muslims still find their loyalty questioned, civil liberties compromised and are constantly forced to defend who we are and what Islam stands for, the “silver lining” is that it forced us to get involved. We had to speak up or no one else would.

The terror attacks of 9/11 were a terrible tragedy that I hope and pray are never repeated.  I have to admit that even now, four years later, thinking about that day and the events that unfolded in this country still send shivers down my spine.

From time to time, when I’m shopping or out and about in the community and someone yells a racial or religious slur, I still feel the adrenaline pumping — the kind one feels when one is afraid and scared. But I am determined to not live in a world of fear and hate, determined not to hide or cower, and determined to open the doors for dialogue and leave a better world for our youth and our future.

— Tahra Goraya is board president of CAIR-Southern California and executive director of the Pasadena-based Day One, a coalition for a drug-free community. (Via email)

‘A war on crime’

We must take care to remember two things; first that terrorists are really nothing more than criminals with a political agenda. The war on terror is really a war on crime, magnified.

Secondly, we must never stop trying to find the right balance between security and liberty. Too much of the debate on this issue come from the extremes rather than the middle. Those who believe the threat is everywhere and those who believe there is no threat are equally foolish.

— Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian is a US Coast Guard reservist. (Via email)

Who are you, America?

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and our response create a defining moment for America.  

Grieving needs time to reconcile the new reality, but simplistic nationalism trumped thoughtful leadership and declared crusade. Six-gun justice … wanted dead or alive … with us or with the terrorists. Thus the din of bombs and wounded shrieks of defenseless people become white noise muted by flapping flags and blaring horns as thousands die because thousands died.

The world will never be the same, it’s said, the implied arrogance suggesting that nothing matters to us but us. The destitute, the shamed, the hopeless — victims of terrorism for generations — look up, then back to a world always the same.

Abroad, brutes replace brutes. At home, fear congeals, rights die. Jingo redefines patriot.  Speech becomes dangerous: "Watch what you say." The cliché that a chance to vote on it means Americans would repeal the Bill of Rights is tested; fearful, we fail.

Muted protests rise, are stifled, rise again. Collateral damage, tiger cages, lip service to values, addiction to violence, allegiance to oil, death to the innocent.  Is this what we fight to preserve?  

Who are you, America?

— Actor and activist Mike Farrell first wrote these words for

Hugh Downs’ “My America: What My Country Means to Me,
by 150 Americans from All Walks of Life.”  He asked the
Weekly to use them here. (JP)

Restore public infrastructure

The destruction of the great city of New Orleans together with much of the Gulf Coast is simply a part of the price of the Iraq War. Every year efforts have been made by informed people requesting more federal funding for the levees and infrastructure of that great city on the Mississippi River. And these requests have been denied in order to pay for an unnecessary, illegal and immoral war. (Please see related story on page 10.)

The denial of these necessary funds is also part of a larger ideology which has been festering for three decades. The ideology is called privatization and is based on a religion of profit for the few. As a result, the entire public infrastructure of the United States is deteriorating. We have only to look at the efforts to defund Social Security, public schools, public parks, public highways, sewer systems, libraries, universities and hospitals.

Let the troops from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama be the first to return from Iraq.

And may they be followed immediately by the rest of our troops to come home and save their country from the terrorism generated by privatization.

— Blase Bonpane is director of the LA-based Office of the
Americas. His latest book is “Common Sense for the 21st Century.” (Via email)

Use our imagination

The administration’s response to the attacks, I believe have been disastrous. We’ve invaded a country that has nothing to do with 9/11. We have rushed to war on false intelligence and the planners have executed it badly.

There is not a conventional military solution to terror. If there were, Israel, which has one of the greatest armies in the world fighting a refugee camp, would have no terrorism.

It’s an incredible lack of imagination to pour our resources into war when all of that money should go to first responders, as we see in New Orleans.

What’s really obscene to me is that I don’t see anyone [who is able] making any sacrifice. In this time of tremendous bounty for our least vulnerable citizens, since 9/11 I’ve gotten $250,000 in tax relief.

— Bradley Whitford lives in Pasadena and is a
star of TV’s “The West Wing.” (JP)

Uniting in crisis

Four years after Sept. 11 we are still learning lessons about how to cope with tragedy on a national scale. But one fact was immediately clear: Americans unite in a time of crisis.  None of us can forget watching generous donations from around the country pour into relief efforts, school groups raising money for new fire trucks or tireless volunteers serving round-the-clock hot meals at Ground Zero. 

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina we are once again facing a national tragedy.  In the difficult weeks ahead we each can find comfort in America’s deep history of generosity and the knowledge that humanity exists in the wake of even the most horrific natural and manmade disasters.

— Congressman Adam Schiff is a Democrat from Pasadena. (Via email)

‘Disaster in total’

There is a sense of fear, not of terrorists as much as that this administration is out of touch with reality, and that if something serious would happen that Bush, Cheney, Condi and Rumsfeld aren’t capable of thinking their way out of a paper sack.

It’s become abundantly clear that these folks are blinded by ideology and can’t be trusted to evaluate facts. When the Berlin Wall of loyalty that is the true strength of this administration cracks, and they turn on each other as they try to pass off blame for this mess, then we’ll know to be very afraid because we’ll finally see the disaster in total and what enormous work it’ll take to try to make it right.

— Altadena novelist Jervey Tervalan is author of
“Dead Above Ground” and “Understand This.” (Via email)


After 9/11, the Bush administration told us that the US would fight a “war against terrorism.” That message morphed into "bringing democracy and liberty" to brown peoples in poor nations (already decimated by years of US policy). In particular, women’s oppression was used to rally sympathetic Americans, even Republicans, to support the war (compared to the Taliban, even Laura Bush appeared a feminist!).

Four years later, Afghan women still starve, still die of child birth in staggering numbers and are still attacked for political participation. Little has changed since before 9/11, including the collective memory of a world willing to forget the victims, past and present, of our cruel politics.

Perhaps worse than in Afghanistan, Iraqi women have found themselves in a similar situation with “their” new constitution enshrining laws designed to oppress them.

Judging by the past four years, we have to conclude that war cannot conjure up liberation. Only a sustained, strong, indigenous resistance can. I express my solidarity with the women resistors of Afghanistan and Iraq. In their struggle lies our salvation.

—Sonali Kolhatkar is co-director of the Afghan Women’s Mission and host of “Uprising!” which can be heard on KPFK 90.7 FM. (Via email)

Unite under truth

Since 9/11, everything from the weather to the economy to a simple cup of coffee seems to have gone unpredictable and haywire.

The silver lining, I believe, is that it has reinforced the common concerns and love we have for each other as Americans and as global citizens. We must stay together and keep focused. If we do not, they have won.

— Mary Eisenhower is the granddaughter of
President Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Via email)

‘Knowledge and consent’

In 1998, I was asked by the American Friends Service Committee to accompany a Voices in the Wilderness delegation to Iraq. I saw a people desperate for the things most of us take for granted. Hospitals were full of people dying for lack of basic medicine — 5,000 children a month.

I went to Kuwait a year ago to bring a young Iraqi girl to the US for a prosthetic arm. While in Kuwait I spoke with Iraqi doctors who told me not only had there been no improvement, but everything in Iraq had gotten worse.

The Iraqi people had nothing to do with the terrorist attack on the Trade Towers. This makes the US the symbol of senseless cruelty on a much larger scale than Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi people cannot believe that our government can cause so much harm without the knowledge and consent of the American people.

— Alan Pogue is an award-winning photojournalist who
lives in Texas. (Via email)

Insidious erosion
What is most distressing as the country approaches the fourth anniversary of the tragedy of Sept. 11 is how much the country has just accepted a loss of civil liberties and civil rights. More than 600 human beings remain incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Not one has been tried or found to have committed any offense. No one, outside a few in the government with access to classified information, has any idea how many individuals are now being detained or have been detained by the government as part of the war on terrorism.

Congress has renewed the PATRIOT Act with only relatively small changes. Very objectionable provisions remain. The government can monitor electronic communications, like email addresses sent to or received from or websites visited, just by showing that it is “relevant” to a criminal investigation.

Why has the country so quickly gotten used to this? Part of the answer is that most people are unaffected by all of this. Most of the government’s enforcement efforts have been targeted at those who are, or who appear to be, of Arab descent. Part of the answer, too, is that liberty is being lost incrementally, a bit at a time and not all at once.

But these realities — the lack of concern about the rights of others, the slow loss of freedom — are what make the erosion of rights all the more insidious.

— Erwin Chemerinsky is a professor of law and
political science at Duke University. (Via email)

‘Two steps back’

It’s interesting how we as human beings can show so much compassion during times of tragedy, but at other times we forget the importance of human life. Peace takes one step forward and two steps back. Ignorance, apathy and anger fuel our emotions post 9/11. Wherever your political affiliation may lie, remember that we are all people first and that we should strive for one thing, and that’s peace.  

— Punk rocker Mike Park is founder of the Plea for Peace Foundation (www.pleaforpeace.com), founded Asian Man Records and used to perform with the band Skankin’ Pickle. (Via email)

Nothing positive

Don’t know if I have anything of a positive nature to say about 9/11 changing America — it changed it by giving W the chance to show America for what it really is, but nobody needs to hear that.

— Los Angeles writer Jerry Stahl is the author of “Permanent Midnight” and
“I, Fatty.” (As told to Justin Chapman)

Leave quickly but safely
Whether or not one agrees with why or how we got to Iraq — we are in Iraq.  

As the mother of one of those fallen soldiers, Cindy Sheehan’s passionate call for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq is understandable. Appealing though such a withdrawal may be, it would be irresponsible for our government to consider leaving until we help create a measure of peace and stability at which the Iraqi’s can control their own country and destiny.

At one level, establishing stability is the least we can do after having disrupted Iraq’s internal political balance, no matter how terrible Saddam was to his own people. But pragmatically, by leaving at this tumultuous time, we might soon be faced with a radical, extremist government in Iraq.

Whatever your political views, I believe we should all agree on two things. First, we should never forget to recognize and appreciate the sacrifices our military men and women make on our behalf while serving in Iraq and other tense situations around the world.

Second, we should support a US strategy that will effectively engender the actions necessary to help the Iraqis govern Iraq themselves — and once that goal is achieved, leave as quickly and as safely as we are able.  

— Retired Col. Richard Downie is a former director of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, once known as the School of the Americas. (Via email)

That’s how it starts

My case was one of the first cases that the USA PATRIOT Act was used against political dissenters. With the political climate, you could easily be rendered a terrorist in the eyes of Homeland Security if you spoke out in criticism of the government in any way.

The entire US police state apparatus has carried out these actions long before 9/11, when the Black Panthers were getting shot up because they sought to exercise their so-called constitutional rights. It’s a daily occurrence, especially in communities of color.

The war here is the same one waged in Afghanistan, Iraq and Latin America

Today they can publicly say we entered your house, downloaded computer files, questioned your neighbors, followed you, kept files on you and called you a domestic terrorist. That’s how fascism really starts.

-In 2003 Sherman Austin was sentenced to a year in federal prison for terrorist crimes after a teenager posted bomb-making instructions to the then 20-year-old San Fernando Valley activist’s Web site. (JP)

Embrace civilization

For some reason during times of war, we, as humans, tend to pull back from the things that seem trivial when such important matters weigh heavy on our minds, and the arts tend to seem trivial. However, it is what we should embrace the most, as it is what makes and keeps us civilized to some extent.  

— Gary Lamb is artistic director of the Crown City Theatre Company and the Pasadena Shakespeare Festival. (As told to John Esther)

Save energy, save lives

The day the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, my phone started ringing. It was members of the press, calling to ask me what would happen if a plane struck a nuclear power reactor.

One week later, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated what I knew: It would be like the Chernobyl atomic explosion in 1986.

That day I knew deep in my heart that unknowingly, the utility corporations of the USA had created an arsenal of pre-deployed nuclear weapons, like sitting ducks, close to our population centers.

The closest reactors to Pasadena are the San Onofre complex — two operating, one closed — located on the coast between LA and San Diego.

The good news is that if a nuclear power reactor is turned off, it takes only 30 days to cut the public health threat of cancer from an attack in half. And if every conventional light bulb in Southern California were replaced with a compact fluorescent bulb, there would be so much energy saved that turning off that reactor would be possible.

— Mary Olson is director of the Southeast Office of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. (Via email)

Shifting priorities

The big question in national politics for the next year is when and how the US will pull out of Iraq, but the larger question is whether we will be shifting our national priorities to address human needs at home and human rights abroad.

For every American who has actively participated in one of the recent activities to support Cindy Sheehan’s vigil in Crawford, Texas, there are tens of thousands who quietly oppose the war and want to restore balance to American politics and policy.

Americans understand that the occupation of Iraq and the bloated military budget is draining the US of the resources it needs to address its serious domestic problems — the 40 million Americans without health insurance, the 35 million Americans living in poverty, declining wages and living standards, the need to hire more teachers and upgrade our schools, the need to expand the supply of affordable housing for working families, and the need to improve public transit and rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

We feel this every day in Pasadena.  

So the big question is whether American public opinion will prevail in the 2006 and 2008 elections. There are many ways for Pasadena residents to help make that happen. Join groups like MoveOn.Org and Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace. Join other Pasadenans who are working to improve the public schools, bring more affordable housing or feed the hungry in Pasadena.     

— Peter Dreier is a professor of politics and director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Program at Occidental College. (Via email)