- Surf & Skate Fest – Brady Walker
- PO’d at the P. O. – Suzy Williams
- Even More PO’d at the P. O. – Patrick Frank
- Venice Entertainer Framed in Santa Monica? – Greta Cobar
Surf & Skate Fest
I am writing with the hopes of determining the community’s opinion of the inaugural Venice Beach Surf & Skate Fest held on April 21, 2012.
What I saw and heard from the revelers the day of the event was a wonderful outpouring of fun, camaraderie and enjoyment. I personally feel that the event was a success and met my goals of presenting the local community a day of celebration in regards to our surfing and skating heritage. But this is just my opinion. And although I heard a lot of positive feedback on the event, there are some folks who do not share my views.
I like to think that I do my best to address everyone’s concerns when proposing or holding an event in my beloved community of Venice. I also like to discuss these concerns in private or in a forum where it is beneficial to all parties involved. But when these concerns are sent directly to the Councilmember’s office, the Coastal Commission & the LADOT two and three weeks after the event is over in attempt to spin a negative image on myself & my productions, it not only puts a bad light on me, but it also hurts my feelings deeply.
If city agencies & the California Coastal Commission only hear these negative comments on the event, it is a pretty good bet that they will not approve a 2nd Annual Venice Beach Surf & Skate Fest.
I spent almost 1,000 hours of time & over $3,000 of money out of my pocket to bring this event to the people of Venice. I am reaching out to the public to get your feedback, negative or positive. Any ideas of what you would like to see? Thoughts on what I can improve to make this event better if allowed to be held in 2013? If you liked it or loved it, please send me your comments, no matter how long or short they may be.
Thank you for continuing to let me have fun with all of you wonderful Bohemians!
Sincerely, Brady Walker – 310-980-7129
PO’d at the P. O.
Dear Beachhead Collective,
The song, “PO’d at the P.O.,” featured on p. 5 of the May issue, was co-written by Sam Clay and me. It is mostly his work; I added some lyrics. Please print a correction in the June edition.
Love, Suzy Williams
Even More PO’d at the P. O.
I have to say that I won’t be sad to see that post office go, for several reasons: (1) It’s ugly in there. There’s string hanging from the louvers, crap laying around the counters, and the whole space feels impersonal and bureaucratic. (2) I hate the plexiglass. If we keep the present P.O., we keep the plexi. Makes it like East Germany in there. If we change the post office, maybe the new one can come without that stuff. (3) The help is less than helpful. Let’s just say that they are of widely varying intelligence levels. (4) The mural is historic, but it’s also very weird.
It’s one of the weirdest in the entire Post Office Mural Program (and I know because I am an art historian and I have studied this). Abbot Kinney rising out the doorway, photographically accurate which does him no favors, while the rest of the mural is more loosely painted. Hoo Boy. So I think the Postal Service should sell the building. Let it become a bar or something. And let’s try to make a new post office that we can be a little prouder of.
Venice Entertainer Framed in Santa Monica?
By Greta Cobar
Solomon, the one and only Venice Snake Man, also known as Willie Lee Turner, was arrested in a coordinated operation in Santa Monica on April 29. Accused of felony assault and battery with great bodily harm for allegedly pushing a man in the Hollywood area on April 22, Solomon was taken to jail even though he does not match the description of the suspect.
Described as a 22- to 27-year-old black male wearing a baseball cap and riding a beach cruiser with a milk crate attached to the front of the bike, the suspect does not match Solomon’s style of clothing nor his age, as Solomon is about 30 years older than the written description of the suspect.
The incident in Hollywood left the victim in a coma and on life support. It was witnessed by two women, who were subsequently shown pictures of six subjects. One of the pictures was of Solomon, taken about 20 years ago. The two witnesses selected two pictures that resembled the suspect, and Solomon’s picture was not selected.
The police then asked the witnesses to watch videos of Solomon doing his Snake Show in Venice, and subsequently one of them stated that Solomon resembles the suspect, even though his show image is different from his day-to-day style and demeanor.
After spending 19 ferocious days in three different jails, thanks to family members he is now out on a $50,000 bail. On another happy note, the victim of the incident recovered out of the coma and is no longer on life support.
Solomon has been a primary target of police harassment in Venice, and he is currently in the middle of a civil lawsuit against the LAPD. He received dozens of tickets over the last ten years for things like performing without following the rules of the Lottery system, which was since deemed unconstitutional. Just two years ago on Memorial Day he was arrested for speaking out against the war and criticizing the Police and Military for taking over the basketball courts to conduct their propaganda. As a result of that arrest he was banned from Ocean Front Walk for a year.
Known for speaking his mind against the injustices committed by our armed forces oversees and our police forces at home, Solomon is no stranger to being ticketed and arrested time and time again on bogus charges, all of which have been subsequently dismissed in court. Out of the dozens of tickets received and the dozens of times he was arrested, he was never found guilty and never was sentenced or required to pay a fine. The only exception is the previously mentioned Memorial Day incident, in which he was not found guilty, but was cornered into accepting a plea deal.
On April 29 Solomon was peacefully jogging in Santa Monica when 15 police cars and undercover police cars, half of them from Hollywood and the other half carrying Venice cops, swarmed in on him from all directions with their sirens on. At gunpoint, Solomon was ordered to surrender. The two women who witnessed the April 22 incident in Hollywood were in the back of one of the police cars and were asked to identify him as the suspect. After what legally can be classified as coercion, the two witnesses agreed with the policemen’s statements and Solomon was taken away.
The operation to arrest Solomon was planned out and organized thoroughly enough to ensure that Venice’s Alex Thompson, the police blogger hiding her own felonious background (http://bit.ly/rpwqpU) was on the scene in Santa Monica to snap pictures.
As clearly illustrated by the pictures that Thompson posted on her blog site, the arrest occurred on Second St. and Montana Av. in Santa Monica. However, according to Solomon his arrest papers Testate Wilcox St. and Hollywood Blvd. as the location of arrest. The fact that Solomon hasn’t been to Hollywood in the last several months is just another piece of information that the LAPD is disregarding.
“I felt like I was six feet under ground, but what gave me hope was the fact that I knew I didn’t do it,” Solomon said about his time spent behind bars. He also talked about being starved, served only one hot meal a day that had to be eaten within five minutes. Examples of dishes that he was served include what he describes as “peanut butter with pieces of glass in it.” He and the other inmates went through major digestive problems on a daily basis.
Solomon was subjected to this treatment without being proven guilty, as a result of an operation that proves to be an LAPD effort to silence dissidents. The jail medical staff determined that his blood pressure was higher than normal and he was forced to take medicine that he wouldn’t voluntarily take. He described the pills as being of different colors and sizes from day to day.
“If a humanitarian world organization was to see the treatment of the inmates or the racial make-up, they would say that this is a form of genocide based on race and economic status,” Solomon said.
The Beachhead documented unjustly acts of police harassment towards Solomon in the past (http://bit.ly/MW543x), and the saga continues. The counter-culture that he represents is a vital part not just of the Venice community, but of the world as a whole. There are millions of people who take the dictated steps day to day, but progress and new ideals were never fostered by those types. And individuals who created real change in our consciousness and expanded our thinking found the courage to think outside of government constraints in spite of the hardships those choices have historically been sure to foster.
If you would like to be a witness to the fact that Solomon has never been seen wearing a baseball cap, as the suspect in this incident was wearing, or if you would like to help in any other way, please contact the Beachhead. Solomon himself is offering a $1000 reward for anyone who is able to identify the perpetrator. It might take a village to prove an innocence, and Venice is undoubtably the type of community that comes together to save its own.