By Greta Cobar
As the Beachhead is turning 45 this month, I spiraled back in time to the late 70s and early 80s, when the Beachhead was just becoming a teenager. And I got to meet someone of days past: an impeccably dressed mathematician, avid historian, reader, astronomer, jazz aficionado and former Beachhead Collective member: Chuck Bloomquist.
Chuck and his wife Terry welcomed me and Emily Winters into their beautiful Venice house that they have lived in since 1966. I wanted to know how life was on the Beachhead Collective back in the day, and they joyfully shared their colorful experiences with me.
“We had a lot of fun and we liked putting out the paper. It’s a good thing to have a local paper,” Chuck said. He was part of the Collective from ’77 to ’81, and wrote “Chuck’s Briefs,” a column about interesting news that came about.
“I remember they were always entertaining,” Emily said.
“Ya, to me they were,” chuckled Chuck.
I said that I want to hear something funny, and Chuck told me the story of some guy from Toronto who ran an ad in the Beachhead for a few months, but didn’t pay. They sent him letters, but he did not respond. Chuck, who was also the Treasury for the Collective at the time, just so happened to go on a business trip to Toronto. “So I took the bus and knocked on his door – he was quite impressed. He didn’t give me any money, but we stopped running his ad,” Chuck said.
Terry spoke of Chuck’s time on the Collective as “quite admirable.” “He believed in it and had the dedication to do it week after week after week. It takes commitment,” Terry said.
Another funny story that Chuck shared with me was when they printed in the Beachhead a couple of graphics from another alternative paper. A letter threatening a lawsuit against the Beachhead came in the mail, and “we were really scared,” said Emily.
“Steve Clare called them – he is quite a talker – and I think he might have even gotten a donation from the guy,” Chuck said.
“We had a lot of camaraderie in our group and made it more of a joy than a chore,” Emily said about her time on the Collective.
“We grew beyond the Beachhead,” Chuck said.
One thing they did was make wine. And appropriately called it Free Venice Free Flow. “I took a bottle into work, and everyone said: ‘that’s good wine’,” Chuck proudly exclaimed.
Another big adventure were the twice yearly camping trips that started in the late 70s and continued for the next thirty years. Chuck bought a big telescope and when his fellow Collective members found out he was going to Joshua Tree to look at the stars, they joined him. The Free Venice Astronomy Club was formed, and off they went to the desert, every spring and fall, during new moon, to see the stars.
“We went out as friends and our relationship grew besides the Beachhead. I don’t know if that’s true of other Collectives,” Emily said.
When I asked Chuck what he thinks of the current Beachhead, he said: “Sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it’s not – it’s really hard to put something good out all the time – the important thing is that it’s put out.” We’re trying, that’s for sure.
“I was 17, in the Marines, came to Venice and fell in love with it – wondered why people don’t live here. As long as I’ve been here, there’s always been the cry ‘Venice is going to the dogs.’ Every year it’s a different place, but it’s still Venice. It is still a unique community. Gentrification is taking over everywhere, but it’s not all bad,” according to Chuck. But when I asked him what he thinks about the development on Rose, which is just a block from his house, he said: “It’s a pain in the ass.”
Although Terry kept busy raising their seven children and working as a Registered Nurse, she managed to also find the time to be a Representative on the Venice Town Council for the Oakwood and Rose Area 4. Being a Mexican-American, she felt that her nationality should be represented on the Council.
“Everybody loves Chuck,” Terry says after 52 years of marriage. “It’s interesting living with him – he pursues many hobbies and is very knowledgeable,” she said.
Chuck put his love of jazz at work for a good cause by founding, 21 years ago, Jazz at Palms Court, the annual fundraiser for the Venice Community Housing Corporation, which provides 195 units of affordable housing.
I found Chuck to be, as his wife described him: self-effacing. However, I was truly mesmerized by his charisma, wit and humor. Thank you, Chuck and Terry for inviting me into your home and allowing me a peak into your life together.
(This is a reprint from the June 1979 issue)
By Chuck Bloomquist
A twice-spurned bill in the U.S. Congress is getting more favorable attention since the Three Mile Island incident. Authored by Hamilton Fish, Jr. (R-NY), the bill calls for a five-year study of nuclear energy during a moratorium on issuance of construction permits or operating licenses. Congress would review the entire nuclear power process – from mining of fissionable material through waste disposal or reprocessing. Only Congress could end the moratorium and would do so only if the safety of the process could be demonstrated to its satisfaction. Fish’s bill now has 35 cosponsors including Rep. Vic Fazio (D-Calif.).
Ed Salzman writing in the May issue of California Journal asks: “Remember how Ed Davis and other law-enforcement officials were screaming not long ago that the penal policies of the Brown Administration would produce an exodus of dangerous criminals from the state prisons into the cities of California? Remember how that appeal was translated into stiffening of the then-new determinate sentencing act even before it had a chance to go into effect?
The outcome: State penal institutions are now so full of felons that two prisoners are being housed in cells built for one.
Last year, some 8,750 convicted felons were sent to prison by the judges of California – about one out of three offenders. During the Reagan Administration the ratio was about one in ten.
The crisis came all right, but just the opposite of what was predicted. And those in government responsible for the unprecedented crackdown on criminals are Jerry Brown, the 1977-78 Legislature, the state’s judges, and the community release board – the precise targets of those forecasting near-empty prisons in 1979.
A Citibank survey shows that the top 10 manufacturers made $17.1 billion in profits in 1978, up 8 percent over 1977. The next ten had profits of $6.8 billion, an increase of 19%. They are Shell Oil, Atlantic Richfield, Gulf, DuPont, Phillips Petroleum, ITT, Dow Chemical, Caterpillar, #M, and Proctor & Gamble. The tope 20 contractors accounted for 37 percent of all profits. The 1463 other manufacturers surveyed by Citibank had profits of $41.3 billion, an increase of 21% over 1977.