Culver City Observer -

Rogers Gets Support For Sheriff


By Neil Rubenstein

Observer Columnist

If you are undecided as to whom you should vote for as Los Angeles County Sheriff, please consider Todd Rogers. Todd is an Assistant Sheriff and Vice Mayor of Lakewood.

As sheriff he would restructure the department’s chain of command to ensure shorter spans of control and greater accountability, as well as immediate review of deputy-involved shootings, community policing and at-risk kids’ programs. Look at the website,, and vote for the best candidate. Vote Rogers.

At a newly discovered restaurant near the city limits, close to the freeway entrance on the way to parts unknown, sat Maria AKA the wild gypsy lady, E. F. Huttonstein (my financial whiz kid) and myself. The kosher taco and eggs place was so small, only three tables and 12 chairs, that the parking valet helped customers off the MTA bus across a five-foot sidewalk and through the front door.

Sometimes while we are waiting for the food we play “Do you remember.” Maria shouted, “Red streetcar on Culver Boulevard,” E. F. responded, “FedMart,” and I came up with “Antonio Barreto Jr.”

On Feb. 16, 1990 at 4:30 p.m. in the Rotunda Room in Veterans Auditorium I attended the enrobing ceremony of Antonio Barreto Jr. to the Municipal Court, Culver Judicial District. What a celebration of warm affection for a Culver City resident and a great guy.

Some of those who took part were our most Honorable Mayor Jozelle Smith; Ted Cooke, Culver City Police Chief; Gerald Sallus, President, Culver/Marina Bar Association; Presiding Judge Hal Cherness and Antonio’s family who helped him put on his brand new black robe.

It was around 10 years later on Friday, September 15, 2000 when an era came to an end. The last criminal case was heard there, then only civil cases, small claims and traffic matters. Criminal cases would go to the almost new Airport Courthouse. The building erected in the 1950s today is the home of the Mayme Clayton Library and Museum.

I just bet many of us old-timers remember May 22, 1997 when Judge Barreto, returning from lunch, saw a prisoner who had escaped and, without thinking of his own personal safety, chased the bad guy who jumped on a planted bicycle and was barreling down the alley behind the courthouse.

As I recall, the judge’s vehicle was a very old VW bug with a top speed of perhaps 18 miles per hour, but he finally caught up, smashed the bike with his car and broke the leg of the bandito. And yes, they arrested the accomplice.

If you thought it would be straight up the ladder of success for the Ridley-Thomas family since Sebastian was elected last December to the California State Assembly, you would be holding the wrong side of a short stick.

There are those in Culver City who felt Sebastian’s war chest went a long way in solving the United States postal deficit with all those political mailers. Yes, my friends, our Assembly District was steamrolled by the $600,000 bank account. All very legal.

On April 15, 2014 the New Frontier Democratic Club (NFDC) held their endorsement meeting for the L. A. Unified School District Seat #1, now vacant since the untimely passing of my friend, Marguerite LaMotte. The NFDC is the oldest and largest African American Democratic Club in California. Of the 13 candidates, only two were in the meeting room: George McKenna and schoolteacher Rachel Johnson. Good, reputable and strong, McKenna would be my choice.

Another candidate, Alex Johnson, the education deputy to Sebastian’s father, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, was “on the way” but never made it. It was so bad that Sebastian was used as the backup. Let us just say, when the smoke cleared the club endorsed McKenna with 80% of the vote.

To some, the Ridleys looked so inept again I wonder how they plan to pull their candidate Mr. Johnson’s acorns out of the fire. Perhaps all those McKenna supporters will not be appointed or reappointed to county commissions, or perhaps funding for the Crenshaw light rail will be stretched out. There is so very much they can do and their army of telephone callers, door knockers and envelope stuffers is warming up in the bull pen.

Is anybody listening? Don’t worry, I just had the listening device dogs here and thus far they haven’t found any bugs planted in the walls. I did, however, see two K-nine heroes licking and barking at the telephone in the living room.

Nobody is going to tell you (especially the seniors) that if the school bonds pass, every time your property increases in value your school bond tax goes up. If you rent, you just know that will be passed along. Many in the next decade will not be in the middle class and will be taxed into selling their home. But who will buy it? With the mortgage payment you get a super duper tax bill. Schools are good, teachers are great, but let’s scale down this huge tax. And just remember, the city will soon be sending out a bill for the rain runoff mandated by Washington. And don’t forget the high speed rail bonds.

Mark your calendar. May 17 and 18 will be the 31st Annual Strawberry Festival in Oxnard – a nice time for the family. Check out the website,

For those who missed an article, all my commentaries can be found at by placing Rubenstein in that website's search box.


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