Edition 2, March 2020
In this issue you will find the following:
- An interview with Sally Lieber, State Senate Candidate, on recent negative mailers,
- Articles on homelessness:
- A proposed pilot program for motorhome permits,
- An open letter from Rev. Kathy Crary,
- An Executive Order from the Office of the Governor
- To Build a Memorial: Classmates Work to Honor Pacifica’s Vietnam Fallen,
- Dedication of the Ingrid B. Lacy Peace Pole.
- Tuesday, March 3, Primary Elections
- Pacifica City Council Meetings: 3/9 and 3/23/20
- Pacifica Beach Cleanups every Saturday morning at rotational sites,
- Next PPA General Meeting TH 4/23/20
Photos have been contributed by Leo Leon, Mark Hubbell, and William Kostura
Pacifica Voice is eager to receive articles on issues important to our community. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Sally Lieber Responds
An Interview By Ian Butler
Many, if not all Pacifica voters recently got one or more last minute attack flyers going after Sally Lieber, who is running for State Senate and is endorsed by the Pacifica Progressive Alliance. It felt like deja vu all over again, and brought up painful memories of John Keener, Pacifica’s former mayor, who was barraged with dishonest fliers in the last election. This year’s fliers seemed obviously misleading, so I called Sally to give her a chance to respond to the spin. This is our conversation, lightly edited for clarity.
Ian: How does it feel to be on the receiving end of this?
Sally: I consider it a badge of honor to be attacked by these corporate interests, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Ian: The fliers are by the “Cooperative of American Physicians”, based in LA. Why would they be attacking you?
Sally: I was asked to sign their pledge to keep the amount juries can award for medical malpractice to the same level it has been since 1975. I was told that if I didn’t sign the pledge there would be negative ads.
Ian: At least they were honest about that! The flier also says “Sally Lieber made a big deal out of turning down a salary increase, but… she chose to take a $1,000 per month salary increase.” What’s that about?
Sally: At the height of the financial crisis we were given a 12% salary increase. Jackie Speier and I turned it down, as we were having to make tough budget cuts that affected people’s lives and it seemed inappropriate. Later when the budget situation improved, we took the raise like everybody else. But at no time did we “make a big deal out of it”, it just seemed like the right thing to do.
Ian: The other claim is that “Sally Lieber authored a bill that would have benefited a pharmaceutical company in which her family held stock.”
Sally: I introduced a bill requiring the HPV vaccine be made available to all pre adolescent girls. I later learned that my husband’s grandparent’s trust, which I had no money in, held stock in a company that is one of the 2 manufacturers of the vaccine. So I dropped my sponsorship of the bill. That’s it.
Ian: Wow, it’s actually pretty impressive if that’s the worst thing they could find on you!
Sally: My husband likes to point out that I’m messy at home, but they thankfully didn’t ask him!
Ian: Do you think these attack fliers will have an effect?
Sally: People are starting to think about why these special interests, who have nothing to do with our community, are spending $372,000 to attack me. In this election alone, 6 million dollars will be spent, mostly by special interests. That money could go to better use, which is why we need clean campaign laws.
Articles on Homelessness
MOTORHOME PERMITS: Pacifica Resource Center to Propose Pilot Program
Author Suzanne Moore
The Pacifica Resource Center responded to both public and City requests on solutions to better address Pacifica’s motorhomes and will present a draft program design to the City sometime in March. Pacifica is not the only community in San Mateo interested in solution-based proposals. San Mateo County is encouraging every community to consider what part they might play.
The County’s interest became heightened in response to the One Day Homeless Count in January 2019: the County saw an increase of 21% in the number with the greatest increase of 127% in the number of mobile homes. The January count sparked a second survey last fall to focus specifically on the motorhome population. Here in Pacifica:
- 40% are long-standing Pacifica residents,
- 75% are employed,
- over 50% are over age 50,
- over 50% became homeless due to increased cost of housing.
Similar to the research done by the Unhoused in Pacifica Task Force, the County’s Office of Sustainability reviewed safe parking programs in California. From this initial analysis, the County saw that case management increased the success of finding permanent homes for participants. Use of private lots could reduce the cost of a safe parking program, and both government and private property could be pursued.
On a state level, Governor Newsom has made it clear that homelessness is a priority and has signed an order to “accelerate” state action. Newsom created the California Access to Housing and Services Fund, is making monies and state properties available, and has produced a state crisis response team. Newsom intends to prioritize homelessness prevention, early intervention for those newly homeless, and creation of temporary housing on the road to a permanent home.
Pacifica’s pilot program prioritizes permanent housing placement; therefore, each client will be vetted, will actively work on finding housing, and will create contracts with clear expectations on behavior and goals. Participants will have access to many “life staples” including local dumping of waste water and garbage collection. The City and faith community are working closely to identify details on parking locations and liability insurance coverage. Pacifica Resource Center has a proven track record of finding housing for homeless clients.
There are several ways to support this effort:
- Contact the city council and express your support of the parking permit pilot,
- 1-2 parking slots could be ideal for the motorhome pilot,
- Financial support of the Pacifica Resource Center.
An Open Letter to the Readers
Rev. Kathy Crary, St. Edmund’s-Pacifica
I am the vicar at St. Edmund’s on Perez Street in Pacifica. Recently this congregation took a step that was transformative and enlightening and difficult, all at the same time.
After more than a year in discussion with the Pacifica Resource Center (PRC), we finally had a date for the “trial run” of our site as a shelter. We were testing out whether or not out site would work as a rotational shelter. Ideally several area churches would host unhoused persons in their facilities for a week at a time, especially during the inclement weather periods. So a site would be tapped as the host about every five weeks.
So, one evening in late January PRC staff brought the one person who would stay with us into the church. There was some disappointment only one person took the offer. Others had legitimate reasons for not coming, and one is always a start. That’s what we’ve noticed in justice movements over the years. Someone has to be first to get something started.
Parishioners, city council members and PRC staff attended the dinner that night, and slowly people headed out the door and our guest and one PRC staff member and I slept at the church. After breakfast the next morning our guest, the PRC staff people and I went our separate ways.
But that does not mean we are separated. The experience has had a galvanizing effect on the congregation. People now say they look at the homeless situation differently. In the face of the fear of our neighbors, it is a powerful witness to acknowledge one’s fears and move forward. Rational or logical thought does not banish the fear. Perfect facts do not cast out fear. In the Christian tradition we read in Scriptures that perfect love casts out fear.
We have been moved by this experience, we the little parish of St. Edmund’s. We hope others will join us in seeing so many of the justice issues in our world with compassion, mutual regard and respect and with the trust that is generated by this hope. For all of you who are working on issues from local to global, thank you. May we stay the course, be encouraged by one another’s work and grateful to have pilgrims who travel this path with us.
Rev. Kathy Crary
St. Edmund’s Episcopal Church
STATE OF CALIFORNIA
EXECUTIVE ORDER N-23-20
WHEREAS California faces a severe housing crisis that has made housing unaffordable for too many Californians and, in turn, exacerbated the problem of homelessness; and
WHEREAS homelessness in California is not confined to urban corridors but is present in urban, suburban, and tribal and rural communities throughout the state; and
WHEREAS data released recently by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development based on the 2019 Point-in-Time Count indicated that there were 151,278 individuals who were homeless in California, over 108,000 of whom were unsheltered, and that the homeless population has been steadily increasing; and
WHEREAS Californians driven into homelessness often develop significant health issues over time and, often experience significant morbidity and die sooner; and
WHEREAS it is estimated that a substantial proportion of individuals who are homeless experience chronic physical and mental health disorders, yet are not receiving regular and consistent medical or psychiatric care; and
WHEREAS California’s homelessness crisis has put considerable stress on many public services including transportation, libraries, schools, health services and public safety, as well as created public health challenges; and
WHEREAS California’s homelessness crisis has impacted certain business sectors throughout the state and is a top concern to many residents, businesses, communities, tribal governments, cities, and counties across the state; and
WHEREAS unauthorized encampments of people who are homeless are increasing in many areas of the state within the public right of way and near or on private or tribal property, resulting in traffic and fire hazards, crime, risk of injury and death, and other conditions detrimental to public health and safety, both for people who are homeless and people who are not; and
WHEREAS since 2018, almost 200 counties and cities have declared a shelter crisis, pursuant to Government Code section 8698 et seq.; and
WHEREAS over the past two years, the state has substantially increased its efforts to address street homelessness by providing more than $2.7 billion in new funding, significantly increasing its support for safety net services, eliminating barriers to getting navigation centers and temporary housing built to allow homeless adults to receive services and stability in order to find longer-term housing, enacting the most aggressive rent gouging protections, launching a 100-Day Challenge Initiative to bring counties and cities together to more urgently address homelessness in their communities, and expediting funding allocations to local governments, including allocations to counties to reduce the number of families in the child welfare services system experiencing homelessness; and
WHEREAS solutions to homelessness require additional innovation, cooperation and urgency within the public sector, and among the public and private and tribal sectors; and
WHEREAS because reducing the population of homeless individuals in California is a matter of critical statewide importance, the state can and needs to do more to help local communities act with urgency to address street homelessness and the society-wide problems associated with the homelessness crisis.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GAVIN NEWSOM, Governor of the State of California, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the State of California, do hereby issue this Order to reduce street homelessness, break down barriers to homeless individuals accessing health care and other critical services, and to increase housing options for those experiencing homelessness. This Order shall become effective immediately.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. All state agencies specifically referenced in this Order shall
develop by no later than February 28, 2020 accountability metrics for state agencies and for local partners to assess the use of the state resources referenced in the following paragraphs and their impact on reducing street homelessness, breaking down barriers to homeless individuals accessing health care and other critical services, and increasing housing options for those experiencing homelessness. The metrics shall be published online and regularly updated. In carrying out this Order, state agencies shall consider the extent to which local partners regularly and publicly report data based on the local metrics.
2. The Department of Finance, pursuant to its authority under
Government Code sections 11005, 11005.1, and 13306, shall immediately establish the California Access to Housing and Services Fund within the Department of Social Services, to receive future state appropriations, as well as donations from philanthropy and the private sector, and to provide much needed dollars for additional affordable housing units, providing rental and operating subsidies, and stabilizing board and care homes;
3. To rapidly increase housing options for those experiencing homelessness, the following actions shall occur by no later than
January 31, 2020:
a. The Department of General Services shall identify all properties from the digitized inventory of excess state land created by EO N-06-19 that can be used by local partners, including tribal governments, counties, cities, or non-profit agencies, on a short-term emergency basis to provide shelter for individuals who are homeless, so long as such usage will not delay affordable housing development on those properties.
b. The Department of General Services shall conduct an initial
assessment of all state facilities to identify facilities that can be used by local partners on a short-term emergency basis to provide shelter for individuals who are homeless and in need of health and social services.
c. The Department of Transportation (Caltrans) shall develop and share a model lease template to allow counties and cities to use Caltrans property adjacent to highways or state roads in those jurisdictions on a short-term emergency basis to provide shelter for individuals who are homeless, building on recent partnerships with the cities of Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Francisco, and consistent with Streets & Highways Code section 104.30. Priority for future partnerships to make state land available to counties and cities for short-term emergency housing shall be given to jurisdictions where a shelter crisis declared pursuant to Government Code section 8698 et seq. is in effect.
d. The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development
shall work with local jurisdictions, tribal communities, and private entities to conduct an initial assessment of the appropriateness and availability of vacant and decommissioned hospitals and health care facilities for use by local partners on a short-term emergency basis to provide shelter for individuals who are homeless.
e. The Department of Food and Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of General Services, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Social Services, and the Office of Emergency Services, shall conduct an initial assessment of fairgrounds in or near jurisdictions where a shelter crisis is currently in effect, and, for those fairgrounds, determine the population capacity and space that would currently be available to local partners on a short-term emergency basis to provide shelter for individuals who are homeless.
4. The Department of General Services shall supply 100 travel trailers from the state fleet, and the Emergency Medical Services Authority shall supply complementary modular tent structures, to provide temporary emergency housing and the delivery of health and social services in communities across the state. The Department of General Services and the Emergency Medical Services Authority shall supply trailers and tents immediately and
end by September 30, 2020, unless the secretaries of the Government Operations Agency and the Health and Human Services Agency both concur on a case-by-case basis that the specific circumstances warrant the continued use of the trailers or tent structures. These trailers and tent structures shall only be used where the following criteria have been satisfied:
a. A shelter crisis declared pursuant to Government Code section 8698 et seq. or its equivalent under the applicable laws governing the jurisdiction of a federally recognized tribe in California is in effect.
b. Local partners, including counties, cities, and non-profit
agencies, have the capacity and resources to deploy, operate, secure, and maintain the trailers or tent structures.
c. Local partners make appropriate health, social, housing, and other appropriate services available to support the needs of individuals temporarily housed in the trailers or tent structures and transition them into permanent, safe and stable housing.
d. Local partners agree to regularly and publicly report data based on the accountability metrics referenced in paragraph
5. To further assist local jurisdictions in addressing street homelessness, there shall be a multi-agency state strike team comprised of the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency; the Government Operations Agency; the Health and Human Services Agency; the Labor and Workforce Development Agency; and the Transportation Agency. The strike team shall be coordinated by the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council and provide technical assistance and targeted direct support to counties, cities, and public transit agencies seeking to bring individuals experiencing homelessness indoors and connect them with appropriate health, human, and social services and benefits.
FURTHERMORE, all counties, cities, public transit agencies, special districts, school districts, tribal governments, and non-governmental actors, including businesses, faith-based organizations, and other non profit agencies, are requested to examine their own ability to provide shelter and house homeless individuals on a short-term emergency basis and coordinate with local authorities to provide shelter and house individuals.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that as soon as hereafter possible, this Order shall be filed with the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice shall be given to this Order.
This Order is not intended to, and does not, create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, against the State of California, its departments, agencies, or other entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 8th day of January 2020.
GAVIN NEWSOM Governor of California
ALEX PADILLA Secretary of State
To Build a Memorial
CLASSMATES WORK TO HONOR PACIFICA’S VIETNAM FALLEN
(LOCAL SUPPORT NEEDED)
Author: Jean Bartlett
June of 1965, before the War came to their class. Clockwise from the top of the pile: Barbara Scopinich, Robert Stuckey, Rich Jasso, Butch Petersen, Pat Little and Dave McKay.
“Growing up at that time, as I look back now I see it was pretty turbulent,” longtime Pacifican Rich Jasso said. “But when you’re a kid, you are just trying to get by.”
Rich is a 1969 graduate of Terra Nova High School and one of four classmates who have banded together to establish a permanent memorial to honor Pacifica’s 13 sons who died in Vietnam. Along with Rich Jasso, these four classmates are: Mike Jelinsky, Barbara (Scopinich) Petersen and Patti (Topolinski) Hawker. Together they are the Pacifica Veterans Memorial Group (PVMG). The four classmates, along with a fifth classmate, Faye (Field) Jasso-Miller, were interviewed for this story in December of 2019.
“We are a group of Pacifica natives, veterans and local high school alumni who are committed to working together to establish a permanent memorial dedicated to Pacifican service personnel who died in Vietnam,” PVMG states in their 2019 introductory letter, written shortly after they formed in October of 2019.
Already a location for the memorial has been found and confirmed. It will stand at the home of Pacifica’s American Legion Post 238, 555 Buel Avenue, Pacifica. The local Legion is proud to be a part of PVMG’s permanent memorial project and will serve as the group’s fiscal sponsor. Additionally, PVMG is adding the names, as they get them, of Pacificans who died in wars subsequent to Vietnam. This particular story is to shine a light on this project and to help raise the memorial with the funds needed to do so. There will also be a memorial to each of the fallen Pacificans through biography.
The names of Pacifica’s Vietnam fallen are (alphabetically) as follows:
George Cabano, Jr. 1949-1968 (Oceana); Stan Childers, 1946-1967 (Terra Nova); Medford Chrysler, 1947-1967 (Terra Nova); Robert Compton, 1949-1969 (Terra Nova); Robert Curry, 1945-1966 (Terra Nova); Larry Foster, 1947-1966 (Oceana); Dave McKay, 1951-1970 (Terra Nova); George Patterson, 1948-1970 (Terra Nova); John Premenko, 1949-1970 (Terra Nova); Peter Premenko, 1947-1967 (Terra Nova); James Walker, Jr., 1947-1968 (Terra Nova); Johnny White, 1951-1970 (Terra Nova); and Charles Wright, Jr.
Charles Wright, Jr. died November 18, 1969. His name came to the group through a discovered 2009 letter written by Pacifican Bonnie Campbell. A 1964 Oceana High School graduate, Bonnie passed in October of 2010 and no further information is currently known on Tech 1st Class Charles Wright. Please contact Rich Jasso at email@example.com or Mike Jelinsky at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have information.
“The main intent of the memorial is to ensure that the survivor families and friends be afforded the dignity, honor, respect and recognition they deserve in their own hometown of Pacifica,” PVMG goes on to say, “for paying the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.”
This story is just a beginning.
* * *
In 1965, when Rich, Mike, Patti and Barbara began their freshmen year at Terra Nova, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered American combat forces into Vietnam. While the War began before his presidency, it was during his presidency that what had been called the Vietnam conflict became an American war. (America’s involvement in Vietnam began in 1950 under President Harry S. Truman. The U.S. began supplying the French military in Vietnam with advisers as well as funding to help stop the communist-led Viet Minh. It was during the time of the Cold War – a time of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union following the Second World War.)
“I wasn’t thinking about war at all when I was a freshman,” Rich said. “As far as I know, nobody was, well maybe I was a little.”
One of six kids, Rich’s eldest brother was in the Air Force when Rich started high school.
“He joined right after he graduated in 1963,” Rich noted. “He served for four years and came back in 1967. We didn’t know it at the time, because it was classified, but he served at secret air bases in Laos and Thailand from 1965 to 1967. Still, I was just a kid and the reality of war wasn’t really on my radar.”
Retired from the floor sales and installation trade, Rich has been married for 35 years, has three daughters and five grandchildren.
“Two of my friends from my class are on The Wall (The Vietnam Veterans Memorial),” Rich said. “I moved with my family from San Francisco to Pacifica when I was in seventh grade and these two kids, Dave McKay and Johnny White, transferred from Pacifica’s Sanchez School to Linda Mar School where I was going. Then we all went to Terra Nova.”
There are so many stories on both Dave and Johnny that it was decided, for this first printed story, the focus would be more on Johnny. It’s a way to frame the times. (Each Pacifica son will be profiled once this project heads past the starting gate.)
“Johnny and I had some dalliances together,” Rich laughed, “a little on the subculture side! I got him in trouble and he got me in trouble! Johnny was sort of funny. He was on the cusp of being a hippie but being a tough guy. If you look at his later high school photos – when all of us guys didn’t put anything in our hair and just let it grow long – he would still put stuff in his hair, even though it was long. Before that he looked like Elvis. He was a very good looking guy and despite his tough guy veneer, he was a real soft guy inside. You just kind of felt safe around Johnny because he had that swagger.”
Mentored by local pastor Lee Warford, by the end of his sophomore year Rich became an honor student and remained so through graduation. He also became very involved with creative writing and Glee Club. He and his girlfriend, Elaine Campton, formed a folk duet and sang at Catholic and Protestant church functions. They won several talent contests and appeared on live radio. In addition, Rich got involved in student government and counseling activities at school.
“I also practically crusaded against youth drug use. I led a team of other students giving talks at lower grade levels all over the school district as facilitated by Terra Nova.”
While Rich and Johnny remained friends throughout high school, they didn’t hang out as much as they once did. “I had sort of straightened out.”
Friends Dave McKay and Johnny White on the field at Linda Mar School, June of 1965. “This is the saddest picture,” Rich Jasso said. “A mere five years later they were both gone.”
In high school, Mike Jelinsky was also good friends with Dave McKay and Johnny White. Mike was an athlete in high school. He was a good student, outgoing, didn’t take himself too seriously and liked to joke around. He also found a connection back then with the Pacifica American Legion which opened the door to his career in the military.
“In 1968, I was sponsored by the Legion to attend Boy’s State,” Mike said. “This experience led to correspondence with the United States Military Academy at West Point.”
After Mike graduated from Terra Nova in 1969, he became the first Pacifican to attend West Point. Thirty-eight years later, he retired as a Major General from the United States Army. He lives in Green Bay, WI, is the father of four and the grandfather of two.
Like his three classmates, he is dedicated to completing this memorial.
“The names of the deceased veterans that will grace the face of this Pacifica Veterans Memorial, are the kids that Patti, Rich, Barbara and I grew up with,” Mike said. “They died as kids in a foreign land in the defense of the United States. This memorial is both righteous and overdue.”
* * *
“Our intent is to install a memorial to honor the veterans from Pacifica who gave their lives for their country,” longtime Pacifican Barbara (Scopinich) Petersen said.
Barbara, who grew up to teach preschool and kindergarten in the Pacifica School District for 25 years, said her Terra Nova High School experience was a very enjoyable one.
“I was on the Spirit Staff and participated a small amount in student government,” she said.
Barbara married her high school sweetheart, Butch Petersen, and they had two children.
“Dave McKay, who lost his life in Vietnam in 1970, was one of my and my husband’s best friends,” Barbara said, “from our neighborhood, through grammar school and through high school. He enlisted in the Army in 1969 and he and I corresponded while he was stationed in Vietnam.”
A widow now, with grandchildren attending school in Pacifica, Barbara said this memorial is long overdue.
* * *
Terra Nova graduate Patti (Topolinski) Hawker has lived in California’s Wine Country for 31 years. She said in high school she was a “goofy, gregarious, team-spirited girl.”
“I was a cheerleader in sophomore year and a big sports fan – and still am with baseball. Love my Giants!”
Always an animal lover, Patti said she was fortunate to work in the veterinary field for 16 years. Once she moved to the Wine Country, she became enthralled with wine and worked in the industry for 20 years. She was widowed a year ago.
“I knew Dave McKay very well,” she said. “We were in the same circle of friends and I wrote letters to him when he was in Vietnam. I also knew Johnny White but not as closely as I did Dave. I was very good friends with Maureen Compton whose brother Robert also lost his life in Vietnam.”
Patti became aware of the idea of the Pacifica Veterans Memorial project at her class’s 50-year high school reunion this past October.
“At our reunion I got reacquainted with Rich and he told me about this memorial that he has been thinking about for a while. I thought ‘this is a good cause’ and told him, ‘sure, I’ll help you.’ While some may not support a war, we certainly need to support those that signed up to protect us. These guys deserve to be recognized with a permanent place of honor.”
June of 1965, taken at Linda Mar School, l to r: Rich Jasso, Dave McKay, Debbie Lannoo, John Brun and Barbara Scopinich.
* * *
“The first death that sent shockwaves through our school, at least when the four of us were there, was ‘Stan the Man’ (LCpl James Stanley B. Childers),” Rich said. “He died in February of 1967 in South Vietnam. He was the nicest guy. He was the good looking star athlete. He was so popular at Terra Nova and so well-known that no one could believe he died.”
Rich remembered reading about Larry Foster’s death in the Pacifica Tribune. Pvt. Lawrence Eugene Foster died on May 22, 1966 in South Vietnam. He was an Oceana High School graduate.
“By the time I graduated from Terra Nova back in 1969, my thoughts were the same as everyone else’s,” Rich recalled. “It felt very personal. I had no opposition to the military in itself. It was just the politics. It was the politics of lying and keeping the truth from the American public. ‘Why are we there?’ But it was on the news every day. The journalists that were embedded with the troops – we saw those clips on television every night. It was a nightmare watching that stuff. It bothered us all. Fear of going somewhere you don’t want to go. It was lurking over you, threatening your decision making. Should I even go to college? What would my Lottery number be?”
The purpose of the Vietnam Selective Service Lotteries was to assign military induction by chance, so that certain factors such as race or social class did not affect the outcome. Three hundred and sixty-six blue plastic lottery “capsules,” representing all the dates of the year including leap year, were tossed into a large glass container and then were assigned a lottery number as they were picked. Those with numbers in the lowest one-third of the picks had the highest chance of being drafted.
“My brother Robert and I started going to demonstrations,” Rich said. “We were also very naïve. These were demonstrations where people got arrested. But we didn’t know who put the demonstrations together. I was never arrested but I remember running a lot. I was very fast.”
Johnny and Rich also reestablished their friendship.
“By then, Johnny had really got into creative stuff,” Rich went on to say. “He was good with his hands and he wanted to start a leather shop where he made leather products like belts. He had a lot of potential.”
* * *
Faye (Field) Jasso-Miller is the mom of three, the grandmother of six and has been involved with ministry since right out of high school. She knew Johnny White very well. He was like a brother.
“It makes me emotional to talk about all of this, but I am also happy to do so,” she said. “In our freshman year of high school for some of us, which includes Johnny and me, it was for a while a magical mystery tour.
“Johnny was happy go lucky and we had the same kind of folks – my father was strict and his father was strict. We also shared a love of music. Every time a new band or a new album came along, Johnny was knocking on the door, be-bopping his head. His favorite song was ‘I’m So Glad.’ He sang it all the time. When we were old enough to drive, every Friday we were on our way to the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. He always drove.”
During its reign, 1966 to 1969, the Avalon Ballroom was one of the most important music venues in the Bay Area. It was there, June of 1966, that Janis Joplin made her first public appearance with Big Brother and the Holding Company. The Grateful Dead played the Avalon Ballroom 29 times in that short span.
“Johnny and I didn’t attend school functions like football games or dances. Music was where we were. Janis Joplin was singing and we were there. We used to love singing ‘Age of Aquarius’ (from the musical ‘Hair’). Johnny was an Aquarian, I’m an Aquarian and so was our friend Linda Lynch.”
In the summer before her senior year, Faye said she had a real awakening with God.
“When I entered my senior year, I was in a whole different place. I didn’t spend as much time with Johnny in senior year. I sang in Glee and we had the most amazing music teacher, Mr. Bentley. He saw all this music in me. But Johnny and I remained friends, we were always friends. I knew his mom and his dad and his siblings. I knew his dog Velvet, a black lab. Johnny loved Velvet.”
It wasn’t that long after high school ended that Johnny went to Vietnam. Faye saw him the night before he left.
“He looked so handsome. He was in his uniform and he was so proud and happy, and he wanted to make his dad proud.”
* * *
On April 16, 1970, PFC Johnny Bryan White died in Gia Dinh Province, South Vietnam. Faye heard about it when she was driving on Linda Mar Blvd. A friend stopped her. “Did you hear about Johnny’s death?” Faye drove immediately to Johnny’s home. His mom was there alone and she was devastated. Faye held her and cried too.
“I remember sitting at home and writing a poem the day of his memorial,” Rich said. “I was so upset when I found out he had died.”
Rich joined the Army when he was 25. The Army medic did his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and was then assigned to Fort Sam Houston, Brooks Army Medical Center and Audie Murphy Memorial Hospital. Eventually, for the duration of his enlistment, he was permanently assigned to Letterman Hospital Medical Center in the Presidio of San Francisco.
“For me, what first got me to start thinking again about all of our Pacifica kids who were casualties of the Vietnam War was when The Moving Wall came to town (April of 2003),” Rich said.
Often called “The Wall That Heals,” The Moving Wall is a half-size replica of the Washington, DC Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It has been touring the country for more than thirty years.
“After seeing The Moving Wall, Maureen Compton (Robert Compton’s sister) and I both brainstormed the concept of a Pacifica Vietnam Memorial, when she began assisting me with background research for my concept of a documentary. I’m sorry to say that we lost Maureen in 2005.”
“I thought the Vietnam War was misguided when I was in high school and I still do,” Rich went on to say. “But nothing takes away from the sacrifice that these guys made for their country. We will never forget them.”
To support the Memorial Project of the Pacifica Veterans Memorial Group PVMG), tax-deductible donations may be made to PVMG, through:
Pacifica American Legion Post 238. 555 Buel Avenue, Pacifica, CA 94044. Hall phone: 650-355-4346. Checks may be written to Pacifica American Legion Post 238.
In the memo section of the check, write: “Pacifica Veterans Memorial Group” or just “Memorial Group.” With additional questions, contact: Rich Jasso, email@example.com or Mike Jelinsky, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, donations may be made directly to the Pacifica Veterans Memorial Group Go Fund Me Page, which is linked here.
* * *
www.bartlettbiographies.com | stories by longtime Bay Area News Group writer Jean Bartlett
The Ingrid B. Lacy Peace Pole is Celebrated
Author: Pacifica Peace People
The Pacifica Peace People “planted” a Peace Pole at Ingrid B. Lacy School to initiate a movement to create visible signs of peace throughout the community. The Peace Pole proclaims “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in 4 languages: English, Spanish, Tagalog, Cantonese. Pacifica Peace People donated the pole to serve as a reminder that peacebuilding is a constant challenge and a worthy goal.
These are student statements at the dedication ceremony:
Wayne Dyer once said, “Peace can become a lens through which you see the world. Be it. Live it. Radiate it out. Peace is an inside job.” Instead of seeing the bad in the world, see the light. See the peace and spread it. The first steps toward universal peace is peace within yourself.
Peace means to me that you shouldn’t let others get to you. The Dalai Lama once said, “Don’t let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” This means to me that even though people may bring you down, you shouldn’t let them. There is always going to be happiness in you even if it doesn’t seem like it. You just have to dig down to find it.
Peace to me means more than everybody getting along. It’s how you get there. It’s how you treat one another, how you put others before yourself, and how you are mindful of our planet and respectful to all. Peace is much more than collaborating with others. It’s something that, with just a little bit of effort, can bring us all together.