The Bodacious Bus on the Boulevard
Jody Roberts steps to the back of the bus to display his psychedelic handiwork.
By Tony Morris
For the past six weeks Topanga artist Jody
Roberts has been decorating a 1955 GMC school bus for the creators
of Rubber Tramps, a documentary feature about people who
live in their vehicles. Roberts has lived in a variety of vehicles
for the past 23 years and was commissioned to create the psychedelic
bus which the filmmakers plan to drive to the Sundance Film Festival
in Park City, Utah, this January.
The GMC bus is a major work for Roberts, known for his talents
as an illustrator and cartoonist. When the exterior is complete
the interior of the bus will be transformed into a theater to
present screenings of Rubber Tramps. The filmmakers plan
to present the film to the public for free when the bus stops
at a number of markets on the Westside.
According to the film's director,
Max Koetter, the idea for Rubber Tramps came after a cross-country
trip. The film's crew met in Los Angeles and traveled north up
the California coast to the Oregon flatlands meeting people living
in buses, cars and vans.
Jody (far right) decorated the bus to promote Rubber Tramps a film by director Max Koetter (center) seen here with his crew.
Koetter says the crew "knocked on people's doors. There
was a sense of openness which they were willing to share with
With the journals and music of Brett Beardslee and commentary
by celebrated author Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's
Nest) the film follows Beardslee in Juicy Lucy a 1958
Volkswagen Van. The crew met Kesey on his farm in Pleasant Hill,
Oregon. His voice is heard throughout the film, providing a link
with the Kesey's bus trip in Further--a trip chronicled
in Tom Wolfe's novel The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
The bus can be seen rusting away in a grove of trees, testimony
to a time when countless buses and Volkswagen vans traveled the
backroads and highways of the country. Kesey reflects, "There's
room for all the thoughts we have. It exists. Bodhisattvas living
in their vehicles, they're not going to bomb Bosnia."
Jody spent six weeks on this labor of love.
Rubber Tramps explores the essence of a culture which
celebrates the freedom of living on the road, a freedom of expression
despite society's prejudice against such a way of life. The railroad
tramps of Woody Guthrie's day may be gone but their wanderlust
lives on with the Rubber Tramps driving the country's
Crew member Brett Beardslee's diary sums it up, "On those
streets, behind those blanket curtains and painted windows, are
some of the most astonishing people I have ever met. They are
nomads and gypsies and poets and magicians. Prophets and psychos
and hippies and hermits. Soldiers. Scholars. Potheads. Activists.
Misfits. . .Just like us."
here to Mouth off !
Joni Morales Retires from Post Office
By Penny Taylor
Friday, December 29, 2000 was Joni Morales'
last day at the Topanga Post Office after 10 years of service
in Topanga. Her retirement party the day before was marked by
pizza, cake, certificates of appreciation from the government
and jokes and tales about happenings in the postal service. And
it was great seeing Cinderella back behind the counter after
being at the Palisades Post Office for a while.
Joni Morales (front center) is congratulated on her retirement by the P. O. crew. Front row: Ellen Mills, Oscar Reynoso, Lucy Ulloa, and Bob Stoprya. Back row: Bruce Grether, Mike Gallegher, Jake Russell (hidden) Cinderella Sadler, Javier Malagon (hidden) Rick Davis, Charlene Beckwith, Dale Petersen, and Courtland Hitz.
A resident of the Fernwood area, Joni isn't abandoning ship entirely.
She'll be helping out Leigh Bloom at the Topanga Mail and Message
for a while before starting up her new career in tile and ceramic
painting for Karen Silton. Her art has always been an important
part of Joni's life and her imagination and use of colors is
a delight to see. Her illustrations have appeared in the Messenger.
Joni's proof positive that retirement is only the beginning.
here to Mouth off !
The Topanga Chamber of Commerce proudly
announces our 53rd annual celebration of the outstanding Citizen
and Business of the year-people who have made a difference to
our community. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky will make presentations
and will officiate at the installation of the Chamber Board for
2001. Our theme will be the 2001 Space Odyssey.
here to Mouth off !
We want to thank everyone for continuing to support us in the
past year. The year 2000 brought many new members and greater
participation in our events. We want to thank the community by
pledging to do more for Topanga in 2001.
Please join us for our Annual Dinner and celebration of the community
on Saturday, January 27, at 7:00 p.m. at the Topanga Community
House, 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. Admission is $20, Advanced
reservations recommended. Please mail checks to the Topanga Chamber
at P. O. Box 185. For information call 455-0790.
Lauren Penner Wins on Quicksilver
PHOTO BY ED LAWRENCE
Lauren Penner in flight on Quicksilver.
The United States Combined Training Association
gave Lauren Penner and her 18-year-old thoroughbred mare, Quicksilver,
the Medallion Award for finishing in the top five placings in
three horse trials during the year 2000. Horse trials are the
triathlon of equestrian sports. Each horse and rider combination
must complete three tests. The first phase includes the compulsory
movements of an elegant dressage test. The second phase is the
cross-country, where horse and rider gallop and jump a timed
course that includes logs, ditches, banks and waters. Finally
the pair have to successfully complete a show jumping round where
if they knock down a rail the team is penalized. It is not an
easy sport, at any level, to do well in all three phases. Congratulations
Lauren! Lauren trains at the world class Mill Creek Equestrian
Center right here in Topanga.
here to Mouth off !
Senior, Disabled Have to Go the Distance
By Tony Morris
For Topanga residents over 65 years and
qualified disabled persons there are two programs which provide
transportation service to those in need. They don't make it easy,
but if you're willing to go through the red tape, you can sign
up for free or reduced rate rides. Cityride Dial-A-Ride serves
the City of Los Angeles and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles
County. Access Paratransit is the designated ADA (Americans with
Disabilities Act) paratransit service for the County.
Cityride Dial-A-Ride requires new applicants
to complete an application with a copy of a birth certificate,
Medi-Cal card, DMV card, passport, or if disabled, a copy of
an MTA disabled identification card. To qualify for the low-income
rate, a copy of a Medi-Cal card or Supplemental Security Income
award letter is submitted. A check or money order for $15.00
or $6.00 (if on Medi-Cal or SSI) plus 34 cents for shipping and
handling-a total of $15.34 or $6.34 with your Social Security
number on the check or money order can be mailed to: CITYRIDE,
P. O. Box 866003, Los Angeles, CA 90086.
Following receipt of the check or money order, a book of 66 transit
scrip for each quarter is used to obtain discounts on taxi and
Cityride Dial-A-Ride services. Transit scrips expire on June
30th of each year. Using transit scrip, two to six scrips cover
the cost of a Cityride Lift-Van, up to 12 scrips provides a taxi
(participants pay all costs over $12), 8 scrips covers a private
Lift-Van (participants pay all costs over $8).
A SECOND OPTION
Access Paratransit allows riders using
Ready Access to schedule immediate response trips-from 45 minutes
to 5 hours before a desired pick-up time and advanced scheduled
trips from 5 hours to 24 before the required pick-up.
here to Mouth off !
A limited number of advanced scheduled trips-5 to 24 hours in
advance-are offered and many Access Paratransit riders are not
aware of this fact. Access Paratransit says that an Access Paratransit
Advisory Committee is now working jointly with Access Services
staff to "modify and simplify the Ready Access scheduling
Access Paratransit requires applicants to complete an application
and schedule an in-person assessment which lasts approximately
40 minutes. Applicants are notified within 21 days upon completion
of the eligibility process.
Cityride and Access Paratransit information and applications
can be obtained by calling 1-800-827-0829. Taxi service in Topanga:
United Taxi-310-821-1000 and Valley Transportation- 1-818-787-1900.
Viewshed Property Saved on Stunt Road
Zev Yaroslavsky, supervisor, County of
LA, 3rd District, said, "This latest land acquisition by
the Mountains Restoration Trust significantly enhances the scenic
and recreational value of Cold Creek. A major step has been taken
in protecting Stunt Road."
On December 1, the Mountains Restoration Trust announced the
acquisition of 24 acres adjacent to the Cold Creek Preserve in
the Santa Monica Mountains. Steve Harris, president of the Trust,
said, "With acquiring these properties, 95% of the viewshed
along Stunt Road is now protected. As a result, one of the most
scenic areas in the areas within the Santa Monica Mountains has
been preserved for the public and the residents of the area."
"The properties when combined with the existing Cold Creek
Preserve extend along Stunt Road for more than two miles,"
according to Harris.
Stunt Road wanders through Cold Creek Canyon between Mulholland
Highway and Saddlepeak Road. Traveling along Stunt Road offers
some of the best vistas and scenery in the Santa Monica Mountains
including excellent examples of Chaparral ecology and granite
rock outcropping. Mr. Harris noted that the viewshed along Stunt
Road is protected cooperatively by the Santa Monica Mountains
Conservancy, California State Parks, the University of California
Reserve and, the Mountains Restoration Trust.
"Working with Fidelity National Title and the California
National Bank, the Trust has completed the purchase of four contiguous
parcels which will be added to the Preserve. The folks at both
of these institutions understood the important mission of land
preservation in the Santa Monica Mountains. These businesses
cooperated with us and helped in many ways to make these acquisitions
possible," said Harris.
Asked about hiking trails, Jo Kitz, stated that there weren't
any existing trails on these properties. Ms. Kitz said, "Some
exploratory work and investigation will be undertaken to determine
if a trail can be built on the newly acquired parcels to link
to other existing trails." She reminded everyone that these
properties are adjacent to the Stunt High Trail which leads to
the Backbone Trail.
Kitz reported, "It is conceivable to design a loop trail
accessible for most hikers on these properties with its gentle
Mark Lamken, chairman of MRT, commented, "The Trustees have
been trying to acquire these properties for more than ten years.
We immediately realized the importance of these 24 acres to the
preservation plan in protecting Cold Creek Canyon".
Various options exist for restoration. Ten years ago portions
of the property were graded. Ms. Kitz, program director, indicated
that the land has self restored many of the native plant species.
Therefore, removing non-native species from the coastal sage,
chaparral and grassland communities will allow the native plants
to thrive. The grasslands are a bit weedy and will be improved
with native bunch grasses. If there is sufficient ground water
on the property, deer grass can be planted; if not, other California
bunch grasses will be used. Finally, non-native broom and tree
of heaven will be removed from the oak riparian corridor. Utilizing
the four major plant communities, the Trust can truly reinvigorate
these lands to the beauty and function of their original state.
According to the MRT's long term management plans, the preservation
of this property reduces the year around downstream impact on
Cold Creek, protecting the natural habitat resources of the entire
Cold Creek Watershed.
President Harris concluded his remarks. "2000 has been a
most satisfactory year for the Mountains Restoration Trust in
terms of restoration, education, and land protection. We thank
many individuals who work for governmental agencies and other
organizations who help us in so many ways throughout the year.
In terms of restoration, hundreds of oak trees have been planted,
the removal process of Arundo donax has begun on 100 acres in
Malibu Creek, and numerous preservation projects have been completed
to help heal the land. As for education, more than 4,000 school
age youngsters have participated in MRT's outdoor environmental
workshops. And finally, we have been active in land acquisitions
in the Santa Monica Mountains."
The Mountains Restoration Trust was established in 1981 as a
California non-profit, public benefit, organization to work to
protect, restore and enhance the natural resources of the Santa
Monica Mountains. The Trust is the largest non-governmental landowner
in the Santa Monica Mountains acquiring properties through negotiated
purchases from willing sellers and from gifts from generous civic-minded
donors. The MRT has participated in the acquisition of more than
3,000 acres over the years and still holds title in excess of
MRT's major holding, the Cold Creek Preserve, protects the headwaters
of Cold Creek which is one of the few year-round streams in the
Santa Monica Mountains and has the purest water. The MRT continues
to expand this pristine wilderness. It now exceeds 1000 acres
and includes 13 waterfalls, numerous species unique in the Santa
Monica Mountains, and great species diversity. The Canyon Preserve
is open to the public, everyday, free of charge, by reservation.
All other hiking and equestrian trails maintained by MRT are
here to Mouth off !
Lost Firefighter Honored
Cowboy poet Dan Hess reads poem written for downed firefighter Jeff Langley.
By Tony Morris
The Los Angeles County Fire Department
paid tribute to the memory of Los Angeles County Firefighter
Paramedic, Jeffrey Langley, with the dedication of the Department's
new stationary helicopter training tower at the LACFD's Air Operations
Center in Pacoima on December 18th. The ceremony was presided
over by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, with Acting Deputy Fire Chief
Gary Lockhart, Chief P. Michael Freeman, and Karen Langley, mother
of Jeff Langley. Attending the ceremony were more than 150 firefighters
from Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles, friends and
family members. Dan Hess, the "Cowboy Poet", flew in
from Missouri to present a special poem he wrote in Langley's
here to Mouth off !
Langley was killed in March 1993 during a cliffside rescue operation
in Topanga State Park when he accidentally fell 100 feet from
a County helicopter. Prior to his death Langley had explored
the concept of providing a stationary steel tower which could
be used as a cost-effective means of helicopter hoist training
The training tower was constructed with the support of several
corporate donors who provided basic components in a public-private
partnership. The tower consists of a military surplus helicopter
mounted on a three-story steel tower with an exterior rescue
hoist attached to the side of the helicopter's shell.
"We are proud to dedicate this training facility to Jeff
Langley because of all that he did to further this cause within
the fire service, and because he made the ultimate sacrifice,"
said Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman.
The tower is currently used to train County firefighters in "pickoff"
maneuvers to rescue victims from cliffsides and buildings. It
is also used to aid firefighters in practicing methods for securing
victims in rescue baskets and new techniques for swiftwater rescues.
During swiftwater rescues specially trained firefighters are
lowered from a helicopter into rapidly moving water to save victims
in flood control channels, rivers and other bodies of water.
Langley first joined the Department as a fire suppression aide
in the brush fire camps and graduated as a Los Angeles County
firefighter in 1984. He served as a firefighter paramedic until
his death in 1993.
Let Us Give You a Hand
Bridge classes are now forming at the Calabasas
Tennis and Swim Center. Come join us every Thursday at 7:15 p.m.
to play Friendly Duplicate Bridge. The cost is $3.00. There are
no reservations needed, and there is always a partner waiting
to play. We also offer a Bridge clinic on Mondays at 11:30 a.m.
Scheduled city classes for the beginner/refresher Bridge player
will be offered starting on Tuesday January 30th at 7:30 p.m.,
continuing every Tuesday for 8 weeks. The cost is $65.00. The
class is restricted to 12 participants, so sign up now!
For more information contact Al Budoff at (818) 991-4568.
here to Mouth off !