But here in Sierra Madre there is a special variation on the above themes. And it seems that for one side in particular mailboxes are what they go after to express a mad love for their points of view. An enthusiasm which more often than not has something to do with development.
With the political season now drawing close here in town, can a renewed assault on our innocent mailboxes be all that far behind? That question is of concern to some. And perhaps the festivities have already begun? This from yesterday's Pasadena Star News:
Resident reports strange device in her mail box in Sierra Madre - Police evacuated the 100 block of Santa Anita Court after a resident there reported finding a suspicious device in her mailbox ... A woman called the Sierra Madre Police at about 5 p.m. Monday, after she went out to check her mail and discovered the device ... "The officers went out there and found a device that had wires in it and was somewhat sophisticated," Sierra Madre Police Capt. Larry Gianonne said ... Police called in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department bomb squad, which used a robot to retrieve the device. Officers then destroyed it.
Now there is no proof that we have uncovered pointing conclusively to this particular act being some form of political expression. At least not yet. And while this does bear the trappings of the time honored traditions described above, it could also have been for other reasons as well. Walking one's dog on a beloved lawn might have triggered it. Perhaps a labor dispute, or maybe a reluctance to bring trash cans in on time. Did someone look cross-eyed at somebody else? People can be tetchy, you know. Your guess is as good as mine.
Many of us who supported Measure V have a vandalism story or two to share, or know someone who does. I personally lost two mailboxes in the Great Sierra Madre Condo War, both victims of bludgeoning by baseball bat. I can't begin to tell you how melancholy it made me feel when I spotted my little green mailboxes laying flat on the ground with huge rounded dents bashed into their sides, their proud red flags waving no more.
But it wasn't always just a matter of laughing these asinine attacks off and going down to Arnold's Hardware to buy yet another mailbox. For some during the days leading up to the Measure V election, things actually got dangerous. Here is a big chunk of an article written by Katina Dunn in April of 2007, published in the now regrettably departed Mt. Wilson Observer.
Explosion In Mailbox On Park Avenue - Police are investigating the mailbox blown to smithereens at the address of an electrician who grew up in the area, and who has worked on the homes and businesses of generations of families since 1958 ... "It was a big boom," said Ed Clare, who is waiting for results from arson investigators. "The Sierra Madre police department responded immediately," said Clare. "I appreciate their response. I appreciate their professionalism." ... Many heard the explosion Sunday night at 6 p.m. on Park Avenue, a quiet, pretty tree-lined street without sidewalks. Shrapnel from the exploded metal was found across the street and down the block, Clare said ... In the weeks prior to the election on Measure V, 13 mailboxes belonging to pro-Measure V residents were vandalized on Acacia Street. During the City Council meeting April 10, resident Leslee Hinton said she filed a report with the FBI. Two other residents who have spoken on behalf of Measure V at City Council meetings reported a shattered car window and a smashed car mirror to the police department.
Many at the time believed that Ed Clare had been singled out because he continued to place advertising in the decidedly pro-Measure V Mt. Wilson Observer. This during a time when businesses in town were being threatened with boycotts for doing just that. And this crime, like all the others, was never solved. No one was ever arrested, and far as I can tell all investigations were dropped long ago. Certainly there didn't seem to be too much official concern over these acts. This from the same MWO article:
Last Tuesday Police Chief Marilyn Diaz said that Captain Larry Giannone is investigating the bombing and incidents of vandalism. Diaz also acknowledged that the police blotters released to the local press this week were missing some information on vandalism committed on properties whose owners advocated for Measure V. "I think we have them trained now to be more inclusive," Diaz said of her staff.
While it certainly would be sad to think that this kind of violence is starting all over again, it is not like we haven't seen it before.