Police mull action to ‘clean up’ park

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Posted by Drew Mashburn on September 15, 2019

The following article first appeared in the Sunday, June 4, 1967 edition of the “Ojai Valley News” on the front page. It is reprinted here with their permission

Hippie set
Police mull action to ‘clean up’ park

Ojai police, nettled by a series of provocative acts attributed to members of the Hippie set, were mulling retaliatory action Friday.

Chief James D. Alcorn said his “phone has been ringing off the hook,” with calls from citizens who are plainly disturbed by what they claim are impudent reflections on recent narcotics violations.

Most recent incident was the posting of a sign near the arches fronting Civic Park, proclaiming “Things go better with Pot.” Pot is a slang word for marijuana.

Alcorn said private citizens have also complained about the posting of a routed redwood sign with the capital letters, O-V-D-A, which reportedly stand for “Ojai Valley Drug Addicts.”

He said some of the Hippies hold the sign on their laps as they sit on the wall fronting the park.

Civic Park is a private park, administered by Ojai Civic Association. Alcorn said trustees of the association have been exploring ways of combating the situation, but thus far have failed to find any answers.

In recent discussion of the problem by the Ojai City Council, City Attorney Duane Lyders warned the council that restrictive actions would raise questions of free speech and assembly – thorny issues of civil rights.

As a private park, however, authorities have indicated there might be ways of cleaning up the situation.

The Hippie set has used the front area of the park as a rallying point for some time,, according to Alcorn, but the situation apparently worsened earlier this year when Hippies from coastal cities staged the first of two “Love-ins.”

The first event came off without incident. Barefoot youths with flowers behind their ears strummed on guitars, ate picnic lunches and proclaimed “Love” to all who would listen. It was similar to events conducted quietly in Los Angeles, San Francisco and most recently in an eastern city.

The second “Love-in”, however, had slightly different overtones. Police arrested two visitors on charges of possessing marijuana. One was a girl from Glendale, the other a boy from Los Angeles.

Observers, however, noted that some of the visitors were not so young and some were estimated to be only juveniles who supported the bizarre costumes and deportment of Hippies years older.

Alcorn said the situation was a delicate one. “We have to be careful how we handle this thing,” he warned, “publicity is what most of these people want.”

He said the most his officers could do at present was to see that no laws are broken.

Comments (4)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorrie Graham September 16, 2019 at 9:02 am

Thanks for posting Drew. I was only 13 but I remember this so well. Love your articles and all of the research you’ve been doing!

Drew Mashburn September 16, 2019 at 10:15 am

Lorrie,

My pleasure! Thanks for tuning in.

Best,
— Drew

Barry Jenkins September 22, 2019 at 5:31 pm

Drew,
Thanks for the posting. I left for the Air Force in Aug ’67 so my perspective is different from most of those interviewed for the article. My most vivid recollections surround the deaths of David and Ray both of whom directly impacted my Ojai experience. Ojai has changed which is to be expected but whenever I visit I tend to seek out those places which have changed the least, selfish…probably but I’ll probably continue for as long as I live.

Drew Mashburn September 22, 2019 at 9:45 pm

Barry,

Your “perspective” is a welcome as anyone’s. I don’t believe visiting “places which have changed the least” is at all “selfish”. It’s what you prefer and you are entitled to such. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Best,
— Drew

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