NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire V. 16.1 - Page 42

Meanwhile, the Raymond bombing and subsequent conviction of Kynette had several effects, some with long-term ramifications. Initially, state legislative committees descended on Los Angeles to conduct vice investigations. Rumors circulated that Lieutenant Sydney Sweetnam of Newton Vice, the key man among blacks in the Shaw machine, had bought out rivals and reopened all vice joints in the Central Avenue district. Sweetnam was called as a witness before the Assembly’s State Coordinating Committee investigating vice in the Central Avenue district, chaired by Assembly speaker Mosley Jones. Sweetnam refused to testify. Loren Miller’s former client, Baron Lawson, served Mrs. Bass a subpoena to appear before the same committee to ascertain “what payoffs came from whom and into whose pockets they finally landed.” Mrs. Bass, represented by Thomas Griffith, Jr., indicated she was too ill to appear. She was still recovering from a fractured leg. The real reason for her refusal to appear, however, was her belief that the subpoena was part of an insidious campaign to destroy her reputation and leadership in Los Angeles. Mrs. Bass was explicit about this, writing: 40 I believe that it was positively at the suggestion of Baron Lawson, aided and abetted by the editors of the Los Angeles Sentinel, working in the most destructive manner possible for newspaper supremacy here, that I was connected with this situation. 33 Another impact from the Raymond bombing was a campaign to reform law enforcement. The Clinton forces sought a candidate to defeat Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz in his re-election campaign, and Clinton planned to use facts uncovered in his vice investigations to defeat the incumbent. There was a campaign led by the ild to force the Shaw administration to clean up the situation in the Lincoln Heights jail, especially the abuse of prisoners and graft by jail trustees. The cry for reform heightened, when a prisoner was allegedly tortured to death in the jail. In April, more than 500 protestors demonstrated in front of the Police Commission, the mayor’s office, and the grand jury in protest of conditions in the Lincoln Heights jail. 34 Calls were also made for Chief Davis to resign. Robert Noble, a pension plan advocate, appeared before the Police Commission with 150 supporters asking for the removal of Davis and the appointment of Harry Raymond in his place. 35 The most profound result of the Raymond bombing was the formation of a coalition of community groups to recall Mayor Shaw. Right after the bombing, Clifford Clinton realized he had to rally other forces to work with civic to root out vice and corruption in Los Angles. He began to hold meetings to form a united front with churches, civic organizations, political parties, labor unions and mass organizations. From one mass meeting a working committee of five was formed which included Don Healey of Labor’s Nonpartisan League, who was also a Party member and future husband of Dorothy Healey. These reformers organized the Federation for Civic Betterment, which comprised over 300 labor, religious, women’s, civic and service organizations. The Federation formed a Committee of 25 to run day-to-day affairs. Initially, the Federation only called for the removal of Chief of Police Davis, but shortly thereafter the Federation joined civic in the circulation of petitions to recall Mayor Frank Shaw. 36