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Bruce's Beach And The Law

Part One

Racism in California: 1900-1930

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It is an undisputed fact of the American experience that, from the moment the political communities we call "States" ratified their Constution, in 1789, until the early 1950s, White Supremacy has been the social rule in America. The reason for this is simple to understand: America was forged out of the wilderness by white men—with a little help from the Africans—and it was developed into the American nation by white men, jealous of their prerogatives. But, in their success at doing this, the seed was sown that brought America—alone among the nations of the world—to the brink of amalgamating all the distinct tribes of the human race, where ethnic origin melds into the nature of American ciizenship, which is defined by the equal protection of the Constitution's law. When one opens one's eyes to the reality that this experience has encompassed hardly the span of three life-times, it is easy to see the bright tomorrow for America—a tomorrow stretching for thousands of years into the future—where what counts most is not the color of your skin, or the place on the earth from which your ancestors came, but the simple fact you are an American.

The history of California is an example of this process of human evolution. It begins in 1849, just as what was once a province of the Spanish Empire becomes a State in the American Union, when gold is discovered in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Suddenly, along with the rush of white native Americans from the East, come thousands of Chinamen into the State and they begin panning the streams and digging the mines. Hardly ten years later, there were twelve thousand Chinese males digging and blasting their way through the Rocky Mountains, grading and laying the tracks of the Central Pacific Railroad that would link up at Provo, Utah, on May 10, 1869, with the Union Pacific Railroad, being built by Irishmen. By 1870, there where Chinese communities springing up in San Francisco and Los Angeles and a dozen other places, and the white men reacted in violence: in 1871, the Los Angeles community was massacred; in 1877, the whites swept through San Francisco's China town, killing, burning, and looting. By the 1880s, the Congress of the United States joined in, with the passage of The Chinese Exclusion Act which prohibited not only Chinese nationals from entering the country but also Chinese residents who left the country on a sojourn. And yet, today, the descendants of these oppresed people have made themselves the most successful immigrant group in the nation.

In 1882, the Congress of the United States passed, and the President signed, The Chinese Exclusion Act, which provided that no Chinese person could enter the United States. The statute was in force for twenty years. At the time of its passage the senators expressed the policies at play, pro and con, making clear to all who can read English that the white people ruled the Union in their self-interest. Among those at the center of the debate was Republican Massachuesetts Senator Henry Dawes, a graduate of Yale University and a lawyer. The back and forth between him and several others explains all:

Senator Dawes: While Senator Teller [of Colorado] was willing yesterday to Henry Dawes admit that our civilization was superior to that of the Chinese, that the civilization of the nineteenth century was superior to that of the sixth, that the Caucasian was superior to anyone else on God's footstool, yet he turned around and said that unless we came with a statute that drove off two thousand Chinese from fifty million Caucasians diasaster would pervail. He said there was a superior race and an inferior race in this country, and that the superior must have control. I would be uneasy if I were in his place.

Senator Teller: I never said we were in danger of these 100,000 people. I spoke of the vast hordes that might come, and I did not speak of their physical control over this country.

Senator Dawes: I read his language from the record. He said: "The Anglo-Saxon, the Caucasian race has a right, considering the superiority of intellectual force and mental vigor, to look down upon every other branch of the human family. We are the superior race today. We are superior to the Chinese."

Mr. President, the language of this bill is to carry out a principle which is familar to those who recollect the history of the country in the past. It is invoked from the dead past. It is invoked from a system of legislation in disregard of human rights. I had hoped it would remain in the dead past. A half century ago, a State in this Union enacted "An act for the better regulation of free negroes and persons of color," which provided that if any vessel shall come into port with free negroes abroad they shall be seized until such vessel shall clear out. Sir, within my own service here, a free State of this Union undertook the same impotent assault upon human rights and incorporated the provision which I have just read into a constitution.

The constitution of Oregon fired its volley at the free negro in these words: It shall not be lawful for any free negro who has left the State, ever to return again.

Sir, I had hoped these things had passed away. I had hoped that with the fire of war this people had been taught that there were human rights as broad as the human family, and that the glory of this nation was that it was asylum for the oppressed of all lands. It is, however, for this day and this bill to invoke from the tomb of the past the spirit which animated those who looked into the face of man rather than into his heart for the standard and measure by which he was to be respected by the laws of the land. As Senator George [of Mississippi] said on the floor yesterday—The Constitution was ordained and established by white men, to secure the blessings of liberty themselves and their posterity.

Sir, that is the logic of the bill, that the logic of the bill can be availed by any community of the people of the United States to invoke the general law of the land to eliminate from its social and political existence such element as it shall determine is unsafe. I call the attention of the American people to the fact that we have evoked from the dead past to apply to the Chinese doctrines and provisions of law which the irresistible logic of events had trodden into oblivion amid the fire and smoke and conflict of war.

Sir, we have gone too far to take that retrograde step. However our friends have succeeded at the moment, I tell them again that the debate is not exhausted. It will not die. It will live, an active, moving principle, stirring the liberty-loving and law-abiding people of this broad land to the very depths, till every human being who treads our soil and breathes our air can appeal to our laws and our Constitution for protection and for peace. (Congressonal Record, 47th Congress at pp. 1673-1674 [edited for brevity].)

All well and good, in times of prosperity and peace, for Senator Dawes to talk thus, but when the mass of any people find themselves losing hold of their place in life, find themselves challenged by forces threatening to overwhelm their way of life, the paramount principle of human nature—self-presevation—brings them to assert their will in favor of their own class and kind. The experience of Americans of Japanese descent provide another example of this.

Henry Huntington, a nephew of Collis Huntington, the prime builder of the Central Pacific, imported two thousand Japanese, in 1903, to provide the labor to build the Pacific Railroad whose tracks ran from downtown Los Angeles throughout the basin, eventually reaching Manhattan Beach in 1905. From this beginning, by 1941, there were over one hundred thousand Japanese living in Los Angeles in what is called "Little Toyko," and in the streets to the east of the Los Angeles river in Boyle Heights. In 1942, the Federal Government forcibly removed this population to concentration camps in the western states where they remained until late 1944, when they were released and returned to their homes.

The Mexicans, likewise, had their barrio in downtown Los Angeles turned into a ghost town, in the 1920s, when the Federal Government forcibly removed some 200,000 Mexicans from California, half of whom were born in the United States, and dumped them over the border. Their ancestors had either been in California at the time it was incorporated into the Union, or came soon thereafter to work in the mines, on the railroads, and on the farms. In 1942, the white people ramaged through the Los Angeles barrio, swinging axe handles beating down the young Mexican men, apparently enraged over the clothes they wore.

Setting the Italians and Koreans aside—they had their moments of violence handed them by the whites—we come to the Americans of African descent; the black people. In 1900, there were but 3,000 black persons residing in Los Angeles which then had a population of about 150,000 white persons. By 1910, there were 5,000 black persons and by 1920, 15,000. Unlike the experience of the Chinese, Japanese, and the Mexicans, the Blacks, during this time, were not attacked by the whites, though violence between the two races certainly occurred repeatedly in the Midwest and Eastern regions of America during this time. The absence of violence in this period was simply due to the fact that the Whites were so numerous and the Blacks so few that the Whites had no reason to feel threatened. But, as the Black population grew, became concentrated in the center of the city and became successful, with members of the community rising to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, and businessmen, tensions mounted and a pattern of segregation became set as the norm by the time the Great Depression arrived.

map of Los Angeles

So, here we are, in 2021, and, of these several ethnic groups who have experienced the material pain of white supremacy, as a political power impacting their ancestors' lives, the current generation of Americans of African descent—led by politicians commanding their votes, which constitute the base of the Democrat Party—are pounding the table demanding something they call "reparations." Which to their minds means a transfer of public wealth to their private hands; a mega check, if you will, dwarfing in comparason the government checks past generations of their group have received, to be paid by Government in compensation for the sin of the nation's white racism, which without it's contribution the nation could not be. (as distinquished from "State" or "government.")

Part Two

The History of the Bruce Family

It is said that Charles Aaron Bruce was born at Washington D.C. in 1860. Whether he was born free, or whether at the time his mother was a slave, the record developed so far, does not say. Willa Ann Walker, it is said, was born in Missouri in 1862. At that time Missouri was in the iron gip of the Union and therefore we can surmise Willa was born defacto free. How the two came together no record has yet been found to say. It appears, however, that they were a married couple living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before the turn of the Century, with Charles probably employed as a porter or cook with one of the railroad companies then running trains through the State. While living there, they had a son, Harvey Bruce, born in 1888, and with him, they came to Los Angeles about 1910 and took up residence on Sante Fe Ave where they remained until 1912, when two beach front lots were purchased in Willa's name in what then was called Peck's Tract, would become, by 1913, a part of the incorporated town of Manhattan Beach.

Manhattan Beach 1924

Peck sdvertisement

Note: It is not clear whether the photograph depicts Peck's Tract as it was in 1924. Some suggest that Bruce's Hotel was located on a lot just north of Peck's Pavilion, but, if this is so, we should see additional structures behind it, as three other black persons were living in homes on lots within the area the photograph shows.

No one yet has examined the Los Angeles County property records, to verify exactly the chain of title to the two beach front lots Willa appears to have purchased, but it appears the lots were purchased for the purpose of establishing a hotel catering to those among the Black population of Los Angeles, or travelers from the East, who could afford to spend a day, a week, or a weekend at the beach. What year, exactly, the hotel was opened for business is not clear.

California Eagle newspaper: 1914-1922
Cal Eage banner

Bruce advertisement

Bruce Cal Eagle

Bruce ad

Photographs of Bruce's Hotel; 1912-1924

Brruce hotel
(The two couples are unidentified, they are not the Bruces)

Bruce hotel

As with the property record chain of title no one yet has investigated the question, what annual net income did the hotel business operation generate for Willa during the almost fifteen years of its operation? Given its on-going operation for those years, presumably Willa recovered some amount of profit from it annually, but in what amount no one at this point in time knows. The answer would depend upon occupancy rates—the hotel was open only from spring to fall—and the fixed costs of maintaining the hotel in suitable condition. Part of the hotel floor space was used by the Bruces as their living space.

George PeckAccording to the story told, George Peck had originally leased the block between 26th St. and 27th St. to a Black real estate dealer named Milton T. Lewis, with the understanding that Lewis would rent space for tents on the block to Blacks. If this is actually the fact, then, from about 1905, when he purchased the Tract, to about 1910, Peck had established a custom which Willa and several others relied upon in purchasing lots to build structures.

At some point in time, it appears, Peck gave Lewis the license to sell some of the lots to Blacks and, in 1912, Lewis appears to have sold Willa the first of her two beach front lots. Between 1912 and about 1923, several other lots in the block were sold to Blacks, including a second lot sold to Willa in 1920, About twenty-five of the thirty-one lots in the two blocks of lots involved in the story, were purchased by white persons: fourteen were owned by an Harry Echelberger, a founder of the Pioneer Paper Co. What plan, if any, the white persons had, at the time they purchased, the record does not say. It is possible that several of them bought the lots with the expectation that they would sell when the real estate market got hot, which it was bound to do eventually, given the fact Peck's Tract was the last undeveloped ocean front stretch of land between Santa Monica and Long Beach. It is possible that these men purchased with the expectation of making their home their retirement place; or, that they expected when they purchased that some ten years later the City would buy them out at a premium price and they would pocket the profit. Which motive it was, no one can say.

Harry Echelberger
Harry Eichelberger

At the time Willa took possession of the beach front lots, in early 1912, "Manhattan Beach" was an unincorporated space within Los Angeles County. The space was at that time not much more than massive sand dunes which explains why it was the last space on the coastline between the Palos Verdes cliffs to the south and Santa Monica to the north, to be developed. The space was at that time owned by three men, each of whom held about one third of the total space, with George Peck in possession of the northern third where the massive sand dunes were concentrated. At, or shortly after, the time Willa took title to the lots, the "City of Manhattan Beach" was incorporated, and a sort of "city council" was established in the form of a "Board of Trustees." One can reasonably assume that the three major land owners shared influence with the "board," as did the local real estate salesmen engaged in selling the lots.

Pacific railroad car
"Manhattan Beach" circa 1915, south of the pier

Between 1912 and about 1924, Henry Huntington's Pacific Railroad was running on dual tracks that passed along the edge of beach, in front of the beach front lots, over what is called "The Strand," the tracks terminating at the Redondo Beach pier. During these years, gas light was replaced with electric lighting, a sewer and water supply system were installed, and, with the increasing presence of automobiles—primarily Henry Ford's Model T—the sand/dirt streets began to be paved with asphalt. During this same period, Rockefeller's Standard Oil Co. built a refinery on the northern border of Manhattan Beach, and, as it came into production, oil workers began buying lots on the eastern side of the Manhattan Beach dunes and settling into homes there, and in Torrance's Tract further inland.

In June 1912, Willa appears to have opened her first version of her hotel business, and the fact she was Black and her clientele were Black did not pass uncommented upon by The Los Angeles Times:

Cal Eagle 1922
Cal eagle part 2

The Times—with the date-line Redondo Beachtells us Willa's start up venture was nothing more than a tent with a table from which she sold refreshments to the beach-goers, presumably some of whom were Black. The Times reports of "two constables" warning the beach-goers not to cross the sand ground which Peck owned. There was nothing unusal in the fact that Peck had "no trespassing" signs erected, or that he hired "constables" to enforce the signage with verbal warnings. Since The Times does not tell us any physical confrontation occurred between the "constables" and the beach-goers, we can reasonably conclude the beach-goers walked around Peck's strip of beach, just as beach-goers do today when attempting to reach the ocean in Southern California, a trip that in many places is blocked by landowners claiming their title extends to the high tide mark.

Broad Beach

LA Times text

What factual basis The Times reporter had for writing the line—"great agitation among white property owners of adjoining land" was, no one can intelligently say, as the photographic evidence shows nothing about undeveloped lots in Peck's Tract in 1912. Since The Times does not identify the writer with a by-line, who knows how the story was made up.

During the first ten years of Willa's hotel operation, it appears Charles Bruce worked as a cook on Pullman cars attached to trains of the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake City Railroad. In 1922, his son, Harvey, married, and it appears Harvey assumed Charles's railroad job and Charles worked with Willa managing the business. At this time, Harvey and his wife, Meda, appear to have rented one of Harvey Eichelberger's lots behind the Bruce lots on which there must have been a residence.

Notwithstanding The Times's story of a hubbub on Willa's opening, in 1912, as the content of The California Eagle newspaper attests, she operated her business without interference from white people for some fifteen years—developing it from a tent to a two story hotel with bedrooms, a dance floor, cafe and bar.

Cal Eagl enotice


Willl at hotel

During this successful time, Willa had the distinction of operating the only hotel catering to Black people situated on the beach front, from Santa Monica to Redondo Beach and beyond. Black businessmen certainly tried to emulate her, by establishing hotels, first at Santa Monica and then in Orange Co, on the southern border of Newport Beach; but, in both instances, the White communities of these places were successful in preventing the hotels from materializing.

The White People of Santa Monica

Unlike Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica had developed into a substantial city, by 1912, a vacation destination for the white masses living within the City of Los Angeles. The entire beach front of the city was heavily developed with huge hotels lining a boardwalk that stretched two miles, from the amusement pier south to the city' limits. In the vicinity of Pico and Main, there was a cluster of Black operated businesses—hotels, bars, cafes, a dancehall—that catered to Blacks and these had use of a strip of beach known as Crescent Park. Black businessmen established a corporation and advertised its stock throughout the United States, with the plan of building a hotel complex at this beach. The project moved along, but at a certain point, the Whites, controlling the politics of the city, blocked it and the corporation went out of existence.

Now, for those of you who think, this conduct, on the part of the Whites, constitues, the law of today holds, a government action of discrimination based on race.At the same time the white people of Santa Monica were blocking the effort made by the black people to establish a resort at Crescent Park, the white people, through their control of Government, were handing permits to the developers of several high rise hotels, to build on lots adjacent to Crescent Park. These hotels still stand on the lots, today. So, it is obvious that, in light of the law as it is today, the Black businessmen had standing to sue the Santa Monica Government for an injunction and for damages, the one remedy used to order the city to get out of the way and the other to obtain damages measured by the financial loss the blockage may have caused.

Arkansas Traverler

Bonigta Club

google arth Santa Monica beach
The "inkwell" story is more myth than fact. The label comes probably from the color
of the water, than from the color of a person's skin.


Santa Monica beach scene

No Room For The Negroes

In the 1900s, the term "colony" was used
to describe the small concentrations of Blacks
that were appearing in Northern cities as the War years came on.

The White People of Orange County

The same experience Black businesmen had in Santa Monica they had in their effort to develop The Pacific Beach Club resort in the space between Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. Again, successful Black businessmen established a corporation and sold the stock to Blacks not only living in Los Angeles but throughout the United States as well. With the proceeds from the stock sales, the managers—led by Joseph Bass and Hal Clark—leased a strip of land on the beach front south of the Huntington Beach pier, and spent $70,000 over the course of 1925-26 constructing a hotel, tennis courts, bathhouse and a clubhouse. To gain access to the property they battled the Southern Pacific Railroad Co. which refused to grant a signal crossing of its tracks; and, just after gaining the crossing through litigation, and with the complex built out, a fire broke out in it in the night and it was destroyed in its entirety.

Pacific Beach Club

Pacific Beach Club

Joe Bass
Joseph Bass, husband of Charlotte Bass

The White People of Manhattan Beach

Given these circumstances—a general hostility by the White population toward sharing public space with the small contingent of Blacks in Los Angeles, the encroaching density of white households toward Manhattan Beach, its municipal improvements, the reduction of the dunes by shipping the sand to Waikiki—it is hardly surprising that, among the whites owning lots in the Manhattan Beach of 1924, some, perhaps even a majority, wished Willa's hotel gone. But, there was nothing these people knew could be done, "to drive the coloreds out," as the law was clear every resident of California at that time had the legal right to purchase and hold real estate—except Chinamen and the Jap foreigners who were materializing in swarms. But this did not change their feelings, and so, yes, if they thought they could get away with it, they might have tried to use Government to condemn Willa's two lots, or simply condemn her hotel business as being out of place in the development scheme of the emerging town. Had they done this, they would have been in the same pickle the white people of Santa Monica were in, had the Black businessmen sued the city on the ground of Government racial discrimination. It helps to think things through, people; not feel things through.

Willa's hotel had been constructed before these social and economic pressures descended on the beach town, and it was evident to all who saw the city's future for what it is, that having a hotel of two stories in height, with who knows how many bedrooms, operating on The Strand, in the middle of a developing thickly packed residential district, would not do: where were the vehicles of the guests, who up to now had been arriving either by the Pacific RR red cars, or by jetney bus driven by Willa's son, Harvey, to park? Anyone who has lived in Manhattan Beach knows you are lucky to hold a space for your own car, much less have spaces available for two, or three, or ten. It is a standing joke that, when you see a "no parking" sign, you can bet a homeowner put it there, not the city. Go to any beach town in Southern California, Malibu the worst, and you will find such signs everywhere. And the noise of the hotel's night operation? And, yes, the color of the hotel's patrons' skin, marking them as an alien ethnic group unapproachable in the minds of the Whites.

California Beaches

So, yes, in 1924, with the golden future of the town in sight, white men took it upon themselves, in their control of the city's government, to exercise the government power of eminent domain to "take" Willa's lots, and her business, from her. Yet, regardless of the imputation we can make, under the supposed circumstances, of "bad" motive in their minds, the objective reality is that the constitution of the Union, as well as that of California's, gives Government the power to take property for a public purpose in exchange for "just" compensation, a concept ordinarily measured by the fair market value of the property at the time of the taking. And this, and only this, did the white men do.

In 1924-25, the condemnation proceedings played out in court, with the Bruces having the opportunity to have the issue of just compensation determined by a jury. Instead, they intentionally waived jury trial, and the Court decided the issue, based on the testimony of the parties and experts. Whether or not the Court received in evidence the books and records of Willa's business operations no one has taken the time to determine, the politicians being wilfully blind to the reality that a large court file of hard paper exists which can be reviewed if they wish. All they have in their hands at the moment, is a dissertation written by a Fresno State College student in 1956, memorializing what he chose to memorialize of his personal interviews with surviving witnesss, which included two of the Black lot owners, Sanders and Johnson.

"Sanders' daughter [Ethel Atkinson] claims to remember that the trial judge insisted on the right of the Negroes who were being dispossessed to repurchase elsewhere in Manhattan. He said, according to her, that if this right were not guaranteed, he 'would throw the case out of court.' Mrs. Sanders' daughter remembers that. . . there were real estate agents waiting outside the courthouse to sell the Negroes new property. , , the fact that three of the four families involved, did repurchase speaks for itself." (When Brigham doesn't like a fact, it is a "claim.")

"Aside from the objections to the Referees' report, by Mrs. Sanders and the Johnsons, both of which were adjusted in favor of the defendants, there is no evidence that anyone thought the amounts awarded by the referees were unfair. In fact, without exception, surviving members of the Negro families involved agree the referees were quite liberal." (Robert L. Bingham, Land Ownership and Occupancy by Negroes in Manhattan Beach, CA., a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in the Department of Social Soienoe Fresno State College May, 1956, at p. 66.)

The trial of the matter was orginally set for September 10, 1925. After the Court resolved the issues of law and fact, an interlocutory judgment was entered in January 1926, with the final judgment being entered in the minutes of the court records on June 10, 1929. It is not clear, whether during this period, the Manhattan City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting Black persons from using the public portion of the beach between The Strand and the high tide mark, or, in the alternative, as a leaseholder of Peck's sand ground, the Council exercised the right to prevent trepass. The first alternative seems not the situation, as Black beach-goers could legally walk around and reach the high tide line just as visitors to Broad Beach must do, today.


At the time the City took the Bruces' lots, the dry sand portion of the beach in front of the lots was owned by George Peck. It is no surprise, therefore, that, until he deeded the beach property to the city in 1929, the beach was legally closed to the public, unless Peck provided the public, or some portion of it, with a license to come upon the sand. Erecting a fence to keep the public out, and guards to enforce the prohibition, was legally necessary, if Peck did not want to risk losing the property to Government by prescription. (See, e.g., the California Supreme Court's decision in County of Los Angeles v. Berk (1980) 26 Cal.3d. 201 and Manhattan Beach v. Cortelyou (1938) 10 Cal.2d 653.)

Notwithstanding the fact that, in some ostensible legal manner, it appears the City did harass Black beachgoers, the harassment was limited, the record shows, to the first week of June, in 1927 and 1928. To verify this, one needs but read the pages of The California Eagle to get the gist of what happened. The City fathers by 1927 had the city infrastructure build out, and they were intent on attracting the crowds that swarmed the beaches at Santa Monica and Redondo, and so they advertised in the newspapers; they hosted "picnics" at the city's newly built pavilion at the foot of Marine Ave, including providing free food and drink, and they made their city as attractive as possible to the Whites living beyond the ocean breeze; and thus their attempt, feeble as it was, to induce the Blacks to go elsewhere, is hardly unusual for the times.

Los Angeles Times June 1928

Notwithstanding the social and economic reasons for its action in attempting to prevent Black beach-goers from using the beach, in June 1927 and June 1928, the City of Manhattan Beach acted in violation of the individual Black beach-goers' civil right to be treated by Government equally under law. So, it ought not be a surprise that the high-powered lawyers of the N.A.A.C.P came rushing into the scene and punched the City in the face; filing a lawsuit for damages, on behalf of realtor Gordon and City resident, Miss Slaughter, in the superior court. In consequence the City paid damages to the plaintiffs for its unconstitutional violation of their civil right that the laws be applied equally to all citizens, that they not be discriminated against, in the application of the laws, because of their race. Contrast the 1927 City action with its 1924 action of condemnation, and it is easy for most persons to grasp the objective reality that, in the 1924 case, the City treated the Bruces equally under law, and that is all the City, as a governmental entity was required to do.

Part Three

The Politicians Invoke The Klan


Bradford"I am the Chair of the California Senate Black Caucas, Chairmen of the Task Force assigned to consider reparations for our Black community, and the author of Senate Bill 796 which will give back Willa's lots to their rightful owners, the Bruce family. Between 1912 and 1924 the white residents (hardly 500 souls) directed hostility and violence toward Willa and Charles Bruce, including at the hands of the Klu Klux Klan which cold-bloodedly threatened the Bruces, burned property, slashed tires, and threatened their lives, and when the harassment of the Klan didn't work, the City of Manhattan Beach stepped in to help and robbed the Bruces of their land, robbed them of their business, robbed them of their legacy, and, most important, robbed them of their dignity, forcing them to work the rest of their lives for someone else." (Senator Stephen Bradford, State Senator, speaking nonsense at Mahattan Beach April 30, 2021.)

A Klavern in Vermont 1924

Steven BradfordSteve Bradford was born in 1960, in Hawthrone, California and grew up in Gardena at a time when Americans of African descent were free of the Federal Government's national policy of segregation and were enjoying the benefit the Government provided with its new policy of Affrimative Action. He graduated from high school in 1978, and from California State University with a BA in political science. Bradford worked for thirty years as the solid waste director for the City of Compton; then, he says, as a "public affairs executive" at Southern California Edison, then he spent seven years as a "marketing and sales representative" at IBM, and four years as a program director at the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, before entering State politics in 2009.

Today, he is the deep-throated voice of the group of Black politicians that hold office in the California Assembly and Senate, and it is he who is shouting the loudest for "reparations," and it is in his effort to achieve this that he tells us "the Klan" was a force Willa and Charles Bruce had to fight against as they got "robbed" by the City of Manhattan Beach when, in 1924, the city instituted condemnation proceedings to "take" the two blocks of thirty-one lots in the middle of the city, of which the Bruces owned two. This is silliness, but then much of what Senator Bradford shouts as he pounds the rostrum, is silliness.

Note: The Black politicians invoke the concept of "reparations" as the legal mechanism by which they wish to transfer billions of public wealth from public use to their private use—Houston Texas Representative Shelia Jackson Lee, a loud somwhat hystrical voice, calls it "reparative justice." A meaningless phrase in the view of the English Common Law.

The black politicians, thinking their white audiences are simpletons, intentionally use the concept as a substitution for the legal concept of "restitution." Restitution" means a measure of damages caused by the actions of a wrongdoer; e.g., medical bills, lost wages, etc. In the case of Congress offering $20,000 to 100,000 Americans of Japanese descent who were personally subjected to three years life in a concentration camp, for example, it was offering "restitution," not "reparations."

Reparations is a concept originating in the Law of Nations, and is invoked by the winner of wars. The German nation, for example, as the loser, agreed in the aftermath of both world wars to pay the winners "reparations" for the destruction the war caused. After WWII, the German nation agreed to create a fund to be used to compensate the persons, and their spouses and children, but no others, for the damage personally done to such persons by the German war machine. The Constitution of the United States does not recognize Americans of African descent to constitute a "nation," though it is plain Bradford wishes this were so. Therefore, while "restitution" may prove to be available to Bradford in his quest for justice for his race, "reparations" is not in the cards.

Using the old saw of the "Klu Klux Klan" gets Bradford nowhere in the quest. He invokes the Klan to trigger the emotions of his audience, to induce it to fall in line with his rant about "robbery." The Klan Bradford is invoking, came into existence during World War I as a political party not much different than the Democrat Party of the times. In its 1915 incarnation, the "Klan" platform was that America was for Americans and the Americans, whose interest it promoted, were understood by everyone living in the time to be native born, white, protestant Americans. Jews, Blacks, Italians, Irish, and every one else living in America who were not white and protestant, under the platform of the Klan, had standing in society solely as the underclass.

By 1924, at the time the Bruce condemnation proceeding commenced, the national membership of the Klan was close to eight million and, with the political voting bloc its members provided, it succeeded in engineering the elections of mayors, state representatives, governors and members of Congress into the late Twenties. The Klan's national membership peaked at the very time that Manhattan Beach was "taking" the Bruces' lots, and Bradford uses the coincidence for effect.



Beginning in 1924 and ending in 1928, eighty thousand members of the Klan marched from the Capital Building up Pennsylvania Ave to the Washington Monument, on an annual basis, with the approval of the Federal Government.

Klan march

NY Times Kan

During the decade of the Twenties, the weight of the Klan's political power was in the Northeast and the Ohio River Valley. A Klavern was active in Los Angeles during this time, but, though Los Angeles' sheriff and mayor, were rumored to be members, you will be unable to find in the pages of the Los Angeles Times any reports of the Klavern's members marching in the streets, no breaking of glass, no fire bombs thrown, no burning crosses on the lawns of Black citizens in the night. Yes, it is true that the California Eagle reported the story that, for a few minutes before it was doused, some clown got a cross burning in Manhattan Beach one night, that the same clown or another got a mattress on fire under Willa's porch, but these events actually happened after the condemnation proceeding had commenced in Superior Court. To magnify the incidents into the silly claim Bradford makes, that the Klan" was banging on the Bruces' door at night, cannot find objective support in the evidence of the record.


1927, three years after the Bruce lots were condemned


klan map

Mr. Bradford is the classic demagogue: the fellow who gains popularity by arousing the proleterians against the bourgeois through rhetoric that whips up the passions—he shouts that with the help of the Klan, Manhattan Beach robbed the Bruces, of their land, their business, their legacy. he does this, by appealing to emotions, by scapegoating, by exaggerating reality, and by lying for effect.

The Klan's actual activities in California, during the Twenties, were concentrated in Oakland, where, in 1922, 1,500 robed wonders pranced around a fiery cross on a hill side, which was illuminated by searchlights throwing beams into the sky.The Oakland klavern had two thousand members, in 1924, and its political clout gained for one of its members the office of Oakland sheriff in 1926 and the office of county commissioner, in 1927. At that time Oakland was ninety-seven percent white, with native whites with native parents making up almost fifty percent of the total. As everywhere else, these Americans were acting out their prejudice of racial superiority against lower-class ethnic groups, most particularly Catholics (Irish), Jews, Mexicans, Italians, Asians, and Americans of African descent.

Nonetheless, contrary to the demagogue's screeching, the local governments of Oakland and Los Angeles counties attacked the Klan, raiding the klavern offices; uncovering membership lists, publishing them, the governments passed ordinances restricting the klavern's activities, By 1925, the klaverns were fighting with themselves, and, by 1930, in Oakland, a corruption trial was launched by Earl Warren, who was then District Attorney, and, with the chill winter of the Great Depression coming on, the Klan was gone. (See, Chris Rhomberg,White Nativism and Urban Politics: The 1920s Ku Klux Klan in Oakland, California, Journal of American Ethnic History, Winter 1998, Vol 17, No 2: pp. 39-55.) The Klan had nothing to do with the condemnation proceedings and the Bruces; a pure figment of the demagogue's imagination. (See Redondo Klan for the actual reality of the Klan's presence, in 1924-28, in the South Bay.)

Part Four

Willa Bruce's Descendants

Willa and Charles Bruce left Manhattan Beach behind, in 1927, taking fourteen grand with them, and moved back to South Central Los Angeles, to reside in a "California cottage" located at 1042 E. 21st St. The original residence has been replaced now, but there are many homes on the street which were constructed prior to 1927 and show clearly that this was a middle class neighborhood at that time. Contrary to the demagague's rant, Willa and Charles did not work for others during these last few years of their life. They were comfortable and there is no objective reason to think they did not enjoy life.

East 21 St., in the vicinity where the Bruces lived

The First Generation

harveryWilla and Charles' son, Harvey, at this time, was living with his wife, Meda, and son, Harvey Jr., in a residence located at 940 E. 37th St. In 1934, when Willa died, Charles having died in 1931, Harvey would have inherited by intestate succession the real estate and personal property Willa owned at her death. In 1934, Harvey and Meda had a second son named Bernard. Harvey died in 1954, Meda in 1988. Harvey Jr. died in 1993, never having married. According to the census reports, Harvey and his family were living in residences at different locations in the city, with Harvey reporting to the census taker in the early years that he worked "from job to job," and in the later years that he was "not working."

Harvey house

census 1920
1920 Census: Harvey is listed as the railroad cook; which suggests
he took over Charles's job, while Charles worked at the hotel.

1930 census
1930 Census: Harvey works "job to job."

1940 census
1940 Census, Harvey is not employed

cooksThough the demagague blames Harvey's work history on Manhattan Beach, the reality is that Harvey did not spend much time getting himself educated and ready for the trial of life. It appears he attended grade school in Alburquerque, but no records have been developed which point to the fact he spent time in high school. At the time of his marriage, in 1921, he was living with his parents and working for them as a driver who would bring guests to the hotel and return them to Los Angeles. By 1922, he was working as a "railroad cook," probably on the Pullman cars of William Clark's San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad. Who knows how he made a living when his parents' money ran out, but we know what the demagague did, when his ran out: with his college education he got a good job and now is a politician.

The Second Generation

Bernard BruceBernard Bruce was born at the 37th St address on September 4, 1934. He died in January 2021 at Pasadena. He graduated from John C. Fremont High School, in Englewood, at a time when the student population was white. In high school, if not a star student, he was a star athelete, gaining a football scholarship to Los Angeles Valley Junior College where he excelled enough at the sport that he was able to transfer, probably on scholarship, to Oregon State University where he played one season for Tommy Protho, and then quit college and married eighteen year old Teresa Procello, who, after the two produced a son, Derrick, divorced him and remarried a man named Wright. When Bruce quit school he returned to LA and lived for a time with Teresa's parents at 3709 1/2 Trinity St, and, by 1960, was living at 1752 S. Mansfield, just off La Brea. Over the years of his life he lived at a number of addresses, several residences, several apartments or condominums. What Bruce did for a living, the record so far does not show.

Bruce with footbal
Bernard Bruce running with the ball for a touchdown!

Bernard Bruce carrying the ball

The Third Generation

Derrick BruceDerrick Bruce is Bernard's son. What education Derrick achieved the record available does not show, though it appears he, too, attended Oregon State University but did not graduate. We know he married, and that from the marriage came a son. It appears he divorced and had a second son with a different woman. But what he has done with his life, who knows? Certainly the demagague has no clue (or does he?), He doesn't care, he's a politician all full of himself, prattling about silly crap. Derrick has kept, it seems, a low profile in the quest for the millions—what can be nothing but a gift of public wealth by liberal progressive white Democrats who bend the knee in adject apology for the horror of the Anglo-Saxon race in America: the race that conquered the continent and produced the Union, with a little help from the Africans.

The Fourth Generation

Now we come down to it—Derrick's sons. Anthony Bruce was born in San Bernardino, in 1983, his mother not Derrick's wife who had divorced him, it appears, at an earlier time. Tony lives in Florida, in an apartment compex with a pool. What he does for a living, he does not say. Tony has a half-brother named Mike, who also lives in Florida, in an apartment complex with a pool. What education Derrick's sons obtained, what jobs they hold, what property they own, the record does not so far show. Where, by the way, did Bradford grow up? Who were his parents? What did they do for a living? What property did they own at death? How did Bradford get himself through college, get a job, get to work, get to be a politician? He can say.

The Chief

Duane Ousamequin Shepard appears to be a native of Detroit, Michigan with a residence there that he lived in until 2017, when he came to Los Angeles and took up residence with his son Duane, Jr. Duane is an artist who produced a one man play—Brother Malcolm X: Reminiscences of a Revolutionary—in which he played twenty-three characters. He has appeared, he says, in numerous films, commercials, and television shows, lending his voice to many radio spots, commercials, and video games. About the time he moved in with his son, Duane Jr., Shepard was elected a "chief" of the Pocasset Wampanoag tribe of the Pokanoket Nation; its reservation located in Fall River, Massachusetts. Presently there is an ongoing dispute between different clans of the tribe over which will get control of a proposed $250 million casino, the problem being, among other things, that one clan is recognized by the Federal Government as a "tribe" while the other is not. Duane is identified as the tribal council chief ("Yellow Feather") for the turtle clan and claims to be a descendant of this clan back to the days of King Phillip's War in 1675. How he is related to Willa Bruce, only he can say. What is clear is that there is a disconnect between Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn and State Senator Bradford in which the Chief sits in the middle: Hahn tells us she means to give the public wealth to the "direct descendants" of Willa, while Bradford tells us he means to give the public wealth to the "Bruce Family through Anthony" of which it appears Duane includes himself. The difference in definition of the class to receive the wealth is the difference between the great grand son and his two sons, and a crowd.

Bruce family
The "Bruce Family" at Bruce's Beach Waiting

Duane house
The Chief's Property in Detroit

Duane LA house
Duane's Residence in Los Angeles

Chief and Hahn"My family asks me to tell the City Council that when you go low we stand toe to toe. We will not tolerate the insults that are coming from your council and we highly suggest that you start revising your budget very soon. My name is Chief Duane Yellow Feather designated representative for Charles and Willa Bruce. And for those that don't know, Willa was the name her mother's slave master gave to her. She threw off that name and decided to be called Willa. And here we have someone on the City Council decides to call her by that slave name. A slap in the face to the memory of our matriarch. Then they say that the terrorism that happened to my family was `reportedly' done. The facts are ostensible! The people say I'm angry. I'm strident. Yea, I am! I am from the generation Willa and Charles prayed for. And we're going to stay here until the job is done. For the restoration of our land, restitution for the loss of enterprise, and punitive damages for the collusion of the institutional racism in Manhattan Beach that railroaded our family out of here.

I want to thank God for the people he has sent us in our quest for justice. The Bruce family diaspora around this country are still trying to achieve their family connections because of the scourge of slavery. And our avenging angel, Supervisor Hahn, who realized that an injustice─a violation of the human rights of innocent Americans─has occurred, and has stood on the right side of history like her father, Kenneth Hahn. And you, the media, I want to thank for supporting our cause."

So, given the Chief's language, Janice Hahn has got herself in a pickle. The fellow, who apparently claims relation somehow to Willa, wants puntive damages awarded somehow against the City of Manhattan Beach for the supposed sins of the members of its city council who were in control of it one hundred years ago. The poor devil cannot possibly be so stupid as to seriously think this is a reality, given the United States Constitution which states, among other rules, in Art. II, Sec. 9, that "No bill of Attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed."

It is a sad to see Hahn standing there, next to the chief, bouncing on her toes, bowing with her hands folded. Her father, Kenneth Hahn, grew up in a house hardly better than the Chief's in Detroit, or Willa and Charles' cottage on 21st St., or for that matter, Harvey's, or his son, Bernard's. Janice's father lived in a 900 square foot two bedroom house at the back of a two house lot at 833 1/2 West 69th St., a few blocks from Florence Ave where the 1992 Black riot exploded. Janice's grandfather pumped gas at a filling station for a living, and his son, Kenneth, went to public schools, included John C. Fremont High School, in 1934-38, which Bernard graduated from in 1953. Hahn went to college and, unlike Bernard, he finished, graduating in 1942. He joined the Navy upon graduation and after the war he taught history at Pepperdine and, after a time, ran for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council, won and remained there until his death.

Kenneth Hahn house
Janice Hahn's Father's Childhood Home

What a counry we are living in now, where this silliness of "reparations" is promoted by Democrat politicians appeasing the objectively silly ambitions of their political base. Well, for those of you who think seriously about the difference between reality and fantasy, what exactly is the law?

Part Five

The Politics of The American Race

Section One

The Communications by and between Bradford and Hahn are Secret

In order to understand fully how these two politicians came together to promote the giving of public wealth to the Chief and his "family," the Website demanded of both of them that they produce any writing memorializing their communications with each other on the subject at issue.

Ryan letter to Bradfrod

Ten days later the Secretary of the California Senate responded on Senator Bradford's behalf with this:

Bradford reply

The Los Angeles County Counsel, on behalf of Supervisor Hahn, has been responded in a similar manner.

So, we the public, the voters, the citizens of California, are foreclosed, from learning the dates and places that the two politicians met, the telephone and zoom communications they had, the subject of which was the game plan to, first, manipulate by political pressure the City Council of Manhattan Beach to submit to their will; and, then, second, to push through the Board of Supervisors of Los Angeles County, a "resolution" stating the County will give the land to the Chief, if the California State Legislature passes an Act which purports to allow it. Whether the people of California will stand for this silliness, remains to be seen.

Section Two

The Status of the Game Plan Now

Hahn's Resolution


The motion reads, in essence, that, in 1924, Manhattan Beach, in its capacity as a municipal government, "used eminent domain to take land away from [the Bruces]." This is an undisputed objective fact admissible in court as such.

The motion next alleges that "it is well-documented that this [decision] was a racially motivated [governmental action] to drive out [the Bruces' business and its patrons."

Hahn's statement is not, in objective fact, "well-documented." Notwithstanding this, and assuming that the city government's motive was tinged with an element of white racism harbored by the elected officials voting, it is silliness of Hahn and her pals to assert as an objective fact that their intent was "to drive out the Bruces' business and its patrons."

The record shows that it is an undisputed fact that the city government's action could not and did not "drive the Bruces' business and its patrons" out of Manhattan Beach. The city government's action resulted in the taking of thirty-one lots comprising two blocks of real estate between the city's northern boundary and the city pier. The city government paid compensation as required by law, and the Bruces were free to invest the proceeds received in the condemnation proceedings in lots for sale (of which there were many) in the adjacent blocks; and, in objective fact, this is exactly what the three other Black lot owners did with their money. Whether Harry Eichelberger—the owner of fourteeen of the thirty-one condemned lots—invested his proceeds in other lots the record does not presently show. Instead, Willa and Charles used the proceeds to purchase a nice cottage in a nice neighborhood on 21st St in Los Angeles and lived there until their deaths—Charles dying at the age of seventy-one, in 1931, two years after he vacated the Manhattan Beach lots; and Willa dying at the age of sixty-nine in 1934. At which point, Harvey being the only issue from the marriage, the wealth Willa possessed at her death passed to him.

Hahn certainly knows the reality of the matter and wilfully ignores it for a political agenda pushed on her by Bradford's pals, who, feeling all full of themselves, are intent to make the white citizens living today howl in consequence of their supposed ancestors' sins. Ridiculous, but that is the reality of politics in America today.

Whether or not the persons who voted for condemnation harbored racial animus toward Americans of African descent, they certainly were motivated also by the fact that a two story building housing a hotel business, regardless of the color of its patrons' skin, could not possibly be permitted to operate in the middle of the city's beach front which, by 1924 the writing on the wall, would be soon developed lot by lot into single family residences. The Bruces had gotten their hotel business in operation before "Manhattan Beach" became an incorporated city with a government authorized by law to establish zoning laws which regulated the the size of structures on the lots and the type of activities that the lots could be used for. And, like everyone else, they had to cope with the reality that the world changes, that what works in one time does not work in another, and move on.

Peck Tract

In 1924, the Bruce Hotel was the only business operating on the two miles of Manhattan Beach's Strand. The Peck Pavilion that had been located several hundred yards to the north was in disrepair and was soon after torn down. The operation of the hotel business, as the years turned, would not be acceptable to the owners of the lots on either side of it, as the noise and conjestion would be a nuisance to them. Where, indeed, as the years turned, were the hotel patrons to park? The parking lot seen today behind the Life Guard premises were lots owned by Echelberger in 1924. It was no serious problem in 1912, when the business started up, as the tract was all but deserted of structures and so parking was easily available on the empty adjacent streets. Recognizing the realities of the developing situation, it's hardly surprising that the city government, through its elected officials, chose to "take" the block that included the Bruce Hotel.

Hahn's motion goes on with the next argumentive statement: "The land was condemned. . . under the guise of building a public park. . ." ("guise" means "typically concealing the true nature of something.")

It is a correct statement of fact that the thirty-one lots taken by the city through the condemnation proceeding—four of which were owned by persons of African descent (not all of such persons owning lots in the city at that time, however)—for use as the only open park space to be found today west of the ridge line that separates the "tree section" of the city from the beach section. It is also true that the blocks of condemned land did not materialize into a landscaped, finished park until after WWII. The reason for this is easy to understand: one year after the city took possession of the blocks the Great Depression began. Between 1929, when the blocks were taken, and 1933, the market value of Manhattan Beach lots depreciated, businesses failed, workers lost their jobs, and families fell into poverty. Farm income dropped fifty percent. Industrial plants shut down, laying off the workers. Many banks failed, and with the failures your bank deposits disappeared. At one point all the banks simultaneously closed their doors. In 1932, more than 50,000 Mexicans were deported from the State, and the State Legislature passed a bill which paid travel expenses for Filipino immigrants to return to the Philippines. Unemployment reached 28% in 1932, and by 1937, 20% of the population of the State were on public relief. It is hardly a surprise, therefore, that the condemned blocks were not transformed into a wonderful park during the Thirties; and then came the war.

MarxThe idea that the Bruce hotel business would have survived these years of economic depression is ridiculous to assume, much less that, the business having collapsed, the Bruces could have found buyers for their lots willing to pay more than the $14,000 they received in the condemnation proceedings. But Hahn, whose father lived through this time, and Bradford and his crowd who did not, ignore the realities and feed the citizens who vote for them the Commie agenda of their Party's base. Marx wrote that "The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes, directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat. The immediate aim is the Proletariat's overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat. In this sense the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property." (Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1888) Hahn and Bradford and their class are struggling against the Constitution as it is, to achieve their party's goal, which is why they will pack the Supreme Court with their idealogues when we give them the chance.

Hahn's motion ends with the statement that, to remove "restrictions" Senator Bradford has introduced SB 796 "to enable the County to transfer the land to the living descendants of its rightful owners, Charles and Willa Bruce." For Bradford's part, his bill, which passed the Senate on June 5, 2021, if passed by the Assembly hereafter, "would authorize the property to be sold, transferred, or encumbered upon terms and conditions determined by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Los Angeles to be in the best interest of the county and the general public." (italics added.) Key words, as Bradford invokes with them the concept of "public purpose."

Note: In 1948, as part of a State-wide program of acquring beach land, the City of Manhattan Beach deeded the condemned blocks, with the restrictive covenant that the land be used by the State solely as a park. The State finished the park with funds and it remained a park until 1995, when the State deeded The Strand facing lots, including what had been the Bruces' two lots, to the County of Los Angeles—apparently with the City's approval—for use as a lifeguard administration center, parking lot included. The State deed apparently contains the City's restrictive covenant and it is this that Bradford's bill seeks to extinguish. Whether the City, at this political stage, will challenge the county's power to turn the lots into private property; i.e., demolish the Lifeguard Building and spend taxpayer dollars to rebuild it elsewhere remains to be seen.

Part Six

The Condemnation and the Law

There is an illusion Bradford knows he is hiding in his zealousness, pushing his party's agenda. Willa Cather put it plainly a long time ago. Did Bradford read Cather, you wonder.

The sun was dropping low in the west when the two friends rose and took the path again. The straw-stacks were throwing long shadows from the setting sun.

"Carl," said Alexandra, "I should like to go up there with you in the spring. I haven't been on the water since we crossed the ocean, when I was a little girl. After we first came out here I used to dream sometimes about the shipyard where father worked, and a little sort of inlet, full of masts." Alexandra paused. After a moment's thought she said, "But you would never ask me to go away for good, would you?"

"Of course not, my dearest. I think I know how you feel about this country as well as you do yourself." Carl took her hand in both his own and pressed it tenderly.

Alexandra took a deep breath and looked off into the red west.

"I might as well try to will the sunset over there to my brother's children. We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it — for a little while." (O'Pioneers!)


The Constitution of the United States—the supreme law of the land—states in Art. V: "No person shall be. . . deprived of. . . property without due process of law nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." The concept of "due process of law," in turn, means that, in its action affecting persons and property, Government must provide all citizens the equal protection of the laws.

The Constitution of the State of California, as originally ratified by the people in 1849, states, in relevant part: "Sec. 16 – No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall ever be passed." Art. XI: Sec. 10 – "The credit of the State shall not, in any manner, be given or loaned to or in aid of any individual, association, or corporation;"

Today, California's Constitution;s relevant provision reads: Cal. Const. Art. XVI, § 6: "The Legislature shall have no power to give or to lend, or to authorize the giving or lending, of the credit of the State, or of any county, city and county, city, township or other political corporation or subdivision of the State now existing, or that may be hereafter established, in aid of or to any person, association, or corporation, whether municipal or otherwise, or to pledge the credit thereof, in any manner whatever, for the payment of the liabilities of any individual, association, municipal or other corporation whatever; nor shall it have power to make any gift or authorize the making of any gift, of any public money or thing of value to any individual, municipal or other corporation whatever;" (Italics added.)

In the face of these Federal and State constitutions, Senator Bradford, with the connivance of Supervisor Hahn, demands that the California Legislature pass the following bill: "The bill would authorize the property [the park?] to be sold, transferred, or encumbered upon terms and conditions determined by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Los Angeles to be in the best interest of the county and the general public." (Italics added.) In other words, the current value of the park land? is to be given to the Chief's family, because the taking of the Bruce's two lots? for a public purpose one hundred years ago, was done with racism in the minds of the public officials involved; this despite the fact the Bruces received "just compensation" for the lots and the lots were, in fact, used and are being used for a "public purpose?"

How does the transfer that Bradford's bill proposes, square with the law? Not very well, for two distinct constitutional reasons: First, it is settled law in California that the State, the County, and the City of Manhattan Beach are prohibited from making a gift of their public property, unless the gift is for a public purpose as that term is defined by law.

The rule was set forth clearly in City of Oakland v. Garrison (1924) 194 Cal. 298. In City of Oakland, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors authorized the country treasurer to pay money from the treasury to a private person for the purpose of paving a street in the City of Oakland. The treasurer refused on the ground doing so would constitute a "gift" within the meaning of Section 16 of the California Constitution. (section number changed in subsequent revisions; Art. IV, sec. 13.) The Treasurer contended, correctly, that the "gift" which the Legislature is prohibited from making "includes all appropriations of public money for which there is no authority or enforcible claim." The Supreme Court agreed with the principle stated, but found it was not violated by the Legislature's granting money to pave the city street. The precedent the Treasurer relied upon for the application of the principle, Colin v. Board of Supervisors 99 Cal. 17, the Supreme Court pointed out,

"involved the single question of the power of the legislature to authorize and direct a municipality to make a payment of public moneys from the city treasury to a private individual who had no valid or enforcible claim against the city therefor. There was no claim or suggestion that the moneys so directed to be paid were to be devoted to any public purpose. On the contrary, it was contemplated and intended that they should be paid to the private individual for his sole use and benefit. There was not and could not be in that case any question whether the proposed appropriation of public funds was for a private or public purpose. The purpose thereof was necessarily and admittedly private and this court held that such a use of public funds would constitute a gift such as in prohibited by the constitution." (at p. 302.)

The Court then pointed out that, in Conlin, "the opening of a public street was "a matter of concern to the people of the entire muncipality" and concluded that the legislative act in question was clearly valid. "The legislature holds the public moneys in trust for public purposes and under this limitation of the constitution can make no disposal of these funds except in accordance with such purposes." the Court said; going on to hold that "the only circumstances under which the legislature could direct their payment would be for some municipal purpose, or in satisfaction of some valid claim against a muncipality." (Whether the Legislature can waive legal bars which allows the ajudication of a claim to be relitigated, is a distinctly different question.)

Applying the rule to the circumstances of Bradford's case, it is impossible not to recognize that Government handing over to the Chief millions of dollars worth of public property is a power the Constitution has not granted the legislature for the simple reason that, while the transfer benefits the Chief, it does not benefit the general public in any material way: which means Bradford's case is based on the theory that remedying past societal discrimination justifies race-conscious government action, because it is a compelling government interest. Which brings us to the second and decisive constitutional reason Bradford's case will end up in the United States Supreme Court, a loser.

Despite his loud voice and his fist thumping the podium, Bradford cannot be stupid enough to seriously think the theory can be sustained in a court of law, given the objective circumstances of the City's exercise of its eminent domain power. But he thinks you are stupid enough to think he can: For Bradford knows that what counts, in the process of invoking the constitutional power, is not the personal motive of the city's elected officials exercising the power, but the fact, regardless of motive, that the taking was for the public purpose of using the land as a public park, and that, in fact, the City, as the governmental entity, did not discriminate against Willa and Charles Bruce on the basis of race.

The defect in Bradford's theory of his case lies in the simple fact that the 1924 Manhattan Beach Board of Trustees did not discriminate in its action of eminent domain on the basis of race. It's action applied equally to all the thirty-one lot owners of the two blocks. All of them were evicted from their lots, regardless of their race. All of them received "just" compensation as determined in a court of law. All of them were free to move, with their compensation, to another lot on a different block. Therefore, in light of the reality of the Supreme Law, as fixed by the United States Supreme Court, The State of California, the County of Los Angeles and the City of Manhattan Beach have no constitutional power to give away public wealth to the "descendants" of Willa and Charles Bruce, who, as individuals, received from Government nothing more, nor less, that the equal protection of the laws. (See, e.g., Parents Involved in Cmty Schs. v. Seattle Sch. District No 1, (2007) 551 U.S. 701.)

As the Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized, in its holdings in this area, "We are a Nation not of black and white alone, but one teeming with divergent communities knitted together by various traditions and carried forth, above all, by individuals." (See, Metro Broadcasting, INc. v. FCC 497 U.S. 547, 610 (1990) (O'Connor, dissenting).); that, "at the heart of the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection lies the simple command that the Government must treat citizens as individuals, not as simply components," as Bradford and Hahn wish, "of a racial class."

Thus, the Court has ruled that "remedying past societal discrimination does not justify race-conscious government action," which means Bradford's predicate of societal discrimination justifying the Government's transfer of public wealth to a thirty-three old kid in Florida, whose great, great grandparents happen to be Willa and Charles Bruce, is not a "compelling State interest." Societal discrimination, by itself, is simply not a basis in law for imposing, as a Bradford's crowd wish, a racially classified remedy. (See, e.g., Shaw v. Hunt (1996) 517 U.S. 899, 909-910.) "But," Bradford by now is screaming. "they had the motive!" But, the Supreme Court has rejected the argument that motives affect the analysis. Using "motive" as a predicate for government action, which gives public wealth to one class (Black) and not another (White) suggests confidence in the ability to distinquish good from harmful governmental uses of racial criteria, when the reality is the choice of description reflects only acceptance of the current generation's conclusion that a politically acceptable burden, imposed on particular citizens on the basis of race, is reasonable. Our Supreme Court, since its landmark decision, in Brown v. Board of Education, has ruled that, as a matter of constitutional law, it is never "reasonable" for Government to act toward a particular class of citizens on the basis of race. It is this rule that the Democrats, their stalking horse now being Bradford and Hahn, are intent on changing through the weight of their political power. (See, e.g., Faust v. Vilsack (2021) (Case No. 21-C-548, U.S. D.C. East Dist Wisconsin: Dist. Ct rejects The American Rescue Plan as an unconstitutional government action based on racial discrimination.)

Our Constitution, the Court has said, protects each citizen as an individual, not as a member of a group. (Bakke v. University of California (1978) 438 U.S. 265, 289.) This fundamental principle goes back, in this context, to Brown v. Board of Education, (1954) 347 U.S. 483.) Simply because a school district, as any government entity might, may see in its action a worthy goal to be obtained, it does not mean Government is free to discriminate on the basis of race to achieve it. Thus, to give public wealth away to black people named "Bruce," Government must give the same amount of relative wealth away to Harry Eichelberger and the other white lot owners whose lots, along with the Bruce's were taken by Government for a park. And, doing that, must not Government dole out the dough then to everyone? And, hence, the arising of the parallel problem of Government gift-giving?

Certainly we can expect Senator Bradford's crowd to hollar that, setting aside its race-based action, the determination of what constitutes a public purpose is for the Legislature and its determination ought not be disturbed by the courts. But, while the legislature can expect some deference from the courts, it cannot expect the courts to ignore the objective reality that what Bradford proposes cannot be reconciled with the constitutional requirement that the determination must have an objectively reasonable basis in fact. (See, County of Alameda v. Carleston (1971) 5 Cal.3d 730.)

For example, the Legislature might reasonably determine that releasing leins against the real property of an indigent person attached due to the person's failure to reimburse the State for aid payments it provided, because the release of the leins could remove the necessity for additional aid to the property owner and thereby relieve the public treasury. (See, County of Alameda v. Jannsen 16 Cal.2d 276, 281; compare to "The American Rescue Plan.") Similarly, the Legislature might reasonably determine that it might disregard a person's income in the process of providing the person with unemployment benefits as a device useful in getting the person off the welfare rolls. But, in all cases, the basis of "reasonableness" rests directly on the material benefit the Legislature's determination provides to the general public at large. Handing fifty million dollars worth of public property to a group of private individuals as a gesture of knee-bending, as a penance for the supposed animus expressed one hundred years ago by a long dead generation of white people, cannot reasonably provide the required basis that transforms a gift to the "Bruce family" into something not.

The rules of law applicable here, simply mean that the state, county and city governments cannot give the taken lots to the Chief and his supposed "family," because his ancestors were treated poorly by a white generation gone to its grave, anymore than the Federal Government can give the continent back to the Indians. But, this does not mean that Government cannot make amends in a particular way, if, in fact, it treated the Bruces, either unequally under the laws, or cheated them of their right to just compensation for its taking.

United States v. Sioux Nation
(1980) 448 U.S. 371


Mr. Justice Blackmun delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case concerns the Black Hills of South Dakota, the great Sioux Reservation, and a tragic chapter in the history of the Nation's West. Although the litigation comes down to a claim of interest since 1877 on an award of over $17 million, it is necessary, in order to understand the controversy, to review at some length the chronology of the case and its factual setting.

google earth black hills

As early as the 1820s, the United States Federal Government used its army to destroy the presence of the American Indian on the continent. First the Algonquin tribes of the Atlantic Coast were destroyed; then the tribes occupying the Piedmont and the river valleys beyond the Appalachian Mountains were either exterminated, or pushed west of the Mississippi; until, finally, beginning about 1850, the army came in contact with the tribes of the Sioux Nation and attacked their villages, killing the women and children, and engaging in pitched battles on the Great Plains with the men. This policy led, in 1851, to a meeting at Fort Laramie between the Federal Government's agents and a delegation of Sioux chiefs, which resulted in the Sioux signing a treaty by the terms of which they agreed to appoint a single chief—contrary to their tribal customs and laws—who was to speak for all members of the Sioux Nation and be responsible for enforcing the treaty provisions which allowed for white immigrants to travel the Bozeman Trail to Virgina City; in exchange the Federal Government promised to recognize the Sioux Nation's title to a vast expanse of land and to provide the tribes with sustenance.

Red CloudThus matters stood, until 1860, when gold was discovered in Montana and the white people began building a road from Fort Laramie across Sioux land to the gold fields. The Oglala Lakota war leader, Red Cloud, declared that the Oglala would not allow the whites to encroach upon Sioux land, and a war occurred between the Federal Government and the Sioux in the Powder River county in northeast Wyoming and southern Montana that went on for two years. The consequence was that the Federal Government entered into a second treaty with the Sioux at Fort Laramie. By the treaty's terms, the Federal Government agreed to abandon its forts and stop supporting the white people's encroachments; promising, also, that what is now the western half of South Dakota, along with large parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Nebraska belonged to the Sioux forever.

Laramie treaty

In addition to its recognition of the Sioux Nation's ownership of the land, the Government promised to provide the Sioux who selected lands to farm within the reservation designated by the treaty, with the necessary services and materials to farm, and with subsistence rations for four years. In exchange, the Sioux agreed to relinquish their rights under the first treaty, to occupy territories outside the reservation, while reserving their "right to hunt on any lands north of North Platte, and on the Republican Fork of the Smoky Hill river, as long as the buffalo may range thereon in such numbers as to justify the chase" (which is why the whites set about killing the buffalo).

Qualifying the Sioux Nation's "agreement" to this treaty is Art. XII which provided.

"No treaty for the cession of any portion or part of the reservation herein described which may be held in common shall be of any validity or force as against the said Indians, unless executed and signed by at least three fourths of all the adult male Indians, occupying or interested in the same."

CusterThe years following the treaty brought relative peace to the Dakotas, an era of tranquility that was disturbed, however, by renewed speculation that the Black Hills, which were included in the Great Sioux Reservation, contained vast quantities of gold and silver. As the consequence, the Federal Government planned and undertook an expedition into the Hills, in 1874, to establish forts and find the gold. Lt. Col. George Custer took a brigade size force of soldiers into the Black Hills, found gold, and wrote reports of his findings which were printed in the newspapers and this generated an intense popular demand that the Hills be open for white men to exploit. The only obstacle to this was the Fort Laramie Treaty that reserved occupancy of the Hills to the Sioux.

SheridenThe solution the Federal Government chose, was to abandon its obligation to preserve the integrity of the Sioux territory. General Philip Sheriden, commanding U.S. Army forces in the West at this time, met with President Grant at the White House, in November 1875, and Grant directed him to make no further resistance to the occupation of the Hills by the white miners who were creeping in to dig for gold. Soon, with the Hills flooding with gold-seekers and the Sioux reacting violently, President Grant decided to take the Hills from the Indians by force. To that end, the Government appointed a commission to negotiate with the Sioux, but the Sioux, aware of the value of the Hills, refused to sell the land for a price less than $70 million. The Government reacted to the refusal to sell, by giving jurisdiction over the Indians to the War Department.

Sitting BullIn August 1875, the Hunkpapas tribe, under their chief, Sitting Bull, went into camp with the northern Cheyenne on Rosebud Creek in southeastern Montana. There the two tribes remained, moving camps from the creek to the mouth of the Yellowstone as fall and then winter set in. Then, on March 17, 1876, the Federal Government's soldiers attacked a remote Cheyenne village on the Powder River, burned it and killed several of its occupants before being driven off by the rallying warriors. The Indian survivors made their way to the Cheyenne main body camped with the Hunkpapas and reported the news the enemy was advancing. Reporting these events to Grant, Sheriden wrote: "These Indians are lofty and independent in their attitute and language to Government officials, as well as the whites generally, and claim to be the sovereign rulers of the land. They say they own all the wood, the water, the ground, and the air, and that white men live in or pass through their country but by their sufferance."

In June 1876, at the Little Big Horn, the Sioux and Cheyenne destroyed the army force the Government sent to enforce its dominance over them. That victory, of course, was short-lived, and those Indians who surrendered, including Crazy Horse, who surrendered in Nebraska, were returned to the reservation, and deprived of their weapons and horses, leaving them completely dependent for survival on rations provided them by the Government. Sitting Bull's Hunkpapas remained free for four years, retreating into the mountains within Canada where they rested and hunted. In July 1881, Sitting Bull appeared with his band at Fort Buford on the Missouri River and surrendered. He was held as a prisoner of war until 1883 when he was placed on a reservation three hundred miles south of the Black Hills.

In August 1876, the United States Congress enacted a bill providing that "hereafter there shall be no appropriation made for the subsistence" of the Sioux, unless they first relinquished their rights to the hunting grounds outside the reservation and ceded the Black Hills to the United States (Act of Aug. 15, 1876, 19 Stat. 176, 192.) Toward this end the Congress requested the President to appoint another commission to negotiate with the Sioux for the cession of the Black Hills.

The commission reached the Black Hills in September 1876 and commenced meetings with the chiefs of the various tribes. The commission brought with it the draft of a new treaty and told the chiefs that the government would provide no further rations until the Sioux relinquished their rights to the Hills and to the hunting grounds beyond. The commission demanded that the treaty be signed by a representative group, instead of by three fourths of all male Indians as the Sioux Nation's tribal laws required and the Fort Laramie treaty specified. Ten percent of the adult male population signed it. On February 28, 1877, the United States Congress enacted the "agreement" into law, thereby abrogating the earlier Fort Laramie Treaty; at which point the whites swarmed into the Black Hills.

Almost fifty years later, the Congress passed a law that provided the Sioux Naton with a forum for adjudication of "all claims against the United States under any treaties, agreements, or laws of Congress." (Act of June 3, 1920.) In 1923, the Sioux filed a petition with the Court of Claims alleging that the Government had taken the Black Hills without just compensation, in violation of the Fifth Amendment. Forty years later the Court dismissed the claim on the ground that the congressonal jurisdictional act of 1920 did not authorize it to decide the question whether the compensation afforded the Sioux in 1877 was a fair price for the Black Hills, and that the Sioux's claim in this regard was a moral claim not protected by the Just Compensation Clause. (Sioux Tribe v. United States 97 Ct. Cl. 613 (1943), cert denied, 318 U.S. 789 (1943).)

Three years later, in 1946, the Congress passed the Indian Claims Commission Act, creating a congressional commission, as a new forum to hear and determine all tribal claims that had arisen previously. The Sioux resubmitted the Black Hills claim but the commission ruled the Sioux had failed to prove their case. The Sioux responded with an appeal to the Court of Claims, seeking to reconsder the judgment on the ground of incompetence of counsel and the Court granted it, ruling that the case could be reopened with new evidence.

Six years later, reconsidering the case, the Commission reached a preliminary decision, holding that the 1942 Court of Claims' dismissal of the Fifth Amendment claim was not res judicata. The Commission went on to find that Congress, in 1877, had made no effort to give the Sioux full value for the ceded reservation lands, concluding that what Congress had given, had no relationship to the value of the land acquired. Finally, the Commission concluded that Congress had acted pursuant to its power of eminent domain when it passed the 1877 Act and therefore the Government must pay the Indians just compensation for the taking of the Black Hills. The Commission determined that the fair market value of the Black Hills, as of February 27, 1877, was $17 million.

Note: Keep in mind as you read that what's happened here, is that the legislative branch of the Government has placed the function of deciding the fair market value of the taken land in the hands of a panel of persons it selected for the task. The question is, does the Constitution grant such a power to the Legislature?

The Government appealed to the Court of Claims, arguing that the Sioux' Fifth Amendment claim was barred by the principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel, or, if not, that the 1877 Act did not effect a taking of the Black Hills for which compensation was due. The Court of Claims recognized that the Government's failure to appeal the Commission's holding that it had acquired the Black Hills through a course of unfair and dishonorable dealing, entitled the Sioux to damages as set by the Commission at $17 million, but without interest. To receive interest the Sioux must show the taking was unconstitutional. The Court also remarked upon President Grant's duplicity in breaching the Government's treaty obligation to keep the whites out of the Black Hills, and the pattern of duress practiced by the Government on the starving Sioux to get them to agree to the sale of the Black Hills. "A more ripe and rank case of dishonorable dealings will never, in all probability, be found in our history, which is not, taken as a whole, the disgrace it now pleases some persons to believe." (207 Ct. Cl. at 241.) But, nonetheless, the Court of Claims held that the merits of the Sioux taking claim had been reached in 1942, and whether resolved "rightly or wrongly," the claim was now barred by res judicata. (United States v. Sioux Nation 207 Ct. Cl. 234.)

Then, in 1978, Congress passed a statute providing for Court of Claim review of the merits of the Commission's judgment that the 1877 Act effected a taking of the Black Hills, without regard to the defenses of res judicata and collateral estoppel. The statute authorized the Court of Claims to take new evidence in the case and to conduct its review of the merits de novo. Acting pursuant to this statute the Court of Claims affirmed the Commission's holding that the 1877 Act effected a taking of the Black Hills under the Government's power of eminent domain. The Court upheld the Commission's finding that the fair value of the Black Hills, in 1877, was $17 million and awarded the Sioux interest on this sum dating from 1877. The United States Supreme Court then granted the Federal Government's petition for certiorari.

Supreme Court

"We granted the Government's petition for a writ of certiorari, in order to review the important constitutional questions presented by this case, questions not only of longstanding concern to the Sioux, but also of significant economic import to the Government.

We are confronted with this litigation for a third time as a result of the amendment to the Indian Claims Commission Act of 1946, which directed the Court of Claims to review the merits of the Black Hills takings claim without regard to the defense of res judicata. Before turning to the merits of the Court of Claims' conclusion that the 1877 Act effected a taking of the Black Hills, we must consider the question whether Congress, in enacting the amendment 'has inadvertively passed the limit which separates the legislative from the judicial power.' (United States v. Klein (1872) 13 Wall. 128, 147.)

Two Distinct Objections

There are two objections that might be raised to the constitutionality of the amendment, each framed in terms of the doctrine of separation of powers. This first would be that Congress impermissibly has disturbed the finality of a judicial decree by rendering the Court of Claims' earlier judgments in this case mere advisory opinions. (Citations.) The objecton would take the form that Congress, in directing the Court of Claims to reach the merits of the Black Hills claim, effectively reviewed and reversed that court's 1975 judgment that the claim was not cognizable under the Fifth Amendment. Such legislative review of a judicial decision would interfere with the independent functions of the Judiciary.

The second objection would be that Congress overstepped its bounds by granting the Court of Claims jurisdiction to decide the merits of the Black Hills claim, while prescribing a rule of decision that left the court no adjudicatory function to perform. (Citations.) These objections were not raised by the Government before the Court of Claims. The question whether the amendment impermissibly interfered with judicial power was debated in the House of Representatives, and that body concluded that the Government's waiver of a 'technical legal defense,' in order to permit the Court of Claims to reconsider the merits of the Black Hills claim was within the Congress' power to enact.

The question debated on the floor of the House is one the answer to which is not immediately apparent. It requires us to examine the proper role of [the legislature] and the courts in recognizing and determining claims against the [Government]. We conclude that neither of the two separation of powers objections is presented by this legislation.

Our starting point is Cherokee Nation v. United States (1926) 270 U.S. 476. In that case the Court of Claims, pursuant to a special Act of Congress, considered the claim of the Cherokee Nation to interest on the judgment previously awarded for the taking of land. This Court affirmed the Court of Claims award, including the interest award. Therafter, the Cherokee presented to Congress a new claim that they were entitled to compound interest on the lump sum of principal and interest that had accrued up to 1895. In 1919, the Congress authorized the Court of Claims to consider and decide the Cherokee's new claim.

Ulitmately, this Court held that the Cherokee were not entitled to the payment of compound interest on the original judgment awarded by the Court of Claims. Before turning to the merits of the interest claim, however, the Court considered the effect of the Congressional Act of 1919 in referring the new claim to the Court of Claims. The Court's conclusion concerning that question bears close examination:

The judgment of this Court in the suit by the Cherokee Nation against the United States awarded a large amount of interest. The question of interest was considered and decided and, but for the Congressional Act of 1919, the question now at issue here would have been foreclosed as res judicata. Certainly the Congress understood this when it passed the Act. Therefore, Congress must have intended to waive the effect of the judgment as res judicata. We conclude that the power of Congress to waive such an ajdudication is clear. (Cherokee Nation v. United States (1926) 270 U.S. 476, 486.)

The holding in Cherokee Nation that Congress has the power to waive the res judicata effect of a prior judgment entered in the Government's favor. . . is dispositive of the question considered here. Moreover, that holding is consistent with a substantial body of precedent affirming the broad constitutional power of [the Legislature] to define and `to pay the Debts of the United States.' (U.S. Const. Art. 1, § 8, cl.1.)

The scope of Congress' power to pay the Nation's debts seems first to have been construed by this Court in United States v. Realty Co. (1896) 163 U.S. 427. There, the Court said:

The term 'debts' includes those debts or claims which rest upon a merely equitable or honorary obligation, and which would not be recoverable in a court of law, if existing against an individual. The nation, speaking broadly, owes a 'debt' to an individual when his claim grows out of general principles of right and justice, when, in other words, it is based upon considerations of a moral or merely honorary nature, such as are binding on the conscience or the honor of an individual, although the debt could obtain no recognition in a court of law. The power of Congress extends at least as far as the reognition and payment of claims against the government which are thus founded. (Italics added.)

Note: Willa and Charles Bruce's claim, as it existed in 1924, within the meaning of law, against the City of Manhattan Beach, was to receive fair market value for the property interests they owned in the two beach front lots and which the city was taking pursuant to its constitutional power of eminent domain. On the basis of the Supreme Court's decisions set forth here, regardless of what entity now owns the lots, the City of Manhattan Beach can legally waive its procedural defenses of res judicata, collateral estoppel, and statutes of limitations and thus permit the question of "just compensation" to be relitigated in court. Presumably, Willa and Charles' direct descendants—Derrick Bruce and his sons—have standing to appear for his great grandparents.

What the measure of "just compensation" is, is a separate question. Derrick and his sons wish the measure to be the fair market value of the two lots, today, one hundred years after the judgment of the Superior Court awarding Willa and Charles $14,000 became final for res judicata purposes. But, the two lots, today, have no market value as a government building straddles six lots, only two of which were owned by the Bruces.To beat a dead horse, the issue is not the question of Government giving—that question is moot; the issue is the question whether the Bruces,in 1924, received "just" compensation, or not.

view of lots
The County would have to demolish the building, to parse the lots.
It could rebuild on the three adjacent lots, but who would buy the Bruce lots?

"It is unquestionable that the Constitution has invested the Congress with no judicial powers, it cannot be doubted that a legislative direction to a court to find a judgment in a certain way would be little less than a judgment rendered directly by Congress. Congress has no power to award a judgment, nor to grant a new trial judicially, neither have they the power to reverse a decree of this court, or to attempt in any way to interfere with the administration of justice. But Congress does have the power to come into court and say that they will not plead the former trial in bar, nor interpose the legal objection which defeated a recovery before." (Nock v. United States (1867) 2 Ct. Cl. 451. Accord: Pope v. United States (1944) 323 U.S. 1.)


The Constitution of the State of California expressly prohibits the State Legislature and its counties and municipalities from making a gift of the two lots it owns to anyone, whether an individual or a corporation. The Constitution grants the Legislature the power to give public wealth to an individual for a "public purpose." A "public purpose " is a purpose that benefits the forty million residents of California as a whole, and not an abstract benefit, not a cleansing of the moral soul of the nation over racism; for such an argument flies in the face of the United States Supreme Court's empathic holding that our Constitution protects individuals, not groups; that the rights it protects are personal rights, not group rights. "Distinctions between citizens solely because of their ancestry are by their very nature odious to a free people whose institutions are founded on the doctrine of equality." (Adarand Contractors, Inc. v. Pena (1995) 515 U.S. 200, 214.) Bradford and his crowd, of course, obviously profess to think otherwise.

The Constitution, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court, grants power to the Legislature "to pay debts," which includes the payment of a debt barred by the passage of time, but the Legislature is without power to decide the merits of the claim of debt as such decision is solely the constitutional responsibility of the Judiciary. Thus, giving the land back to the Indians, from whom the white people that made this nation took it, was, and is not, an option. But, waiving legal bars to stale claims for just compensation being revived and decided by the Judiciary, is an option.

Therefore, as with the Congress of the United States in the case of the Indians, the California Legislature has the constitutional power to pass an Act which expressly waives the State's, and its subsidiary governmental bodies', legal defenes of res judicata, collateral estoppel, and statutes of limitations, and confer jurisdiction upon the Superior Court to consider the merits of the claim that Willa and Charles Bruce did not receive just compensation in 1929, for the taking, by the City of Manhattan Beach, of their two beach front lots—the measure of compensation to include all aspects of their property interest in the subject lots.

Given the fact, however, that Eichelberger, who owned fourteen lots in the block of lots condemned, received $21,000, suggests the $14,000 the Bruces received was, in fact and law, reasonably calculated to be the fair market value of the City's taking. And, obviously, the Chief is not investing his time in the Bruce case, to relitigate the issue of "just compensation." He wants to relitigate the question of the taking, but cannot show the taking was based on race. He cannot get by the objective reality that the City took thirty-one lots, not two, that therefore it—the city—did not, as a matter of law, act in a racially discriminatory manner toward the lot owners. It acted equally toward all.

The reality of all this, thus, tells you that Senator Bradford is using the issue of the Bruce lots as a political wedge in the door of the public treasury, to force the door open wide in order to distribute to his race, as a societal group, billions of dollars paid into it by the three hundred and sixty million persons alive in America today; 72% of whom are white.. If he gets the wedge in the door and it seems he is prying it open, certainly we can expect the descendants of the Chinese, the Japanese, the Mexicans, the Italians, not to mention again the Indians, whose ancestors were abused by the majority population of white people living in their times, to join him with their fists pounding on the door. Of course, the oldest generation of Americans, closest to the Age of White Supremacy in the social sense—the "baby boomers"—will be gone, so the kids, whose hearts bleed for the Bruces, can foot the bill alone. There is poetic justice in this. The kids weeping, pay for the sins of the baby boomers' dead generation.

Joe Ryan


Reality Sets In

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Joe Ryan comments:

Oh? "Delay?" Something about Senator Bradford pulling the bill, after it zoomed through two Senate committees without hearing, going straight to the floor? The Senator wants to add "a few amendments" to it? What could they be, pray tell? But don't worry folks: the Senator will have the bill back on the floor on Tuesday, June 1, and the Senate has three days to pass it by a majority vote? Then the bill goes to the Assembly and the Assembly has until September to vote it up or down, and then the great Governor, Mr. Gavin, can pen his signature to it and poof, millions of dollars of public wealth is on its way to the Chief and the "Bruce family." What a world of silliness we are living in.

So the State Legislature authorizes what? It authorizes the County of Los Angeles, which presumably is the legal owner of the four lots on which sits today the County Life Guard Administration building, to transfer the legal title to two of the four lots to who? To the Chief? To Willa's great, great grandson, Derrick? To a mass of people holding their hands out for checks, calling themselves "the Bruce Family?

So what does the City of Manhattan Beach have to do with this story now? It is not the owner of the two lots, the County is. Is Hahn and her pals on the Board of Supervisors slyly attempting to have it appear to the public that it is the city, not the County, which is giving millions of dollars of public wealth to private persons without any basis in fact or law for doing so? Why are the residents of Manhattan Beach meekly accepting this silliness. The County owns the lots, it is the County alone, therefore, that should be understood by the voters to be the entity giving the public wealth to the Chief and the crowd waving their hands in the air behind him.