Two weeks ago, a doting grandmother enjoying the beautiful, sunny weather with her infant grandson on Wilshire Boulevard was attacked by a disheveled, middle-aged man who forcibly tried to wrench the strapped-in 1-year-old from his stroller.

The grandmother rushes to her grandson’s aid and is punched in the face. A good Samaritan intervenes. He’s attacked and kicked in the face. Police are summoned. When they arrive, another struggle ensues. The aggressor is finally subdued and arrested.

Luckily, the infant only received minor injuries to his head, neck, face and torso. The grandmother also received minor injuries as did the Samaritan and a couple of our police officers.

The miracle is that the baby and grandma weren’t killed or seriously injured. Hopefully, the infant is too young to have been permanently traumatized; however, the grandmother will probably be emotionally scarred for the rest of her life. Welcome to Santa Monica.

The attacker, identified as Lewis Clair Moss, 51, is a known transient. He’s been charged with kidnapping, assault and felony resisting arrest. He’s being held on $285,000 bail pending a court appearance July 27.

When this story broke 10 days ago, I expected a strong public reaction, but it barely created a ripple. I guess we’ve all had so many unpleasant experiences with local vagrants, parolees, ex-cons and other anti-social types, that many of us have become indifferent to it. Besides, it’s a conversation starter: “You’ll never believe what happened to me yesterday … ”

A catalog of crimes, incidents and untoward behavior perpetrated by transients and nut bags runs in the “Crime Watch” pages of this newspaper every Friday. A substantial percentage of our policing effort is expended dealing with their activities.

Despite the pubic safety risks, for decades City Hall has rolled out the red carpet by supporting a wealth of services ranging from free food handouts and counseling to homeless shelters and subsidized housing. “Homeless” services is a major industry here, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and employing hundreds of people, annually.

City Hall paints its efforts with a Pollyanna brush by trumpeting the few success stories of beneficiaries (almost all are here from outside Santa Monica) who’ve turned their life around as a result of City Hall’s intervention. Meanwhile, the criminal activity that’s emblematic of Santa Monica’s distinctive “edge” is ignored and buried.

The public’s safety is disregarded by city leaders. Every day, we all live with mentally ill, violent, alcohol or drug addicted individuals who refuse services, won’t take their medications and act out. When someone is assaulted or a home, car or store is robbed or vandalized, it’s just another cost of living or working in Santa Monica. In military parlance: we’re all collateral damage.

What’s it going to take for residents to realize that City Hall’s deliberate policy of enticing undesirable elements into our community with promises of “life in paradise with impunity” is not in anybody’s best interest — except those profiting by it?

Sen. Lieu lays an egg on SMO

State Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, sent a letter to the director of the state Department of Toxic Substances Control last Monday and asked her to investigate air pollution and blood-lead levels among residents living near Santa Monica Airport (SMO).

Lieu contends that children and adults living within hundreds of feet of SMO are receiving extra high levels of lead exposure which he claims is a result of the many, small, piston aircraft fueled by aviation gasoline — rather than jet fuel — using the airport.

Lieu cites a July 13 study by Duke University that found that children who live within 500 meters of airports in North Carolina have significantly higher levels of lead in their blood caused by aircraft operating with leaded gasoline. Exposure to lead has been shown to cause learning disabilities, behavior disorders and substandard academic performance in children.

Lieu represents the 28th Senate District which doesn’t include Santa Monica but does include neighborhoods directly east and south of SMO. He’s also chair of the Senate Select Committee on Air Quality.

Maybe Lieu should also request studies of airports in his own district such as Northrop Field/Hawthorne Municipal Airport, Zamperini Field/Torrance, Compton/Woodley Airport and the big cheese: LAX. If Lieu is so concerned about lead pollution from gasoline, how about also conducting studies of the worst polluters of all: streets and freeways?

I’m for researching pollution sources, but any study should also include other airports for comparison along with an analysis of surface vehicle lead pollution compared to aviation pollution to be meaningful. But, I doubt Lieu is concerned about anything meaningful. He’s really just sucking up to airport haters in Mar Vista.

Lieu isn’t going after aviation facilities in his own backyard because he’s obviously afraid of the blowback. His request for an investigation and an environmental complaint against SMO reeks of cheap politics and political favoritism. I say it’s a bunch of crap!

Bill can be reached at

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