LONG AGO — This headline, from the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 11, 1914, might be the most innocent and idealistic of all time: “Santa Monica Hits On Way To Solve Problem Of Auto Traffic.”

We’re all ears.

Sadly, the article that follows offers little in the way of quelling gridlock. In 1914, the car was on the rise in Santa Monica. Half the newspaper articles seem to be about new streets that would get residents from Los Angeles to the sea without having to take one of the many rail lines. And Santa Monica was proud of its growth, asking for a new census count in November of 1914. City officials thought the estimate of 8,000 residents seemed way too low.

The article actually addresses the issue of rogue bus drivers, who were being viewed much in the way of Uber drivers today.

Mayor Dudley wanted the roughly 50 small motorbuses regulated for the safety and convenience of passengers, the article states.

“The public must be protected and taken care of in the proper manner,” he said, “and reckless young drivers and operatives who overcharge their customers will be the ones to face complaints. We need the motor buses, but they must be solid.”

Dudley sounds just like a modern day cabbie talking about one of these app-based ridesharing startups.

Tango on the platform

Police cracked down on rogue dancers, too, one hundred years ago this month. Tangoing and other dancing said to be “objectionable to delicate sensibilities” was already banned in the public parks and on the beach but it was apparently getting out of hand in the caf√©s.

The cops wanted to know why entertainers at the booze-slinging seaside joints were allowed to leave their performance platforms and go ragging or tangoing into the dining rooms in search of tips.

Back to the platforms, they said.

Lewd photos

The police were having indecency problems of their own. Capt. Thomas L. Goodwin was abruptly fired after lewd photographs were found in his pocketbook in November of 2014.

Goodwin demanded an apology for what he called a “secret firing” noting that “even a murderer is taken to the courts before he is called a murderer and hung.”

Inside baseball

Vin Scully would probably have something eloquent and pejorative to say about baseball being played indoors in sunny Southern California but it was apparently all the rage a century ago.

The Armory Indoor Baseball League was formed in November of 1914, featuring a six-month season and the best players from seven local militias.

Santa Monica had a ballpark (armory) as did Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Pasadena.

Hurt kids

November of 1914 did much to encourage the idea that the Bay City was no a place for a kid.

A 9-year-old girl was run over by a car on Tenth Street. The driver rolled over the girl’s right leg but it did not break.

A Santa Monica mother was so shocked to see two cars collide in front of her that she dropped her baby in the street. The drivers in the wreck were uninjured but the baby’s head was bruised.

dave@www.smdp.com

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