Proportionate injustice

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    Drinking, driving, educating-what a great place. There was a time when the corner of Malibu Canyon and PCH was pure chaparral, and one could spot deer, bobcats and most certainly coyotes on that piece of turf. Now, there stands on this corner, the mighty concrete megalopolis known as Pepperdine University, which has spread its mighty tentacles over the hills, far and wide, destroying the nature that may inhibit the growth of this institution. Higher, deeper, and further into the hills they go, providing more housing for students, and teachers, more buildings for educating our leaders of the future.

    How appropriate then, that one of the first major lessons I learned while living near the university in its infancy, was that as a chancellor of the university, one could be totally drunk before noon. On a bright, sunny morning you could drive into a car waiting at a stop sign (no signals in those quiet days), and incinerate in a horrible fire, two women in their 80s, who had survived all of life’s challenges, leaving two charred skeletons in their car, and walking away, almost unscathed, from your own wrecked vehicle. What wonderful and carefree times those were. Did I forget to mention the previous conviction for DUI? Sorry.

    Now of course one doesn’t just “walk away” from an incident like this, but must “pay the piper” by serving the community, and the university, while on probation for an indiscretion such as this. With the promise of a permanent “chair” at the university, and the procurement of a couple of $1,000,000 “gifts” to the school from such luminaries as the recently “retired” ex-president of the USA, Richard M. Nixon, and Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the former Shah of Iran, one can go a long way in proving how valuable one’s stance in the community is.

    Now if Harry McDermott and Nancy Cicatelli can get Gelson’s and Pavilions to “gift” Ralphs with such a booty, perhaps they could get their jobs back as the hard working, friendly checkers many of us in the community know them to be.

    As I recall, the late Norvel Young did not lose his job as Chancellor at Pepperdine after his accident, momentary lapse of judgement, mistake, or whatever one calls that type of catastrophe. Nope, he went right on with the job. Of course, he wasn’t selling liquor to minors with phony IDs, he was just the man at the top of the “Drinking Pyramid” at Pepperdine. What a tribute to his legacy, that some students aspire to those lofty heights at such an early age. What cunning and fortitude they show by getting those phony papers, so that they may emulate a “tradition” of drinking, and probably driving, while drunk.

    How unfortunate for Harry and Nancy, on a busy Saturday night, that such regularly carded and recognized customers at Ralphs, slipped through the security net of our hard working crew at Ralphs. One student was actually 21, but the other two were underage with phony IDs. Thank goodness that representatives of the Dept. of Alcohol and Beverage Control were on hand that night, following the students closely, so that two adult lives could be crushed on the spot, and the students sent back to their dorms without alcohol from the nearest facility to the campus. What a bummer. Gotta drive another mile to the next target.

    Perhaps they will be brought before a judge, one convicted of DUI himself, for sentencing. Fortunately, he was not fired from his position as a judge for his (what are we calling it) indiscretion? Whatever happens, until this is resolved between Ralphs, Pepperdine, and the community, and at least a glimmer of hope for justice is restored to Harry and Nancy, I for one, will no longer patronize a store that has such a harsh policy with no allowance for error. I shall certainly miss the camaraderie I’ve shared with all these faithful employee/friends over the years. I just like them all too much to see what might happen next.

    Greg Hodal