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tv   Bob Calhoun The Murders That Made Us  CSPAN  August 14, 2022 9:29am-11:01am EDT

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>> thank you so much for joining us this evening. i'm erin garcia, director of engagement at the california historical society. welcome to our program, the murders that made us, how true crime bill the bay area with author bob calhoun. i would like to acknowledge the historical society has had in sanford disco in the unseeded territory. it's our job here to not only remember this but also to make california possible rich, complicated, and diverse past a meaningful part of contemporary life. we do that through public programs like this one, through the research library collections and by hosting exhibitions. we currently have two exhibitions on view. chinese politics -- chinese pioneers and from the gold rush
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to the earthquake. our galleries at mission street are open wednesday through saturday, please visit us. we have a san francisco bay author area and journalist, he's a former punk wrestler peep show mc. from 2015 to 2000 19 he recounted san francisco past most gruesome and lurid events in his regular weekly column yesterday's rhymes, which led to his latest book, the murders that made us, how vigilantes, hoodlums, mob bosses and cult leader's the san francisco bay area. his punk wrestling memoir is a national asked seller that wired called breezy and hilarious. calhoun's work has appeared in the san francisco chronicle, robert ebert.com, daca, and the bold italic. it's available at the chs bookstore if you would like to
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purchase a copy. welcome, mr. calhoun. thank you so much for joining us tonight. >> hello. can you hear me? is everything good? >> yeah. >> ok, ok. thank you so much. thank you to everyone attending tonight into the california historical society for having me . it's a big honor and more that i thought might pulpy little book could handle or deserve, but if everybody is ready for it, let me share my screen. this is always a little arduous, as people who use zoom may know, here we go. share. let's, let's run the slideshow, folks. ok, can everyone see the slideshow ok? >> yes, you're good. >> ok, thank you. we have title screens integrate
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introduction from erin,, i can skip some of this stuff. the book is -- wrong button. the book is murders that made us. there i am. over a very vertigo shop. i am not fishing kim novak out of the bay. but that is where jimmy stewart fished her out of the bay and "vertigo," for a point there. great shot. there is the book cover. murders that made us is a journey through san francisco history through crime, the most brutal acts through history from the vigilante days to the current century. i'm telling the history of the bay area. i do go out to the south bay, oakland, other places here and there. telling a through crime, mostly murders. sometimes there is a little bit of larceny, scams, and other things. you know, murder, murder is intriguing, violence is
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intriguing, but it can wear on you once in a while and sometimes you just want a good little scam or larceny. if you want to know how i got started with true crime, how did this happen, why did i go from being a punk wrestler and writing about that in reviewing movies and other things to writing about very, very, very violent acts? my fascination with crime and writing about i'm started with my mother. there she is, jackie calhoun. there she is in the early 50's in front of my families house before i was in the picture in the proper amazon neighborhood of san francisco. according to my dad the house had a san francisco street address but the rear of the house was in daly city. a common arrangement in that corner of the city. they paid daly city utilities. it was in, if you had your foot
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in one room into san francisco and the other was daly city. there she is. my fascination with crime started with a revelation from my dad, backing up a bit, my mother passed away in 2009 and there was a revelation from my father that my mother had once been a suspect in a very, very brutal murder in 1959. so, here we go. police hunt, multiple shop murder. i would like to read from the book here. this is probably my only reading during this, but i want to read from the first chapter, titled "my mother the murder suspect." my mother only talked about the murder sparingly enter hushed tones stood in sharp contrast to how she spoke of everything else. tales of a fight at the laundromat over the dryers or the time that the doctor through
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a pen at her hypochondriac friend were retold often and in excruciating detail. my mother loved to gossip and though the murder was her juiciest story by far, this was different. it was serious. the details of the murder that she told me were muddled in my memory by the names of friends and acquaintances that she knew before i was born. from what i knew, a friend of the family was shot in his truck by a crazy woman he picked up somewhere. he called her either a stupid fool or a stupid bitch depending on the telling. that my mom could know this detail did accents because the murder took lace in a suburban woods of the bay area peninsula but there was one other detail of the murders that really stuck out in my mind. my mom spoke of growing suspicion among her clique of suburbanites as the murder investigation dragged on unsolved for weeks.
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you started to suspect everybody. friends, neighbors. you didn't know to trust. you wondered who could have done it. i always meant to write an article were given a novel out of all of that backyard paranoia but i never thought of asking my mother to retell the story of the murder until the was too late. she passed away in october of 2009 after cancer shrinker down to almost nothing. -- shrunk her down to almost nothing. my last conversation with her was about her hallucinations brought on by painkillers or my pleading with her to drink her damp ensure. i have never drank it, but it must people, elderly people would rather die than drag it. during the final days i never asked her about the murder anything else. i didn't get the story of how she moved from oklahoma to san francisco in the 40's, divorced my dad in the 70's, or that time
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in the 50's when she went to the black cat, seminole gave our, with my dad and uncle and all the med -- men hit on them and ignored her. i know these stories well enough to tell you about them but i only have recollections of her recollection, usually delivered from her favorite chair as she lit a smoke. details are scant and murky. my dad, leo calhoun is in health but is she 80. i asked him about the murder while we were having lunch at a vm restaurant in the city, a once working-class suburb being gobbled up by silicon valley. "remember the murder mom used to talk about," i asked? i think it happened when you were in redwood city or san -- south san francisco? i got the impression it happened in the woods somewhere but not too far out there." august nor eight, he answered, letting the name of the victim hang in the air for a while the
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elaborating. you know, your mother was questioned in the murder investigation. she matched the suspect description. a blonde was seen leaving the scene of the murder in his car. your mother was blonde and we lived next door to them back then. they were looking for someone who was having an affair with him. he added. this was a shock to say the least. my mom never mentioned being braced by homicide dicks. i would remember that. anyone would remember that. police hunt for a blonde, august was a arthur murray dance instructor. here he is. at the errol flynn mustache going. the thought was he was dumping
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lawn clippings on san bruno mountains just to the south of san francisco. it is still pretty much undeveloped because it is a rare butterfly habitat. there are like houses and rushing on it but there is a lot even today, there is a lot of open space there. old horse trails. people in the 50's just dumb to anywhere, i'm afraid. he had some gardening jobs and he was dumping like lawn clippings and tree trimmings off on the mountain and he runs into a blonde. so here we go. she shoots him 18 times. that means with a six shooter. meaning she had to reload the gun twice if you brought it up there fully loaded. then she takes his car and she almost runs over a couple of kids coming back down the mountain. the kids described the woman as a young blonde and as my dad
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said in the earlier passage my mom matches the description and she knew the norry's and some daly city or san bernardino county detectives russian her. this was like the detail that i was never told. like maybe i don't know why, maybe it was too real and like i said, my mom did really, stories that weren't as interesting i mom would tell in excruciating detail, going on and on the fights -- about the fights at the laundry mat. i can recall them like frazier all leave. but this was different, she kind of trickled out details. from there we can see august norry and there i'm pointing to my screen and that's the crime scene. i have seen this picture, have seen the negatives at the uc berkeley bancroft library. it's far more gruesome than here. luckily it's very depicts a late
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it. you can see they let reporters and everybody just trample all over the scene then. to get an idea this was a pretty big story in the bay area newspapers. to get an idea of how big the story was at the time, it pushed the day the music died, the death of buddy holly, the big bopper and ritchie balance, push that down kind of below the fold . you know, it's like seeks blonde in hate slaying and three rock 'n' roll icons killed. the biggest thing of february at 19 59 is the death of those icons but in the bay area the big news was this crazy murder of august norry. very brutal murder. let me back up with that, continuing. ok, so, i can probably cheat it little bit like my mom didn't do
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it, but i will leave it up to you if you want to read the book to find out the ending of that, they are. yes, it haunted the family for a while. my dad talked about being followed by police like everywhere he went for months until the case was cracked. they would be followed by like there is our friend and when they went to the funeral of august norry you could see the ocular's poking through the blinds lost the street. police were evidently tailing everyone in that inner circle and looking for who had killed august norry. it was a personal story that got me started with true crime. but then jeremy at sf week he asked me if i would do a call him and that was yesterday's rhymes. i had pretty free reign, which was amazing. i could just find weird stories from the past of san francisco
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and write about them. almost like those old true detective magazines that maybe some of you remember. the pull he magazines. a chance to do that. after a while i had collected enough of these stories that i started to think of a book or a collection and i got the idea to arrange the stories in a kind of chronology through san francisco history because after a year i had stories from the 19th century, from the victorian era, the 1970's, kind of zodiac killer type stuff, stories from the 50's and 40's and i could line them up and i could see a narrative arc of the bay area into the city forming through these lurid little rhyme stories. you can probably do this with any city. you could definitely do it with chicago or new york but i still think that san francisco is unique for a true crime history because we have an origin story, you know? like batman.
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and it is time -- tied to crime and punishment. i chose this picture of -- this picture, neal adams, great batman artist, i wanted to use one of his images, he just passed away a few weeks ago and i wanted to use this image for this cheeky slide. we have the joker. who is kind of the zodiac killer . like a zodiac killer joker if you have seen the movie on hbo max. he's even got a zodiac symbol going. this is how i know that the zodiac killer is dead, by the way. if he was still alive, so many letters will be going to the chronicle in the herald right now about this movie. i'm pretty sure that that guy is no more because he is not launching a big media campaign over this film. we have an origin story, the city of san francisco has an origin story is like batman, it is an origin story of vigilantes
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. tied up with crime and punishment and who meets out justice and when justice is meted out. it is almost like a superhero story because it is a vigilante story and here is a painting by and tan -- anton [indiscernible] and i'm not sure i'm pronouncing that right and i'm sure somebody at the society can correct me. it is in a post office and asked merely embarcadero -- annex off the embarcadero. all of this san francisco history, it is warts and all. if it is open to the public right now, you should go see it. it might not have been for a while during the pandemic. so, gold is discovered at sutter mill in 1848. then in 1849, the city that would come, sleepy little euro buena -- yerba buena would
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become san francisco within weeks. all of these boats flood into the bay, the harbor. people get off the boats, the crew gets off the boat, the ships. they run for the fields to pan for gold and they leave the ships behind. the ships become the landfill that the wobbly, the millennium tower. the wobbling millennium tower is like resting or sitting on a bed of old derelict ships. thanks to my wife for helping me remember the millennium tower. how could one forget? there is a photo of san francisco harbor in 1850 or 1851. the city is growing, it doesn't necessarily have a really good police or fire service or much in the way of organization. it's pretty much, you know, it's
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pretty laissez-faire at that moment. pretty disorganized, chaotic, and archaic. so everything, like a lot of the buildings are built from like tobacco crates and, you know, pieces of ships. they are kind of ramshackle holdings lit with oil lamps and fires. things burned down a lot in those early days. so there's like some, even though a lot of these buyers might be accidental there are evidence or a perception that there was a gang of australian, people come from all over the world, chileans, chinese, they all come to make their fortunes. and the xenophobia of americans, of u.s. citizens at the time, the u.s. citizens there, it's almost kind of very, very today, very mock. -- maga.
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when they talk about native americans they are talking about people who emigrated from the east coast and they call the australians english. it's kind of confusing when you read through these old articles. really the blame starts to be pinned on the australians, a gang called the sydney ducks. "it is a well-known fact that some of the most desperate scoundrels of england who have been serving the queen of sydney would stop at nothing to obtain money by any diabolical crime. our citizens are at their mercy in their mercy is such as the wolf gives the lamb. so, the "native" californians, the u.s. people, usa people, saying the sydney ducks are
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burning down the city to silverware and things out of the wreckage. that did happen but i think in my mind, my readings, that was maybe a bit overblown and that sometimes buildings just burned it down and of course desperate to them if there is a bit of definite planned arson, there is a lot of fire and catastrophe on and. so that's just accidental but everything after a while, the sydney. lou large and they get blamed for everything. you have these different factions of san francisco powerbrokers. so on the left is sam brandon. he's a brigham young man in california. he is taking the tithes for brigham young and the mormon church but somehow all of that tithe money from mormons doesn't really make it back to brigham young in utah. it somehow stays with sam
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brandon. on the opposite side, sam brandon is one of the vigilante leaders. there is a feeling that the police in the courts are being too lenient on people. that there is a revolving door, people get charged and they get off for these crimes. whether it is arson or robbery or whatever. things are too chaotic, too violent. might sound like the way the national media describes san francisco now. you will see these patterns reassert themselves through my talk and in general. sam brandon is the law & order guy. he's wanting to send the cops into the tender going to crackdown on everything. on the other cited things is david roderick. he is later a state senator from california. irish or irish-american, comes from new york, brings a lot of his tammany hall types with him.
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he makes his fortune by selling $10 gold coins with only seven dollars or eight dollars of gold in them. kind of like the ads you see on like digital broadcast tv or on the back of the national enquirer, get gold coins now. shore up your fortune. he's kind of running those scams and he's also not about using, you know, false bottom to ballot boxes and rigging elections. he's definitely kind of, kind of, you know, he's fast and loose there. again, a little bit of larceny in his heart. so, like i said, there is this perception that it's the courts are too lenient. if you are rigging elections and get connected, you never get charged or let go right away. this is a theme in the san
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francisco history as well. they are after a sydney dock called the english jim. the vigilantes are not rabble. they are merchants. they are top citizens in san francisco. they are, they are business leaders and those types. day, they stormed the san francisco county jail to get lish jim at one point. he's not there. there are a couple of australians there for drunk and disorderly for some lesser crime work maybe they had an accident but there was an attempt by just vigilante mob to get those people out of jail and hang them . any foreigners would do. there's a lot of xenophobia around the movement. they are repelled by the prison guards. but the movement is growing. june 11, 1851, brandon and his more organized committee set out to hang john jenkins, this kind
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of petty thief who was seen running from a crime but they are going to kill him over this. hate -- he stole a safe or something and ran off with it, got caught, they are going to murder him without trial. they don't have time for trials. the trials are ruining everything, we can have them there are all of these speeches about how they are going to hang him. it's like the oxbow incident kind of thing. you know, roderick shows up with his guys. so, the vigilance committee, they have got, they have got jenkins strong pop and they are about to hang him and he's on a pole at port smith square, you can see what it looked like back then. they are about to hang him and then brought rick shows up and he has got a lot of his like irish bar guys. they run bars for him in things.
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his henchmen. they show up and brought rick makes speeches about how it's wrong and they get into a type of war with jenkins. he's hanging. it's this dark, grizzly comedy. one side is yanking him one way, the other side is yanking him the other way like the three stooges or something. and then brandon says reportedly let every honest citizen be a hangman at one and in the process of this, jenkins gets strangled to death and dies. the vigilantes went out and they took control of the city. marching through the city. people with foreign accents, frenchmen, beat and killed in the streets. it's like an authoritarian movement at a certain point. then, you know, a month later they finally get english jim. you can see him here in this artist's rendition, hanging make
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scaffolding on a ship in the harbor. they get english jim and then people are like they don't have time to go to the vigilance meetings anymore. like any kind of fraternal order . the dues stopped coming in. the vigilantes, they throw a parade for themselves and disband. the struggle still goes on. as far as how the people end up, sam brandon goes to calistoga to make it into a tourist attraction and fails but today is -- calistoga is a tourist attraction and he gets disbarred or disfellowshipped from the mormon church for the vigilante activities and general corruption. he dies drunk and alone. brought rick has a much more glorious ending. he is, he is free state, for california being admitted into the united states as a
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non-slavery state and he gets in a duel in daly city with supreme court justice davis as he is killed. he's killed. please like our alexander hamilton. any aspiring songwriters or choreographers out there? please go write a musical about him. i think that broderick is the blueprint for the san francisco liberal. he is corrupt. he's not of rigging and election one way or another but in the end, he's going to die on the right side of. we can see, maybe he is a he is the precursor to willie brown or gavin newsom. they might not be as corrupt as broderick and they are not getting in shootouts with anybody that i can see a friend to there, the san francisco liberal. you might not feel that everything is on the up and up but on key issues if you happen to be liberal, they are going to
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still do the right thing at the right time sometimes. i feel that broderick is definitely right about slavery. so, he dies in daly city and that's the end of the first vigilance. now we are going along too, we are still in the early sam cisco but knowing about 20 years later and this is a passage from my book, i will just read off the screen. san francisco had hoodlums, lynch mobs, and fans of mast men in the streets. just as violent a class of people however were the city newspaper publishers who settled libel disputes with half that instead of lawyers. at that is the san francisco comical building right there. i think that comes from the california historical society collection as well. thank you, historical society. chronicle building, you will never find a wretched hive of
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scum and villainy. here we have the most violent of the newspaper publishers of the 1860's and 70's. charles d young. you can see the murdered in his eyes there. he founded the daily dramatic chronicle in 1865 with his brothers, michael and gustavus. he, the legend goes that he, paper, the chronicles first renting press was taken from a pro-confederate southern paper that had, you know, that union supporters had gone in to the confederate paper and broke it all up and broke up the thing press and dig young said -- and he took it and repaired it. now the san francisco chronicle's first press. they didn't really have the money for their own telegraph line. charles hung out in the western
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union office and he knew enough force code that would listen in on the other paper's transmissions and messages and he heard about the lincoln assassination before the people that paid for it did. he rushes out editions of the chronicle and ends up skyrocketing the chronicle in circulation. he is like the first hacker, you know? he hacks the signal, you know, basically by sitting in that office and taking the news items away from the people who pay for them. he gets in a shootout on market street with the editor of "the san francisco sun" in 1874. there was a circulation more, mud was being slung. there was an editorial saying that his mother was a prostitute.
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charles and the editor there going and shoot it out. a young boy is hit. he and the other newspaper people are not shocked. they kick him 100 bucks. nothing happens from it. so, charles, the chronicle's business model at the time, blackmail is a part of it. it's still kind of similar like populist takedowns of city figures with some light gossip and entertainment news. but they also like, they are going to run and expose or run an editorial slacking city leaders and if the city leaders kick over 50 bucks here or there, they will keep the story quiet and it's a kind of blackmail extortion operation. extortions a better word. but all of these newspaper on
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newspaper publisher violence, it's like today if elon musk and mark zuckerberg shot it out in front of twitter and went all gunfight at the ok corral, you know? elon looking very warner von braun clutching the rocket. like elon taking over twitter, jack dorsey, if jack dorsey didn't run over for -- rollover for the money, if they got into a shoot out in front of the twitter hq. so, they set their sights on a reverend who is running for mayor. he is a baptist minister and a member of the workingmen's party and is running as the workingmen party candidate. on a very, very racist anti-chinese flat arm. very, you know, this is not a good guy historic.
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the actions of the workingmen's party in particular lead to that , you know, along with kearney. but i'm not going to get too far into that right now i don't do pate -- paint deyoung as this big civil rights hero. if there was concern over chinese people by the deyoungs, it wasn't for altruistic. it might be just like they are a great source of cheap labor, what are you doing? they were backing a different candidate so they just started slinging mud. the other man makes a speech, finds an old editorial rattling around him he calls deyoung's mother a prostitute and threatens that he's going to run that story in the workingmen paper. they have a paper and a newsletter in a goes out to all the members most popular party
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in san francisco, so it's going to be a big, big item. august 23, 1879, charles deyoung rolls up at the hall. in a horse and carriage she rose up, waits for gallup to come out, opens fire and shoots him a couple of times. it's a victorian drive-by. everyone freaks out, starts rocking the carriage. people are trying to grab him into beat him, kill him, he turns himself into the police just to get safety. and, and so, you know, for the shooting, the reverend lives and becomes the mayor of san francisco. deyoung goes back east for a while, charles goes back east, waits until things calm down, comes back and starts printing -- he goes back at it and starts printing extra pamphlets, this is the cover of one saying how
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terrible kallick is, what a jerk he is. april 23, 1880, kallick's son goes into the newsroom of "the chronicle," finds charles deyoung and shoots him dead. kills him. and you know, kallick goes on trial but if you are connected, no matter the side of the spectrum, if you are connected it is like the vigilante days. you get off. the jury finds him not guilty by being -- by reason of being upset or something. he goes on and kallick has various, there are various vote rigging corruption scandals that he undergoes. gustavus disappears from history but michael deyoung is now the head of "the chronicle," taking
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over in 1880 and he carries on their business model of shaking down rich people and slagging, you know, city leaders in the rest. maybe blackmailing them to fend off a libel lawsuits. so he starts a feud with the sugarcane. the chronicle publishes a big expose that this family is using slave labor in their hawaiian sugar plantations and you know, this goes back and forth. this is a publicly traded stock in it tanks the stock price. november 19, 1884, adolph, son of the sugarcane, goes into the chronicle newsroom and he shoots michael young several times but he survives because he's carrying a big stack of children's books.
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he gets hit but the bullets go through the children's books, first. then like all of these courageous, you know, it's probably written by the chronicle, i'm reading their version, but these coffee boys comedies printing press guys leapt into action, granting -- grabbing adolph, his gun, wrestling him to the ground. it's pretty big story. so yeah, it happens again. charles gets shot in the newsroom. michael gets shot in the newsroom. and there is a trial. i will bring up the images in a second, there's a trial and adolph gets off. even "the new york times takes notice -- times" takes notice of this crazy stuff and san francisco how you can literally kill a prominent person who might be a bad person but you totally get off without even a slap on the wrist. you are just free to go.
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so, we can see the mood in the city at the time. the hatred of deyoung is the first and best -- first and best test of a gentleman, says andrew pierce. the brooklyn daily eagle continues that the fact that editors as a rule typically die in their beds as other men is evidence that there is a marked peculiarity in the editorial aphids adopted by deyoung. they are poking fun at our violent paper history. kind of the last newspaper standing today. what is bathed in violence, born in violence. what do you do to rehabilitate your image? you dedicate a museum to the city founded in 1885. that is michael's gift to the
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city in his entree into being a prominent citizen and trying to step away from the violent past. the spreckels family does the same thing. the spreckels family perches "the san francisco call," taking the feud into circulation and they battle it out there but it is definitely a purchase motivated by trying to get revenge on michael deyoung. they have the call and then adolph funds the legion of honor and his wife gives that museum to the city. what do you do to longer your image? found museums, give them to the city. violent to newspaper men to thank for these wonderful museums and tourist attractions. now michael, michael dies in 1925 and he take the deyoung name with him. the real name. they anglicized it.
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because is only charles died in a shing accident in 19. named after michael's brother. it's a tragic family. michael has several daughters and his daughter, constance, she marries well. they all married well, marrying into banking families and other prominent delays in his daughter named -- married into the hibernia banking fortune. which here you go, there is patricia hearst at the sin q in 1974 and they are robbing the bank on noriega street in san francisco. when patty hearst robs the bank, she is carrying on the violent newspaper feuds of the previous century without even knowing. you want my two cents on patricia hearst, she was beaten and kidnapped from c berkeley in 1974 by the liberation army that was a splinter liberation group,
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kind of a revolutionary group so below the radar after the black panthers and other leftist after can american revolutionary groups at the time, of which there are several, she's held in a closet in daly city and later a closet in san francisco and blindfolded several we. she is she is raped a few times. i don't want to get into stockholm syndrome and all of that think of her as an abused woman instead of stockholm and brainwashing -- brainwashing and all the other stuff at flee bailey put into the trial, her ordeal starts to make more sense. patricia hearst of course is a descendant of william randolph hearst who was running the big san francisco examiner in the 1880's and definitely up through this century the main competition for profile of the
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chronicle. so, there she is hitting back at deyoung family at that hibernia branch. we are in the 1970's now. should i check the chat or anything? let me know if we are on time here >> you are doing good. we have got about 20 some odd minutes left. ok -- >> ok, we are at the halfway mark. thanks for coming, everyone. we have jumped into the 70's and we will stay here a bit. 100 years in the future. i definitely have stuff for the in-between, the 1880's up to the night 70's in the book, but we want to keep in mind, you know, as we look at patricia hearst here, keep in mind what i have already talked about or we have already discussed, the vigilante days of the newspaper feuds,
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violent feuds between different factions of san francisco politics and government. so, as we are in the 70's we will go a few years later and here we have you know, they're on the leftist and white. former -- left is dan white. he looks so stable, there. have to think the public library for that picture. it's in the book. then we have harvey milk, who became a supervisor the same year that dan flight did -- quite -- white did. got to take the city back from these deviants. out in the crocker amazon excelsior neighborhood, where my mom lived. that's the district he represents. harvey milk represents the castro. he is not the first but he is one of the first prominent gay
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politicians, how to gay -- out gay politicians. on the right, george moscone he. they represented their sacramento. and assemblyman, he had statewide office before. state government office. making marijuana, possession under announced was a misdemeanor. he had willie brown work responsible for decriminalizing sodomy. again, kind of a major gay-rights piece of state legislation. so, he becomes the mayor of san francisco in 75. i might be off by a year, please
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excuse me. you have moscone and milk brown is probably mentally disturbed, bipolar, he winces district and he goes and he and handle. he resigns suddenly after a few months and goes into a russian. he's blaming everybody. milk, must goni, he's blaming them for his problems. on november 27 he climbs through a window at city hall and murders hopping -- harvey milk and george must goni. -- marse goni. he goes and meets and then runs away, sees dianne feinstein on the way out talk to you later i'm a diane, like it's a day at the office.
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when you read, like, david talbot's volk on accounts of the incident, not to make light of the issues here, the gay rights issues and civil rights issues and the homophobia of, you know, the homophobia of the times that fuels, possibly fuels his actions, but it's when, talbot writes about it like this crazy thing that happened, this thing that happened in the 70's. when you don't have it in the context of the total history of san francisco it seems like an aberration and it should. it's a terrible, terrible tragedy. when you look at it in the timeline of san francisco history is like the violence of the vigilante days for the violence of the deyoung feud coming back in the 70's. this is the way things were done in san francisco for 50 years.
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one guy on one side of a political argument, like david brodrick and samuel perry, they shoot it out in daly city. this stuff is happening all the time. it doesn't happen so much in the 20th century but it does in 1978. we have other patterns of san francisco history reasserting themselves. so, you know, dan white goes to trial and people think he's going to get the death penalty or at least do life in prison and unlike, you speckles, calyx, he gets -- you get off, dan white gets manslaughter. you know, he assassinated harvey milk. you know, he assassinates the mayor. he murders them. there's no way to have a dozen
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that are what the said. he shot them both five times. he loaded his gun, went across, kills the mayor first, she was sick -- attend five or six times, reloads his police special from his old police days and he goes and he murders harvey milk. shoots him five times. puts a bullet in the back of his head execution style on his way how to the doggy diner and then turns himself into his old friends, the guys he used to be on the softball league with. he turns himself in and he rise and stuff like that. yeah, he gets off. people, you know, he's going to do five years to seven years tops. people in the tenderloin and the castro are outraged. the gays and lesbians in the community, very upset.
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and then you see the paradigm of the vigilante days reasserting themselves. cleve jones, associate or protege of harvey milk, aid to harvey milk, he has his old beat up bullhorn that harvey would go around the city with to rally marches in favor of issues like a rights. -- like gay rights. as his mentor did, he leads the people to city hall, he has the horn and is making the announcements and there is a lot of anger and in the harvey milk days, we milk would wind the marches through the city and then back to city hall or downtown. some other part of downtown to get everybody tired. people get to city hall and they just stop there. jones cannot move them on. they are there and angry.
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i have my slides out of order. let me back up. quite gets off -- white gets off on a very is -- on a charge that is less than one. -- want. it's known now as the twiggy defense. there's a lot of testimony during the trial about his depression, in the picture -- in the picture and he looks like he is trying out for wwe and then he starts binging on twinkies and coke. he is reading jack london novels. so he -- it becomes known as the twinkie defense. in the mind of the public, the
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nation, nationwide, it is like he got off because he ate too many twinkies which drove him to kill. that's not really the case. the junkfood binges are part of depression and there's testimony on that, but there is also things like district attorney freda's -- he went to the standard game plan of packing the jury with these kind of law and order types who were more likely to give a death sentence to somebody, rule on a death penalty case, rule for the death sentence. there was even an ex-cop. everybody was just as white and catholic or irish and catholic as dan white. when they played the confession tape, the jury starts crying along with him. dianne feinstein goes on the
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stand and says, he was a pretty cool guy and she always liked him. the arresting officer who was his friend calls him a prince among men. the jury can't bring themselves to let him off but they give him a lighter sentence. paul krasner was covering it. he is a satire is and journalist covering it for "the san francisco bay guardian." he jotted down the twinkie defense and he writes about it and he skewers the whole testimony and trial is a farce. and then a very powerful columnist comes up again, calls it the twinkies insanity defense . then it goes nationwide. that is the perception, dan
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white got off because he ate too many twinkies. i got ahead of myself. the day of the verdict and that is handed down a day before harvey milk's birthday. it is not quite a year, a few months after harvey milk is killed. he was killed in november and this is may so cleve jones leaves everybody -- leads everybody but they stop at city hall. people take the bullhorn away from cleve jones and start giving speeches of their own that cleve jones cannot control the crowd anymore. he was able to and the past and even after harvey milk was shot he felt he was able to control or include the crowd but that day he can't. the bullhorn gets past -- went too far -- the bullhorn gets pasted -- passed to amber --
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and it is a little like a pro wrestling speech. she says it's time we stood up for each other. that's what harvey meant to us. he wasn't some big leader, he was one of us. i don't think it's wrong for us to feel like we do. i think we should feel like it more often. don't listen to anybody who tells you not to fight back and the crowds start -- crowd starts chanting "fight back" and all hell breaks loose. i want to read from herb kane's column who was a friend of harvey milk, the day after the verdict or the night of the verdict. this was published in a much right away. let me read from herb kane. "faces were sullen. the atmosphere sudden -- southern and heavy. you could imagine lynch mobs. people stood on street corners talking about the verdict that
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shook the world or parts thereof. mattered's that had seems -- matters that had seemed so pressing the day before, the gas, the giants, apocalypse now, triumphed for tragedy, faded away. the sound of silence -- sirens -- the city of love was undergoing another round of hate, division, and confusion. if ever the state was set for confrontation, it was the dan white verdict." there is herb kane. we go back to the next slide. amber gives her speech and like i said, all hell breaks loose. gay people, gay men start attacking the city hall -- the city hall doors. police have to retreat inside the city hall and people start ripping off the brass trim on the front of city hall, as
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anybody who has been to city hall. my wife and i got married at city hall, to see the violence where these terrible things happened, they started ripping off the front of it. they were throwing trash cans at the building. city hall is under siege. a lezz -- lesbian guided commando units start setting fire. police are running around like keystone cops, city hall going after these people who are trying to sabotage and are angry over the dan white verdict and are sabotaging it. anyway, that's what's going on. eventually the protest is joined by people from another part of san francisco that aren't necessarily sympathetic to the lgbtq because. the gay and lesbian cause or harvey milk but they just see it like, it is our chance to break stuff. people start torching cop cars.
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people are so angry, and that is the dead kennedy's first album cover. that is an image from the white knight riots. dianne feinstein who is watching this all from her office above, this chaos, she is the mayor after george moscone he is assassinated, she hits the panic button. you can see why. cops finally show up, san mateo county sheriff and burling game and millbrae and the suburbs show up as backup. san francisco beliefs -- police have pretty much been holed up and have to stay in city hall, they real our chance start swinging their batons everywhere. they start beating people right and left. the person who came up with the twinkie defense, he was beaten and he told me he still feels
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the pain from getting his ribs caved in that night. some chronicle reporters also took some billy clubs. the sfpd sacked the elephant bar, harvey milk's favorite bar in the castro. so does history repeat itself? like the castro, the lgbtq community, that is angered over the dan white verdict, it is just like the vigilante days. like all of these people robbed and beat up people and maybe killed people and are burning half the city, and they get these light sentences or no sentences. they stormed city hall kind of like the vigilantes did in the 1850's when they stormed the jail to get english jim. does history repeat itself?
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kind of does. harvey milk supporters don't get dan white out of san francisco jail edges where he was. they don't hang him at portsmouth square or sutter street or sacramento street or all these other places where vigilantes hung people. that does not happen, but you see it is a version of history repeating itself. i hope it never repeats itself like this again although there is a lot of tension in the city today which we will get to. there is a kind of factionalism which hasn't happened sense so i hope -- since so i hope the spirit of 1851 reemerges in 1978 -- and 1978 doesn't come back. we also have to talk about this guy. we talked about the milk and moscone he assassination by dan
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white but there is another prominent and horrible figure in san francisco at the time, the reverend jim jones. he is a left-wing socialist evangelist. i think in people's mind when they think about jim jones, this crazy cult leader preacher, they think of him as a right-wing southern evangelist because that's what we have today, and there is no frame of reference for socialist assemblies of god. minister comes to san francisco from indiana. he was a civil rights leader. jeff nguyen, with the historic society a few years ago with his book on jim jones came out, he said if jim jones died in a car crash in the 1950's or 1960's and never came to san francisco we would consider him a great several lights -- civil rights leader. the assassination of milk and
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moscone happens on september 12, 1978. 10 days prior to that you have jonestown. jim jones is the connected political figure in san francisco. he uses the people's temple to help moscone and milk and other progressive supervisors get elected. people's temple members, he has people's temples in san francisco on geary street and also in ukiah and red valley and has one in l.a., a congregation in l.a. they end up -- they register to vote in san francisco no matter where they are from and they vote for george moscone. he wins by a very thin margin of a couple hundred votes. later, jones is exposed for the tremendous child abuse and abuse going on in people's temple in
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an expose in "new west magazine." there is political pressure so he takes the people's temple down to guyana and south america and gets more and more paranoid. on november 18, 1978, drinking the kool-aid, he totally drank. he got a job at that tech company and drank the kool-aid, it is just a phrase we use now. it wasn't kool-aid, it was flavor-aid, and 900 people died drinking this cyanide laced flavor-aid. some drank it willingly. others were forced at gunpoint so that's another san francisco tragedy around the same time or just days before the milk -moscone assassination.
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salon.com calls that a hyper local 9/11 and that's what it was. i was a little kid back then. this was the freaky thing that happened. all kinds of freaky things happened. 900 people die in guyana, many of them from san francisco, many of them african-american. his congregation was largely african-american. but he is not -- he is definitely more murderous than sam brennan but he is kind of this religious figure that becomes prominent in san francisco and isn't quite on the up and up. it is another kind of reemergence of a type in san francisco, one of the founding people of san francisco is brennan, has a street named after him close to the ballpark. there you have it. he is far more murderous and tragic. this is definitely history
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repeating as tragedy and not as farce. there you go. san francisco's violent dna reasserts itself in the 1970's. >> i want to make sure we leave time for some questions so i wonder if you want to hit some of your other slides before? bob: let me go really quick. can i have five more minutes? >> sounds good. bob: by the way, in guyana and the jonestown massacre at the people's temple, congressman leo ryan does a fact-finding mission that sparks off the jonestown massacre, the mass death, murder suicide. he is shot by jones' men in guyana and is killed. a congressman, u.s. congressman is killed. jackie spears is his aide at the
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time and takes several bullets on the airfield as they were ready to leave. she now holds the seat that leo ryan held. she is retiring after this year so -- but she still has bullets in her from -- it's amazing she survived. she should have bled to death and died but she survived to take leo ryan's seat. there you go. murders are making us here. of course, dianne feinstein, there she is. she becomes the mayor of san francisco. got some sunlight there, i almost want to block it. that too bright. dianne feinstein, talked about her already. she becomes the mayor of san francisco after the assassination of george moscone. she's the only person who voted to give dan white's job back, the only person on the board of
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supervisors so it is the other side of the political spectrum. she is now a u.s. senator and controversial in different ways. she has -- during her tenure as mayor, she ends up kind of touching upon other murders so we have richard ramirez here. in the 1980's, he comes to san francisco, breaks into the home of -- and 1985, murders them. he was previously murdering and raping and beating people, sneaking into houses in los angeles and san fernando valley. he comes to san francisco. diane feinstein at a press conference starts giving away pieces of evidence, saying what evidence police have that they can trace back to this killer because they don't know who it is yet. she mentions shoes and things which ramirez later throws away. police are mad at dianne
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feinstein for giving away all the goods. we have a reward for this terrible killer. it is the controversy at the time. his going to san francisco, gives him the los angeles hair -- harold dubs him "the night stalker. he was previously called other names that weren't as sexy. they call him "the night stalker." he goes statewide when he goes to the big city of san francisco and that takes the cool nickname away from this guy. why can i never remember joseph deangelo's name? he has to -- they called him "the original night stalker" in the great book about him in the work she did to get him apprehended in the news story, but i wonder if he was mad that ramirez took his name away, if
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serial killers get mad at other serial killers. it is definitely -- was too good for him as ramirez died in san quentin. feinstein becomes a u.s. senator. and again, in 1993, july 1993, jan ferry shoots 13 people, kills nine. feinstein, because of how she comes to power as mayor of san francisco when she's a senator, she writes the federal assault weapons ban that follows this incident in san francisco. it expires in 2004. she becomes a champion of gun control, assault weapons control. in my book, that's where we end with feinstein. she ends on a good note. now it looks like she stayed in
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the saddle too long, won't go too much into that. let me go really quickly into the dog mauling case in 2001. diane whipple was a coach at st. mary's college in east bay. she lived in an apartment in the marina. her neighbors had these two huge brindle spanish mastiff dogs that she was afraid of and everyone in the neighborhood was afraid of them. these dogs were vicious, almost mauling children and other dogs, and diane whipple lived on the same floor. dogs would have to be held back from attacking her. january 26, 2001, she is mauled to death i these dogs in her apartment. they are owned by robert noel and -- who are these hard-nosed attorneys who would threaten to sue. they were an intimidating couple and they bred these dogs with a
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guy he was a member of the aaron and -- area and brotherhood aryan brotherhood. he had a business arrangement to breed these attack dogs and there are pornographic letters. he writes letters about having sex with the dogs. the district attorney at the time, of the dog mauling, is a two-fisted liberal. you can see him here. he's got blood streaming down his face during the 1968 san francisco strike at san francisco state. he kind of grew up as a hell head. he is the son of defense attorney liberal lion vincent hallinan. terrance carries on but grew up as a juvenile delinquent and is one of these guys who gets off because his dad is a prominent attorney. he beats up people for no
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reason, always getting in fights . later he channels it into amateur boxing, but he is this liberal, kind of almost a defund the police in today's modern parlance, district attorney at the time but he is tough on violent crime. he won't play out violent crime. he has james hammer and mann as the lead counsel and the assistant district attorney also assigned, kimberly d4 oil. they find him guilty of second degree murder and noel is convicted of manslaughter because he wasn't there when the diane whipple attack happened. kimberly, you might know her, briefly the wife of current governor gavin newsom. she is now dating or is she finally married to eric trump or
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is it don jr.? i can never remember which one she's with. she's had sexual harassment suits from people that worked with her at fox news. she's quite a figure -- it is the schism. it is crazy that she was ever with gavin given that he is one of the more liberal governors in the country. these two guys coming out of a bar, they had a bag of feed as an off-duty police officers beat them up. terrance hallinan goes after the police, gets indictments on the cops that are suspected of doing this. he gets indictments on the chief of police. this is the dream of his dad. terrance finally has a chance to tear down the system and he's going to go for it. he's still that guy that was bleeding from his head at san francisco state university.
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so hallinan is up for reelection and the city like willie brown, who is mayor, and what's called the city family or san francisco family, terrance hallinan is going too far. san francisco is still a liberal city so you can't just put some tough on crime scroll. you need someone that liberals can get behind and feel good about voting for that speaks to their values but is also tougher on crime and is going to go after the s of beatty. they find that person with kamala harris, our current vice president, who defeats hallinan in 2005. the rest is history. it is history repeating itself again? talked way too fast about hallinan but san francisco elects -- in 2019. he has different ideas on criminal prosecution and wants
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to not have bail and decriminalize several things. they elect him on this platform and now we are recalling him. i'm not going to tell you how to vote but please vote on june 7. it is a little embarrassing when only 25 people or 30% of the people show up. you are a political city. vote in the recall, vote to save him, i don't care. san francisco elects a liberal progressive district attorney only to get rid of him later. i want to say sf weekly rest in power. a lot of these stories or true crime historical writing is the weekly which is no more. i hope it can come back someday but there is my story on bob wilkins. i did a couple cover stories that were about more fun things, crazy star wars boots.
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and there is the book, there is my contact info. thank you so much for calling, coming by, and listening to me blaze through 150 years of history. >> thank you so much, bob. please have some water. bob: thank you. >> that was really interesting and i'm really struck by how much the figures that you talk about are interconnected and we keep kind of seeing certain names come up. in reading the book you see certain names come up again and again. it's fascinating. i know there was a lot more in the book that you weren't able to cover tonight so i encourage people to read the book. there are many fascinating chapters between san fran and some of the more contemporary things that you talked about. people will just have to read the book. we do have some questions coming in. i wanted to ask you one of my
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own to start. i found it really fascinating how the book overlaid crime onto the broader outlines of california history, a history i'm familiar with and i think a lot of people are familiar with but that we don't usually think of in terms of crime. how did you decide what episodes to highlight and which things to leave out of the book? bob: you know, there are things that should be in the book that aren't and maybe some things that, if i had more material i would have made different selections. there is just, i'm not sure how much of it is necessarily my design. i had ideas where i wanted to go but then you would find some crazy story that -- some obscure story. there's a lot of obscure stories. this talk goes to the big, broad
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strokes people usually talk about but how did i decide? i needed to keep the timeline moving. sometimes you would write about one thing and then i would see that it did connect to something earlier like sunny jim, the governor, mayor of san francisco becomes governor, keeps turning up over and over. you don't need to do a lot. these stories are interesting for these other things, the san jose lynch mob incident and preparedness state bombing where this one historic figure shows up, gavin newsom shows up, amir frank jordan shows up as a cop who questions sarah jane moore who tries to assassinate gerald ford in front of the st. francis hotel. the people just kind of keep showing up on their own and i think the connections are there to be made but it wasn't like when i was writing each individual chapter i was thinking about them. when i put it together, maybe you need to bring that out.
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there's more interesting stuff about that figure, bill graham or charles sullivan or tying it into what's going on in different parts of the city or the bay area at that time. i definitely -- real quick, there is a big melvin belli si i couldn't get in on deadline. -- belli essay i couldn't get in on deadline. he was a big attorney in the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's. he had the zodiac killer write some letters, shows up in 2007 and he is the stones' attorney, the rolling stones. i wanted to do the big melvin belli essay but i didn't. hopefully i can do a revised and expanded edition. >> brad schreiber, author of "
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revolutions' end," he asks -- bob: brad, hi, thanks for stopping by. >> what do you recall about the hysteria of 1973-1974 in the bay area due to the case? personally, -- bob: personally, this was more like 1976 during the trial, i remember my mom watching the trial and i am a little kid. i am aware patty hearst is going on. she watched the trial every day and as a little kid i wanted to watch "batman" or cartoons or channel 44 back then, and the trial was weird because it wasn't a live broadcast. it was this thing where they had these actors, soap opera actors
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reenact the court transcripts of a guess the day before or earlier that day. it was just very, i remember it was black and white even though it must have been in color. it was this boring thing and i would go outside and ignore it and it seemed to go on forever. you are a little kid arguing with your parents about -- there is only one tv, we don't have ipads back then. that is my memory of it. my personal memory is just this tv spectacle. i remember thinking, this young lady gets kidnapped, she's a rich lady. there's a lot of paranoia kids at the time because the zodiac killer threatened school buses. i was a little too young for that, wasn't on school buses, barely born at the time that happened. there is just so much going on in the 1970's and 1980's, so many murders, serial killers,
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political terrorism that in this 150 year history, the 1970's and 1980's take up one third of the book. after a while i was like, kevin collins disappearance, that weirdness, after a while i am leaving stuff out that i want to do that people are asking why isn't this in the book? 1970's and 1980's are such a violent time in the bay area and such a weird time, as it is they take up one third. those are 20 years out of 151 years or 170 years. there is a whole 150 years only getting two thirds of the book in that time was so violent and crazy, gets a lot of time. >> adrian pope writes -- great presentation, do you know when the police department established a special crime investigations unit? bob: i don't, i'm sorry. i don't know when sfpd
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established that unit. i write about the chinatown unit after the golden -- massacre in 1977 and should have more about the battle for civil rights because there was a height requirement. it was felt that that height requirement kept -- the tall, strapping irish guy can meet the height requirement that chinese americans, asian americans, latinos couldn't meet those. that had to be done away with. to have a china unit that could speak cantonese and was chinese and could talk to people. i'm not answering the question, that's just the closest thing on my mind that i know anything about. sorry, adrian. >> you mention publicly available for us in the book,
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you describe the interviews or court records but were you able to look at police files? did you have a lot of sources? bob: not really. you can do freedom of information act requests and i did that, definitely the murder of charles sullivan. coroner reports are easier to get for the murder of tom guido. i did get the police report for that and i was able to get them here and there. the request for information on the august nori murder, the thing that started it all, i just contacted -- that was the san mateo county case that i talked to the people in the sheriffs department, the daly city police, and the courts, i figured there were court records in san mateo county courts. in the das office, they had all shredded the records, they were gone. if they do have them they
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weren't coughing them up so i was limited to newspapers. thank god for "the san francisco chronicle" archives. you have the clippings files at the california historical society and now they are available digitally. a lot of looking at microfilm. thank god, and newspapers.com and other free sources, but that's a paid for source -- not to advertise them -- or archive.org. these newspapers exist. they are primary sources really. in a lot of these things, that's all that's really there. i think the bancroft, i worked at uc berkeley for a lot of his book so i would spend lunch break with bancroft and i had the privilege of checking out books from the 1930's and
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earlier. wow, you let me walk out of here with this, it feels weird. maybe not quite accurate but it is from the 1930's. >> interesting. what do you know about shanghai kelly? bob: is this taiwana asking this? shanghai kelly, that's the whole shanghai thing. people would go into a bar and would wake up on a ship going to china and kind of be pressed into service. shanghai kelly isn't in the book and should be in the book. definitely, if i wasn't spending so much time writing about the incredible amount of violence in the 1960's and 1970's, i should spend more time in the 1860's or 1870's, not the 1960's or 1970's. >> i think we are going to wrap up. i wanted to just tell people,
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thank you so much, first of all, bob for being with us. we could have talked about this subject for much longer. i will just encourage people to get the book.
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>> so today we're going to be talking about the wars in korea and vietnam from an environmental history perspective. many of you are quite well aware of the military side of things,

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