As a kid growing up in Los Angeles, the term “black and white” referred to police vehicles. It meant watch out, here come the cops. When I was 10-years-old, my mother looked out of our apartment window and saw a black and white with two kids spread-eagled on it being frisked. I was one of them. We had been playing with toy guns (I liked westerns at the time – “Rawhide” was my favorite), and the LAPD figured they would use the opportunity to give us kids some trouble. Of course they did not reckon on my mother, who raced down the stairs and immediately started hollering at them for harassing kids. We won that battle, however, I know many share the sensitivity of my generation. The reason for telling you all this? I am sorry to see the nice, friendly looking, beachy feel of the Santa Monica Police Department’s patrol cars being traded for the harsh feel of a “black and white.” I respect Chief Butt’s reasons for doing it; I just don’t share his opinion that it is necessary. City Councilman Herb Katz tried to mediate the issue, but in the end only Councilman Kevin McKeown stood up for our “blue and whites.”Michael RosenthalPublisher & EditorI understand the tradition of black and white; I grew up watching “Dragnet” too, but I think we in Santa Monica have a good thing going. Whenever I see a Big Blue Bus on the road I feel pride for our Santa Monica, and I react the same positive way to our blue and white police cars. We have a superior police department, and the distinctive color scheme distinguishes our officers from the other police and sheriffs who drive through our city on the way to courts, etc. Unless there is a compelling public safety reason, I tend to prefer the friendly look of our blue and whites.Kevin McKeownSanta Monica City Councilman
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