Box 12, Folder 29, Document 24

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Atlanta, Georgia
25 October 1967

Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr.,
City Hall
Atlanta, Georgia

Dear Mayor Allen:

I hesitate to interrupt your busy day, but feel that you would
like to know what goes on within your Police and Parks Departments.

First, let me say that I am a tax payer. Have owned my home
and paid taxes for twenty-one years.

Recently, two things have occurred which have caused me much
distress and inconvenience, and which I feel definitely are police
matters and which also concerns the Parks Department. The police have
taken no action other than to come out and look the situation over.

I would like to know if a tax payer is entitled to protection for I
need help very badly. I am a widow and live alone.

For many weeks now I have been the victim of vandalism. I have
had some construction work, under contract, and redecoration done on
my house. The painter did not return my key, even when asked to do so.
I understand that the contractor did not pay him for his work, and so
he has evidently been trying to destroy the work and me along with it.

One afternoon I came home from my office to find that some sort
of substance had been sprayed on the bathroom walls and the tub was com-
pletely covered with it. I felt it and it seemed to be a substance very
like shellac with oil and a white substance added. I was distressed and
called the police department. An officer arrived, saw the condition of
things and called the Crime Prevention Department. Officer B. R. Owens
then came out. He told me to wash the substance out of the tub with
soap and water, made a few notes regarding some items that were missing
from the house, and departed. He did not even examine the storm door
through which the vandals had to enter, even though they had a key to
the door leading into the house. The storm door was locked and I told
the officer that it appeared to have been tampered with as there were
scratches on the lock. He said I might have done it, which I did not.
It was a new lock, He then said he felt the matter was not one the
police should handle, but that he would send me a report on his find-
ings. That was around the 22 of September and to this date I have not

had a report from Officer Owens, which I need for insurance purposes.

However, I washed the tub out with soap and water, as advised,

and took a bath. Immediately my skin burned like fire and became very

red, After the redness disappeared, I became aware that my face and

entire body was covered with a coating of shellac or plastic-like sub-
stance, which has entirely closed the pores of the skin. This substance
wont come off and my dermatologist has prescribed many treatments to no
avail so far. It is making me ill. My face feels as thought it was covered
with a mud pack, which had dried, then could not be removed.

The painter, whom I suspect of committing this atrocity, is free,
and no one has even bothered to investigate him. I've had no police pro-
tection at all and not even the courtesy of a report so I could file my
claim with the insurance company for the missing items taken from my home.
I have called the police mny times, requesting this report and all I get
is a promise or am told Officer Owens is off-duty. Will you please try
to help me?

I can't remove the substance from my bath tub, lavatory or kitchen
sink either. I have even tried varnish remover. The substance has been
sprayed on the drapes, upholstering, bed spreads, furniture, walls and
woodwork. They also sprayed my new wall-to-wall carpeting and some car-
peting existing on the floors. The pile is stuck together.

It seems that I have fallen into the hands of crooks. The contractor
did not complete his contract, nor pay some of his workmen, so they have
filed liens against my house. He brought the painters to the job and this
work the contractor was supposed to have paid for as a part of the contract.
It looks as though an owner has no rights, by law, at all, not even the
right of police protection. I have retained an attorney who has filed
suit against the contractor for default of contract. But that will take
time and I need immediate assistance.

The second matter concerns both the Police Department and the Parks

I live across the street from Chastain Memorial Park on Lake Forrest
Drive, N.W. Before we purchased our lot, we were told by some members of
Mr. Chastain's family that he had bequeathed the acreage on which the park
is located to; I believe, Fulton County, as the property at that time was
located outside the city limits, with the stipulation that a golf course
be built on it and that the park be kept beautiful in order to be an asset
to that section of the county. After this park was incorporated into the
City of Atlanta, the commissioners began letting the park run down. It
has been very shabbily kept and the commissioners have even tried to give
a concession to a company to install amusement-type equipment in the park.
The people in my section have been forced constantly, over the years, to
fight this sort of thing, as all of us have quite a bit of money tied up
in our property and the area is restricted. This undesirable use of the
park would completely ruin a nice neighborhood, one that has always been
quiet and beautiful, and it would at the same time greatly devaluate our

Within the past five years or so the Parks Commissioner has done
several things clandestinely, so that we did not learn about it in time
to protest.

The first thing was the erection of poorly constructed shacks on
the ball field at the corner of Wieuca and Lake Forrest Drive to house
the Little League's ball equipment. They had already graded the land,
installed storm sewers for drainage and erected tall bright lights so
games could be played at night as well as during the day. They also in-
stalled loud speakers, which they turned up so high that the sound has
just about shattered our ear drums. We cannot sit in our living rooms
without closing the windows and drawing the blinds because of the noise
and the blinding lights. We can't even hear our televisions. This field
is used for both baseball and football, which means that this activity
goes on most of the year.

We have just learned that the Parks Commission is getting ready to
build a stadium on the park site just across from my home, south of the
one on the corner of Wieuca and Lake Forrest Drive. Grading has already
been done and probably the drainage system. This work has also been done
clandestinely. The portion of the park nearer the street across from me
is already being used for baseball and football practice. This we do not
object to. It is the ball park and the inconsideration of the people
using the facilities which is objectionable.

At the present time, the nice,considerate mammas and pappas of these
practicing ball players come out in droves, park their cars on both sides
of Lake Forrest Drive covering a two block area. The street is a two lane
street only, and there is posted on the park side of the street signs de-
noting "No Parking at Any Time". In spite of this, these nice people ig-
nore the parking rules, the rights of others and park anywhere they please.
Consequently, the late afternoon, heavy traffic (and our street accommodates
heavy traffic) has only one lane left on which to travel. This creates a
traffic jam every afternoon, which lasts for almost two hours. Poor work-
ing people, like myself, after having worked all day, fought the heavy
traffic through the city, arrive near home to find that they can't get
through. So we sit and wait for the traffic to clear the one lane be-
fore we are able to drive into our own driveways. But, many times lately,
even the privilege of driving into our driveways has been denied us, for
junior's nice considerate parents are now parking across our driveways.
This has happened time after time. [I have called the police and so have
my neighbors. They come out and politely request these people to move their
cars. In the meantime, my car sits in the one lane, blocking traffic for
blocks behind me until the officer can find the lawbreaker and get the car
out of the way. He doesn't even give the person a ticket. Across the street
in the "No Parking" zone sits a long row of cars, parked illegally. The
officer does not even say a word to them, just ignores it, He gives me a
line about trying to do something for the kids to cut down on delinquency.
Right here, may I make a suggestion? Why doesn't someone do something
about the delinquent parents? After all, junior's trouble boils down to

the fact that mamma and pappa either don't care or are too ignorant to do
anything about controlling Junior. They have found an easy solution -
just dump Junior into the hands of a coach and then that leaves them free
to go on their merry way unhampered. So, these delinquent parents, be-
cause of their inability to shoulder their own responsibilities, are al-
lowed to inconvenience and annoy law-abiding tax payers, even though:¬ę
these same parents are members of a minority group whose boys are in-
terested in baseball or football. Do we have no rights at all?

The straw that broke the camels back occurred last Saturday morn-
ing, October 21st 1967. Around 8:00 A.M. I had occasion to leave my home
on a very important errand. When I was ready to leave, I found my drive-
way blocked again. I called the police, waited 40 minutes but if they
came, I did not see them. While I was looking for the police car, the
car blocking my drive drove off. I gathered up my things to leave again
and found that another car had just driven up and parked in my driveway,
partially blocking it. Yes, I was furious! I again called the police
and told them that if they didn't get out there in a hurry, I would take
matters into my own hands. They came, but the officer began giving me
more talk about éntertaining the children. I demanded that he give the
person blocking my driveway a ticket and remove the cars from across the
street in the "No Parking" zone also. He called his Lieutenant. I waited.
By this time I was an hour late. The Lieutenant finally came and I asked
him to do the same thing. He told the officer to find the owners of the
cars and ask them to repark their cars and to ask the owner of the car
blocking me to move the car. This took time. No ticket was given any-
one except one car whose owner did not seem to be present,

So what happened! The very considerate mammas and pappas were
back Monday afternoon, all of them parked along the "No Parking" zone
and in front of driveways again. They know, of course, that they will
never get a ticket, but will just be asked oh, so politely, to move their
cars. Is this the way the Police Department is supposed to fulfill their
duties? Are we, the tax paying, law-abiding citizens supposed to be happy
and endure this treatment?

I would like to ask and have answered two questions, Mr. Allen.
No. 1: Who pays for all of this development of ball parks, grand stands,
lighting systems, grading, drainage systems, loud speakers, etc.? It
must take quite a slice of the tax payer's money to do this.

No. 2: How long does the City of Atlanta expect their burdened tax payers
to stand for such treatment and at the same time be penalized by having
their property, for which taxes are high, devaluated by such action on the
part of the Parks Commission, as well as having their privacy invaded and
being inconvenienced all of the time?

Mr, Mayor, I am not only asking, but I am demanding that my drive-
way be kept clear. If the police department cannot or will not do this,
I am taking the right to clear it whenever I find it blocked. I know that
blocking of an individual driveway is illegal and I defy amyone to deny me
the privilege of right-of-way into my own property,


I apologize for the length of this letter, but it was necessary
in order to give you a clear picture of the situation.

Respectfully Yours,

Mrs. Birdie N. Baldwin

Copy furnished:
Governor Lester Maddox
Chief of Police, Herbert Jenkins
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