Letters to the Editor: Bullying, harassment, shooting — El Segundo was never Mayberry

A view of the water tower and surrounding neighborhood in El Segundo in 2019.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: My family moved to El Segundo from a diverse neighborhood in Eagle Rock in 1971. Bullying was pervasive throughout school. During high school in 1980, I witnessed athletes harassing Iranian refugees. (“‘Black in Mayberry.’ How a film exposed racial tensions in one of L.A. County’s whitest cities,” July 6)

In 1988, I started my teaching career in El Segundo with the idea of making a difference.

An incident occurred in 1991 in which words were exchanged between teen boys from El Segundo and a pickup truck with teens from Burbank. The El Segundo boys chased the Burbank teens. One had a gun and killed one of the Burbank teens.


In a school assembly discussing the incident, a student asked, “Why were they in our town in the first place?”

El Segundo is a lovely town with some wonderful people. My parents still live there. However, it has never been, nor will it ever be, Mayberry.

L.M. Siadek, Hawthorne


To the editor: I lived in El Segundo from 1953-69. The police were always tough; most kids were hassled at one time or another.

It wasn’t until I traveled the world that I became aware of other cultures. In those travels I experienced much bigotry and much kindness because I was different, in every way your typical Southern California surfer dude.

Since my time, El Segundo has moved light years in cultural awareness. It seems there are newer arrivals who see racism where there is merely ignorance. El Segundo is headed in the right direction — slowly, yes, but divisiveness will impede that progress.

Gregg Ferry, Carlsbad


To the editor: Back around 1970, my Canadian-born wife called about a house for rent in El Segundo. Everything went well until the woman asked for our last name.

She asked if that was a Mexican name. When my wife said yes, the lady said they would not rent to us.

Alex Magdaleno, Camarillo