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Temple vandal

The persistance of hate


Forgione, M. E. (1987, Dec 9).png

In the early hours of December 7, 1987, two weeks after J.B. Stoner’s hate-filled speech at the Glendale Holiday Inn, neo-Nazi Joseph William Dunlap from Highland Park took a can of red spray paint and defaced Temple Sinai on Pacific Avenue, the only Jewish synagogue in the city. The misspelled anti-Semitic graffiti included, “Hitler was right, comunism is Jewish” and “Jew liers” in addition to swastikas. Other locations were also defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti and threatening messages in the days following the Holiday Inn event: a liquor store and the Wescott Christian Center. Dunlap had been one of the few attendees at Stoner’s rally, and police later identified him in photographs from the event. 

The arrest came the next day, on December 8th. Not only had Dunlap been photographed at the Holiday Inn, he also left his initials “J.D.” on Temple Sinai, and he called police to take responsibility for the vandalism, calling himself “Joe.” His van was identified by witnesses at both the Holiday Inn and Temple Sinai, and police asked him to write the words he had misspelled on the building. He pleaded no contest and received 16 months in state prison and an extra year to be served concurrently for violating parole related to a felony robbery conviction. He was ordered to pay a small fine into the state crime victims’ fund, but the amount of damages to Temple Sinai well exceeded the fine. Dunlap was not connected to the other acts of vandalism.  Temple Sinai would experience similar incidents, particularly in the 1990s.   

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich proposed a motion calling for an investigation into Stoner’s appearance in Glendale and how it had led to the uptick in hate crimes. Temple Sinai’s rabbi, Carole Meyers, who was both new to the congregation and the first full-time female rabbi in Los Angeles County, welcomed an investigation and set up a meeting with Glendale’s mayor Ginger Bremberg and the Anti-Defamation League to discuss combatting racism in the community. An informal task force was set up, including Mayor Bremberg and Rabbi Meyers, and disbanded after three meetings, giving a list of goals to a recently created city staff position of Community Relations Coordinator, as promoting the "many positive attributes of Glendale . . . so that when people think of Glendale they will think of the city with excellent schools . . . as opposed to associating Glendale with racism." City Manager Jim Rez intended the position to confront racial issues across the City, particularly to address conclusions released in a court-ordered investigative report on departmental racism in the police force. 

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Richard Reyes (not related to Ray Reyes of the GHRC), a former Glendale Police officer, and future City Councilmember and Mayor, took the position, stating in March 1988, “I don’t think it’s like what we’ve been hearing--that [Glendale’s] the hot seat of racial strife... But we do need to educate people about people. We’re getting a lot of people from different walks of life and ethnic backgrounds.” Rez told the Los Angeles Times, “I think this is a community in transition... There is an increase in diversity of its population, and I think we need to know how that’s occurring and understand and know if there are any problems that are real or potential.” 

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Copyright notice: Any materials under copyright in this exhibit are covered by the Fair Use provision of the Copyright Act.  Permission and preferred attribution were requested of all copyright holders.



Forgione, Mary. “Antonovich Calls for Glendale Investigation.” Glendale News-Press, 9 Dec. 1987. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.

Loewy, Laurence. “Arrest Made in Temple Vandalism.” Glendale News-Press, 9 Dec. 1987. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.

“Temple Vandal Sentenced.” Metro Digest: Local News in Brief. Los Angeles Times, 26 Jan. 1988, pp. 1. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.

Klein, Karen E. “White Supremacist Sentenced in Vandalism.” Glendale Daily News, 26 Jan. 1988. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.



O'Neill, Stephanie. "Latino Officer Gets Community Relations Post: [Home Edition]." Los Angeles Times, Mar 03, 1988, pp. 1. ProQuest.

O'Neill, Stephanie. "Racist Pleads no Contest in Vandalism Case: [Home Edition]."Los Angeles Times, Jan 05, 1988, pp. 4. ProQuest.

O'Neill, Stephanie. "Task Force on Racism Calls it Quits After 3rd Meeting: [Home Edition]." Los Angeles Times, Mar 24, 1988, pp. 1. ProQuest.

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