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Roebling blockbuster attracts 500 students

By Daily Bruin Staff

April 27, 1997 9:00 p.m.

Monday, 4/28/97 Roebling blockbuster attracts 500 students
Organizers cited by authorities for selling alcohol without

By Frances Lee Daily Bruin Contributor It started out peacefully
enough. A day-long block party billed as the "Roebling Rage" drew
over 500 people determined to have a good time carousing in the
streets, bonding over beer and hanging out with friends in Westwood
on Saturday. But when it was over, five people were in police
custody, broken and empty bottles littered the street and the two
main organizers of the event, Jeff Padilla and Leif Martinoff, had
a date to appear in court. Despite the abrupt halt to the party,
the handful of rabble-rousers who caused trouble in the end, and
the headaches they now face, throwing the party "was well worth
it," said Padilla, a fourth-year sociology student. It may not
sound like much of an accomplishment, but to Martinoff and Padilla,
the mere fact that they overcame so many obstacles to obtain a
permit for the party and still succeeded was enough. Although half
of Roebling Avenue was blocked off, officers from the Los Angeles
Police Department (LAPD) made it clear that the permit did not
extend partying into the street, and that alcohol could only be
consumed on private property. Throughout the day, a steadily
increasing crowd had been partying in carports, driveways and
balconies – everywhere they legally could. According to LAPD
Officer Don Thompson, he and his partners initially drove by the
scene and "saw alcohol on the streets." After warning the group,
the three officers parked outside of the blockade to ensure that no
laws were broken but stayed clear of the party itself. In spite of
the restrictions and police presence, partygoers managed to have a
good time. Four bands were scheduled to perform, a sketch artist
set up shop on the street and, in one of the apartments, tarot card
readings were offered. True to the party flyer’s promise, it was "a
street festival atmosphere." "I think it’s great that there’s
finally a non-Greek event that’s a lot of fun," said Mike Smith, a
UCLA alumnus who lives on Roebling. "You don’t have to be a frat
boy to get in. They (party organizers) went through a lot of
trouble for this." Their efforts did not go unappreciated. "This is
great," said Anne Cabrinha, a third-year anthropology student,
although she thought the presence of police was unnecessary. "UCLA
gets to bond, and the cops should just let us be happy." But just
as the second wave of people hit the street around 5 p.m., two
undercover investigators from the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC)
put an end to the sale of beer. To reimburse themselves of a $2,500
investment in the party, organizers had been selling $5 wristbands
to people with appropriate identification. But under the watchful
gaze of the investigators and several officers from the LAPD,
Padilla and Martinoff were ordered to empty five kegs on their
property. Since Padilla and Martinoff were the main organizers of
the event, the two were cited for selling alcohol without a permit
and are scheduled to appear in court June 10. Because of the ABC
bust, Padilla and Martinoff also lost their street closure permit,
opening up the block to traffic but not stopping the festivities.
Both Padilla and Martinoff, however, made it clear that they had no
regrets about throwing the party. "I expected to take every bit of
the blame, since my name was on the permit," said Padilla. "We did
the best we could and tried to play by all the rules." After
looking over his citation, he put it away, as if determined not to
think about it. Martinoff explained that their main focus for
throwing the party was to give people something that wasn’t limited
to a certain group. Later, as he surveyed the growing crowd of
people, Martinoff said, "A lot of people doubted us – the frats,
the residents. But we pulled it off." As day turned into evening,
the group swelled to over 500, according to police estimates. At
about 10 p.m., more units from the LAPD arrived, and officers in
riot gear proceeded to break up the party, which had spilled well
into Roebling Avenue. According to several witnesses, police
ordered people to clear the streets. When ordered to disperse, an
unidentified man jumped into the middle of the street and started
dancing. After police arrested the man, people on the balcony of a
neighboring apartment building started throwing rocks and bottles.
"We were not rabble-rousing," said Brian Gilson, a third-year
anthropology student. But when the police told people to disperse,
Gilson added, "We continued to have a celebratory time," adding
fuel to the fire. As the LAPD tried to regain control, several more
people were led away in handcuffs. Of the five people who were
detained by the police, three were arrested and charged with public
drunkenness. According to the LAPD, most of the suspects were not
UCLA students. "Nobody was doing anything," said Janel Wright, a
third-year physiological science student. "(The police) were in
riot formation without antagonism from the students." Surveying the
scene, Wright shrugged and said matter-of-factly, "It’s Westwood,
and they don’t let anything get too big." Later, the group who
organized the Roebling Rage sat pondering the day’s events. Padilla
added that the police had "been outstanding throughout the day,"
cooperating with the partygoers. "It was worth it," said Padilla,
"because our friends and neighbors got a chance to hang out and
enjoy the day. All except the last hour or so was great, and we
regret the conflict." As the last squad car drove off, Padilla and
Martinoff took another look at their citations. But their impending
court date and the consequences were far from their minds. They
were too busy planning next year’s party. Photos by JUSTIN
WARREN/Daily Bruin Empty bottles remain on Roebling Saturday after
police broke up the block party for alcohol violations. A man who
identified himself as UCLA student Charles Patrick was one of those
arrested Saturday night after the block party. JAMIE SCANLON JACOBS
Officer Don Thompson directs Lief Martinoff to empty one of several
kegs of beer which were bought for the block party. Martinoff had
obtained a permit to block off Roebling for the party, but the
presence of alcohol was a violation of the permit’s terms.

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