Topanga Peace Alliance Vigil Turns Ugly

By Chronicle Staff
By Chronicle Staff      November 13, 2020

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Topanga Peace Alliance Vigil Turns Ugly
An imposing military vehicle lends a dramatic presence to Trump Supporters.
The Topanga Peace Alliance (TPA) has held a Friday Evening vigil at Pine Tree Circle in the heart of town for 15 years. The Vigils have become a Topanga tradition, usually receiving friendly honks and waves from people walking and driving by. On Friday, Oct. 30, the vigil was pro-Biden, with about 20 people gathering on the side of the road with posters, signs, banners, and flags urging passersby to “Vote!” At the same time, about four pro-Trump supporters held a rally with a huge military vehicle parked next to the TPA’s location on the side of Topanga Canyon Blvd., also with flags, signs and posters supporting Trump. Both the vigil and rally carried on peacefully until about 5:30 p.m., when a female Trump supporter was observed on video taking her sign and walking about 50 feet south into the group of Biden supporters, confronting a woman and allegedly slamming her in the face with a “Trump 2020” poster. The alleged victim, Catherine McClenahan, an actress / singer and activist in Topanga, sent the Chronicle an email describing the incident. “I have never experienced anything like this in my entire life,” McClenahan wrote. “The first time she hit me I ignored her. Then she was just in my face taunting me without a mask on less than a foot away, so I moved forward towards her to get her to back off and that’s when she smashed me hard in the face with her sign. Then she turns to walk away and says, ‘She hit me in the face first!’ Bat shit crazy. The video doesn’t lie.” John Pastore, who was across the street, caught the incident on video and posted it on Facebook:  “At about the 5-minute mark, she [the alleged assailant] makes it a point to walk over and confront the peaceful protesters,” Pastore wrote on his Facebook page. “Then, at 5 min 45sec, she *ASSAULTS* the woman holding the pompoms [McClenahan]. At 6 min 25 sec—from my angle across the street it is hard to tell who started it—but there's another confrontation with her and the man with the yellow bandana. This is *exactly* the confrontation she wanted and is why she walked over. DISGUSTING.” McClenahan further described the incident to The Canyon Chronicle . “I went to Pinetree Circle to encourage people to vote blue and also to support the TPA,” she wrote. “Alleysun Jones is this woman’s name—that’s how she spells it on Facebook. She had been harassing many people for hours before this and everyone kept trying to ignore her. “She harassed a man named Lionel for quite a while earlier (he was carrying an almost life-size cutout of Trump giving the finger), circling him closely with no mask, taunting him. I tried to move her away from him—Dorothy Reik [President of Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains (PDSMM)] thanked me for that. She [Reik] may have been there when I got hit later but I’m not sure.” “Alleysun has been a constant presence at the peace vigil, harassing David Troy and insulting the participants,” Reik emailed The Canyon Chronicle. “Vigil participants tried to talk to her, but she would just keep repeating her insults. Even when the Trump people were there, she insisted on staying with the vigil participants and verbally abusing them. Finally, last Friday she got physical. First, she kicked Lionel who was holding a big Trump standup. Then she went after Catherine, smashing her sign into Catherine’s face. I tried to calm everyone down but then I saw the Trumper who seemed to be in charge (there were only three of them) standing across the street. I ran to get him after [Alleysun started] cursing…trying to blame Lionel and Catherine, and he physically dragged Alleysun away. She [then continued to] hold her sign up with the Trumpers, who were a few yards down the road.”  The Canyon Chronicle reached out to Jones who defended her position and commented, in part: “Thank you for asking what fully happened.... As a Trump supporter, I’ve been targeted with lots of hatred, violence, and rumors specifically to drive me from town for being brave enough to represent the majority of Topangans [who] support the president.” Jones has also been publicly posting on Facebook On Monday, November 2, McClenahan filed a report at the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriffs’ Station. “I didn’t charge her with anything; I made a police report,” McClenahan wrote via email. “It says ‘battery’ on the report. The cops are going to look over the video footage and maybe get back to me.” There are those who are urging a peaceful outcome to the incident. “It’s important that we look in context,” said Julie Levine, co-chair of the TPA. “For 15 years we have held the Vigils, then, suddenly three weeks ago, Greg Mamishian, electrician—why on Friday night?—they show up before they know we are going to arrive, with huge signs, banners and flags; it’s a bullying tactic. That’s why the PDSMM and others, organized the moms and kids, peace-and-love stuff. [It became a] Trump thing, kind of ruined [it]. Most important, people mobilized to support peace, love, and justice and came together in solidarity,” Levine said. To see video: ABUNDANCE OF CAUTION In the context of a highly charged presidential election, and a president who has encouraged bullying and intimidation tactics, the L.A. sheriffs were preparing for incidents like this in an announcement from Lost Hills Sheriffs’ station Capt. Salvatore Becerra: “Election Day and beyond: Out of an abundance of caution, your LASD deputies at all stations, including ours at Lost Hills, will be ‘all hands on deck’ for 12-hour days, every day, to ensure the maximum number of officers are working for you before, during, and following the elections. As I’m sure many of you are aware: it’s been a challenging time for our deputies, and this is a further challenge given the extended schedules with no time off. Know that we’ve felt the support from the community during previous 12-hour-day schedules and the many issues we’ve been hit with since March; as always, we feel it, we appreciate it and we couldn’t do it without all of the positivity from the very special people who live in our region. We do not anticipate any protests or problems in our area on Election Day. But with you all in mind—we always prepare “as if”—we are ready and will continue to keep your communities safe and secure. ~ Captain Sal “Chuck” Becerra Posted to Subscribers of Los Angeles County Sheriff in 1 area” n
Topanga Peace Alliance weekly Friday night vigil took an ugly turn.
      November 13, 2020

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