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Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County
Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Jan. 25, 1945. p. 8
HOLLYWOOD LEGION TIFF ON JAP ISSUE
HOLLYWOOD (UP) - World War II veterans in Hollywood Post 591 were threatened Thursday with withdrawal of their American Legion charter for admitting to membership Harley M. Oka, honorably-discharged Japanese-American soldier.
District Commander Dick Horton, pointing out he had power to ask for withdrawal of the post's charter, demanded in a stormy session that it expel Oka, expel its commander, William G. Schneider, "clean their linen," and meet with department commander E.D.W. Bolt.
The post gave Schneider an overwhelming vote of confidence and withdrew its representatives on the district Americanism committee until Bill Kent, post Americanism chairman, is reinstated.
Conceding that any honorably discharged veteran is entitled to American Legion membership, Horton criticized the post particularly for publicizing their action without official permission and condemning the Hood River, Ore. Post, which removed Japanese-American soldiers' names from its roll of honor.
Horton was almost drowned out by boos as he denounced Schneider as "unfitted by temperament and ability to be the commander."
When second vice commander Kingsley Morgan protested the members were behaving like "a bunch of Mexican hoodlums" he met vigorous vocal resentment.
"This post stinks," Morgan said. "They are a bunch of Jap lovers."
Publicity chairman Milton Luban retorted, "I do not regard the American Legion as the organization for World War II veterans. It is going to be the old-time reactionary American Legion." Luban said the post had received "about 200" letters praising its stand, all signed, and only two condemning it, both from Hood River, Ore., and both unsigned.
Copyrighted by the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Reproduced by permission.