Despite having voted recently by a 4-1 margin to admit women, Jonathan Club members have been sending post cards to Los Angeles City Hall in the last week opposing passage of an ordinance that would outlaw discrimination at most of the city's large private clubs.
Of 430 such cards received at the city clerk's office, signatures on 50 were compared at random to the Jonathan Club membership list for 1986-87, and 49 turned out to be Jonathan Club members.
Each post card carried an identical typewritten message: "As a registered voter, I hereby register my opposition to the proposed ordinance directed against private clubs."
The Jonathan Club affiliation was not mentioned. On two of the cards, "opposition to" had been crossed out and "support for" written in.
The club's general counsel, John R. Shiner, confirmed in an interview that the post cards had been sent by club members, at the urging of the California State Club Assn. He noted that despite its recent moves toward non-discriminatory membership policies, the Jonathan Club remains opposed to the ordinance, written by Councilwoman Joy Picus.
The club's annual report, issued this week, said the result of the Picus ordinance "would be governmental intrusion into club affairs."
In accordance with customary procedure, the post cards, addressed to the City Council, were delivered to the chairperson of the committee handling the proposed ordinance. That happens to be Picus, who chairs the Personnel and Labor Relations Committee, and she called the writing campaign "childish."
"I'm amused that men of power would choose to try to influence us in that way," she said. "You'd think they'd come to see us." She said there has been no other major lobbying for or against the measure since it cleared her committee May 6. The ordinance is tentatively scheduled for consideration on the Council floor May 26.
Tours of Club
Apparently the Jonathan Club leaders also had reservations about the usefulness of the post cards. A member quoted outgoing club president Donald E. Butler as saying at the annual membership meeting this week that he believes that letters would have been more effective than post cards, but that perhaps post cards were better than nothing.
At the membership meeting, it was announced that since April 29, when the club approved the admission of women, six widows of members had formally been sponsored.
Meanwhile, members of the nearby California Club said they decided that wives and other female guests of the all-male membership will, for the first time and for one day only, be given tours of the upper floors of the club. The tours will be given this Sunday in connection with the club's centennial celebration. Usually, women are not allowed beyond the second floor.
The normally off-limits floors include gym facilities, hotel-style rooms for club residents and visitors, a bar, private dining rooms and game rooms. Unlike the Jonathan Club, the California Club has maintained its restriction against female membership.
In another development that reflects the pressure being applied throughout the state to abolish discriminatory admissions policies at exclusive clubs, the formerly all-white Sequoyah Country Club in Oakland reportedly has agreed to admit its first black member.
The new member is Alameda County Treasurer Donald White, who had been rejected once for membership and whose most recent application had been held for almost a year. His application was approved at a special meeting of the club's directors after Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson, a black, and black community leaders had condemned the board's earlier rejection of White. White will pay the customary $10,000 membership fee.