San Diego Review May 1, 1995
Marine elopes for chicken feed
Boss goes to jail, he kicks tires — politicians beware! The story of Ed Koupal, founder of People’s Lobby, continues
by Dwayne Hunn
It was hoped that Merchant Marine service would bridle some of Ed Koupal’s wild oats. Ed Koupal was the founder of People’s Lobby. Indeed, Ed used plenty of energy in the Marine band chasing his love —music. As 1947 and his 20th year approached, Ed finished the Marines and returned from a Texas music tour to his folks in Roseviile for the first time since 16.
Sister Carol was happy to see her big, idolized brother, as was her girlfriend Joyce, who had heard so much about Ed she was obliged to say. “Oh, I got to meet this brother of yours. When will he be home?”
Ed added another love when he told sixteen-year-old Joyce on their second date, “I’m going to many you.” In July of 1949, Joyce Nash, the well-read daughter of a successful chicken rancher, eloped to Nevada with a music junkie who never would finish high school. Together they reared a family, as Ed developed the habit of working 2-3 jobs while building, brick by brick, their Rio Linda home and still making tunes.
For awhile, Ed’s work chased round shapes—from boiler repairing to playing the base viola to collecting eggs to making donuts to kicking tires. Sometimes his work caused friction, as even his in-laws argued over whether Ed invented the more healthy and productive system of caging chickens. Often his businesses, like Koup’s Donuts, struggled to make the dough fill the hole. Neither did banding around his base viol and trombone generate enough dollars to rear three children.
Today’s growth industry may be chips, computers and telecommunications. In the 5O’s it was tires, hardtop. and V-S’s. So Ed moved from the sweet sounds he loved to 4-wheeling action at Roseville’s Saugstead Ford, where early on he watched the police take the owner, his “suede shoe sales- men,” and the rest of his management team to jail. Only Ed and his handpicked salesmen Berg, Joe Penny and Bill Beleau, weren’t carted off.
As the police cuffed the culprits the four watched the police relented to the owner’s protestations. “If I got to go to jail, I wanna go in style! Put me in a Ford! “And the good cops did. And Ed. the guy in charge, did what any good jazz leader does — improvised.
“Jail Sail! Get ‘em while they re hot! Bail money needed for the boss!’ Real steals for sale!” The signs waved from the used-car hilltop near where I-8O is today—as well as spots on planes, kites, parachutists, radios, newspapers and television stations. The sale was so successful that other suffering Ford dealers, complained to Detroit.
Would you buy a used car from Tricky Dick in his afternoon shadow? Well, people bought them from the pork-chopped white-side burned General Manager of the Used Car Division of Saugstead Ford and his sales staff of around 70. Ed was doing well, as the posh, suburban Roseville home with pool attested.