Beachcombing – Part 2

Jay Beeler

Rarely do I write my Beachcombing column two weeks in advance, but the last two columns generated a bit of a firestorm that was not anticipated, so the need is there to expand on my comments and initially publish them here – online.

I remember a couple of stories we ran in the early days of this newspaper (about 2001) wherein the subject was a previous City Council member, Frank Colonna. The first story reported that real estate broker Colonna was wrongly engaged in assisting City Manager Henry Taboada sell his home and purchase another in Naples. The second said that Colonna – at city expense – had a bullet-proof window installed at his private office in Belmont Shore.

Both stories got big play afterward in the other local newspapers. I recall Colonna calling me from his car phone with his wife egging him on in the background. His comments were threatening toward me and the Beachcomber – something not easily forgotten.

News stories like those come from individuals who wish to remain anonymous and we honor those requests, as provided under the California Shield Law. Because of it, people will feed us story ideas and request that their name not be used.

Another time I was falsely arrested at a fire scene by an “ignoranus” cop named Matthew Gjersvold, who – along with then Police Chief Tony Batts – was ignorant of the California law that allows news reporters access to scenes of fires, accidents and natural disasters (PC409.5). A kangaroo court case followed in the grand tradition of City Hall and I was sentenced to perform community service. Known as “the biggest turd in the toilet” by fellow officers, Gjersvold spent several years in jail for various felonies about that same time and thereafter.

The public was so outraged by the city prosecutor’s actions against me that I was bombarded with anonymous sources (many of them police officers) reporting misdeeds of the prosecutor, the ignoranus cop and Tony Batts. In fact, I became a primary media resource for negative information about Batts that resulted in him fleeing his top cop job in Long Beach, then Oakland and, finally, Baltimore.

Which brings me to the most recent brouhaha about a Christmas party conversation wherein the person [read that “anonymous source”] I was talking with mentioned a problem – I think it was medically related – that was best resolved through state or federal legislation. Congressman Alan Lowenthal’s name came up but was dismissed as a solution by the other party because a campaign contribution was suggested.

It was probably two weeks later that I recalled that conversation and thought that it would make a good introduction to my opinion that “quid pro quo” and “horse trading” are common activities in business, government and family affairs.

The thought never crossed my mind that the activity was highly illegal on the part of a member of Congress, thinking instead that it was a common practice usually kept private. Knowing what I now know, I would not have used Lowenthal’s name in my column since I have no animosity toward him, and he was not the principal reason for getting into the quid pro quo discussion in the first place.

I do have negative reactions to some past Alan Lowenthal-sponsored legislation as well as Bonnie Lowenthal’s slip/fall/sue-the-city activity. I disliked past Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal’s attempts to license cats, ban plastic bags and tell convenience stores what items they could sell.

Currently someone described to me as Lowenthal’s son is using his “daddy influence” to close a Park Estates pedestrian bridge next to his house on Elmfield that I like to use during long walks outside the area. I strongly dislike the NIMBY (not in my back yard) mentality.

If you are getting the message that the Lowenthal name does not register high on my popularity chart, we are both in sync.

Generally, I’m agitated by the Democratic Congress’ attempts to undo the 2016 election by impeaching Trump. Why can’t these clowns devote time to more important things like assault weapons, illegal immigration, healthcare costs, climate change, infrastructure, etc.?

So, this Lowenthal thing will either die a slow death or maybe it will become a full-scale FBI investigation. Either way, we’ll continue to honor our promise to keep sources anonymous and welcome any wrongdoing that you care to share. It is a role that has been bestowed upon the Fourth Estate that we are honored to provide.

NEW WEBSITE POLL: How would you rate Alan Lowenthal as your congressman? Vote on the front page at Email comments to


Add new comment


Copyright 2020 Beeler & Associates.

All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced or transmitted – by any means – without publisher's written permission.