Beachcombing

By: 
Jay Beeler

It’s unfortunate that a small, bi-weekly newspaper like ours is forced to sue the City of Long Beach in order to obtain public information. That’s the game some government agencies play in their attempts to hide and obfuscate details surrounding misconduct by public officials and their employees. They test every one of their actions with the question “Will we get sued?” versus “Is it the truth and is it fair to all concerned?”

Our story on page one of this edition provides details on one such embarrassment to City Hall and their subsequent attempts to slide negative stuff under the rug. Thanks to the tenacious work of Stephen Downing and civil rights attorney Thomas Beck, we are beginning to shine some disinfecting sunlight on misdeeds that have been kept from public view.

Thanks also to the California Senate for passing SB 1421, which forces the city to pay attorney fees for lawsuits such as ours, when successful. Please know that we do not get a penny on these settlements, but we do get great satisfaction from putting an end to the city’s criminal practice of stonewalling.

We could not afford to pay these legal fees on our own, but the city has no problem wasting your money by failing to do the right thing in the first place. After all, the city attorney and his staff will still collect their high wages if they can successfully keep you and I from knowing the truth. They simply do not care, because it is not their money, it’s yours and mine. Remember that come re-election time.

We have another pending lawsuit that has been met with City Hall resistance. It deals with fraud (stealing the public’s money via false time cards) inside the Police Department jail. We will share those details when the time is right.

Forgive me for laughing out loud every time a Long Beach elected official proclaims to embrace “transparency.” It may be another decade or two before that will ever happen. “Honesty and integrity” are foreign words at City Hall, because they do not exist in the city’s ethics manual. That’s very sad.

 

Last week I was thinking of Dr. Martin Luther King on his holiday, “Free at last, free at last…” The occasion was signing up for movies via Netflix.

In addition to the pandemic’s “stay at home” directives, the greater motivation was complete disgust over the plethora of repetitious advertisements on television, especially the political ads in October. Another motivation was the prospect of no more football games as this season ends.

To my surprise, Netflix only cost $8.99 per month with access to 4,563 movies and 2,445 TV shows (serials). That’s less than the cost to see a single movie at a local theater and – better still – you can wear your pajamas (and pay much less for popcorn) while watching at home.

Obviously, I’m a little late to this party, since 73 million other Americans subscribe to Netflix among the 195 million viewers worldwide.

We have already enjoyed some of the Amazon Prime Videos through its annual $130 subscription (and package delivery) fee, but access is limited to its 18,405 movies and 1,981 TV shows due to separate rental charges. The good stuff costs more. I was hooked over Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” series, but those were limited to the first two of their four seasons.

With Netflix, I’ve been binge watching “The Crown” and the “Schitt’s Creek” series. “The Irishman,” a 3.5-hour-long movie about Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa was a thriller that was viewed last Saturday night, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.

If you do the math, you can watch a different Netflix movie every day for the next ten years. Did I mention that it’s only $8.99 per month? Did you know these movies can be paused for trips to the kitchen and bathroom?

First it was the drive-in theaters; guess what’s next. The only void that I see is with the future of live theater and concerts. If I was involved in those businesses, it would seem prudent to be videotaping everything for online sale in addition to maintaining a few seats for live audience feedback, laughter and applause.

publisher@beachcomber.news

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