Jay Beeler

You would think that anyone with 867 “friends” on Facebook would be so popular they’d have a social calendar filled with activities every day. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Facebook friends are more like acquaintances or relatives. Only a handful are people who accept you for who you are and what you stand for. As we get older, our close friends pass away and become a fond memory.

Such was the case with Phil Stanley “Stan” Wood, whom I palled around with in the 1980s. He owned a local business called Coin Meter West and was an advertising client of Beeler & Associates. Stan’s business slogan was “Honesty and Integrity Since 1965.” Although I’m not exactly sure of the year, those other two words stuck with me for decades.

In 1988, Stan purchased 40 acres in Corral De Tierra, Calif., moving there full time in 1999. He began a “retirement” job of growing lavender on the property,which he turned into a thriving business, Purple Pastures Lavender Farm. He passed away in 2017 at the age of 71.

Stan’s Coin Meter business dealt with a lot of cash, generated from self-service laundries in retail locations as well as apartment houses. He often helped his friends set up their own coin laundry business, selling them commercial washers, dryers, parts and repair services.

His business success meant that he had many “toys,” like an antique car, a recreational vehicle the size of a passenger bus and multiple sail and power boats over the years.

I have many fond memories of “yachting” with Stan on his “Stanley Steamer” and “The Reel One” boats. It was an opportunity to fish with our kids, spend weekends on Catalina and enjoy each other’s company.

It was Stan who sponsored me into the Rotary Club of Long Beach in 1982. Being a member of that club served as an introduction to some of Long Beach’s oldest and successful firms, like F&M Bank, Don Temple Storage, Bloeser Carpet Company, Bixby Land Company and many more that ultimately became our clients.

In July 2000, we had the opportunity to purchase the Los Altos Neighbor newspaper and renamed it the Beachcomber. Now we were dealing with the City of Long Beach on a very different level from our business clients. In Rotary we have the Four-Way Test for everything we say or do in an ethical manner. At Long Beach City Hall, it’s the two-way test: (1) Will we get sued? (2) Can we raise taxes to fatten our personal wallets while ignoring infrastructure needs?


Being a newspaper publisher provides a unique opportunity to see the good, bad and ugly in just about everything. Long Beach Rotary has exposed me to the highest caliber people in this community, an opportunity to serve others and have a lifetime of fond memories. It’s just the opposite at Long Beach City Hall. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Why are the words “honesty and integrity” missing in the city’s ethics statement? When that problem gets fixed, real progress will evolve.

Just for fun, we are currently running an online reader poll that asks the question: “How much do you trust Long Beach City Hall to tell you the truth? Thus far, the results are: always (11%), sometimes (6%), half the time (6%), a little bit (17%) and never (61%).

Why are we not surprised at those numbers, given the propensity for certain top city leaders to be morally bankrupt? Lend your voice to this discussion at and vote at the bottom of page one. Email comments to


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