Jay Beeler

Nothing warms the cockles of my heart more than being home for Christmas, made popular in song by Bing Crosby in 1943, the year I was born. The lyrics were written with WWII soldiers in mind but rang true two decades later while I was serving in the U.S. Air Force far from home.

In recent weeks some distant family members were glad to be home this Christmas, having been among the 17 Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries who were kidnapped and held hostage in Haiti for two months. Our large family of 17 cousins means there are a very large group of second cousins, most of whom live in the mid-Atlantic states. One second cousin and five of her seven children were held captive in Haiti by the 400 Mawozo gang, that demanded millions of dollars in ransom.

It is unclear if ransom was paid for the earlier release of five hostages but the 12 who remained escaped Dec. 16 under the cover of darkness, despite a blocked door, a guarded building, bright moonlight and two small children in tow.

Two weeks ago, those distant relatives were flown to Philadelphia and joined with other family members at a mountain retreat in central Pennsylvania. “For three uninterrupted hours, everyone listened to amazing stories of captivity and liberation,” according to my Pennsylvania cousin, Barbara, who relayed a few details in our hour-long phone call last week.

Facts like names, ransom and whether the hostages were aided in their escape will probably need to be kept secret for a few years, when the story gets told in a book and movie. Be certain I won’t be giving details to producer Steven Spielberg, who was in the CSULB radio/TV/film program with me in the late 1960s. He’ll have to play “Catch Me If You Can” for not responding to my email request on behalf of an intern several years ago.


For Christmas I had just one wish: honesty and integrity from our city leaders in the new year. It’s too soon to tell if my request will come true, but we’re off to a good start with the retirement of the police chief and city attorney as well as the mayor jumping on the political gravy train that’s headed for Washington, DC.

The words “opaque transparency” come to mind when you’ve seen their stonewalling, lying and cheating over the past few years. Our sources keep telling us about illegal and corrupt activity because they do not want to be associated with these clowns, who seem to work overtime in tarnishing the badge and/or climbing to the highest levels of incompetence.

City Hall greed, excess spending and public safety union stealing from the city treasury are out of control. Meanwhile these crooks are failing to perform needed infrastructure repairs mandated by ballot measures. Truly, the tail is wagging the dog in Long Beach.

All one needs to do is look north at the City of Los Angeles to see honesty and integrity being practiced by those city leaders. They promptly admit to their mistakes, take correction action and move on. That’s the way it should be done.

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “The richer we have become materially, the poorer we become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.”


On this last day of 2021 I want to thank our readers, advertisers, contributors, writers, staff and interns for your efforts on behalf of the Beachcomber. Special thanks to the employees at SCNG Printing for a job well done as they printed this last issue of the Beachcomber before permanently closing their doors because that facility’s property in Anaheim is being sold. The scuttlebutt is that they can make more money in real estate versus running printing presses.

Our first Beachcomber issue in 2022 will be produced elsewhere. We look forward to working with a new print production team. Happy New Year wishes to all.


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