Beachcombing

By: 
Jay Beeler

There’s a proposal afoot to consolidate the Long Beach Water Department and the Gas & Oil Department into a Long Beach Utility Department. That sounds like a good idea even though both departments are being efficiently run and doing a good job overall.

The truth is that Long Beach is the only large city in California having separate departments for this function, which sometimes explains why one department may be digging a trench on your street one week only to be followed by the other department a few weeks later.

For the past month we’ve watched contractors tearing up the asphalt outside our offices along Pacific Coast Highway to install high-pressure gas lines. Inevitably the street surface will subside to the detriment of auto suspension systems, just as they currently do on Clark Avenue north of Atherton.

Undoubtedly the worst street surface in Long Beach is Freeman Avenue, south of Anaheim, next to F&M Bank. Why can’t these contractors do a better job of resurfacing or come back months later to flatten the asphalt?

Despite a claim that no one will be losing their job with consolidation you can bet that’s exactly what will happen over time, through attrition. Companies do it with great success; this city should as well, since we often hear from residents who watch two city employees working on a job site while four others supervise.

If it goes through, the combining would be early next year.

 

The Los Angeles Times published an interesting story last Thursday reporting that Los Angeles County has two instruction manuals coaching employees on how to respond to public records requests from the media. “California Public Records Act ‘Emergency Kit’” is the title for one manual that’s used by county counsel.

Apparently the City of Long Beach has a few copies of this manual as time-after-time requests from the Beachcomber are routinely stonewalled by city staff, in willful disregard for the law. The only way to get around the stonewalling is to sue the government entity, which takes time, but there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when the courts rule that the agency must pay the media’s legal fees.

Two years ago, according to The Times, Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s chief of staff, Tom Angel, resigned after The Times reported he had forwarded racist and sexist emails from a work account while employed at the Burbank Police Department.

“I took my Biology exam last Friday,” said one of the emails obtained under the California Public Records Act. “I was asked to name two things found in cells. Apparently ‘Blacks’ and ‘Mexicans’ were NOT the correct answers.”

The Times sued the county in 2016 and was unsuccessful in obtaining copies of the two instruction manuals on how to skirt the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Here’s a few more ponderisms:

-Which letter is silent in the word “Scent,” the S or the C?

-Why is the letter W, in English, called double U? Shouldn’t it be called double V? and why isn’t “m” called “double n”

-Maybe oxygen is slowly killing you and it just takes 75-100 years to fully work.

-Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.

-The word “SWIMS” upside-down is still “SWIMS”.

-Intentionally losing a game of rock, paper, scissors is just as hard as trying to win.

 

    publisher@beachcomber.news

 

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