Beachcombing

By: 
Jay Beeler

The following “member talk” for Long Beach Rotary on Wednesday seemed appropriate for this column, so here goes…

I remember the year 1964 for two reasons:

It was the year that I turned 21 and celebrated drinking rum and coke in the back seat of my Oldsmobile Cutlass with a girlfriend. I was stationed at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, planting Minuteman missiles underground.

It was the year that I visited with my brother, Tom, who wisely migrated to Long Beach after graduating from Drexel University in Philadelphia. He was working for North American Rockwell in Downey at the time. He picked me up at Los Angeles Airport on a balmy summer night in his convertible sports car and we went straight to a party in Belmont Shore.

Eureka, I had found it! Upon discharge from the Air Force in 1965 I too headed for Long Beach and used the GI Bill to graduate from LBCC with an associate degree in electronics and obtained a bachelor’s degree in radio/TV and journalism from Long Beach State in 1970. Two years before that I married my wife, Anita, whom I met at another Belmont Shore party. She was also a transplant from Pennsylvania. Her hometown was Conshohocken; mine was Waynesboro.

Over the next eight years I worked in corporate public relations jobs for Transamerica Corporation, a Marina del Rey PR and advertising firm and Hyatt Medical, a subsidiary of Hyatt Hotels. In 1978 we adopted our second child and it was time to stop traveling the country as a PR consultant and tend to our babies. That year I set up my own shop serving multiple hospital clients.

But it wasn’t until 1982 that I was proposed for Rotary membership by Stan Wood, a client who operated a coin laundry business known as Coin Meter West. Stan passed away this past January and I will always be grateful that he was the one who introduced me to Long Beach Rotary.

Over the next two decades I met some fantastic people through Rotary and many of them became clients. Interestingly many of those clients were with some of the oldest firms in Long Beach, such as F&M Bank, Bloeser Carpet Company, Bixby Land Company and a few dozen more.

In addition to teaching in the Journalism Department at CSULB between 1978 and 1987, I have mentored more than 150 college interns during the past 39 years. A few of them helped with editing the club’s newsletter. Two of those interns, Stacey Francis and Hugh Siler, became employees of Beeler & Associates. They helped to create Long Beach Rotary’s 75th Anniversary history book in 1992.

In 1993 I had the honor of serving as Assistant District 5320 Governor for Frank Meade, a Newport Beach attorney. In 1986 and 1993 I was honored by Presidents Henry Meyer and Russ Hill with the President’s Award, although serving the Rotary Club of Long Beach is an honor in a class by itself.

In 1999 our company was chosen by the City of Long Beach to conduct one of the most comprehensive communication campaigns that my firm had ever undertaken for Census 2000.You name it; we did it to convince the Cambodians and Hispanics in Long Beach that nothing bad would happen to them if they participated in Census 2000.

In July 2000, I had the opportunity to purchase the Los Altos Neighbor newspaper from John McNaughton and renamed it the Beachcomber. Now we were dealing with the City of Long Beach on a very different level. 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 if we do this?

Being a newspaper publisher provides a very 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.

If you think that you’d make a good Rotarian, call me. I’d like to pay forward Stan Wood’s gift to me.

There’s an election coming up on Tuesday, March 7, asking us to – yet again – devote a quarter of one percent of every sales tax dollar to combat homelessness. I am voting “no.”

The reasons are that there is already a huge gap between the sales taxes being charged in Long Beach versus our neighboring cities in Orange County, thereby severely and negatively impacting local retail sales.

More sales tax also disproportionately impacts middle and lower income familes, who can least afford it.

L.A. County should be using their $28 billion budget to address this issue by cutting the current waste and inefficiencies.

publisher@beachcomber.news

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Beachcomber

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