Thursday, September 12, 2013

Party Time at City Hall

By: George Lee Cunningham

And we all thought City Council meetings were dull and stuffy. Apparently not. It appears some of the political folks at City Hall are finally letting their hair down and loosening up their stuffed shirts. According to this headline, they tried it, they apparently liked it, and they decided to try it again.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dumbing Down of America – Exhibit A

By: George Lee Cunningham

This six-step instruction guide – with pictures – on how to wash your hands is from Barnes and Noble’s Starbuck store restroom at Marina Pacific shopping center in Long Beach. Wet, Soap, Wash, Rinse, Dry, and Turn of the Water. If one is still unclear on the hand-washing concept, he or she can just look at the pictures and figure it out.
Saturday, September 7, 2013

Social Unrest – There’s a Profit in It

By: Ken Cable

In my long career as a first responder I have participated in many events where citizens have peacefully assembled to discuss, debate and sometimes protest some action taken by their government. When these gatherings take place in the street, a park or a plaza, and the catalyst is something such as the George Zimmerman acquittal, participants often forgo the peaceful discussion stage and go straight to protest.  This protest is usually against police officers whom government places between themselves and the protesters – and who can do little to mitigate the protesters’ complaint in any way.  This can be especially true when race is a factor, and when the rocks and bottles begin to fly, the fight is on.  This is not to say that all peaceful gatherings turn violent.  Tea Partiers, religious memorials and Million Man Marches on Washington D.C. generally do not.

I am writing now of those events that do turn violent – and who profits from the violence.  My observations are that unrest often follows sporting events, jury trials that involve race, union disputes, police shootings, and poorly conducted street arrests – to name a few of the most obvious.

The catalyst group is […]

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Someday We’re All Going to be History

By: Reader Publishing Group

George Cunningham talks about the history of the Port of Long Beach at the closing session of Cargo Business News’ CalExport Conference at the Long Beach Hilton. George and his wife Carmela are writing a book on the history of the Long Beach Port.
Friday, August 23, 2013

Chasing the News in a Skirt and High Heels

By: George Lee Cunningham

Mary Neiswender is an old-school reporter who walked away from daily journalism more than 30 years ago after a beef with her editors over news coverage and the lack thereof.  She talks about that and much more in her recently released book “Assassins… Serial Killers… Corrupt Cops… Chasing the News in a Skirt and High Heels.”

Part autobiography and part true crime, Neiswender’s book is interesting, readable and disturbing. But it’s not perfect, and it’s not for everybody.

If there is a primary message in the book, it is this. Evil exists in our world. It lurks outside our doors, it lives down the block, it watches our children as they frolic on the playground, and it respects no one and no thing. It takes many forms. It might be a scraggly low-life living in the shadows, a dumpy, middle-aged lady with a gun in her purse, a crime-savvy prosecutor with a trigger temper, a respected doctor with a bright smile and a dark secret, a pervert whose joy is in the screams of his victim, or even a guy in uniform driving around town in a black-and-white with flashers on the roof.

If you are an opponent of […]

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Don’t Know How to Read? Read This

By: George Lee Cunningham

Here’s a helpful sign that caught our eye at the Los Angeles Central Library. The folks at the library are smart folks, but if you don’t know how to read, how can you read the sign? Just wondering.

Here’s a helpful sign that caught our eye at the Los Angeles Central Library. The folks at the library are smart folks, but if you don’t know how to read, how can you read the sign? Just wondering.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Big Fish/Little Fish Question

By: George Lee Cunningham

At some point in almost everybody’s life they have heard the question. Do you want to be the big fish in a little pond or a little fish in a big pond?

It’s one of those questions for which there is no correct answer. And like most such analogous questions, it begins to unravel the minute you begin to analyze it. For one thing, we’re not fish. And we don’t live in ponds. And even if we were or did, the question misses the point.

The question really is, do you want to be a leader or a follower and where do you want to do it. In the world where people live, leadership is a spectrum. On one end of that spectrum the correct answer would be, I would rather be a big fish in a big pond and on the other end, I would rather be a little fish in a little pond.

Even the most powerful leaders have to answer to someone, whether it’s his customers, the voters, or his own conscience. And even the most humble follower has somewhere within him a spark of rebellion that at some point says enough is enough. I am […]

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Politics in Early California: Slinging Mud and Slinging Lead

By: George Lee Cunningham

When people think of the Wild West, they usually think about Tombstone, Ariz., Deadwood, S.D., or Dodge City, Kan. They certainly don’t think about Sacramento, San Francisco or Los Angeles. But California was as wild as anyplace else in the West and sometimes even wilder.

Between September 1850 and September 1851, there were 31 homicides committed in L.A. and the vicinity, according to historian John Boessenecker. That may not sound that extreme, but the population of the area at that time was only 2,500. To put it in today’s terms, the murder rate in the United States in 2011, was 4.7 homicides per 100,000 people. The murder rate in Los Angeles in 1850-51 – adjusted for population – would have been 1,240 per 100,000. That makes it one of the toughest towns ever in the history of the West.

Glenna Matthews in her book, The Golden State in the Civil War, noted that more than two-thirds of the state legislature during the 1850s showed up for their deliberations carrying firearms. “The same legislature had made dueling illegal in 1854, but juries refused to convict and more duels were fought in California in the 1850s than in any other state in […]

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Do Dogs Worry About Being Gay?

By: George Lee Cunningham

We recently bought Henry his own traveling bowl for water. Henry is our dog and when he goes for a long walk, he often gets thirsty. We decided that the answer was for us to get a collapsible bowl that would be easy to slip into our pocket, then at the appropriate moment, pop out, fill with water, and let Henry have a drink.

So we went to Amazon – where else do modern plugged-in folks go to buy stuff – and ordered a collapsible silicon bowl for Henry. But first, we had to read the reviews – most of which were positive.

But not all.

The negative reviewers all complained about the same thing. The picture online showed pink, blue and green bowls, but the order form had no place to specify a color. And when the bowl was delivered to their homes, they turned out to be pink.

“This is unacceptable,” complained one critic. “I have a boy dog. What am I expected to do with a pink bowl?”

Others voiced the same concern. We are not sure what their problem is. Perhaps they think if their boy dog drinks from a pink cup, he will become […]

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Lovely, stinking, wonderful black goo

By: George Lee Cunningham

If you want to understand a big reason why Long Beach is Long Beach, take a quick trip up to Signal Hill. There at Temple Avenue and Hill Street you will find Discovery Well – the Shell Oil well where the great California oil rush began.

On Jan 23, 1921, at 9:30 p.m. oil workers on the rig hit black gold, gushing more than 100 feet into the air and spraying everything in near vicinity with lovely, stinking, sticky dark goo. The kind of dark goo that makes both people and cities rich and brings folks running from distant places to get in on the boom.

The timing was fortunate. Dr. W. Pelekan, an executive geologist for Shell Oil, was planning to travel to the city to put a stop to the costly dry hole being drilled at the hilltop location. Before he was able to shut down the operation, however, the hole hit oil – lots and lots of oil – at 3,114 feet down.

Oil changed everything. Long Beach was suddenly an oil town, even after Signal Hill became its own city in 1924, and nothing was ever the same.

The Signal Hill oil field was one of […]

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