For those of our readers and advertisers who did not attend the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association’s (BKBIA) Community Happy Hour last Thursday evening, I would like to take this opportunity to share some of the events that took place during that gathering. It was marketed to the public and was billed as follows:
You’re invited…Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association’s
Community Happy Hour! Thursday, July 17, 2008
5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Scrapbooking Sisters 3932 Atlantic Avenue
Special Guest Speaker: Harry Saltzgaver, Associate Publisher,
Gazette Newspapers Speaking on:
“A Journalist’s View of Long Beach”
Complimentary refreshments – Door prizes
Expecting a different sort of presentation during the speaker’s time in the spotlight, I began to feel much like Lewis Carroll’s character Alice who found things “curiouser and curiouser” as the evening wore on. I guess I thought he would stick to the subject at hand and discuss his defined topic– as the press release promised– A Journalist’s View of Long Beach. Nevertheless, Saltzgaver’s speech turned out to be nothing more than a slam of nearly every other publication (other than the Grunions) and form of web news in town, along with some choice declarations and announcements. Here are some of the highlights of his speech – in approximate order of occurance:
1. His opinion regarding local webnews sites lbpost.com and lbreport.com
2. The following quote: “In case you didn’t know it, the PT [Press Telegram] is dead. [They] don’t know what their community is.” (Note: The Grunions and the PT are owned by the same company– shouldn’t that sort of public comment be considered insubordination – or at least biting the hand that is feeding you?)
3. His opinion that the only form of media that will survive in the long run will be weekly newspapers.
4. Referring to the Long Beach City Council– “as dysfunctional a group as I’ve ever seen.”
5. Some mumblings about his papers’ not being started by someone who was fired from the PT 10 years ago who has an axe to grind (Note: I don’t know if he was referring to me- I quit- and was NOT fired, or if he was pointing a finger at one of the guys who runs the newish weekly publication The District.)
6. The following announcement: “We are getting ready to launch a new publication – Uptown Gazette.” When I raised my hand and then asked if they were doing so because we (the Signal Tribune) weren’t doing a good enough job – he replied – with a smile, “I have more resources than you do.”
Now, with all of that said, I do agree with one point made by Mr. Saltzgaver – the Grunion does have more resources than we do – they have a lot more dollars to spend than we do– Starbucks has a lot more resources than It’s A Grind– and Wal Mart has a lot more resources than your local pharmacy, Star Jewelers, Victor’s Fine China, LeeLadies Shoes, Health and Comfort Mattresses– and Denny’s and El Torito have more resources than Four Olives, New Orleans Grille, Mosher’s, Baja Sonora, Café Bixby, etc. etc.
I welcome your thoughts; please call, write, email or stop by. We want to know if you think we are doing a “good enough job.” If so, what would you do if you were in my shoes?