|(June 18, 2018, 7:30 p.m.) -- The late Executive Editor of the New York Times, Abe Rosenthal, drew a clear line on journalistic independence. On learning that a newly hired reporter had previously slept with a politician while reporting news in another media market, he reportedly told her: "I don't care if my reporters sleep with elephants as long as they're not covering the circus." And she was gone.
LBREPORT.com -- which pioneered independent online local news in Long Beach and is now in our 18th year -- invites our readers to apply that principle to what's taking place now.
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One of our competitors (launched over six years after we did), "LBPost.com," has been acquired by a newly formed subsidiary of "Pacific6," the corporate entity that recently bought the downtown LB "Breakers" building reportedly to redevelop into a hotel and also purchased the "Ocean Center Building" (SW corner Pine/Ocean) reportedly to re-develop into some type of residential property. We'll be interested to see to see if Pacific6 will be asking LB's Mayor/Council for some type of taxpayer-paid corporate welfare ("tax incentives" or the like) for either or both of these projects (similar to that sought and received by the developer of an envisioned Ocean Blvd/Pine Ave./SE quadrant hotel) and if so how LBPost.com reports or comments on that.
Among Pacific6's co-founders is John Molina, who's simultaneously part of a separate LLC seeking a dollar-a-year roughly forty year lease to operate Community Hospital on City-owned land.
In the 2018 election cycle, LBPost.com's new publisher, David Sommers (listing himself as "communications/engagement Pacific6") was a financial contributor to the campaigns to re-elect Mayor Robert Garcia and Councilwoman Stacy Mungo (and supported challenger Jared Milrad, go figure.)
LBPost.com's now-prior publisher was the owner/operator of a downtown LB advertising and marketing agency that did work for then-candidate Robert Garcia's 2014 Mayoral campaign. In 2015, the agency (which previously did work on some City Hall projects) received a six-figure contract from City Hall's "Development Services" bureau visible here that has been twice amended visible here and here.
During this period, the husband of LBPost.com's then-publisher was an LBPD Commander (retired Oct. 2017). And during the recently completed the 2018 election cycle, LBPost.com's then-publisher contributed to the campaigns to re-elect incumbent Mayor Robert Garcia and Council incumbents Lena Gonzalez, Suzie Price, Stacy Mungo and Roberto Uranga. (And gave a contribution in Feb. 2018 to challenger Rich Dines, go figure.)
LBPost.com's co-founder was Shaun Lumachi, who held a high level position with the LB Area Chamber of Commerce at the same time as his publication was reporting on City policies that the Chamber advocated for and against. LBPost.com's other co-founder was Robert Garcia, previously a Council office aide who'd announce his Council office candidacy less than two years later.
To some, the merger of Barnum's circus with Ringling Brothers and Bailey's circuses was s big deal. The Ringling Brothers-Barnum and Bailey circus boasted that it was big, really big, the "greatest show on Earth" it said. That's roughly what we think of LBPost.com's acquisition and boasts now.
LBREPORT.com isn't part of the circus. We don't sweep up for its elephants.
Eighteen years ago, before social networks, before photos on smart phones and one-click streaming video, LBREPORT.com defied conventional wisdom, challenged the PressTelegram's local news monopoly by offering detailed, accurate coverage instead of what we perceived as too often mindless boosterism.
We believed then and now that savvy LB news consumers want independent news that isn't afraid to speak inconvenient truths about City Hall, its current and past incumbents and its various sacred cows. We believe that a genuinely independent voice is needed now in Long Beach, more than ever.
As George Orwell said and we display on our front page: "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations."
As long as readers like you support us, LBREPORT.com isn't going away. Thank you Long Beach, from LBREPORT.com.
June 19, 7:35 a.m.: Included the Ocean Center Building in Pacific6's recent property acquisitions.
12:37 p.m. Spelling on Mr. Lumachi's first name corrected to Shaun.
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