Doug Krikorian / Viewpoint

Krikorian Notes: From Cal Gov Gavin Newsom Keeping Long Beach Restaurant Diners Outdoors For No Plausible Reason To His Equally Despised Michigan Counterpart, Gretchen Whitmer, Actually Allowing Indoor Dining In Her State To Cock Of The Walk John Morris Speechless (!) To Dickie (Too Fast, Too Furious) Babian Turning Crow's Over To His Son To My New 7-1, 354 Bodyguard Aaron Gray Taking Over From The Undersized 6-0, 225 Mike (The Hammer) DiMarzo

Mr. Krikorian, an award winning journalist and author of two books, earned multiple awards in his 22 years of writing for the Long Beach Press-Telegram and 22 years for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. He is happily retired.

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No one in's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(Mar 10, 2021, 6:25 p.m.) -- I was in downtown Detroit last week, and sat inside at the bar of an iconic restaurant, Jacoby's German Biergarten, and had a Bratwurst lunch and a Paulaner Pilsner beer. Brought back glad memories of the good old days of freedom when I made annual winter visits to, among other European countries, Germany where I savored the Christmas Markets and always made it a point to go to Munich's sainted Hofbrauhaus, the Parthenon of beer drinking.

I also ate inside at five other places including Eddie V's Prime Seafood and the Yard House during my six-day stay with the Family Emerzian whose patriarch, Mark, long has been one of my best friends and whose twin sons, Ethan and Jake, are among the best high school basketball players in Michigan.

What made the experience so unique for me was that I was actually able to eat inside a restaurant even though it was in a state that has a governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who has inspired just as much widespread hatred from her constituents for her lockdowns as her colleague in California, Mr. Gavin Newsom, has the past year.

But at least Ms. Whitmer has had the keen sense to allow the good burghers of her sovereign province to dine inside their eating emporiums, which, alas, we in Long Beach have been prevented from doing since, it seems, time immemorial.

Oh, of course, all one has to do is go to Orange County, where you can find hundreds of restaurants who have crossed the Rubicon and let their customers dine and drink indoors because their health departments and politicians and policing authorities have, to use a horrid cliche, turned a blind eye to Mr. Newsom's ghastly governmental machinations.

But not here in Long Beach.

You dare do what's been blithely transpiring in the Great OC, and, omigod, you face the vindictive wrath of Mayor Robert Garcia's dutiful agencies, as the brave owner of Restauration, Ms. Dana Tanner, recently found out for dare serving customers in her patio after Mr. Newsom's late November edict to again close down all restaurants in California.

They cut off her gas, and looming against her now are hefty fines, criminal charges, even a possible eviction for courageously defying Mr. Newsom's nonsensical decision. What a heathen! Wait till our beloved City Prosecutor, Doug Haubert, gets finished with her.

Is she destined for Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp for not backing down to Mr. Newsom, Mr. Garcia and the notorious Smith College/Duke educated czar of the Long Beach Health Department, Kelly Colopy?

Who knows?

[Scroll down for further.]

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I still don't understand the reason for my not being able now to walk down 2nd Street in Long Beach without the opportunity to sit inside the premises of such places as Nico's, K.C. Branaghan's, Legend's, Panama Joe's, Domenico's, DogZ, Riley's, etc., etc., etc., and indulge in food and drink and conviviality.

I'm sure any moment now Gavin Newsom, quite mindful of the recall election he soon might endure, will open up matters again, but, still, he cost restaurateurs millions, if not billions of dollars shuttering their stores over the Holiday Season. And how much in wages did their employees lose during this time?

I called up the old Pine Avenue pioneer, John Morris, to find out why Mr. Newsom continue with his indoor shutdown tactics with the Great Pandemic on the descent.

"I don't have the answer to that," said the cock of the walk of the Boathouse who for the first time in the 35 years I've known him was unable to betray an answer to a question.

I also posed a similar question to another ancient pal of mine, Mr. Dickie (Too Fast, Too Furious) Babian, the legendary 87-year-old, 5-foot-3, 265-pound operator of Crow's, a once thriving bar in Naples that has been dark for the most part since last March.

"Please, don't even ask me that question!" he growled. "How in the hell do I know? They've now closed me down for a year. A (expletive) year! Is this America I'm in, or Red China? It's been an absolute nightmare. I don't have enough cuss words in my vocabulary to describe Gavin Newsom. I'll just say he's a heartless bastard that doesn't give a damn about restaurant and bar owners throughout California. How many has he caused to shut down permanently. I've probably lost around two millions during our closure."

"Are you shutting down permanently?" I wondered.

"No," he replied quickly. "But I'm done with it. I've signed everything over to my son Jimmy Babian, a long-time chef at the Four Seasons Resort in Hualalai at the Big Island in Hawaii. He owns two restaurants over there and is in town at the moment helping with renovation at Crow's. My grandson Jake is here helping him.

"But I have no idea when we will open. The governor talks about restaurants reopening, but never says anything about saloons like mine. Who knows? Maybe he's reinstating the Volstead Act (Prohibition) for my kind of place. Who know with this loon!"

Mr. Babian ranks among the most colorful bar owners in Long Beach history, if not the wackiest with his prodigious daily drinking output (Grey Goose and ice with a splash of water), his impromptu European jaunts with various gal pals, his wild gambling forays, and his expensive bar-hopping adventures---countless $100 tips for the bartenders and waitresses---in Long Beach, LA, Palm Springs, and many other venues.

Legendary owner of Crow’s Dickie (Too Fast, Too Furious) Babian surrounded by his usual gaggle of lovelies

Sadly, he recently gave into the years and has had to cut back on such hedonistic activities.

"I used to average 15 drinks a day and now I'm down to just two and get to bed at 5:30 in the afternoon and watch movies until I fall asleep,'' he says wistfully. ``Those days of me staying up all night drinking and partying are over. But I did do it for 86 years. But now, well, I've become an old man. I actually take early afternoon naps now. And I fall down a lot now, but, hey, I did party it up after the Super Bowl when my man Tom Brady won a lot of money for me. A whole lot of money."...

  • Another celebrated Long Beach restaurateur, Nico's George Mlouk, says Gavin Newsom's indoors proscription has turned him into a weatherman.

    "Newsom has made me become a meteorologist," is the way Mr. Mlouk said it Wednesday, as he spent the early morning doing the Dallas Raines-Al Roker bit in gazing at his cell phone's weather map. "Finally, I made the decision to close down for the day. That meant that 20 of my employees would miss a day of pay because of the rain. Who's going to sit outside when it's raining here. No one."

    Of course, Nico's also has dining accommodations inside, but for some inexplicable reason it's still not allowable in this city for the public to use them. . .

  • Despite reporting on several occasions that water leaks from an air condition unit causing a large, daily puddle in the alley behind the Naples Villa at 5520 2nd Street, Naples resident Roger Powell never has heard back from the Long Beach Code Enforcement Division.

    Water wastage in alley behind Naples Villa at 5520 2nd St. in Naples

    I guess Long Beach officials could care less about 100 gallons being wasted every week, since California has more than enough water to spare these days...

  • For years in tight situations, I always turned to Long Beach's very own celebrity bodyguard, Mike (The Hammer) DiMarzo, but now I have found even more a more imposing force in the retired eight-year NBA center, Mr. Aaron Gray, who at 7-1, 354 is slightly larger than Mr. DiMarzo, whose artistry with a baton made him a legendary figure during his long-ago tour with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department. . .

    My new bodyguard, 7-1 354-pound former NBA center Aaron Gray (taken in the snow in Detroit)

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    Previously by Mr. Krikorian:
    Krikorian Notes: From Gavin Newsom Praising Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia As Though He's Destined For Mt. Rushmore To Newsom Hoping The Rest Of California Follows The Jill Baker LBUSD Path (???) To The Tiger Woods Car Accident To Bad Stu Ledsam's Son Kyle's Big Award To Vons Pavilion GM Steve Carr Performing Cashiering Duty To My Watching the Amazing Emerzian Twins Next Week In Michigan
    Krikorian Notes: From A Most Surreal Development That Has Me In A State Of Giddiness---Our Beloved Long Beach Actually Now Serious About Building A New Swimming Pool After Coastal Commission Approval And Strong Endorsements From Such Local Leaders As Mayor Robert Garcia and City Manager Tom Modica and Their Political Accomplices To Mike O'Toole Doing a Solo, He-Man Rowing Act On A 32-Foot Gondola Carolina Filled With 14 People Around Naples Canals To Jill Baker’s Typical Back-to-School Delaying Tactics To My Receiving My Periodic SAG-AFTRA Residuals From My Once Flourishing Acting Career That, Sadly, Went The Way Of My Once Flourishing Radio Career
    Long-Time Belmont Shore Resident Dorcas Baldwin, 85, Endures Frightening Experience Of Homeless Man Breaking Into Her Bay Shore Avenue Home And Taking A Shower Before Long Beach Cops Come To The Rescue
    CIF Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod Hoping Gavin Newsom And His Health Department Toadies Come To Their Senses For Projected High School Sports Restart On March 19
    Terry Antonelli Orchestrating Rise Of L’Opera After Its Tragic Fall In The Great Long Beach Memorial Day Pillage & Plunder Festival
    Krikorian Notes: From Mayor Garcia's Spineless Speech To Jill Baker's Passing The Buck Alliance With Gavin Newsom To A Positive Long Beach Vaccination Experience To Welcoming New Neighbor George Gascon To Mike The Hammer Bludgeoning Me About Boxing To The Amazing Tom Brady
    The Memorable Life Of Tommy Lasorda: From World Series Titles To Slim-Fast Diets To Obscenity-Laced Jim Healy Tapes To Pitching To Jack Clark To A Sacred Legacy Of Laughter And Success On The Ball Yards Of America
    "A Lady Shrieking "Wear A Mask!" On Bay Shore Ave. Results In A Mask-Wearing Epiphany For Our Columnist
    A Christmas Tale Of Reflections And Remembrances
    A Christmas Tale Of Reflections And Remembrances" Krikorian Notes: From New LA County DA George Gascon Moving To Naples To LBUSD Superintendent Jill Baker Continuing To Stunt Growth Of 70,000 Students To Distress Of Locked Down LB Entrepreneurs Jeff Cozart, Mike Neufeld, John Sangmeister To LB’s Very Own Kato Kaelin, Steve Folger, Squiring Kelly Clarkson In Nashville
    Krikorian Notes: From Joe Jost Owner Ken Buck Sounding Off On The Lockdowns To Big Ben Goldberg's Boat Parade Party In Huntington Harbor To Bob Ludlam Departing LB For Prescott -- The Leisure World of Arizona -- To LB State President Jane Close Conoley Not Faintly Resembling Her Esteemed Predecessors To Mike (The Hammer) DiMarzo Invading Miami For Nightclub Frolic To LB State Women's Soccer Coach Mauricio Ingrassia Suddenly Looking Like A Matinee Idol
    When Is LBUSD Superintendent Jill Baker Going To End Her Calamitous Lockdown That Has Caused So Much Chaos And Heartache And Disruption Among 70,000 Students?
    Krikorian Notes: From Councilman Rex Richardson Displaying Courage To Show Up At A Long Beach Restaurant Association Meeting To The Countless Millions Lost On Unoccupied LB Buses To LB Health Czar Kelly Colopy’s Latest Mean-Spirited Edict To the Irritating Silence Of LB City Manager Tom Modica To LB Mayor Robert Garcia Ignoring His Constituents For Political Reasons To Bob The Black Labrador Parading Down The Peninsula Boardwalk Holding A Large Palm Limb In His Mouth
    How Many Long Beach Restaurants Will Be Forced to Close After Latest Lockdown Lunacy?
    Where's Krikorian? Temporarily On "Injured Reserve List" Recovering From Shoulder Replacement Surgery
    Krikorian Notes: From Nico's George Mlouk Praising LB Mayor Robert Garcia For Working To Help LB Restaurateurs To A Plea To LB Health Czar Kelly Colopy To Restrain Her Overzealous Sleuths To Lakers Deserving NBA Title To LeBron James Turning Anthony Davis Into Passionate Competitor To Vital Contributions Of Lakers Coach Frank Vogel And GM Rob Pelinka To Sadness Of Passing Of The Great Joe Morgan And Its Impact On Maury Wills' Hall Of Fame Chances
    Famous Long Beach Restaurateur Phil Trani Days Of Joyful Memories And Pandemic Miseries
    Krikorian Notes: From The Irritating Silence Of The Long Beach Politicians In Not Supporting Their Citizens To The Whereabouts Of LB Mayor Robert Garcia To The Whistles Favoring The Lakers Against The Nuggets To The Greatness of Patrick Mahomes To The End Of A European Vacation Streak That Started In 1989
    LBUSD Superintendent Jill Baker’s 70,000 Student Online Virtual Teaching Miscalculation A Disaster!
    Krikorian Notes: From The 9 Unworthies Of The LB City Council To The LB Upstick In Shootings And Speeding To Restauranteur John Morris Horseback Riding On A Wyoming Mountaintop To The Walking Adventures Of Earth Man
    Jeff Cozart's Time Of Torment: Will His Belmont Athletic Club Survive Gavin Newsom’s Latest Lockdown?
    Krikorian Notes: A Labor Day Elegy For Those In The Long Beach Business Community Who Were Violated In The Memorial Day Looting Frenzy To The Palm Tree Limbs Littering 2nd Street To The Scooters Littering The Belmont Shore Bridge To The Virtual On-Line Spectacle At Big Mike O'Toole's Household
    Krikorian Notes: From Long Beach Mayor's Ascent To Dem Stardom Because Of Lockstep Embrace Of The Party's Policies To The Enchanting Parklet Dining On 2nd Street To Tearing Down The Hoops in Belmont Shore To Greg Silver's LB Departure To Huntington Beach To Bob Rice Protecting Me From Isiah Robertson
    Don Kramer Was A Character Like No Other With His Zaniness, Goofiness, Joyfulness, Kindliness Who Left All Who Knew Him With Lasting Memories Of Slapstick Antics And Mirthful Anecdotes
    Krikorian Notes: From Majority Of LB Teachers Skipping Classrooms For The Comforts Of Home To Dr. Jill Baker Becoming Another Maria Montessori To Terry Antonelli Discussing Resurrection of L'Opera To Mayor Robert Garcia Touted By MSNBC's Brian Williams As A Future U.S. Senator To Kershaw's Magical Transformation
    Long Beach's Renaissance Man, Chuckie Miller, Reflects On His Entrepreneurial Life And On Racial Inequity
    Krikorian Notes: From LB's Elected Leadership's Reimagining Delusions To the Gaslamp's Outdoor Wall Video Band Show To The Ghastly USC Coach, Clay Helton
    FDR's Grandson, Delano Roosevelt, Talks Democratic Party, JetBlue, Long Beach And His Life
    LBPD Chief Robert Luna: Stand Up For Your Fifty Ousted Cops!
    What Next From Long Beach Health Boss Kelly Colopy, Hazmat Suits For Our Restaurant Servers?
    Sadly, Our National Pastime No Longer A Pastime For Me
    Parklets! Three Cheers For Long Beach Politicians!
    Memo To LBUSD Sup Jill Baker: Return The Kids To the Classroom!
    A 2 1/2-Hour Commute To Work A Joy To This 86-Year Old Gentleman
    Long Beach Politicians Once Again Fail Long Beach
    Is Long Beach Destined to Become the City That Never Sleeps?
    I Never Thought I'd Live To See These...
    Ben Goldberg Exits Long Beach, Now Nearby Refugee In OC
    Long Time Long Beach Resident Dave Lopez Climaxes Storied 48-Year TV Career
    From Krikorian's Notebook: When Will LB Police Chief Luna Come Clean About May 31 Downtown Long Beach Looting Frenzy?
    From Krikorian's Notebook: (1) LBUSD Mgm't Mulls Keeping K-5 Kids Indoors Without Normal Access To Playground, Cafeteria, Auditorium Activities; (2) And More...
    Will LB's New School Sup't Allocate Untimely Pay Raise To Serve Students?
    Awaiting Governor's Dictate To Decide Fate Of This Year's (July 3) "Big Bang On the Bay"
    Mayor/Council Sounds Of Silence After LB Cops Let Some Pillage Our Village
    Excuses By Long Beach Police & Politicians Dishearten Damaged LB Businesses
    Hallelujah! LB Mayor Pleads For Sac'to Permission To Lift Closures That Needn't Have Occurred
    Speak Up, Mr. Mayor, On Governor's Unwise Edicts. You Can Do That And You Should
    My Beloved Long Beach: A Victim Of Irrational Government Overreach Beyond Reasoned Response To Virus
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