Doug Krikorian / Viewpoint

Krikorian Notes: From Ann Cantrell Voicing Disapproval Of Long Beach's Most Popular Summer Event---The Big Bang On The Bay---To John Morris Taking Strong Exception To Ms. Cantrell's Stance To Bad Stu Ledsam's TWO Life-Saving Rescues To Bill (Bozo) Caplan's Zany Antics To The Phoenix Suns' Blessed Fortune To LB's Scary Rising Crime Rate To Those Two Laughable City Hall Figures Tom Modica And Robert Garcia

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.
(June 29, 2021) -- I've always had a fondness for the irrepressible Long Beach preservationist, ecologist, conservationist. ornithologist, etc., etc., etc., Ann Cantrell.

I was aligned firmly with her along with the late columnist Tom Hennessey in the 1990s in strongly opposing the then LB councilman Les (Baskin) Robbins' hair-brained scheme to despoil the pristine northeast section of El Dorado Park and stick a large athletic facility on it.

Not only would the model airplane devotees be cruelly uprooted, but the entire peaceful, tranquil ambience of that quaint patch forever would be ravaged.

Blessedly, Mr. Robbins' vision never came to fruition---and it turned out to be a rousing, if not historic triumph for Ms. Cantrell and her conferes.

She has been involved in various other such conflicts across the decades---Legends' founder John Morris recalls her raising all sorts issues before he was able open his tavern in 1979---but her latest rabble-rousing campaign leaves me shaking my noggin in dissent this time.

You see, if Ms. Cantrell had her way, what has become one of this city's most cherished, popular annual events---the July 3rd Big Bang On The Bay fireworks show---would be permanently shuttered.

The fact that this well-attended event has raised more than $1 million in charitable donations in its nine-year existence---it was canceled in 2020 because of The Pandemic---and the fact that most of that money goes to disadvantaged kids in LB and the fact that an estimated 30,000 witness the spectacular pyrotechnics and the fact it's become one of the most anticipated shows of the year among the local citizenry is quite irrelevant to Ms. Cantrell.

She's up in arms about what all that loud noise might do to the birds nesting in trees in the vicinity. Citizenry be damned! We must save our precious feathered creatures!

But the gentleman who stages the proceedings, Ms. Cantrell's eternal sparring partner, John Morris, scoffs at her complaints.

"First off, we have all the proper and legal permits from the Coastal Commission,'' he says. ``Secondly, we have put cones around the nearby trees that most affect the birds. And lastly---and this is the most cogent fact---the birds have returned every year we have done the event. They're not exactly an endangered species.''

I agree with John Morris.

I haven't noticed a diminution of birds in the Long Beach environment, although I must admit it's not exactly one of my priorities in life to obsess over their state as Ms. Cantrell has done throughout her life.

In fact, there seems to be more flying around in our midst these days than ever, with their ample droppings as proof of such proliferation.

Indeed, I've never spent more time cleaning up their messes in the front and back of my home than I have the past few months when so often they're releasing their irritating payloads...

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  • Last Add Bad Stu Ledsam: A notable admission last week on my missive on one of Long Beach's most colorful characters was the fact he has saved two people from death in his life. I saw first hand---I actually wrote an entire column on it in the Press Telegram---his Heimlich Maneuver savior in 2007 of the legendary Junk Bond Jimmy Werner at Mahe in Seal Beach.

    Mr. Werner, a one-time New York state amateur welterweight boxing champion, was choking on a piece of meat and turning purple in front of me, LB State athletic director Vic Cegles, Seal Beach surfing icon Uncle John Narz and Ledsam, who had the wherewithal to quickly leap up off his chair and wrap his powerful arms around Mr. Werner to successfully apply the Heimlich in dislodging the impediment from Mr. Werner's larynx.

    ``I just couldn't breathe,'' says the grateful Mr. Werner. ``I always figured Bad Stu had to be good for something in life, not knowing it would be for saving my life.''

    Junk Bond Jimmy Werner, onetime New York amateur welterweight champion, can thank Bad Stu Ledsam for still being able to hit a heavy bag.

    A few years earlier, Mr. Ledsam went into a burning home near his Seal Beach residence, and brought out an elderly lady, sparing her from certain death, for which he received a citation from the state of California and was honored for his bravery at a Sacramento ceremony. . .

    Last Add Characters: Shamefully, I forgot to mention perhaps the most zany one---and also among my closest friends the past 54 years---the Hall of Fame boxing publicist Bill (Bozo) Caplan.

    Bill (Bozo) Caplan (left) holding a World Boxing Council championship belt with the organization’s president Mauricio Sulaiman

    Actually, Mr. Caplan, now in his mid 80s who once had a spectacularly impressive tummy for his 5-foot-8, 325-pound anatomy, was an outrageous fellow and a close confidante of George Foreman going back to the former heavyweight champion's amateur days.

    Mr. Foreman even officiated at the marriage of one of Mr. Caplan's daughters, Liz.

    Mr. Caplan was celebrated for a lot of things---he's the only person to have worked for fight promoters George Parnassus, Aileen Eaton, Don Chargin, Don King, Bob Arum, Oscar De La Hoya and Dan Goossen---but it was his outrageous antics as a ringside announcer and publicist that earned him his well-deserved nickname that I gave him.

    At a fight press conference once in LA's Koreatown, one of the participants was 30 minutes late, which incensed the then bantamweight champion Lupe Pintor, who finally departed the scene in a huff and repaired to a car in the restaurant's parking lot.

    Of course, Bozo being Bozo, he wouldn't stand for such a rash act, and decided to be even rasher, laying his ample body in front of the vehicle for 15 minutes until the tardy other boxer finally showed up, and a picture of his goofy stunt was taken by an Associated Press photographer and it appeared in sports sections the next day around the country.

    Once at a fight at Caesars Tahoe where he was serving as the ring announcer, Bozo's microphone didn't work, which prompted the CBS sportscaster, Tim Ryan, to say over the air, ``Bozo Caplan is one guy who doesn't need a mike.''

    When he went on one of his endless diets and actually once pared down to 190, I incurred the wrath of his two daughters---his other one is named Debbie---during a meal at Michael's at the old Barbary Coast when I shrieked to him, ``Please, Bozo, put the weight back on, you look terrible without your trademark paunch.''

    At a match at Hollywood Palladium one Saturday afternoon, one of his pre-fight introductions inspired much laughter in a crowd that included Ryan O'Neal and Farrah Fawcett when he thundered, ``You saw this fine gentleman get chainsawed into pieces in Scarface, but he somehow survived that gruesome attack and is here today! Give it up for Pepe Serna!'' . . .

  • Is there a more fortunate team in the NBA playoffs than the Phoenix Suns, who swept Denver without its star point guard Jamal Murray, survived a 1-2 deficit against the Lakers when Anthony Davis went out with an injury and figure to survive the resilient Clippers without Kawhi Leonard?

    If Leonard had stayed healthy, the Clippers probably already would have been the Western Division champions and would be awaiting the NBA Finals. . .

  • A day seldom goes by any longer in Long Beach without someone getting shot, robbed or assaulted, yet the LB City Council keeps stripping the LB police department of much-needed personnel to the nodding support of the two most laughable figures at City Hall, City Manager Taciturn Tom Modica and Mayor Robert (Ol' Blood And Guts) Garcia. . .
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    Previously by Mr. Krikorian:

    The Many Memorable Characters I've Befriended Across The Decades, Including The Appropriately Named Preposterous One In Long Beach Known Far And Wide As Bad Stu Ledsam

    Krikorian Notes: From No-Bail Insanity To Government Handout Insanity To City Auditor Laura Doud's Exhaustive Investigation Of The Latest Queen Mary Bankruptcy Suitor Urban Commons To K-5 Kids Still Having To Wear Masks And Having Their Temperatures Taken To Novak DJokovic Being The GOAT Of Tennis
    Krikorian Notes: From Long Beach East Division Commander Chad Ellis And Naples Crime Buster Katie Rowe Teaming Up At Colonnade Park Gathering To Discuss Canal Congestion And Patio Thievery To My Earning a Five-Cent Film Residual To Earth Man Walking 14,650 Miles To The Belmont Shore Bridge Still Not Fixed To The Yokel LB Politicians Still Drooling Over The Queen Mary To Former LBSU Pitching Star Kevin Lamp Praising The Late John Gonsalves
    With Encouragement From Long Beach's Very Own Universal Man, Rick Bryson, Wilson High-LB State Grad Torey Edwards Is On The Threshold Of Qualifying For The U.S. Open, Not Impossible For The Only Amateur Golfer In History To Shoot Two Rounds Of 58
    Krikorian Notes Which Long Beach Tourist Attraction, The Queen Mary Or The Aquarium Of The Pacific, Loses The Most Money Annually To Jim Michaelian Excitedly Waxing Poetic About The Return Of The Acura Grand Prix To LB On Sept 24-26 To The Torn Fence Not Being Repaired On The Belmont Shore Bridge To Jim McCormack Going On A 14-Day Golfing Marathon In Oregon With Grandson Garrett To Dede Rossi Attending Seth Greenberg's Daughter Paige's Wedding At the Famous Greenbriar That Cost Ol' Seth $300,000
    From Expecting To Spend His Life Working In A Chemical Plant In England, The Boathouse's John Morris Has Come A Long Way From Peddling Women Dresses And Delivering Newspapers, As The Founder Of Legends And The Pioneer Of Pine Ave. Can't Wait For The July 3rd Resumption Of His Big Bang On The Bay Fireworks Show
    Sign Of The Times: To Donning A Mask At A Near Empty Blair Field To Keep A High School Baseball Game From Being Halted To The Zany LBUSD Superintendent Jill Baker Still Keeping Elementary Students From Engaging In Playground Activity
    The Beloved Sandra Headley, AKA Coachie, Climaxes Her Memorable 39-Year Tenure At Naples Elementary School With A Most Unusual Task
    Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia Takes A Victory Lap For His City Hosting The Undocumented Migrants, But The Estimated $35 Million Cost To Taxpayers Has His Critics In An Uproar, Including One, The Famed Bodyguard Mike (The Hammer) DiMarzo, Who Calls Mr. Garcia The Teflon Don Of LB
    Tommy O'Toole's Magical 12-Hour Day That Might Well Land Him In The Guinness Book Of World Records And, Who Knows, The Zany LBUSD Superintendent Jill Baker Might Be Destined To Wind Up In It, Too
    Why Don't Mayor Robert Garcia And His Marionette, City Manager Tom Modica, Come Out And Tell The Truth About How Long Beach Became A Lodging Sanctuary For More Than 1,000 Undocumented Kids?
    Why Have ALL The Long Beach Leaders Been So Silent On The Feds Placing A Contingent Of Undocumented Kids In Downtown LB?
    A Talk With Jerry West And An Emotional Remembrance For Me Of Still Another Friend, Elgin Baylor, Who Is Gone
    Frankly, I'm Surprised Long Beach Chief Of Police Robert Luna Didn't Think A Contingent Of Extraterrestrials From Another Galaxy Was Responsible For The LB Crime Wave
    The Creator Of Two Iconic Long Beach Dining Establishments, Schooner Or Later and Tantalum, LB Bachelor Denny Lund Also Has Been A Creator Of Glad Times
    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
    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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