(July 3, 2007) -- We wonder how many members of LB's Cambodian community, whose homeland was turned into the Auschwitz of Asia by the Khmer Rouge Communists, noticed an unrelated Press-Telegram photo some time ago that showed a bobble-headed figure of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro adorning the City Hall office of LB Vice Mayor Bonnie Lowenthal.
We're told that plastic toy (and other non-political bobble-heads in her collection) aren't in her office any more...but we think Vice Mayor Lowenthal owes the public an explanation for why she thought it was...what? -- smart? sophisticated? radical chic? funny? -- to display this dictator in her LB City Hall office.
We don't think LB's Cambodian community would think it's smart or funny to display a bobble-head of Pol Pot in the office of a LB Councilmember. They know that Cambodia's Khmer Rouge and Castro's regime share a similar political DNA.
A July 3 PT editorial didn't mention any of this but called the Vice Mayor's Cambodia Town agenda item part of an effort to honor Cambodian refugees. That's fine...but we think it's more likely part of her understandable effort to woo LB's increasingly politically active Cambodian community.
Cambodia Town put itself on the political map by putting 6th district Councilman Dee Andrews in office. In case you missed it, Vice Mayor Lowenthal is positioning herself to move up the political food chain to Sacramento (Assembly district 54 or 55).
What Vice Mayor Lowenthal and her Council colleagues could and should do for Anaheim St. businesses is to make that corridor and its surrounding neighborhoods safer by prioritizing spending and providing the additional police officers that Police Chief Batts has publicly said LB needs.
In the last two days, Vice Mayor Lowenthal had two more murders in her Council district. These accompany another recent killing near 14th St. Park. Refugees who fled death abroad don't deserve to face it on LB streets.
Finally, we'd support Vice Mayor Lowenthal -- or any LB Councilmember -- who supported requiring that the major July 4th exhibitions of fireworks from the Queen Mary and at LB's Veterans Stadium not use fireworks from the "Peoples Republic of China"...the world's most populous police state where (among other things) independent workers unions are forbidden and the internet is censored to suit the Party and State.
Unsolicited tip to Chris Pook: This would generate enormous publicity and we believe would draw even more people to LB's fireworks displays. Yes, this would likely cause mass vomiting at the Port of LB and in some City Hall offices. Has your supposedly independent SeaFest "Board of Governors" got the guts to do this if the gutless Council doesn't do it on its own?
Every day in LB should be one in which our elected officials show unflinching, unapologetic respect for democracy (literally: people power) in which the people run the government and not vice versa. Refugees from Cambodia, Cuba and other repressive regimes understand this...and we have much to learn from them about how precious our freedoms are.
Their presence here makes America and LB stronger.
Happy July 4th.