Letters to the Editor of the Sun should be sent to Editor Dennis Kaiser at dennis@sunnews.org. We love hearing from readers. Letters to the editor are what make it your newspaper, reflecting your community.

That said, don’t try to circumvent the decision-making process by sending submissions to me. Letters to the Editor should be sent to Dennis Kaiser at dennis@sunnews.org.


I hate spammers. Yeah, me and the rest of the human race. I suspect most spammers hate being on the receiving end of spam.

But to give the devil’s rejects the credit due them, they are getting smarter. I recently received an e–mail from someone offering to put me in “Who’s Who in the World.”

I wouldn’t qualify for “Who’s Who in Seal Beach,” much less the world.

I deleted it, set my spam-blocker to keep that sender from wasting my time again and moved on.

Shortly after I started covering crime for the Sun, I received an e-mail that allegedly came from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. It was spam for a product marketed to men. I hit delete and moved on.

Now I’m seeing spam responses to the blogs I write for both the Sun and the Catalina Islander. Some clever spammers have taken to saying, “I’m so disappointed,” or “watch your spelling,” which are far less likely to end up in the spam filter than a blog that says, “I agree with your issue.”

So far, state and federal laws haven’t caught up with the spammers. One state passed a law allowing individuals to take a spammer to small claims court to seek $1,000 per spam. I’m not crazy about that because one man’s spam is another man’s free speech. That said, I do wish spammers would come up with less offensive marketing methods.

Seal Beach officials are contemplating regulation of fishing on the city pier. Fishermen have, so far, been silent—perhaps because many of them are residents of other cities and don’t know their pastime has been targeted for regulation.

At the same time, there appears to be a growing market for bait in the area. In addition to the bait shop Pacific Coast Highway near the Seal Beach Boulevard intersection, the 7-Eleven store on PCH now offers bait and tackle. The liquor store on Main Street also offers bait.

Sun Editor Dennis Kaiser recently suggested a bait shop for the end of the pier. That’s unlikely to become a reality, for Director of Community Development Jim Basham told me today that the city is currently looking for a restaurant to replace Ruby’s Diner at that location. For that matter, the city’s Request for Proposals specifies a restaurant use for that space.

All the same, a bait shop could solve some of the problems that have led the City Council to consider regulating fishing. A bait shop or shack could provide both bait and a station for cutting bait. If the law allows it, perhaps a vendor could be given the authority to enforce the city code on the pier. That way, we wouldn’t need to take police officers or lifeguards away from their duties.

Today I give my first Cub Scout tour of the Sun for 2013. I hope I do well, but Cub Scouts are a tough audience.

I always look forward to these tours. They give me a chance to show off my favorite place: the Sun. The tours also give me a chance to talk about the newspaper business.

The rules are simple: The tours are free. Fridays only. Never on the last Friday of the month. After 3 p.m. is preferred. No infants The children have to be quiet. This is, afterall, a place of business. Appointments are required in advance. For information, call (562) 30-7555 and ask about scheduling scout tours. Girl scouts are also welcome. We do take pictures of the kids to be published in the paper.

Speaking only for myself, I won’t force a child to appear in a photograph if the child objects.

The Sun office is located at 216 Main St., Seal Beach.

The breeze nudged the balloons as I photographed the empty van. My editor wrote the story about the man who lived and ultimately died in it. I just snapped a few shots of the van in alley behind the 200 block of Main Street.

Thursday night, over a week after Don “Waldo” Autry was found in his van, I saw a small candle flickering on the hood. I also saw a bottle of alcohol under a windshield wiper. Flowers, balloons, candles and booze for a van—a community’s silent gesture of respect, love and sadness for a life lost.

I wonder: wouldn’t it have been nice if people had expressed those same sentiments to him while he was alive?

Would it have made a difference? Would he have had a traditional home instead of a van? Would he have lived longer?

No way to know. But those lovely gestures—the flowers, the balloons, the candle and the booze—can certainly do Autry no good now.

I’m hardly one to talk. I passed that van every morning and evening without knowing anyone was inside.

It is Friday afternoon, Feb. 1, as I write this blog. Most of the flowers have wilted, died and have been removed. The balloons have gone flat and have been removed. The candle and booze are gone. Two small, fresh, boquets of flowers have been tucked under the windshield.