A new columnist will be updating the community on Huntington Harbour happenings. For details, visit www.sunnews.org and click on “Opinion: A view from the Harbour.”

We get letters. This week, letters looked at the drought, the government and alleged global warming. For details, visit www.sunnews.org and click on “Letters to the Editor: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014″

The Sun’s editor reflects on Valentine’s Day 2014. To read his column, visit www.sunnews.org and click on “Kaiser on a Roll: Valentine’s for everybody.”

I never had kids. My fading memories of Halloween are of my own adventures. I remember collecting candy for me and money for something called UNICEF, whatever that was, when I was small. And for March of Dimes, whatever that was.

In later years, I decorated my Long Beach house with scary headlines from newspaper front pages.

Now I watch co-workers pass out candy to children on Main Street while I try to think of something profound to say about the holiday that I will always associate with Charles M. Schultz’s implied lament over the commercialization of the holiday season.

And I smile, knowing that the best part of Halloween comes after the trick-or-treaters have gone home and the decorations have come down:

The 50 percent or more off after-Halloween candy clearance sales.

The thought almost makes me want to do the Snoopy dance.

I was on deadline at the Sun office on Seal Beach Main Street when I heard what turned out to be a car colliding with a store. At the time I wondered what it was and then guessed that two cars had collided.

I hit command save on the fire I was working on, grabbed my camera and ran out. Sun Editor Dennis Kaiser was already ahead of me. A crowd had already gathered. I overheard people say things that turned out to be imprecise at best or just plan wrong.

“Someone drove into the store.”

Someone accidentally backed into a flower shop. Fortunately, no one suffered life threatening injuries.

“Someone’s trapped under the car.”

That wasn’t true, but I feared it might be as I pressed forward to take pictures for the Sun. I remember thinking I didn’t want to see someone hurt. Does that count as prayer? I was relieved to see the vehicle was empty.

Dennis and our customer service rep Courtney Pettijohn gathered details as I went inside to call the police, add photos to the website and compose a couple of paragraphs for the online Sun.

This sort of thing is not the reason I got into community journalism. Some journalists say “If it bleeds, it leads.” Not my style, at least not anymore. (When I was young, I was a jerk.) But in our line of work, we have to be able to put aside our own feelings—and sometimes other people’s—and gather information. And stay out of the way of the emergency responders while we’re doing it.

And hope that it is a long time before I have to rush once more to the scene of an unknown event with a camera, bracing myself for the possibility that I’m going to be gathering news about someone being hurt. I’ll do it. That’s part of the job. But I’m here to chronicle the life of a community, not the spilling of someone’s life’s blood.

Congratulations to newly promoted Los Alamitos Police sergeants Chris Karrer and Rick Moore and new corporals Kain Gallaugher and Paul Barbieri on their promotions. Well done.

A formal promotion ceremony will be held Monday, July 15. For information about the officers, see the Crime Log in the July 18 print edition of the Sun.

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.

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.

I am working on a story about Seal Beach Leisure World that isn’t quite ready for press yet. While I was working on it, I got a call from Tim Bolton, president of the Golden Rain Foundation (the non-profit entity that runs the retirement community) and he answered those questions he felt he could answer. (Answering questions about a former employee is a tricky affair, so I can’t fault him for being cautious.)

I mention this, because Mr. Bolton apologized when he learned I did not receive a message that ought to have been sent.

That simple courtesy was a pleasant surprise. It isn’t unusual for people to simply ignore my calls and e-mails—sometimes because they are too busy and sometimes because they think if they ignore me the story won’t be covered by the press. That later reason for not responding does little good. If the press wants a story, the press will find that story and tell that story.

What makes Mr. Bolton’s apology for what was clearly an honest oversight important is this: unlike the house organ that is published by the Golden Rain Foundation, the Sun sometimes publishes negative news stories about Leisure World and we print letters to the editor criticizing the Foundation or one of the mutual benefit corporations that make up the community of Leisure World. Mr. Bolton could have simply ignored me.

I don’t know him very well. I cannot say we have a working relationship at all—I believe we’ve spoken three or four times, if that much. But so far, he has behaved graciously and professionally. That’s not true of everyone a reporter encounters. I thought the fact should be acknowledged.

This blog does not mean I’m going to change the way I cover Leisure World. Far from it. I’ll still be the outsider looking in. That’s my job. I only hope I can do it as courteously as Mr. Bolton has done his.

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to reach that former employee.