Archive for January, 2013

This week I updated the story about the DMV’s seizure of license plates of 12 graymarket mini-trucks in Avalon last September.

I sympathize with the 12 Islanders who had their plates confiscated, but there’s a reason the so-called graymarket has its name. While not overtly illegal—like the “blackmarket—neither is it a perfectly proper market. You may get a bargain circumventing regulations when you buy graymarke, but you may also be left without support if your product doesn’t perform as expected—or a government agency says you shouldn’t be allowed to use the product. That’s what happened here on Avalon with the graymarket mini-trucks. I don’t believe the truck owners planned on breaking any rules, but they should have at least wondered out loud why the cars had the driver’s wheel on the “wrong” side of the car.

Avalon officials are trying to help the buyers of these cars. Fair enough. I honestly believe these individuals did not realize they were breaking the rules. But I’m going to be less sympathetic if this happens again any time soon. You can object to rules, you can protest rules, you can write your legislative representative and ask that he or she change the rules—but you have to abide by the rules.

It’s a shame Catalina will have to wait a year for the second cruise ship to arrive, but the news that Carnival will send a second ship to the Island is very good news indeed.

Tourists bring dollars, obviously, but each happy tourist is a walking ad for the Island–an ad no one has to pay for. That fact alone places the second cruise ship on the positive side of the ledger.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that the tourists will come during the winter season, when the Island needs all the boosting it can get. Off season traffic keeps Avalon alive.

I don’t write enough good news stories. The nature of my work requires me to occasionally write about negative things. So writing about the second Carnival ship coming to Catalina was a boost for me as well as the Island.

Islander Editor Dennis Kaiser also reported on the potential expansion of Catalina’s cable TV offerings. Even more good news. Tourists like their TV, so that’s another plus for the Island.

All in all, a good week for Catalina. Let’s hope for more.

Once you heard his voice, “California’s Gold” host Huell Howser stayed in your mind forever. It has been at least a decade since I saw one of his programs and I can still remember his distinct cadence.

The human interest stories he told weren’t my thing. I’m a hard news guy and therefore interested in hard news. Yet as I grow older, I have more appreciation for the “soft news” that Howser specialized in. They aren’t the stories I do best, but I’m glad someone was there to tell them—and suspect my industry would be more respected if there were more Howsers telling more “soft” stories.

As for the man himself, Howser made California a better place, gave people pleasure and earned a living doing both. Not a bad epitath for anyone.

The last Howser show that I ever watched ended with Howser saying he came away with “memories that will last a lifetime.” In fact, he specialized in giving his viewers memories that will last a lifetime.

Memories of Howser will last a lifetime for millions of Californians and thousands of Catalina Islanders. And as long as he’s remembered, he won’t really be gone.

Thanks, Mr. Howser.

It’s too soon to assess 2013. The only thing we know for sure is, the year just started. The Islander has finished its annual review of the year just past.

Promoting tourism will remain a critical issue on the Island. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Harder to figure out are what stories you folks would like to hear. We’d like to know what stories you’re interested in as we begin the New Year … and hope that the number 13 proves lucky overall for Catalina Island (and our friends overtown).