From Issue: Volume XX - Number 22
By Jay Beeler
We have suffered a great loss at the Beachcomber with the Oct. 17 passing of Marchelle Hammack Tosdal, our Arts and Entertainment writer from 2001 to 2009. Her “retirement” allowed time to deal with her illness, be with her family as well as submitting her final editorial piece in February 2011, a weekend getaway article on Palm Springs and the Palm Springs Follies.
Marchelle, her husband, John, and their daughter, Sedona, were the heart and soul of this newspaper for many years with John serving as our advertising director and helping our pages grow in the years prior to the “Great Recession.” John and Marchelle suggested that we utilize middle school students to deliver the paper and that’s when Sedona got into the newspaper business in her “tween” years.
On page two of this issue you will find a more complete biography of Marchelle, including her love for writing, family and life. She taught some English classes at Long Beach City College before joining this newspaper and – in addition to being a columnist – she was our proofreader and occasional writer of weekend getaway articles.
We were very fortunate to have the association with the Tosdal family for so many years with Marchelle touching our hearts and leaving a lasting, fond memory.
Last week the Baltimore City Council confirmed the appointment of Anthony William Batts to the position of police commissioner, much to my chagrin. During the last four years I have been willingly approached by more than a dozen Long Beach police sergeants and civilians who have provided me with background information on Batts such as:
* He quit his past two positions in advance of being fired by the city managers of Long Beach and Oakland
* He had no less than five domestic violence incident reports taken against him as a police officer, lieutenant and commander in Long Beach
* He was provided with the answers to sergeant and lieutenant examinations to propel a handsome, charismatic, silver-tongued, intelligent black man to the upper management ranks, despite his lack of ethics and honesty
* When he became chief he locked those reports in his office safe and eventually they were destroyed (a felony)
* As chief he lied under oath at a civil suit brought by three officers, causing the jury to distrust his testimony and thereby costing the City of Long Beach $4.1 million in judgments
* Two other California police departments in Inglewood and Oakland spurned Batts after doing thorough background checks
* He lied to the Baltimore mayor when he said that he prepared the strategic plan for the Oakland PD since it was another person that prepared that document for the Long Beach PD as well
* He lied to the citizens of Baltimore when he stated he had committed no illegal or unethical acts in his past
In time the citizens of Baltimore will learn that Batts is a liar, vindictive, arrogant, egotistical, a womanizer and mean.
The reason why so many local folks came forward to gave me specifics on Batts’ background was that they knew I was given the shaft as part of my Galaxy Towers fire misdemeanor arrest in March 2007. Former City Prosecutor Tom Reeves and his assistant, Tim O’Reilly, conspired with former LBPD bad cop poster boy Matthew Gjersvold to lie on the witness stand and maliciously prosecute me for a crime that was not committed and for which I was legally protected from prosecution under California law (PC 409.5d), pertaining to the rights of journalists at fires, accidents and natural disasters.
And not much can be said for the ethics of Superior Court Judge Jesse Rodriguez for being duped in that case by Reeves and O’Reilly, who put on false testimony and misled the jury. Their intent was to deter me from suing the city for false arrest and, so far, they’ve been successful. Perhaps some enterprising lawyer knows a few things about impeachable witnesses and the Pitchess Motion and wants to share in the prize at the end of this rainbow.
Soon I’ll be updating you on Matthew Gjersvold’s latest antics since he was terminated from the LBPD in 2009, arrested for multiple felony weapons violations in 2010 and sentenced to three years in state prison. He was released in December 2011 under “Criminal Protective Order NA084946 until March 2013.”
As an officer for the Long Beach Police Department Gjersvold committed multiple unpunished felonies prior to 2007 and got away with everything but murder – all under the watch of our “stellar” former chief of police, Commish Tony Batts.