From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 13
By Jay Beeler
Every day that I go to our Los Altos Post Office box there’s usually someone outside begging for money. If they are vocal about it my response is “no thanks” and move on.
On April 12 at the PCH/Clark 7-Eleven, a black man, Jerry Payne, 63, had a flammable substance tossed onto his lap by another black man, Raymond Clark, 38. Clark was known to frequently solicit money in the general area of our offices, but I only noticed him once when he exited one of the stairwells in our building, where he was known to sleep. Apparently our newspaper delivery at 4 a.m. on a Friday morning interrupted his dreams.
Payne died from his generosity of giving to beggars, even to the point of going home a few blocks away to retrieve a jacket to hand out on a cold night. I am convinced that Payne and Clark had words prior to April 12 about “getting a job.” It must have been ugly for Clark to have the equivalent of a Molotov cocktail prepared for their next encounter. He was charged with murder and is awaiting trial.
Just last week a woman in Hollywood was stabbed to death for refusing money to some homeless men, but in that situation she foolishly took a photo of them and refused to give them a dollar in return. An important rule in life is to ask permission before taking someone’s photo, unless it’s a crowd situation.
When you give to a charitable cause, it is wise to know where the money goes and that at least 70 percent will be used for research or helping others. I recently read an online report that flagged these “charities” as the worst in the nation in terms of how much actually went toward helping others:
* Kids Wish Network (2.5%)
* Cancer Fund of America (0.9%)
* Children’s Wish Foundation International (10.8%)
* American Breast Cancer Foundation (5.3%)
* Firefighters Charitable Foundation (8.4%)
* Breast Cancer Relief Foundation (2.2%)
* International Union of Police Associations (0.5%)
* National Veterans Service Fund (7.8%)
* American Association of State Troopers (8.6%)
* Children’s Cancer Fund of America (5.3%)
Generally telephone solicitors calling on behalf of children, animals, firemen, peace officers, veterans, cancer or some other health fund are a fraud and should be avoided. The key word here is “telephone”; if they don’t put it in writing they can’t be tracked down and put out of business.
Local organizations are mostly good. I’ve been chairman of the board for the Arthritis National Research Foundation and the local chapter of the American Heart Association and know that monies collected are going to the intended purpose. Ditto that for the American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, American Lung Association and youth-oriented organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, Boy/Girl Scouts of America, Assistance League of Long Beach, Goodwill Industries and others.
As a member of the Rotary Club of Long Beach I can tell you that we donated $597,500 this past year for local and international purposes, including $325,000 so that 227 deserving students could attend Long Beach City College and California State University Long Beach. Most of the monies we raise go toward local youth or education purposes. If you’d like to join in that effort simply contact the Rotary office at (562) 436-8181.
Other service clubs like Lions, Optimist, Kiwanis, etc. are equally working hard to make our world a better place. The bottom line is that if they have a local presence — even if it is a national organization — chances are your money will go to a good cause. Telephone solicitation? Hang up. Beggars? “Sorry, not today.”
Speaking of solicitors a volunteer working on behalf of Damon Dunn for Mayor came to our home on Sunday. Between our barking Molly dog and visiting grand dog Cody I find it best to protect and communicate with strangers through the nearby window. The visitor left a piece of literature at the door and asked if there was anything Damon could do to get my vote. “Sure, I’ll vote for anyone who will get rid of that damned plastic bag ban.” And I mean it.
Gerrie Schipske is off and running for mayor as well. Although she has a way of offending some fellow council members and the current mayor, I must admit there’s no lack of creativity on her part for cutting expenses and making government more transparent. But can you be a concensus-building mayor while going against the grain?
Steve Propes has a story on page one about a Schipske suggestion to use the office buildings at Clark Avenue and Spring Street for City Hall purposes, since the current structure is deemed structurally unsafe during an earthquake. Will it happen? I doubt it, but I continue to be impressed with her ability to think outside the box.
What do you think about bringing City Hall to the Fifth District? Go to our website at www.longbeachcomber.com to vote ya, nay or otherwise. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.