The city of Long Beach suffered an incredible loss over the weekend when Shaun Lumachi, publisher of the Long Beach Post, died in a vehicle collision while on a business trip in Florida. He was 33.The Post has extensive coverage of Lumachi's death. I just wanted to add my recollections. I met Lumachi in April of this year, shortly after the Post published its first print edition. I had e-mailed him to offer my congratulations, since I know first-hand how difficult it is to get a newspaper off the ground. Lumachi asked me to lunch and we met at Mambo Grill on April 20. He wasn't shy about sharing his goal to make the Post the "most-read media source in Long Beach by Jan. 1, 2015." It was an ambitious goal for sure, but with the steady decline of the Press-Telegram and dearth of other quality media sources in Long Beach, I had no doubt he could pull it off. He understood the value in community journalism, in filling a niche that larger, daily newspapers often overlook. We disagreed in a few areas, although it probably would be in bad taste to espouse on that here. But what he lacked in journalism training he made up with enthusiasm. I got the impression Lumachi wasn't one to take "no" for an answer. During our lunch we brainstormed ways our news organizations could benefit each other. Nothing really came to fruition, since the Post rarely ventured into Downey nor the Patriot into Long Beach. But it was nice to form the relationship since you never know what will happen in the future. A consummate professional, Lumachi sent me a letter after our lunch. "I enjoyed our talk and the opportunity to get to know you," Lumachi wrote. "I also appreciated hearing the great things you are doing and look forward to exploring mutual opportunities of interest between our two organizations." Normally, this is a type of letter I would read and then throw out, without another thought. But something inside of me knew Lumachi was someone special. I couldn't place my finger on it, but my intuition told me to keep his letter. So I pinned it to my corkboard where it stayed all this year and remains today. Lumachi and I kept in casual contact since, mostly on Facebook. As devastating a blow Lumachi's death is to the Post and Long Beach journalism, the real tragedy is that his wife, Dezire, is now a widow. My condolences to her and the rest of Lumachi's family. Shaun Lumachi died too young. But his contributions to Long Beach were extensive and surely will not be forgotten any time soon. • Well, this is it. This Saturday I'm getting married! And yes, that sentence deserves an exclamation point. And for the first time in my 10 years at the Patriot, I'm taking an extended vacation. A whole week off. I'll be poolside while on a 7-day cruise down to Mexico, soaking in the sun and sampling the best beverages Carnival has to offer. The talented Christian Brown will fill in while I'm gone. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also e-mail email@example.com for press releases, photos, etc. • Our annual end-of-the-year magazine publishes next week. You should be able to find a copy tucked inside your Patriot, but if it's not there, stop by our office for a complimentary copy. A big thank-you to everyone who contributed to the magazine, including our advertisers, most of whom are small business owners or involved residents. We sincerely appreciate your support of community journalism! • With the growing success of downtown and the Columbia Memorial Space Center, maybe the city should consider a regional marketing program to invite more people into Downey. It's not the same old Downey people may remember. • Roger Brossmer has a long list of goals he hopes to accomplish as mayor, but I'm most excited about his desire to repave Studebaker Road, south of Florence Avenue. That road isn't just crumbling, it seems to have taken mutant form. • For the first time, our newspaper is participating in a journalism contest. We're competing against other newspapers of similar size, circulation, etc. We'll let you know if we win. If we lose, I will pretend like I never really expected to win in the first place. • Does anyone else get phone calls from their mothers at 3:30 p.m. relaying information they received from the Dr. Oz Show?
********** Published: December 8, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 34