CUDAHY — For Councilman Lynwood Evans, the problem was the press.
As Evans sees it, the several local and regional newspapers that cover Cudahy don't do a very good job of portraying some of the more positive aspects of the city. Or, worse yet, he says, they don't cover the community at all.
"Cudahy gets ignored," the first-term councilman said. "There are a lot of good things happening in this city, but they're never reported."
Always eager for a new challenge, the enterprising Evans decided to do something about it--he founded his own newspaper.
The first issue of the councilman's free tabloid-size publication, the Cudahy Review, is to begin appearing on lawns and front stoops of homes throughout the area next week.
In the meantime, Evans has published a special "preview issue" that he distributed this week to local businesses in an effort to woo their advertising dollars.
Although the budding publisher sees the weekly as something that will help boost municipal morale in Cudahy, an opponent of Evans looks at it a bit differently.
Councilman John Robertson, a vocal political foe, questioned whether Evans will use the newspaper as a mouthpiece, espousing Evans' views and excluding others.
"Although I've got nothing to base it on now, I'm sure that's probably the intent," Robertson said. "I have concerns that it's going to be nothing but another political rag."
Robertson, who has squared off against Evans on a number of issues, also raised doubts about the paper's viability in a small city like Cudahy, a mile-square municipality with about 18,000 residents.
"Is it really going to be a weekly paper or will it be a once-and-a-while kind of thing?" Robertson said. "I think it will fall on its face."
Evans, meanwhile, said Robertson's "jealousy and hate" would get him "nowhere."
"The paper is going to show what really happens in this community," Evans said. "I've always believed it was best to put the facts out and let people judge for themselves instead of putting opinion in.
"I might even put in a poem or two of mine now and then," Evans added. "Why not? Everyone says they're good."
A self-described "jackass of all trades," the 57-year-old councilman has little experience in journalism other than a short stint as a gossip columnist for his college paper in Jacksonville, Fla.
But what Evans found most interesting about newspaper work was selling advertising. "I sold more ads in a month for my college paper than the entire staff did in a year," he boasted.
Graduating with a business degree, Evans moved to Southern California and went on to hold a variety of jobs, ranging from work as an office manager to owning and running a poultry ranch. Today, Evans said he lives off his investments in real estate and "my good looks."
Never one to mince words, Evans is blunt about his business talents: "I can do most anything when it gets right down to the nitty-gritty."
With that kind of ability, Evans figures running a newspaper will be a snap. Evans will write most of the articles, but he has been aided on the production side by Marlene Leiva, a local real estate agent who publishes a weekly in nearby Huntington Park. The Cudahy Review operation is currently being run out of the councilman's house.