As a long-term resident of Long Beach, I used to tune in once in a while to Mayor (Ernie) Kell's program, "Keys to the City." It was good for a laugh. I am not laughing since the Los Angeles Times' Dec. 9 article on the Long Beach Telecommunications Department and its $1.1 million budget.
Some unfunny aspects of "Keys to the City":
* The show is an obvious political vehicle. Treatments are upbeat and general; controversy is avoided. If the program is to be "educational," not political, then citizens should hear the truth, not, in the mayor's words, "that the city is doing a good job."
* The budget is an insult to taxpayers who must continually cough up more sewer fees, boat slip fees, sweeper fines and even consider a proposition to tax themselves for additional police protection.
* The city is not well-served by programming which glosses over real issues of crime, housing, gangs, etc. Kell says he avoids the "seedy" issues. If the mayor can publicly label AIDS a seedy issue, we are in big trouble.