Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

I've been accused of being a perfectionist more than a few times during my career.

And they usually say it like it is a bad thing.

I think we all strive to be as good as we can be, and I know I try to turn out a perfect paper every week. And I guess this is where being a perfectionist is a bad thing.

Because the paper's never perfect.

I take every mistake made personally. Whether it's a misplaced comma or a misidentified photograph, I feel like I should have caught it and fixed it.

In my younger days, this feeling often translated into physical manifestations of dissatisfaction — a fancy way of saying I got mad, and let everyone around me know it. It wasn't good for me, or for them.

I figured that out, and have managed to contain my anger for the most part in recent years (or the docs finally got my medication right). But that doesn't mean I accept mistakes — especially when I'm the one who makes the mistake.

And I made a doozy last week. It was in the In Closed Session column where I talked about campaign donations to the various municipal candidates, and attempted to provide some insight into the meanings of it all.

I thought I had found an anomaly in the list of donors filed by Suzie Price, who is running for a second term as the Third District City Councilwoman. Price's day job is as a deputy district attorney in the Orange County District Attorney's office. In other words, she prosecutes the bad guys.

That usually means the police would be her friend. Police officers rely on prosecutors to complete the process of justice, and prosecutors rely on police to get them the proof they need to do their job.

So I thought it was strange when I couldn't find a donation to Price from the Long Beach Police Officers Association (LBPOA). The cop union had donated to almost all of the other municipal candidates, so it wasn't as if they were waiting for the opportune time.

I went back through the list again. Of the 32 pages in the financial reporting form, about 26 are lists of donors. I thought I went through each one carefully. Still no LBPOA.

So I went ahead and mused in the column, wondering why the cops had snubbed Price. It was an interesting tidbit, I thought.

Only they hadn't — snubbed Price, that is. A donation had been made, and made early. See Mr. Foster's letter for verification. It was the maximum the police could donate, $400.

This is not the sort of thing I like to hear early on a Thursday morning. Emails went back and forth, Price gave me the page where the entry appeared. And there, at the bottom of the page, was the report detailing the donation.

Price said not to worry about it, no big deal. She also mentioned how she had spent most of her career forging close working relationships with the police.

And it was a big deal to me. These days that sort of mistake has a way of resurfacing months from now in attack ads or false news. And I would be cited as the source.

So I've done what I can to rectify it. There's an explanation on our website, and I'll link this column to it as soon as I can. And I apologize, Suzie.

I've discovered as I reach some sort of maturity that I'm really a broken human being, relying on the grace of God and the patience of my community members to get through the day. That doesn't mean I'm going to accept the mistakes I make — not going to allow that. One of these days, I'm going to publish the perfect paper.

But until then, I'll try to lower my expectations to human level. And that's not perfect.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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