So seeing the latest Miss Barstow news as an opportunity to turn around the bad PR the dusty desert town got a few years back, Barstow's city leaders decided to invite Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez to town for a PR tour. Lopez followed up his visit with a column: Truth and beauties at the Crossroads of Opportunity.
Interesting that as a part of the visit, Lopez was invited to attend the morning coffee klatsch with local influence brokers held at Leonard Purdy's Barstow Tire and Brake. It's been reported to TVT that Leonardy Purdy is the "Tony Soprano" of Barstow and that Barstow Tire and Brake is Purdy's (or Barstow's) version of the "Bada Bing!" club -- the place where the "Boss" and his boys gather to exchange gossip, hatch their plans and get their marching orders.
Lopez writes in his LA Times column:
There's plenty of backroom politics in Barstow, and more than a few critics of the mayor and council's plan for the casino, the awarding of big contracts and whatnot, so I'd have ample material to work with.It even appears that Barstow's "Boss" attempted to schmooze the LA Times's Lopez and set himself up with few "chits" by offering Lopez the favor of some discounted tires:
But I'm going to delay a decision for now.
At Monday night's City Council meeting, I did get a feel for Barstow's small-town charm when Mayor Dale honored the state champion cross-country team from Barstow High and declared Dec. 17 Raquel Beezley day.
The next morning, for my big tour, I joined the mayor and the beauty queen at Leonard Purdy's Barstow Tire & Brake, where local movers and shakers start each day with coffee and gossip. Or, as a sign says, "Will trade coffee for fish stories."
Even before Leonard Purdy said he could beat L.A. prices on the tires I've been shopping for, I had to admit that Barstow was winning me over.
You better hurry back to Barstow Mr. Lopez if you really want those tires because if you wait too long, some of your new Barstow buddies might be in custody. Oh, and don't hold you breath on the Walmart Distribution Center, new home construction by the thousands or the scheme for side-by-side Indian casinos ... Barstow's Mayor has been promising those windfalls for the last seven years and none of those milestones are anywhere in Barstow's near future.