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NEWPORT BEACH : Peninsula Perspective: Balboa Blab Knows When Not to Shut Up

A weekly publication that started as a joke last summer is drawing a growing number of readers--and chuckles--from one end of Balboa peninsula to the other.

The Balboa Blab, given away at shops, coin laundries and wherever else its publisher can find readership, claims to have a circulation of more than 1,500 and is even experimenting with home delivery.

“The Blab is local, it’s home-grown, it’s got its finger on the pulse of this town,” said founder Jim Fournier, 55, whose first issue came out in late July. “At first it was just a gag, then it turned into sickness, and now it’s a full-blown epidemic.”

The Blab’s mission appears to be living up to its motto: “We are the people our parents warned us about. . . . See all, hear all, know all and blab all.”

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The paper includes the obligatory listings of events around town, like last week’s Art Fair. But it goes one step further, including jokes, funny tales and trivia.

As for letters to the editor, Fournier welcomes them but is pressed for space to print them.

“I get them all the time from people who love this thing,” said Fournier, a Navy veteran who is from Chicago but has lived on Balboa for 20 years. “One woman wrote me from North Dakota and said she used to live here and would like me to send her a copy every week so she knows what’s going on.”

Fournier, the manager of a Balboa apartment complex, says he gets his stories from people who call him up.

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He hopes to expand the four-page publication to eight pages eventually, he said, but for now his budget isn’t big enough. Fournier said he helps pay for the paper with a few local ads. He keeps his costs low by putting it together on his home computer.

“It’s pretty funny,” Fournier said. “People know me now. They say, ‘Hey, there goes the guy who writes the Blab.’ ”


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