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L.A. police union wants San Diego newspaper writers fired


The union representing Los Angeles police officers is pressuring the owner of San Diego’s main newspaper to change the paper’s editorial stance on labor issues or to fire its editorial writers.

The  feud is rooted in the recent purchase of the San Diego Union-Tribune by Platinum Equity, a private Beverly Hills firm.

Platinum relies on a $30-million investment from the pension fund of Los Angeles police officers and fire fighters, along with large sums from other public-employee pension systems around the state, to help fund its acquisitions of companies. As League President Paul M. Weber views it, that makes the League part owner in the flagging Tribune and League officials are none to happy with the paper’s consistent position that San Diego lawmakers should cut back on salaries and benefits for public employees in order to help close gaping budget deficits.

"Since the very public employees they continually criticize are now their owners, we strongly believe that those who currently run the editorial pages should be replaced," Weber wrote in a March 26 letter to Platinum CEO Tom Gores.

Weber, in an interview, emphasized that the League is not demanding changes in the paper’s news coverage of the issue or in its staff of reporters. "It’s just these people on the opinion side. There is not even an attempt to be even-handed. They’re one step away from saying, ‘these public employees are parasites,’ " Weber said.

Bob Kittle, editor of the Union-Tribune’s editorial page, rebuffed Weber’s comments. While his staff has written several editorials critical of the benefit and pension commitments city leaders have made to San Diego’s five public employee unions, he denied Weber’s charge that the paper is out to hurt public employees.

"We are not anti-public safety or public employee," he said. "All of this has to be considered within the context of what the city can afford. A bankrupt city can’t provide any public safety very well."

Kittle said no one at Platinum or higher-ups at the paper had contacted him about the union’s request.

Mark Barnhill, a principal at Platinum, acknowledged the letter from Weber but declined to comment on whether the firm planned to take any action. In a recent interview with the Union-Tribune, however, another Platinum executive indicated that the League is wasting its time.

"Platinum has no editorial agenda," he said. "We will rely on the newspaper’s professional staff to ensure that its pages appropriately reflect the values of the community it serves."

-- Joel Rubin

Comments () | Archives (30)

This league of cops are nutz. Sounds like police censorship.

They’re one step away from saying, ‘these public employees are parasites,’

They are not one step away - they are parasites. Unions have no place in public jobs. They talk about them being the papers owners - hell that makes ME the unions owner and I would fire everyone of them.

Leeches are sucking at the public trough and there are no longer enough working people to pay all of these public union jobs and their frreaking pensions. No one else gets a pension or retire in 20 or 30 years - at least no one that isn't in a place that is failing like car companies and states and cities and the federal government.

ENOUGH already. Where do you think the money is going to keep coming from to pay you unionized public sector workers????????????

The same way the Times editorial page is pro-larger government without showing the opposite side, the Union takes another tact. Tell the cops that all media is not lefty liberal!

Public safety sucks up way to much of our tax dollars. Police & fire unions have our politicians in their back pocket

I agree that we need a well policed state and news media. We should not report the truth. The truth hurts. We have to remember WE THE THE PEOPLE. My brother works for the police dept. and I can see the differance in his thinking and the people that am around in the church and schools, its very sad. Just look at what certain dictators have done to thier countrys people, they have brain washed people into thinking that they are great and always right.

The PD and FD pensions are bankrupting cities. And we are all going to have to pay higher taxes and fees so these jokers can retire in comfort. Meahwhile our 401k's are going down the toilet. That is the truth of the matter.

These public employees are parasites.


Just shows what a bullly Paul Weber has become, along with his friend on the council Dennis Zine, they feel they should loudly try to throw their weight around. Weber was all over the rightwing talk radio programs for months opposing Chief Bratton and Weiss and supporting Zine's irrelevant "motion" long before they endorsed Weiss's opponent, even though he'd been the staunchest supporter of growing the police dept. and giving them what they need, in order to get even for not getting their way.

Actions like this demonstrate that Weber acts on behalf of the union without consultation or even knowledge of the rank and file, and this argument is especially specious. Law enforcement shouldn't intimidate media into favorable viewpoints.

Ironically, this paper has shown a strong bias in favor of the PPL/ Weber's positions and its editorial section made comments about Weiss that went beyond the pale of moderation or attempt at balance, while Zahniser's "hit pieces" on Weiss only all coming right before the election are noted around town and by a thankful Trutanich lobby. By Weber's logic, this paper's editorial writers and Zahnizer should be replaced by people more fair. Actually, that might not be a bad idea.

I stopped reading the UT several years ago precisely because of it's extreme right wing editorial page. I suspect this is also one of the reasons they've been losing readership. Under Kittle's leadership they've been relentless cheerleaders for failed conservative strategies designed to bankrupt public services and enrich the already wealthy. If this state wants functioning highways, parks, libraries, police and fire services, teachers, nurses and all the other public infrastructure that has been in a death spiral since Prop. 13 it's going to require raising taxes. Personally, I'd rather pay taxes than have to worry that my call to 911 is going to be ignored, my house is going to burn and my child is going to receive a substandard education.

Mr. Weber seems to forget that he works for the taxpayers of San Diego. Perhaps HIS owners should ask him to be replaced since he doesn't seem to understand that we taxpayers cannot afford the rich salaries and pensions his members receive. If WE don't have the money, there is none for him. As owners of him I vote to move all pensions into a 401(k) like the rest of us have.

This is why public employee unions should be completetly not allowed to even exist !!! Much less contribute money to any political cause or election, etc.]
Here we have an attempt at blatant extortion, and those in the LA police union should be criminally charged with extortion.
You or I would be !!!!!

The public employee unions, have become parasites.
Most public employees get 4 weeks vacation in their first year and at least one fire department tops out at 9 weeks 4 1/2 days. Pensions above the final salary. That is what they don't want you to know.

california is in an economic death-spiral in large part because of public employee unions and the insane high costs of benefits and pensions for these employees.

i hope the san diego union tribune doesn't give in to these thugs who try to tell them what opinions they can express and what they can't.

FYI LAPD Union, normal citizens look down on extortion. This is just one of the reasons why I will never support unions. They use their power in unethical ways to achieve their means. Why do they feel so threatened by opposing views?

I hope the newspaper stands up for it's democratic rights to print what it sees fit. Sounds to me like the Police Union has embraced communism.

So the police union feels disrespected, and now what's to impose it's will on someone else or risk reprisal... They sound more like a gang than public servants.

This is what you'll get when unions run everything.

America, your future is California. God help us all.

Unions are nothing but a protection racket for semi-competent 'workers"....cops, teachers, car assembly...whatever

Unions are antiAmerican today...time to end them.

Unions are against free speech and cop unions are among the worst...thugs in blue suits are still thugs.

"...officials are none to happy with the paper’s consistent..."
I don't know who should be fired at the U-Trib (it was always a lousy paper anyway), but I do know that the Times needs to hire a proof reader who knows that the phrase is "none too happy".

FTA: "It’s just these people on the opinion side. There is not even an attempt to be even-handed. They’re one step away from saying, ‘these public employees are parasites,’ " Weber said.

Wow - talk about a Freudian slip....

Dick Radaz's comment says it all. There should be no unions for public servants, it is a terrible mistake. One of the reasons we are in the financial shape we are is because public service unions of all stripes have used the threat of shutting down their services in exchange for lavish health, salary and pension benefits. No authority has ever dared to stand up to their demands and now we have a situation where we are bankrupt and they still refuse to give back their outrageous benefits. It's all over but the shouting at this point.

Thousands of school teachers, administrators, office workers and laborers are either completely losing their jobs or getting work cut not just in LA but all of California and the country. But at the same time COPS with nothing more than high school educations (GEDs count) start out making over 50K with full benefits. Get a few years on and you can easily be making over 100k with overtime and many only work 3 days a week. Yes, it's a stressful, dangerous, thankless job - boo-hoo, whose job isn't. We can all get killed commuting to work - only difference is EVERYONE is sacrificing or cutting back in this economy - why are cops exempt?

Let's focus on the main point of this article: Bob Kittle stinks! He and his personal - NOT community - agenda has driven our local paper into ruin. This purchase is a new chance for San Diego to have a paper worth reading- Kittle and his ilk need to go!

As for cynically bad-mouthing our indispensible public servants who keep our cities from crime, fire and ruin...they're our homeland heroes who put themselves in harm's way to ensure our country is the safest it can be. They deserve the middle class living and retirement they get and have every right to have some say in how it is invested, just like any account holder or investor.

This is why people hate cops.

Just shows what GARBAGE the unions are ............ can't stand the truth ???? ... Than try to surpress it. That's their answer.

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