Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

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)

Miss Chris, nice comments.

Why is everyone demonizing unions and the police department here? They have an incredibly stressful job. We should be lauding our police force. Not denigrating their service or education.

As a San Diego resident for over ten years, I can attest that the Trib has had an unwavering right wing slant on their editorial pages for years. They consistently portray one side of the argument. That's why I do not subscribe. I hope some new blood comes in a cleans house.

Sheesh...color me 'not surprised'...these guys are prime candidates for an episode of "Goons Gone Wild"...once a grunt,always a grunt,I guess.

Public Employees are parasites - and to think their average wage is 30% more than that of the private sector is criminal. These are supposed to be public SERVANTS working at OUR behest. They are typically people that couldn't even get a job in the private sector living off of the hardworking Americans that actually produce and innovate in this country.

It should be absolutely ILLEGAL for any government union to be in existence. We the People should have absolute control over our government since we pay for and fund it.

And now, they would have the audacity to try and blunt free speech in an "editorial"....they are nothing but thugs and they all should be tarred and feathered and then hung in the public square.

They are vermin and there should be a public outrage that drives all of them back into their slimy holes they crawled out of.

Poor fiscal management by both State and Local governments has caused both non-union members and union members to be at odds with one another....and the politicians are loving it. This problem was not caused by the laborer, but by poor fiscal vision by the law makers.

The low cost of defending drivers in traffic courts have increased and slowed down the traffic court system and allowed bad drivers to continue to drive legally in Florida and now California. The amount of defendants contesting their traffic violations is double the norm for the U.S. in Miami. Now this cancer is coming to California.

See "Minor Crimes and Massive Waste"
April 2009

« | 1 2


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: