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Wealthy Pacific Palisades entrepreneur buys local newspaper

January 30, 2013 | 12:31 pm

Alan Smolinisky at the Palisadian-Post
At a time when Alan Smolinisky’s peers have mostly traded paper for pixels, he doesn't own an iPad or a Kindle.

The Pacific Palisades resident is not much for social media and says he has never used Facebook or Twitter.

So it seemed fitting that the wealthy real estate entrepreneur satisfied a decade-long dream late last year when he purchased the Palisadian-Post, a decidedly low-tech, old-school paper.

The weekly has chronicled life in Pacific Palisades since 1928 and has been losing money. Smolinisky, a newspaper junkie, aims to turn it around.

"Pacific Palisades is my favorite place on Earth, and the Palisadian-Post is my favorite newspaper," said Smolinisky, 33. "I have a moral obligation to make sure this newspaper arrives every Thursday for as long as I live."

The broadsheet has endeared itself to residents by recording quotidian happenings — births, marriages and deaths — with a panoply of soccer games, high school graduations and Fourth of July parades in between.

The paper covers each year's first Palisadian baby, the Mr. and Miss Palisades contest, young residents' accomplishments and 50th wedding anniversaries.

Bill Bruns, managing editor since 1993, likes to joke that, if a resident of Brentwood won a Nobel Prize, the paper would not cover the story. But if the person lived in the Palisades, the news would land on the front page.

When Smolinisky and his friends were tykes, the Pali-Post ran photos of their T-ball and soccer games. When he was a teen, it carried stories about A&A Productions, a company he co-founded that put on dances in the Palisades.

"All the other papers are so serious and scary," he said. "The Palisadian-Post was never like that. It always had this hyper-local, fun attitude of 'we are the luckiest people on Earth to live in such an amazing, crime-free community.' " 

What other publication, he mused, would write about where the Department of Water and Power would put its new electrical substation? Or about the colorful gingerbread-themed house on Sunset Boulevard?

Or the house across the street from the gingerbread-themed house, the one where the Iranian immigrant erected dozens of Iranian and U.S. flags and a banner reading: "Long Live Iran and United States Peace."


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Photo: Alan Smolinisky, 33, center, talks with Palisadian-Post publisher Roberta Donohue, left, staff writer Laurie Rosenthal and managing editor Bill Bruns while visiting the Pacific Palisades offices in December. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times