Now, first up in the recaps department: Mom and Joe and I had a great time during their visit last week. My insistence on continually visiting the Westside meant we got to spend lots of quality time sitting on the 101 and 110, but they were good sports about it. I think they'd agree the highlights were dinner at Culver City's Ford's Filling Station, where I laid waste to a pair of Kobe beef cheeks that sat on a bed of rad corn risotto, and a visit to Huntington Garden in San Marino. You've never seen more damn cacti in your life. Really amazing joint. Thanks for a great visit, 'rents!
As I alluded to earlier, the Weekly canned seven people in the editorial department recently. It's been awful to sit and watch it all play out. These are good, talented people. The company had various reasons for getting rid of them, none of which really satisfied anyone. Not only are we losing staff capacity (most of these were position eliminations), but we're losing lots of brain power. In the case of the news editor, it denotes some sort of change in philosophy for that department. I'm holding my breath on that one, because News is my favorite section to edit. The new editor could very well be a great hire, so I'll keep an open mind. But the guy they canned was my favorite editor in the joint.
As a student of the field, it's been highly instructive to work in this sort of merger environment during the past year. I hope it's the only time I experience something like it, but print media ain't looking to ramp up its payroll anytime soon. Look alive, y'all.
In more L.A. media news, the Times has fired its editor, Dean Baquet, after he refused to make the deep newsroom cuts the paper's Chicago-based owner, Tribune, has been seeking. This has quickly become a mess and, frankly, an embarrassment for the city. Actually, Chicago should be the one that's embarrassed. The Times could be improved, but paring its already trimmed staff to cover an incredibly large and complex cityscape like SoCal isn't the way to do it.
Newspapers just aren't good public-company properties. When the Times is running a 20 percent margin and it's still not good enough for its corporate owners, there's something fundamentally wrong with the situation. There are a handful of L.A. billionaires looking to buy either the paper or Tribune as a whole. I'm not so sure that's the panacea many Angelenos think it is, but getting that great paper out of the hands of bungling Tribune is at least a step in the right direction.
How 'bout them elections, huh? The two foreign-born statehouse rock stars, Arnie and Granholm, staged a pretty spectacular 12-month turnaround to score impressive wins. Everyone knew the House was going Dem, but the Senate majority now makes things really interesting.
Of course, no one should expect a liberal renaissance, seeing as
- Most of the Dems who won did so as moderates or downright conservatives (Jim Webb's going to give his party fits, but thank goodness he won)
- This talk of bipartisanship coming from Bush should end just about ... now
- We only have two years till the next prez election, so expect lots of posturing and not much accomplishment
- The Democrats will screw it up in a hot second if they overreach from their majority position, although there are signs Pelosi is going to put a lid on the party going subpoena crazy
The way this election went made me just all the more wistful for good old Mark Warner. His profile fits what this electorate wanted to a molecular level. Maybe the mood will change in two years, but a pol with executive (running a state and successful company) experience, Southern pedigree (based in Midwestern common sense!), and balls to challenge both parties simultaneously would likely have these voters eating out of his hand. Really, a huge lost opportunity for the party and country.