Chet Barfield, who covered Native American affairs and casinos extremely well for many years, is one that Zschiesche thinks has a good case. A year before the December Massacre, Barfield was reassigned to cover neighborhood stories. “They certainly didn’t need somebody with my experience or expertise to do these stories,” says Barfield. “I was a senior person near the top of my pay scale” and in a job for which he was overqualified. “A year earlier, when I was Indian affairs specialist and knew more about the tribes and casinos than others, I would have been less vulnerable,” he says. But in the December Massacre, “The company had made it clear that it was trying to save money,” so he figured he had more than a 50 percent chance of having his head lopped off. He is unemployed and has applied for jobs with no offers. He appeared before an administrative law judge on Tuesday, April 8. There has been no decision, but he is not optimistic. UC eXpress was not at the hearing, although it was listed as a party. Barfield’s impression was that he was fighting the Employment Development Department more than he was fighting the Copley representative.
The explanation for the fierce battling of unemployment claims may be that Copley and the State of California are both on the financial ropes. But so, too, are those who took the buyouts with a gun to their heads. Even those who got a year’s pay did not reap a windfall. Rose notes that newspapers “were a lucrative industry for the better part of a century; they should share a piece of the proceeds.” But Copley has never seen things that way.