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In early December, the Union-Tribune said it intended to cut 43 jobs in the newsroom. Those who got in line first could take a buyout, and 29 did. That leaves 14 to be laid off and to get a much smaller buyout package. Employees expected the decks would be cleared by yearend. It hasn't been. On Jan. 9, Editor Karin Winner wrote a brief note to the staff, acknowledging that "the frustration and anxiety level is high right now." She added, "We are in the midst of designing an infrastructure for a new organization" that will "adapt to a smaller news staff." But as far as I can determine, there is no word on the 14 who will go to the gallows. The newsroom had a second announcement on some personnel shifts, but it was routine stuff. As the old pun goes, "No noose is good news," but most would rather get it over with.

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Comments

Anonymous Jan. 12, 2008 @ 7:58 p.m.

It's too bad, Don, and reflective of newsies in general, that after 30 years in management at the UT you have no reliable contacts in the larger organization. There are people who know exactly what is going on -- be they in HR or accounting. Instead, the insular newsies consult their tea leaves and crystal balls to figure out what is happening all around them. I do recall two funny events when you came onto the HR radar screen: newsdoll Karin Winner came to complain that you were notorious for sharing off-color jokes in your office. Whatever could she do, she asked. She was told point blank to tell you point blank to knock it off. Another time, with typical lack of nerve, la Winner suspended you for a week over some issue with the ballpark, but then stayed the execution. Refresh my memory on that.

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2008 @ 9:08 p.m.

Response to post #1: I do have reliable contacts both inside and outside of the organization, but many of my contacts are former employees, mainly because of age, retirements, etc. But they have good contacts. Yes, I used to tell dirty jokes (still do) but that specific incident occurred when they were trying to harass me over my opposition to corporate welfare -- specifically, the football stadium and ballpark giveaways. That dirty joke angle was just another pretext. Yes, I was suspended for a week without pay for showing up at a community forum and giving my opposition to the Chargers 60,000 seat guarantee. The suspension was engineered by Herb Klein, who was publicity director/lobbyist for both the stadium and ballpark deals even though his title was editor of Copley Newspapers. They told me it was a gross conflict of interest for me to express my point of view on any civic topic. I reminded Winner that the late Jack Murphy had set up a slush fund to pay Don Coryell under the table when he was Aztecs coach. Murphy had also twisted the arm of the L.A. Chargers owner to get him to move to San Diego. The Sports Section had just written a puff piece lauding Murphy for such actions. Weren't those conflicts? No, I was told, they weren't if Murphy was taking positions that management favored. Since I was taking a position management disliked, I was guilty of a gross conflict of interest in expressing my opinin. I asked if it was a conflict for Klein to be publicist/lobbyist for the stadium deal and 60,000 seat guarantee while he was editor of Copley Newspapers. I was told he was a "special emissary" of Helen Copley. I still chuckle over these explanations, and have kept the paperwork. The penalty was not stayed. I served a week's suspension without pay for expressing myself. I had been doing it for 25 years on all kinds of topics, and figured columnists were supposed to do that. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2008 @ 9:50 p.m.

I can't understand the rationale for your suspension. You wrote many columns agruing against the new ballpark, the Charger subsidy, and corporate welfare in general. I always thought that UT management published your columns out of fairness, to counterbalance the postive spin the paper put on the sports and redevelopment deals in general.

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Anonymous Jan. 12, 2008 @ 9:56 p.m.

You also wrote several columns that stated using taxpayer money to build stadiums never results in any economic benefit for the surrounding community and is often a drain on the economy/tax base. Why would UT management allow such columns to be published? It appears that UT management had some tolerance for opposing opinions as evidenced by your columns.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2008 @ 8:26 a.m.

Response to post #3: The suspension without pay came early. I had opposed the Chargers deal, particuarly the 60,000 seat guarantee early on -- beginning in December of 1996 and in early 1997. Herb Klein tried to institute a policy that no columnist could take a position opposing the position of the paper. It was in this period, in the opening months of 1997, that I got the suspension. It was a scare tactic. After I returned, I was told I could continue to write columns on the topic (although some were killed by Editor Karin Winner), and I could speak up in public if I would always say that I was speaking for myself and not the newspaper. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2008 @ 8:44 a.m.

Response to post #4: Economists who study the subject are almost unanimous that subsidizing pro sports facilities does not stimulate the surrounding economy. Recall that the Chargers promised to be responsible for building a large number of hotels in the ballpark district: the TOT tax would pay for debt service. The project would be economically neutral. It didn't happen. Instead, condos went up. They have been purchased to a great extent by speculators and out-of-towners who are in San Diego only a few weeks a year, if at all. The condos are generating property tax but not sales tax receipts. CCDC claims that the ballpark was a catalyst for construction within a 60 -- repeat, 60 -- block radius of the ballpark. That is ridiculous. Some of the condos near the ballpark went up because of the deal, but those within the 60 blocks mostly went up because interest rates were at 50-year lows, and CCDC knows it. The ballpark is a $12 million to $15 million annual drain. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Jan. 13, 2008 @ 10:50 a.m.

You should also mention that many of the owners who originally owned the land on which those downtown condos were built had the land stolen out from under them and were forced to sell their properties to redevelopment agencies at fire sale prices. Including the Frost family, who was forced to sell their square block lumberyard for pennies on the dollar to a politically connected developer so he could cash in.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2008 @ 12:24 p.m.

Response to post #7: You are correct, and those people had been encouraged by the City to have their businesses in that district. John Moores was able to take over the land at a lowball price and sell it to condo builders at a high price, instead of the hotel builders that he had promised. Best, Don Bauder

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