Norm’s staff omissions
Seventy-five-year-old ex-Time Magazine honcho Norm Pearlstine, who took charge of the Los Angeles Times when it was finally purchased by billionaire physician Patrick Soon-Shiong last month, has handed the San Diego Union-Tribune, acquired in the deal, a compliment, though it was missing an important detail. “We aspire to cover California and the West Coast,” Pearlstine told the Columbia Journalism Review in a July 27 interview. “We have no one in Seattle right now, and we’re not as strong in Northern California as you’d expect. I say this without having any real sense of how quickly and how broadly we’re going to be hiring because I think until we figure out what we’ve got, that’s tough to say. For instance, the San Diego Union-Tribune has a very strong reporter based in Tijuana. Can we make more use of her work when we’re talking about immigration? That’s a very real question to ask. And are there other examples like that?”
The unnamed reporter Pearlstine made reference to is Sandra Dibble, a Columbia journalism graduate and Pulitzer prize team winner for the Miami Herald who has been on the U-T’s border beat since 1994. Meanwhile, as questions continue regarding how ambitiously Soon-Shiong plans to staff his papers with new hires, the U-T is seeking someone to replace another reporter who has announced his intention to leave the building. Last month politics writer Joshua Stuart announced he was going to law school. “If anything, this doesn’t close any doors for me in journalism — I may very well end up back in a newsroom with a lot of new student debt and new tools to do my job,” he tweeted. “In addition to covering county government,” says a U-T help-wanted advertisement for the new hand, posted late last week, “this reporter will stay on top of politics at all levels, including two high-profile congressional races heading into the November mid-term elections.”
The U-T’s online staff box continues to feature the names of other unreplaced former writers, including development whiz Roger Showley and one-time defense writer Jeanette Steele. Carl Prine, the paper’s most recent military scribe, has left to become editor of Navy Times. Andrew Dyer, an intern at the Voice of San Diego online news and opinion and ex-editor of the Daily Aztec, has tweeted that he is moving over to fill the spot.
Another vacancy still to be filled is that left by investigative reporter James DeHaven, who headed north for the Reno Gazette-Journal last November.
Copping cops’ cash
The tight race for second place in San Diego’s city council 8th district has turned into a big money nail-biter for the San Diego Police Officers Association’s political action committee, which dumped $18,464 — more than 30 percent of its expenditures so far this year — into the cause of Antonio Martinez. At most recent count, Martinez, a San Ysidro school board member backed by Assembly Democrat Lorena Gonzalez and Congressman Juan Vargas, is up by only three votes over rival Christian Ramirez, human rights director at the Alliance San Diego border coalition. In November, the winner will face off against the first-place finisher and fellow Democrat Vivian Moreno, backed by her boss, termed-out incumbent David Alvarez. After Martinez in the police spending derby came incumbent county District Attorney Summer Stephan, who easily bagged her election victory. San Diego cops showed up with $12,700 for her, about 21 percent of the PAC’s total spending. Next in line was another law enforcement incumbent, Sheriff Bill Gore, backed by $6363, or 10.1 percent of the police money. Republican Ex-D.A. Bonnie Dumanis, who made the runoff against GOP Assemblyman turned independent turned Democrat Nathan Fletcher for county supervisor, was the beneficiary of $3272, about 4.2 percent of the cops’ total Primary 2018 spend of $59,956.
Juan Torres, a staff member for Democratic Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, escaped with a warning from the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission after he took free passes valued at $480 from the San Diego Zoo, $10 over the maximum gift limit, and failed to reimburse the illegal difference last year. “Because you have no prior Enforcement history, you promptly rectified the violation by reimbursing the donor, albeit after the 30-day requirement, and the public harm was minimal since you properly disclose the gift on a timely-filed [Statement of Economic Interests], we have decided to close this case with this warning letter,” says a May 25 missive to Torres from enforcement chief Galena West. In April 2014, self-styled environmentalist Rendon, then chairman of the Parks, Water, and Wildlife Committee, iced a bill to stop killer whale shows at SeaWorld, saying more research was needed. The amusement park finally announced a phase-out of its Orca breeding and showing program in March 2016.