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Nancy Worlie cleans house at KPBS

Helps to have connection with Fletcher-Gonzalez power couple

On Monday of last week, word began circulating that KPBS had dumped two longtime employees, director of news and editorial strategy Suzanne Marmion and executive producer Nancy Walsh.
On Monday of last week, word began circulating that KPBS had dumped two longtime employees, director of news and editorial strategy Suzanne Marmion and executive producer Nancy Walsh.

Adela’s changing of the guard

When San Diego State president Adela de la Torre took charge back in August of 2018, some questioned her $441,504 salary, while others wondered how much change the campus’s first Latina leader could wring from the hide-bound administration. In 2019, de la Torre’s total pay and benefits had risen to $598,531, according to TransparentCalifornia.org.

Adela de la Torre, tearing up the newsroom at KPBS

Now rumblings from one of the university’s power bases indicate the once-controversial ex-University of California Davis vice-chancellor of student affairs and campus diversity is, for better or worse, shaking things up. On Monday of last week, word began circulating that KPBS, the SDSU-owned and -operated public broadcasting operation, had dumped two longtime employees, director of news and editorial strategy Suzanne Marmion and executive producer Nancy Walsh. “I understand this may come as a surprise, and I acknowledge it’s coming at a tricky time,” wrote KPBS interim general manager Nancy Worlie in a cryptic memo to staff. “Please know we are in the process of developing a plan to address the interim needs and workflow for the department, as well as the long-term need for leadership of the KPBS News team.”

The shakeup happened almost seven months to the day after the retirement of KPBS chief Tom Karlo, a longtime fixture at the stations who in 2019 got $351,469 in pay and benefits. His predecessor, Doug Myrland, slipped into retirement on a state pension in 2008 following his cancellation of Full Focus without consulting viewers of the taxpayer-financed stations. “KPBS has been in existence for 46 years, and NEVER has it been a collective, or even a participatory democracy,” Myrland had stormed. “I make decisions in the same way every General Manager before me did. We aren’t elected officials — every budget line item and every personnel decision and every bit of information we collect is not everybody else’s business. Just because you give a contribution or pay taxes doesn’t give you the right to decide — or even influence — what goes on the air and what doesn’t.” According to TransparentCalifornia, Myrland collected $93,600 in state pension payouts last year. Worlie, who got total public compensation of $202,668 in 2019 as associate general manager before taking over as interim KPBS chief, is married to Paul Worlie, politically savvy chief of staff to liberal County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. His spouse is fellow Democrat Lorena Gonzalez, a member of the state Assembly. In 2019, Paul Worlie got $221,694 in pay and benefits from his Fletcher gig. That extensive web of public payroll connections — as well as the longtime KPBS ties to Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs, the wealthy La Jolla Democrat for whom the newsroom is named — has keen San Diego politics watchers curious about the ideological leanings of Nancy Worlie’s yet-to-be named permanent replacement.

All thanks to Irwin

Irwin Jacobs enriched Iranians who want to nuke Newsom.

A Beverly Hills Republican billionaire who backed establishment Ohio Democratic Shontel Brown’s successful primary bid for Congress last week has turned up among the latest donors to GOP ex-San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer. As reported by The Intercept on July 27, Neil Kadisha came up with $2000 for Brown, a Hillary Clinton favorite, on June 1 and $18,000 for the pro-Brown super PAC Democratic Majority for Israel on June 14. Kadisha, who gave $2500 to Faulconer for Governor 2021 on August 2, supported the reelection bid of Donald Trump in 2019 and gave to then-Vice President Mike Pence’s PAC, the account says. Besides prolific political spending, Kadisha is known for getting a $25 million deal last year on a mansion sprawling beside the green of the Los Angeles Country Club, initially listed for $8.5 million. “Though not exactly a household name, Kadisha has long been one of L.A.’s wealthiest men and remains a prominent member of the Nazarian clan, one of the world’s richest Iranian-Jewish families, whose fortune derives primarily from a lucrative early investment in tech giant Qualcomm,” Variety reported last year. Kadisha was on the Qualcomm board from 1988 until his resignation in May 2002. The L.A. Business Journal estimates Kadisha is worth $2.7 billion. Another Faulconer 2021 giver is Los Altos technology magnate Guy Gecht, who came up with $4800 for the former San Diego mayor’s gubernatorial hopes on July 30. In October 2014, the Associated Press reported that Gecht-run Electronics for Imaging Inc agreed to pay over $43,000 in back wages and penalties for allegedly paying workers brought from India as little as $1.21 per hour. “This is worse than anything that I ever saw in any of those Los Angeles sweatshops,” Michael Eastwood, a Department of Labor assistant district director, told the AP. “Although it is not among Silicon Valley’s high-profile companies, Electronics for Imaging is successful,” per the story. “The company earned $109 million last year and awarded CEO Guy Gecht with a pay package valued at nearly $6 million, including more than $1.2 million in salary and bonuses.”

— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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On Monday of last week, word began circulating that KPBS had dumped two longtime employees, director of news and editorial strategy Suzanne Marmion and executive producer Nancy Walsh.
On Monday of last week, word began circulating that KPBS had dumped two longtime employees, director of news and editorial strategy Suzanne Marmion and executive producer Nancy Walsh.

Adela’s changing of the guard

When San Diego State president Adela de la Torre took charge back in August of 2018, some questioned her $441,504 salary, while others wondered how much change the campus’s first Latina leader could wring from the hide-bound administration. In 2019, de la Torre’s total pay and benefits had risen to $598,531, according to TransparentCalifornia.org.

Adela de la Torre, tearing up the newsroom at KPBS

Now rumblings from one of the university’s power bases indicate the once-controversial ex-University of California Davis vice-chancellor of student affairs and campus diversity is, for better or worse, shaking things up. On Monday of last week, word began circulating that KPBS, the SDSU-owned and -operated public broadcasting operation, had dumped two longtime employees, director of news and editorial strategy Suzanne Marmion and executive producer Nancy Walsh. “I understand this may come as a surprise, and I acknowledge it’s coming at a tricky time,” wrote KPBS interim general manager Nancy Worlie in a cryptic memo to staff. “Please know we are in the process of developing a plan to address the interim needs and workflow for the department, as well as the long-term need for leadership of the KPBS News team.”

The shakeup happened almost seven months to the day after the retirement of KPBS chief Tom Karlo, a longtime fixture at the stations who in 2019 got $351,469 in pay and benefits. His predecessor, Doug Myrland, slipped into retirement on a state pension in 2008 following his cancellation of Full Focus without consulting viewers of the taxpayer-financed stations. “KPBS has been in existence for 46 years, and NEVER has it been a collective, or even a participatory democracy,” Myrland had stormed. “I make decisions in the same way every General Manager before me did. We aren’t elected officials — every budget line item and every personnel decision and every bit of information we collect is not everybody else’s business. Just because you give a contribution or pay taxes doesn’t give you the right to decide — or even influence — what goes on the air and what doesn’t.” According to TransparentCalifornia, Myrland collected $93,600 in state pension payouts last year. Worlie, who got total public compensation of $202,668 in 2019 as associate general manager before taking over as interim KPBS chief, is married to Paul Worlie, politically savvy chief of staff to liberal County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. His spouse is fellow Democrat Lorena Gonzalez, a member of the state Assembly. In 2019, Paul Worlie got $221,694 in pay and benefits from his Fletcher gig. That extensive web of public payroll connections — as well as the longtime KPBS ties to Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs, the wealthy La Jolla Democrat for whom the newsroom is named — has keen San Diego politics watchers curious about the ideological leanings of Nancy Worlie’s yet-to-be named permanent replacement.

All thanks to Irwin

Irwin Jacobs enriched Iranians who want to nuke Newsom.

A Beverly Hills Republican billionaire who backed establishment Ohio Democratic Shontel Brown’s successful primary bid for Congress last week has turned up among the latest donors to GOP ex-San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer. As reported by The Intercept on July 27, Neil Kadisha came up with $2000 for Brown, a Hillary Clinton favorite, on June 1 and $18,000 for the pro-Brown super PAC Democratic Majority for Israel on June 14. Kadisha, who gave $2500 to Faulconer for Governor 2021 on August 2, supported the reelection bid of Donald Trump in 2019 and gave to then-Vice President Mike Pence’s PAC, the account says. Besides prolific political spending, Kadisha is known for getting a $25 million deal last year on a mansion sprawling beside the green of the Los Angeles Country Club, initially listed for $8.5 million. “Though not exactly a household name, Kadisha has long been one of L.A.’s wealthiest men and remains a prominent member of the Nazarian clan, one of the world’s richest Iranian-Jewish families, whose fortune derives primarily from a lucrative early investment in tech giant Qualcomm,” Variety reported last year. Kadisha was on the Qualcomm board from 1988 until his resignation in May 2002. The L.A. Business Journal estimates Kadisha is worth $2.7 billion. Another Faulconer 2021 giver is Los Altos technology magnate Guy Gecht, who came up with $4800 for the former San Diego mayor’s gubernatorial hopes on July 30. In October 2014, the Associated Press reported that Gecht-run Electronics for Imaging Inc agreed to pay over $43,000 in back wages and penalties for allegedly paying workers brought from India as little as $1.21 per hour. “This is worse than anything that I ever saw in any of those Los Angeles sweatshops,” Michael Eastwood, a Department of Labor assistant district director, told the AP. “Although it is not among Silicon Valley’s high-profile companies, Electronics for Imaging is successful,” per the story. “The company earned $109 million last year and awarded CEO Guy Gecht with a pay package valued at nearly $6 million, including more than $1.2 million in salary and bonuses.”

— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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5

Describing de la Torre as "once-controversial" is putting it mildly. She was at the epicenter of a scandal at UC Davis that ended up in her boss, also a woman, being fired as chancellor. But instead of being fired too, she floated free and washed up here in San Diego as the new president of SDSU. At last report, her salary was the highest of all the campus heads in the CSU system. For that sort of price she should be doing plenty to shake things up and make the operation run better.

As for KPBS, the station chugs along, begging for contributions, and then ignoring the desires of its frequent listeners/viewers and most ardent supporters. Should those "public" stations be run by university campus bosses? Or might they be far better off if the community could participate via a foundation?

Aug. 12, 2021

KPBS "Where news matters". Is this really true?

Aug. 12, 2021

Have you ever found news you could use at KPBS?

Aug. 12, 2021

KPBS reports daily COVID news with interviews and statistics. Isn't that nice? We are desperately in need of more statistics! They kindly tell us about theater and symphony events and other arts. Important to know! They daily repeat the national and world news that NPR has already told us. But finding real news about San Diego is difficult. Voters can't benefit from symphony news- they need to know what our elected officials are doing. KPBS won't tell them. Of the hundreds of elected and appointed officials in San Diego, few are ever mentioned on KPBS, much less critiqued.

Has a KPBS reporter ever attended a city council meeting in any city within our county? Have they ever reported the content of a controversial school district meeting in any local district? Have they ever suggested that Cox or SDGE or AT&T are monopolies and charging us more than necessary? Have they ever questioned why developers focus on luxury housing when we have a desperate shortage of affordable housing? Have they been telling you about the current problems at Qualcomm?

Why do you think that is? Could it be that the politicians, monopolies, developers and businesses like Qualcomm are major donors to KPBS?

Aug. 12, 2021

More to the point, when has KPBS ever reported anything unflattering about San Diego State? No local medium that I'm aware of has called the recent demolition of a serviceable stadium (even if it was down at the heels) with decades of use still in it for what it was, madness. The CSU system is on a roll and this recent land grab to make the SDSU campus larger shows it. If this county needs more seats in a CSU institution, they should be well south of I-8, not plopped in already-overcrowded Mission Valley. KPBS is the last place where you can expect to see or hear anything critical of SDSU, as you might expect. Those who use KPBS as their news source don't want to hear discouraging stuff, especially about the operations of the county government, nor cities, not school districts, nor other local agencies.

Aug. 13, 2021

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