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L.A. Times ventures onto Instagram and TikTok

Toni Atkins sucks cash from apartment owners

From the LA Times' hype of the venture: “404 is a team of creators, artists, filmmakers, writers and makers of all kinds (including a puppeteer)...."
From the LA Times' hype of the venture: “404 is a team of creators, artists, filmmakers, writers and makers of all kinds (including a puppeteer)...."

CSU San Marcos’ wayward sabbaticals

California State University San Marcos has allowed its professors to take off on inadequately reviewed sabbaticals, says a March 18 audit report from California State University vice chancellor and chief audit officer Vlad Marinescu. “Faculty members who request [Sabbatical Leave] must submit a professional leave proposal form and [a Sabbatical Leave] application that includes a statement of purpose, a description of the proposed project, a list of campus resources, and the amount of time requested. Applications are reviewed and evaluated by a professional leave committee before being submitted to the provost for final selection and approval.

Vlad Marinescu took a bat to casual sabbatical attitudes.

Additionally, faculty members who take [Sabbatical Leave] must submit a written report of the leave’s activities to the provost by the date specified on the provost’s letter,” says the document. But that wasn’t always what happened. “In four instances, the [Sabbatical Leave] application was submitted to faculty affairs, as well as the college dean; however, a copy was not provided by the faculty member to the department chair.

In four other instances, there was no documentation to verify that the department chair received a copy of the [Sabbatical Leave] application from the faculty member, as required by the campus [Sabbatical Leave] policy. Also, in three instances, a copy of the impact statement was not provided to the college dean. The [Sabbatical Leave] policy requires the department chair to provide the impact statement to the vice president for academic affairs, with a copy to the college dean.”

Instagram for the U-T, too?

More hints that the Los Angeles Times and its sister paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, are being prepped for an ignominious online afterlife came in a June 1 announcement of a new electronic undertaking called 404 by L.A. Times. “404 is a team of creators, artists, filmmakers, writers and makers of all kinds (including a puppeteer) and is the first-of-its-kind collective in any major U.S. newsroom,” says the paper’s hype of the venture, debuting next week on Instagram and TikTok.

“404 is ushering in a new era of audience engagement at The Times and rewriting the rulebook for how a ‘paper’ exists online,” per the item. “The team exists in the furthest corners of the internet. Their formation is vital for the future of The Times, but their work might come across as a glitch, a hack, a page you landed on by mistake.” Adds the notice: “Their content will be akin to what lives on an LAT finsta; think of 404 as our official burner account.”

Finsta, per USA Today, is “a combination of the words “fake” and “Instagram” used to represent someone’s hidden, personal account.”

Quid pro cash flow

San Diego Democrat and state Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins continues her lucrative campaign cash relationship with wealthy California landlords. As noted here May 11, a campaign fund registered with the state Secretary of State’s office as California Works: Senator Toni Atkins Ballot Measure Committee received $50,000 from the California Apartment Association PAC on April 26. That same day, the PAC gave $8100 to the Toni Atkins for Lt. Governor 2026 committee. On April 26, the apartment association’s website reported that, “Continuing to work its way through the state senate this week is a [California Apartment Association]-sponsored bill that would offer financial relief to landlords who’ve been deprived dollars from the COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program.”

The legislation, drafted by Atkins’s fellow Democrat Melissa Hurtado, would “provide state dollars to rental owners who’ve gone without rent and whose tenants either won’t cooperate in the [Emergency Rental Assistance Program] application process or don’t qualify for the assistance.”

Melissa Hurtado: Won’t somebody please think of the landlords?

Now the April contributions have turned out to be just the beginning of apartment cash for Atkins. On May 20, a new filing reveals, the apartment owners PAC came up with $25,000 more for the Atkins ballot measure committee. On May 26, the association told members via its website that on May 25, “the Senate approved Sen. Melissa Hurtado’s COVID rent relief bill on a vote of 36-0.” The measure then headed for the Assembly, where apartment owners have already begun spreading around their political largesse, including $15,000 on May 17 to Cupertino Assembly Democrat Evan Low’s Ballot Measure Committee to Innovate for California’s Future.

The same day, a host of Assembly incumbents picked up four-figure reelection campaign cash infusions from the apartment owners association PAC (bringing the committee’s contributions for each to the maximum $4900 for the primary), including Wendy Carrillo, Sabrina Cervantes, James Gallagher, Vince Fong, Laurie Davies, Phillip Chen, Heath Flora, Devon Mathis, and Suzette Martinez Valladares. Jacqui Irwin got $3900.

— 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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The Camp Pendleton Marines who formed the “friendly invasion” in Paekakariki, New Zealand

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From the LA Times' hype of the venture: “404 is a team of creators, artists, filmmakers, writers and makers of all kinds (including a puppeteer)...."
From the LA Times' hype of the venture: “404 is a team of creators, artists, filmmakers, writers and makers of all kinds (including a puppeteer)...."

CSU San Marcos’ wayward sabbaticals

California State University San Marcos has allowed its professors to take off on inadequately reviewed sabbaticals, says a March 18 audit report from California State University vice chancellor and chief audit officer Vlad Marinescu. “Faculty members who request [Sabbatical Leave] must submit a professional leave proposal form and [a Sabbatical Leave] application that includes a statement of purpose, a description of the proposed project, a list of campus resources, and the amount of time requested. Applications are reviewed and evaluated by a professional leave committee before being submitted to the provost for final selection and approval.

Vlad Marinescu took a bat to casual sabbatical attitudes.

Additionally, faculty members who take [Sabbatical Leave] must submit a written report of the leave’s activities to the provost by the date specified on the provost’s letter,” says the document. But that wasn’t always what happened. “In four instances, the [Sabbatical Leave] application was submitted to faculty affairs, as well as the college dean; however, a copy was not provided by the faculty member to the department chair.

In four other instances, there was no documentation to verify that the department chair received a copy of the [Sabbatical Leave] application from the faculty member, as required by the campus [Sabbatical Leave] policy. Also, in three instances, a copy of the impact statement was not provided to the college dean. The [Sabbatical Leave] policy requires the department chair to provide the impact statement to the vice president for academic affairs, with a copy to the college dean.”

Instagram for the U-T, too?

More hints that the Los Angeles Times and its sister paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, are being prepped for an ignominious online afterlife came in a June 1 announcement of a new electronic undertaking called 404 by L.A. Times. “404 is a team of creators, artists, filmmakers, writers and makers of all kinds (including a puppeteer) and is the first-of-its-kind collective in any major U.S. newsroom,” says the paper’s hype of the venture, debuting next week on Instagram and TikTok.

“404 is ushering in a new era of audience engagement at The Times and rewriting the rulebook for how a ‘paper’ exists online,” per the item. “The team exists in the furthest corners of the internet. Their formation is vital for the future of The Times, but their work might come across as a glitch, a hack, a page you landed on by mistake.” Adds the notice: “Their content will be akin to what lives on an LAT finsta; think of 404 as our official burner account.”

Finsta, per USA Today, is “a combination of the words “fake” and “Instagram” used to represent someone’s hidden, personal account.”

Quid pro cash flow

San Diego Democrat and state Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins continues her lucrative campaign cash relationship with wealthy California landlords. As noted here May 11, a campaign fund registered with the state Secretary of State’s office as California Works: Senator Toni Atkins Ballot Measure Committee received $50,000 from the California Apartment Association PAC on April 26. That same day, the PAC gave $8100 to the Toni Atkins for Lt. Governor 2026 committee. On April 26, the apartment association’s website reported that, “Continuing to work its way through the state senate this week is a [California Apartment Association]-sponsored bill that would offer financial relief to landlords who’ve been deprived dollars from the COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program.”

The legislation, drafted by Atkins’s fellow Democrat Melissa Hurtado, would “provide state dollars to rental owners who’ve gone without rent and whose tenants either won’t cooperate in the [Emergency Rental Assistance Program] application process or don’t qualify for the assistance.”

Melissa Hurtado: Won’t somebody please think of the landlords?

Now the April contributions have turned out to be just the beginning of apartment cash for Atkins. On May 20, a new filing reveals, the apartment owners PAC came up with $25,000 more for the Atkins ballot measure committee. On May 26, the association told members via its website that on May 25, “the Senate approved Sen. Melissa Hurtado’s COVID rent relief bill on a vote of 36-0.” The measure then headed for the Assembly, where apartment owners have already begun spreading around their political largesse, including $15,000 on May 17 to Cupertino Assembly Democrat Evan Low’s Ballot Measure Committee to Innovate for California’s Future.

The same day, a host of Assembly incumbents picked up four-figure reelection campaign cash infusions from the apartment owners association PAC (bringing the committee’s contributions for each to the maximum $4900 for the primary), including Wendy Carrillo, Sabrina Cervantes, James Gallagher, Vince Fong, Laurie Davies, Phillip Chen, Heath Flora, Devon Mathis, and Suzette Martinez Valladares. Jacqui Irwin got $3900.

— 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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