By Doug Porter
The Reader broke the news this weekend, confirming speculation that “Papa Doug” Manchester is looking to unload San Diego’s daily newspaper.
Columnist Don Bauder, citing rumors among local business executives and insiders at the newspaper, ran with a story on Thursday saying that downtown real estate developer and philanthropist Malin Burnham was raising money for takeover. The paper would become a nonprofit, according to this account, and acquiring the company’s real estate was not part of the negotiations.
On Saturday Matt Potter reached Burham by phone, who confirmed a deal was in the works, telling the Reader reporter, “announcement of a fundraising campaign to provide operating cash for the new operation awaits IRS approval of the venture.”
From Potters’s Reader posting:
Burnham, who over the years has played many roles in the city’s financial, political, and sports communities, said in a Saturday-morning telephone interview that the paper’s current owner, GOP developer Douglas Manchester, is interested in transferring the paper to the proposed new ownership once its nonprofit status is approved by the Internal Revenue Service and final details are arranged.
He said he expected the IRS process to take 30 days and that a deal could be in hand within substantially less than a year.
Despite acquisition of the North County Times readership, circulation has continued to fall at UT-San Diego. Data released earlier this year from the Alliance for Audited Media (formerly the Audit Bureau of Circulations) showed the all-important (in terms of ad revenue) Sunday circulation dropping from 425,000 to 362,166 over the previous year.
An earlier attempt to establish a cable news outlet failed and the daily’s internet outlet is suffering from obvious neglect. Here’s a headline from this morning’s online business section: 6-7 SHORT WORDS HEREY AND XXX AND YYY PROPRIETORS BENEFIT FROM LEANING …
Manchester’s CEO and braggart partner John Lynch, has been removed from overseeing day-to-day operations. I believe that Manchester has run out of patience with the newspaper business; it’s been a black hole for him financially, his attempts to use the paper as a bully pulpit have not worked out like he envisioned and, like many other diversions for the wealthy, it no longer amuses him.
What Does Malin Burnham Want?
Just because somebody says a deal in the works, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Taking the daily newspaper from a traditional media business model to becoming a non-profit entity will be a complex, if not daunting task.
The two daily newspapers of note with non-profit status, the Tampa Bay Times and the Christian Science Monitor are associated with larger institutions (education and religious, respectively). Both have seen layoffs and other indicators of financial distress recently.
Malin Burnham’s fingerprints are all over San Diego. He’s founded over a dozen non-profits and donated tons of money to medical institutions, universities and local foundations.
- Business Week lists his affiliations:
- Chairman of John Burnham & Co.
- Chairman of Burnham Pacific Properties
- Chairman of Advisory Council of Sorrento Associates, Inc.
- Founder of First National Bank at San Diego and serves as a Director.
- Honorary Trustee of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
- Trustee of The Burnham Institute.
- Dean’s Advisory Council of The Rady School of Management at the UCSD
- Chairman of Cushman & Wakefield of San Diego, Inc.
Despite being in his upper eighties, he remains active. He told UT-San Diego’s Diane Bell back in 2011 his motto was “Community before self:”
Q: What are the three most important issues on the horizon for our region?
A: K-12 education: Our school systems must get serious about adopting best practices. Job growth: We need to concentrate on the “low hanging fruit” as shrinking military budgets bring overseas personnel and equipment (ships and planes) back to San Diego bases. Transportation: With authorized transit funds, we need to build more mass transit and freeway lanes.
The word in political circles is that Burnham is a well-read and moderate Republican. He was one of Mitt Romney’s 27 California Finance Co-Chairs, which doesn’t mean much except that they hit him up for some money.
Should this deal with UT-San Diego materialize, we’ll do some more digging.
What People’s Climate March?
If you happened to read the UT-San Diego today, you’ll find an Associated Press dispatch tucked away inside about the People’s Climate March in New York on Sunday.
Organizers said more than 100,000 marched in New York, including actors Mark Ruffalo and Evangeline Lilly. They were joined in midtown Manhattan by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
On Tuesday, more than 120 world leaders will convene for the United Nations Climate Summit aimed at galvanizing political will for a new global climate treaty by the end of 2015.
What you won’t find–or at least what I couldn’t find online this morning–is any coverage of the 1000 or so people that Marched through downtown San Diego on Sunday. There was no mention of Todd Gloria, President of the City Council’s, speech calling upon people to support a resolution encouraging the Mayor to take a strong stand in favor of the city’s Climate Action Plan or any of the other high profile speakers.
For the record, here’s the coverage of this same event in New York from Time.com:
Timed to coincide with the U.N. summit on climate change, which meets this week to discuss an international carbon-emissions agreement, the demonstration was an international effort with 2,646 events in more than 150 countries, attended by hundreds of thousands more people.
Coalesced by several organizations, including Bill McKibben’s 350.org, the swarming crowds were there to pressure Obama and other leaders to make addressing climate change a top political priority. “Today, civil society acted at a scale that outdid even our own wildest expectations,” said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, in a statement. “Tomorrow, we expect our political leaders to do the same.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made an appearance, along with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Vice President Al Gore, and movie stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Edward Norton. Nearly every labor union joined the march, including the Service Employees International Union, the largest union in the city. The march was supposed to start at 59th Street, but the throng of people stretched past 93rd Street, and there were so many marchers that it took the back of the line over two hours to start moving. The march was so well attended that organizers had to send a text at 5 p.m., asking marchers to leave because the route had filled to capacity.
Here’s a montage of local TV coverage:
At Fox5, somebody noticed that Todd Gloria spoke to the crowd:
San Diego City Council president Todd Gloria addressed the local crowd prior to the march. Gloria spoke about a “climate action plan” designed for the city. He described it as a roadmap to change that the council will discuss this week.
At San Diego6 News, they posted a City News Service story about the Climate Action Plan:
The City Council Monday is scheduled to consider a resolution calling on Mayor Kevin Faulconer to issue a bold climate change plan for their consideration.
Several members of the panel have said recently that they don’t think Faulconer is moving quickly enough on the plan, which will outline actions the city would take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The mayor’s office has said, in response, that work is proceeding on a pace originally envisioned. An update to a draft approved by the council previously could be released soon, and final adoption could happen in the spring.
In other words, Mayor Faulconer intends to put off doing anything until after the elections and hopefully as long as possible.
Editor’s Note: SDFP’s coverage of the People’s Climate March (including pictures) will be posted shortly.
California Republicans on Parade
This past weekend about a thousand California Republicans gathered at “hotel near LAX” to ponder the future of their party.
Aside from the Tea Party $10-a-ticket raffle for a shotgun, the main activity of the weekend seemed to be finding ways to slight GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari. His name was omitted from a flyer promoting the gathering and his speaking slot was relegated to the Sunday “hangover session.”
From the LA Times:
The gathering opened on a sour note Friday, when the evening’s keynote speaker, state controller candidate Ashley Swearengin, told reporters she was still mulling whether to vote for Kashkari or Brown. “I’m looking at the two candidates like other Californians are,” she said.
And Pete Peterson, the Republican running for secretary of state, said in an interview that he was not endorsing Kashkari — or anyone else on the statewide ballot — and did not plan to vote a straight party ticket.
The extraordinary display of disunity led Ron Nehring, a former state Republican chairman and underdog candidate for lieutenant governor, to vent his fury in a profanity-tinged email to party brass just before midnight Friday, after news organizations began reporting the dust-up.
All I have to say is “keep up the good work.”
Obama impeachment rally (May 2014) v. Climate change action rally (Sept 2014) pic.twitter.com/6PyI6NAnTA
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 21, 2014
On This Day: 1862 – The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln. It stated that all slaves held within rebel states would be free as of January 1, 1863. 1985 – The first Farm-Aid concert was held in Champaign, IL. The show raised $10 million for U.S. farmers. 2006- Eleven Domino’s employees in Pensacola, Fla., form the nation’s first union of pizza delivery drivers
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