By Doug Porter
A report by media analyst Ken Doctor in Capital New York’s media column says UT-San Diego owner “Papa” Doug Manchester has been actively looking to sell for six months now.
The story indicates the Tribune Publishing, parent company for the Los Angeles Times, is close to making a deal with an estimated $80-90 million price tag, which will not include the company’s real estate assets. Questions surrounding UT-San Diego’s $60 million in pension obligations prevented the company from completing the sale during a short-term exclusivity agreement.
Two other groups are reported to be putting together financing to buy San Diego’s daily. A group led by philanthropist Malin Burnham and former Cox executive Bill Geppert told Doctor they’d raised about half the money needed to buy the company, which they’re proposing be run as a non-profit entity. Former UT-San Diego CEO John Lynch says he’s submitting an offer for the paper this week including its real estate assets for an investors group including venture capitalist Ron Burkle.
From Capital New York:
Yet Papa Doug, who didn’t return a call for comment on the sale, hasn’t given the Burnham/Geppert group what it says it has needed to complete community fund-raising and structure-building: its own window of exclusivity. Though almost three windows of 90 days have passed since Manchester first started letting locals know last summer that he wasn’t built to sit behind a desk and run a newspaper enterprise, Burnham’s group hasn’t gotten that commitment in this cat-and-mouse game of selling and buying, which Manchester is handling himself, sans broker….
…Since last summer, Lynch has been trying to line up a private equity partner to get his deal done with Manchester—a deal which, unlike the Tribune or Burnham ones, could include the real estate as well. In this go-round—he, too, says he is submitting a new bid this week—he may have lined up a name familiar to those tracking newspaper property sales of the last half-dozen years, as a would-be partner: Ron Burkle. Burkle, who heads Yucaipa Companies and made his fortune in part on grocery chain roll-up, was mentioned early and often as the L.A. Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and other titles came up for, or looked like they would come up, for sale. Despite those frequent mentions, none of his bids for newspapers bore fruit…
…If the Tribune were to complete its U-T deal, the acquisition would create dominance in a huge market area. Add L.A.’s D.M.A. of 18 million people to San Diego’s 3.2 million, and Tribune will “own”—as much as any “newspaper” company can still lay claim to own—the largest geographic concentration in the country.
If Tribune Publishing–the most likely buyer, in my opinion–ends up buying the paper it’s likely that printing and some administrative functions would be consolidated in Los Angeles.
It ain’t over ‘till it’s over, but the prospect of having a publisher who doesn’t feel the need to call himself “Papa” would be a welcome change.
Police Killings Prompt Response from Mexican Government
The government of Mexico has asked the Justice Department to investigate multiple shootings of its nationals by police in the United States, voicing “profound consternation and irritation” at what it calls a presumed excessive use of force.
The Mexican foreign ministry said it had asked the U.S. Department of Justice to help investigate the fatal shooting of Mexican citizen Ernesto Javier Canepa Diaz on Feb. 27 by police in Santa Ana, California.
It was the third fatal shooting of Mexicans by U.S. police in under a month, the Mexican government said.
Antonio Zambrano Montes, 35, an unemployed orchard worker from Mexico’s Michoacan state, was killed last month in Pasco, a city of 68,000 residents in Washington state’s agricultural heartland. The shooting was captured on video.
In Grapevine, Texas, immigrant Ruben Garcia Villapando was shot and killed by police.
From the Fort Worth Star Telegram:
As he stepped out of his pickup on the shoulder of the Texas 121 service road Friday night, an unarmed Rubén García Villalpando raised his hands and repeatedly asked Grapevine police officer Robert Clark to stop calling him foul names, a relative who has seen the police video of the encounter said Thursday.
At one point, García asked Clark, “Are you going to kill me?” said García’s brother-in-law Fernando Romero, in an interview with the Star-Telegram.
“I’m right here,” García said, according to Romero. Then García, a Mexican national who lived in North Richland Hills, stepped out of view of the camera. Two gunshots could be heard.
A police spokesman confirmed that the officer used profanity before shooting García.
Report on Ferguson Police Confirms Bias, Illegal Practices
A Justice Department investigation into the Ferguson, Missouri police department is being released today. The inquiry came about in response to the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
It concludes that racial bias and a focus on generating revenue over public safety have a profound effect on Ferguson police and court practices and routinely violate the Constitution and federal law.
From the Washington Post:
In hundreds of interviews and in a broad review of more than 35,000 pages of Ferguson police records and other documents, Justice Department officials found that although African Americans make up 67 percent of the population in Ferguson, they accounted for 93 percent of all arrests between 2012 and 2014…
…As part of its findings, the Justice Department concluded that African Americans accounted for 85 percent of all drivers stopped by Ferguson police officers and 90 percent of all citations issued…
…The Justice review also found a pattern or practice of Ferguson police using unreasonable force against citizens. In 88 percent of the cases in which the department used force, it was against African Americans.
In Ferguson court cases, African Americans are 68 percent less likely than others to have their cases dismissed by a municipal judge, according to the Justice review. In 2013, African Americans accounted for 92 percent of cases in which an arrest warrant was issued.
The Justice Department is reportedly negotiating with local officials about reforms. A report in the Huffington Post indicates that the Ferguson Police Department could be disbanded if the costs involved in making changes are too steep.
Westboro Loonies Miss Out on Nimoy’s Funeral
A plan by members of the Westboro Baptist Church to bring their message of hating gays to actor Leonard Nimoy’s funeral failed to materialize after they beamed into the wrong location, according to Dr. Zoom at Wonkette:
While Vulcans would never stoop to the human emotional response of laughter, we know that Spock would wryly raise an eyebrow in appreciation of the absurdity (no, not irony, don’t you dare say it was ironic) of the Westboro Baptist Church’s failure to follow through on its threat to picket Leonard Nimoy’s funeral. The Westboros said they just plain couldn’t find the funeral’s location.
Mind you, they certainly tried. They launched an intense Twitter campaign that made slightly less sense than the average Dr. Bronner’s soap bottle (with way less universal all-one-love) that promised that they’d be there to let everyone know that Nimoy was burning in hell for being famous, not a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, and for having gay friends like George Takei and Zachary Quinto…
California Legislators Say “Go Away, NSA”
State Senators Ted Lieu (D) and Joel Anderson (R) have introduced legislation prohibiting the state and its localities from providing “material support” to the National Security Agency, according to US News and World Report:
If the bill becomes law, it would deny NSA facilities access to water and electricity from public utilities, impose sanctions on companies trying to fill the resulting void and outlaw NSA research partnerships with state universities.
Companies with state contracts also would be banned from working with the NSA.
“I agree with the NSA that the world is a dangerous place,” state Sen. Ted Lieu, the bill’s Democratic co-author, said in a statement. “That is why our founders enacted the Bill of Rights. They understood the grave dangers of an out-of-control federal government.”
A Unique Tax Idea (Really!)
KQED reports that Assemblyman Marc Levine (D) has introduced a proposal to tax donations made to independent expenditure campaign committees.
“By taxing this behavior that has not been good for the democratic process,” said Levine on Monday, “we can begin investing again in bringing Californians into the electoral process.”
The money collected by the tax would go both to new efforts on the statewide level to engage voters (who have been AWOL of late) and to local officials who have struggled to pay for running election operations.
How much will the tax be? Levine has left that part of Assembly Bill 1494 blank, deciding to instead wait for some give-and-take during legislative negotiations in the months to come.
A Death by Bullets Initiative for the Gays
The extremely low threshold for 2016 ballot initiatives–a mere 366,000 signatures–thanks to the miserable voter turnout last November means we’ll be seeing lots of petitions in the coming months. Just say no, please.
CalNewsroom’s John Hrabe gives us an example of what’s coming down the pike:
On February 26, Orange County attorney Matthew McLaughlin paid his $200 filing fee and submitted the necessary paperwork to circulate the initiative, “The Sodomite Suppression Act.”
“The People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method,” the proposed initiative reads.
In addition to the death penalty for gays and lesbians, McLaughlin wants to ban anyone “who espouses sodomistic propaganda” from holding public office, receiving government benefits or being employed by the state. Anyone caught disseminating “sodomistic propaganda” to minors would be fined “$1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.”
Like I said, just say no to street-side petitions.
On This Day: 1917 – Jeanette Rankin of Montana took her seat as the first woman elected to the House of Representatives. 1933 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt names a woman, Frances Perkins, to be secretary of labor. Perkins became the first female cabinet member in U.S. history. 1998 – The Supreme Court said that federal law banned on-the-job sexual harassment even when both parties are the same sex.
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