Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The Board of Supervisors weighed in Tuesday on the fate of the Los Angeles Times, approving a resolution to urge the newspaper’s parent company to restore local leadership or consider selling the paper to Los Angeles-based business leaders.

Los Angeles County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Michael Antonovich recommended the unanimously approved resolution, standing in opposition to the Tribune Publishing Co.’s Sept. 8 dismissal of publisher Austin Beutner after a year on the job.

Baltimore Sun publisher Tim Ryan was tapped to replace Beutner, a former Los Angeles deputy mayor.

“We’re not trying to run the business of the newspaper. We’re essentially standing up for our town,” Ridley-Thomas said.

He said The Times should be led by those who understand Los Angeles’ history and its future.

Antonovich agreed.

“It would be nice to have a community paper with community people,” Antonovich said.

The board joins a group of influential business and civic leaders who last week signed an open letter to Tribune CEO Jack Griffin expressing disappointment over Beutner’s dismissal.

Among those signing the letter were former mayors Antonio Villaraigosa and Richard Riordan and billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad.

Broad’s recent offer to buy The Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune was rejected by Tribune Publishing.

Citing a report Tuesday by the Poynter Institute, Ridley-Thomas said it was “unsettling news” that The Times’ newsroom could be decimated by the layoff of another 80 editorial positions.

The Times “serves as a critical, local journalistic entity … that reflects, through its news and feature stories, the diversity of the people of Los Angeles County,” the motion by Antonovich and Ridley-Thomas reads.

“The appointment of a publisher transferred from outside of the Los Angeles area, and the continued practice of having key decisions made by a body located approximately 1,750 miles and two time zones away, is clearly not in the best interest of operating, growing and nurturing a local newspaper,” the motion says.

— City News Service 

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