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We just confirmed the news that Philip J. LaVelle, who has been writing about San Diego politics for 16 years for The San Diego Union-Tribune, has decided to take a job as a speechwriter and press liaison for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

It’ll be the end of quite an era. LaVelle covered City Hall and its elections for years. His work on the 2000 mayoral campaign is considered to have been quite influential in that race. He helped uncover the city’s ugly financial secrets and he later proved adept at casting the continuing revelations about the city’s problems in terms residents could understand.

LaVelle also, on occasion, covered national and state politics. He had a stint riding around in the bus with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the body builder tried to become governor.

Lately, LaVelle had left city of San Diego political coverage to a new generation of U-T reporters. But LaVelle’s byline appeared every time a new shoe dropped in the city’s ongoing financial and legal crisis to provide a historical account of how the city got to this point.

It will be interesting to see if the U-T tries to replace him or allow someone else to write with the same type of authoritative style on local politics.

We’ll have to see if we can get a comment from him about his decision to move to D.C.

SCOTT LEWIS & VLADIMIR KOGAN

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