The Los Angeles Times reports that the L.A. police union is pressuring Platinum Equity, the new owner of The San Diego Union-Tribune, to change the paper’s editorial stance or else give the boot to the paper’s opinion staff.

The Times explains why:

Platinum relies on a $30-million investment from the pension fund of Los Angeles police officers and firefighters, along with large sums from other public-employee pension systems across the state, to help fund its acquisitions of companies. As Los Angeles Police Protective League President Paul M. Weber views it, that makes the League part owner in the flagging Union-Tribune — and League officials are none too happy with the paper’s consistent position that San Diego lawmakers should cut back on salaries and benefits for public employees to help close gaping budget deficits.

“Since the very public employees they continually criticize are now their owners, we strongly believe that those who currently run the editorial pages should be replaced,” Weber wrote in a March 26 letter to Platinum Chief Executive Tom Gores.

Weber, in an interview, emphasized that the League is not demanding changes in the paper’s news coverage or in its staff of reporters. “It’s just these people on the opinion side. There is not even an attempt to be even-handed. They’re one step away from saying, ‘These public employees are parasites,’ ” he said.

Bob Kittle, editor of the Union-Tribune’s editorial page, rebuffed Weber’s comments. Although his staff has written several editorials critical of the benefits and pension commitments city leaders have made to San Diego’s five public employee unions, he denied Weber’s charge that the paper is out to hurt public employees.

If you missed it, we recently examined the future of the newspaper’s editorial page in this story.


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