The new owner of the Los Angeles Times told the paper’s staff Friday that he plans to move the paper out of downtown Los Angeles — and the Los Angeles city limits — to the suburban city of El Segundo, about 20 miles away.
The news was a bombshell to Times staffers, many of whom live on the east side of Los Angeles or in nearby Pasadena. If new owner Patrick Soon-Shiong was trying to get people in those areas to quit, he couldn’t have done much better than telling their commutes — in Los Angeles’ infamous rush hour — were about to get much longer.
“Wow. New owner is moving the LA Times to El Segundo. (which is like 20 miles across a traffic hellscape from its current home Downtown, for those not familiar with LA),” former Times staffer Tim Logan tweeted. “That’ll go over well.”
A representative for Soon-Shiong did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. But the Times reported that Soon-Shiong said the landlord of the paper’s downtown headquarters wants to increase rent by $1-million-a-month. Instead, Soon-Shiong wants to invest in hiring more journalists, improving newsroom technology and an eight-floor, modern building with free parking and other amenities, he said. Soon-Shiong’s wife, Michele, is leading the design.
El Segundo, Spanish for “the second,” is far from the first choice of location for many staffers, judging from initial reaction.
“Walked back into newsroom after Patrick Soon-Shiong announces @latimes will move to El Segundo — and everyone has Google Maps open on their screens, calculating new commute times,” wrote Times’ business editor Kimi Yoshino.
“Congrats to the El Segundo Times!” wrote BuzzFeed Los Angeles bureau chief Jon Passantino.
Times reporter Matt Pearce noted Soon-Shiong wants to make the paper into a powerhouse like the Washington Post. “A big problem for many people in the newsroom, however: We no longer own our historic downtown headquarters (thanks Tribune), and our lease ends in June,” tweeted Pearce. “So today Soon-Shiong announced we’re moving to El Segundo, by LAX, which will greatly lengthen many of our staffers’ commutes.”
Speaking on behalf of the Los Angeles Times Guild, the paper’s recently formed union, Pearce expressed concerns about the move in a comment to TheWrap.
“We were glad to meet Patrick Soon-Shiong and were very excited to hear about his plans for reinvesting in our journalism. We have some concerns, however, that a move to El Segundo will greatly lengthen the commutes of many of our workers and also take some reporters away from the institutions they cover downtown,” said Pearce. “So we’re hoping to come up with proposals that can help alleviate some of the strain of a move.”
When the Times will move, and whether the move is permanent, remains unanswered.
The Times’ downtown headquarters — where it has been based since 1935 — is an Art Deco structure at 1st and Spring Streets within walking distance to City Hall and other Los Angeles landmarks, as well as the city’s Skid Row. But downtown has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years, becoming a hipster haven with a thriving art and restaurant scene.
Times HQ to El Segundo City Hall is about 19 miles, per Google Maps
It has been a tumultuous 2018 for Los Angeles Times staffers. In January, the paper ousted editor-in-chief Lewis D’Vorkin after two months, and replaced him with Jim Kirk, the former interim editor. On Thursday, the Times parted ways with D’Vorkin. (In a statement, he said the decision was mutual.)
Tension with upper management spilled into public view in February, when Yoshino, the business editor behind the tweet above — was suspended and escorted out of the building. No explanation for her suspension was given.
In January, publisher Ross Levinsohn was suspended after an NPR report that he was accused of sexual harassment and made inappropriate remarks about women and gay people before he worked at Tronc, which owned the Times before Soon-Shiong announced his plans to take over. Levinsohn was cleared and given another job at Tronc.
The staff voted in a landslide to unionize in January.
Trump White House Revolving Door: 22 Top Staffers Who've Exited, From Omarosa to Scott Pruitt (Photos)
The turnover in the Trump administration continues.
Michael Flynn resigned in February 2017 as President Trump’s national security adviser after less than a month in the position.
The move came after Flynn admitted he gave “incomplete information” about a call he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. last December regarding sanctions against Russia, The New York Times reported, and that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about the conversation.
Months after getting personal assurance from the president that he would remain in his job as a top federal prosecutor, Bharara was asked to submit his resignation in March 2017.
“Had I not been fired, and had Donald Trump continued to cultivate a direct personal relationship with me, it’s my strong belief at some point, given the history, the president of the United States would’ve asked me to do something inappropriate,” Bharara said on his podcast.
Trump’s decision was based on the recommendation of both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, according to Spicer.
Michael Dubke, the first communications director in the Trump White House, resigned in May 2017 in the midst of ongoing blowback for the president's handling of the firing of James Comey.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned in late July 2017 when Trump hired Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.
According to the New York Times, which first broke the news, Spicer told President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of New York financier and former Fox Business host Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.
Priebus was ousted from his position as White House Chief of Staff in July 2017, when Donald Trump hired General John Kelly to take his place.
"I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. He is a Great American,” Trump said in a tweet.
“I would like to thank Reince Priebus for his service and dedication to his country,” Trump went on to say in a separate tweet. “We accomplished a lot together and I am proud of him!”
Scaramucci was the White House Communications Director for 10 days last summer and is now infamous for a wild, expletive-filled interview with The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza. He announced in late September week that he will launch his own media website, called The Scaramucci Post.
Sebastian Gorka announced his decision to exit his role as deputy assistant to the POTUS in a letter to the president in late August 2017.
“[G]iven recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House,” Gorka wrote in the letter, obtained by the Federalist. “As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People’s House.”
White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon was reportedly fired in August 2017, though he insists he resigned July 27 -- giving two weeks’ notice -- but his leaving was put off because of the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. He returned to Breitbart News, where he vows to go to “war” for Trump.
Following a week-long scandal over his lavish use of private jets while traveling on government business, Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price resigned on September 29.
“Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price offered his resignation earlier today and the President accepted,” the White House said in a statement. “The President intends to designate Don J. Wright of Virginia to serve as Acting Secretary, effective at 11:59 p.m. on September 29, 2017.”
Former "Apprentice" contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman resigned in December "to pursue other opportunities," according to a White House press release. Trump thanked her for In February 2018, she became a contestant on "Celebrity Big Brother," and bashed Trump in the first episode.
Centers for Disease Control director Brenda Fitzgerald resigned in January 2018 after a Politico report that she bought shares in a tobacco company one month into her role.
Just one day after testifying before the House intelligence committee in February 2018, the White House Communications Director and longtime Trump loyalist announced plans to resign.
The former head of PR for Hollywood producer Jason Blum's Blumhouse announced in February 2018 that he was leaving his job as a senior communications aide at the White House after less than a year on the job.
Cohn, considered one of the most liberal members of Team Trump as director of the National Economic Council, announced in March 2018 he was leaving after a disagreement with Trump over tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. He had previously been mentioned as a possible chief of staff.
McEntee was abruptly fired after serving a year as the president's personal assistant, the Wall Street Journal reported on March 13, 2018. The paper cited an unspecified security issue as the reason for the dismissal.
The secretary of state was abruptly asked to resign in March 2018 after just over a year in the job. The former CEO of Exxon Mobil arrived at the State Department with no experience in government or diplomacy and soon ran afoul of both his agency and Trump, particularly after reports emerged that Tillerson had called the president a "moron" following a cabinet meeting.
H. R. McMaster
The lieutenant general, picked by Trump to be his second national security adviser, resigned March 22, 2017, and replaced by former United States ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton.
The U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs was removed from his post in March 2018 following a scandal over travel expenses involving his wife.
The White House lawyer who had overseen legal issues related to the investigation into Russian interference in 2016's presidential election announced on May 2, 2018, that he was leaving his position.
The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency resigned on July 5, 2018 after months of reports about his spending practices and ethics.
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EPA head is the latest to leave the Trump administration
The turnover in the Trump administration continues.