Copley Newspapers suddenly shutters the Santa Monica Outlook

Jung-Ho Pak is counting on a revival of the San Diego Symphony

— When La Jolla-based Copley Newspapers this past weekend suddenly shuttered the Santa Monica Outlook, the move set off rumors among staffers at the Union-Tribune. Ever since the San Diego Evening Tribune was merged with the morning Union after years of official denials that such a move would happen, the Copley clan has been cutting back on staff and resources at the U-T. Word in Los Angeles has it that the Outlook -- for years a conservative editorial bastion on L.A.'s otherwise liberal west side -- was dumped because it was feeling competitive heat from William Dean Singleton, the Colorado publishing magnate who's assembling a juggernaut of suburban dailies around the L.A. basin. In a written statement, Copley president David Copley, son of owner Helen Copley, insisted that in the wake of the cutbacks, the company was "strongly positioned to serve the South Bay well into the next century." But in the U-T newsroom, sources are worried that the Outlook's shutdown, combined with big cutbacks at Copley's L.A.-area flagship, the Torrance Daily Breeze, along with the closure of the 12,000-circulation San Pedro News-Pilot, presages yet another round of company-wide cuts and labor-union wrangling. "This shows that our leadership isn't exactly inspired by growth," says one disgruntled worker. "They are going to milk this cow until it's dry, then put it up for sale." Copley officials have consistently denied persistent rumors that there is a long-term plan in place to sell the company, perhaps after the retirement or death of publisher Helen Copley. Her only heir apparent is son David, who is said to be more interested in New York nightlife and high-class antiques and jewelry than publishing.

Booze is the limit

Mayoral spokeswoman Mary Ann Pintar was quoted in last week's Union-Tribune as saying that a recently completed city manager's survey of major stadiums around the country found that "almost every city with a stadium does have some sort of box available to city councils, city managers, city attorneys, and there were few to no rules on how those boxes were to be used." Well, not quite. The survey results actually show that of the 19 stadiums queried, 12 do not hand out free food and alcoholic beverages in the boxes reserved for government officials, as is the practice in San Diego. The cities of Jacksonville, Florida; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Denver, Colorado, even require the public officials to pay for their seats, according to the survey. Denver doesn't give out free food, just drinks. At Giants Stadium in New Jersey, owned by a state-run authority, food isn't free, but officials enjoy a 40 percent discount on booze. Up in Seattle's county-owned Kingdome, the county box is reserved for "marketing use only -- tenants may use this box, must pay for tickets, food, and beverage service," notes the survey.

Sperm after death

Sperm-meister Robert Klark Graham, for years proprietor of Escondido's internationally known Repository for Germinal Choice sperm bank, died last year at the ripe old age of 91. But nobody apparently told that to a big Glasgow newspaper called Scotland on Sunday. In an interview that ran March 8, the paper repeatedly refers to Graham in the present tense, saying "Despite his own advancing years, he still harbours ambitions. 'I have only made a tiny dent in the intelligence level of the world up to this point with only 200 children.' " ... San Diego sports and beer guru Ron Fowler, who owns Mesa Distributing, has just acquired big-time Miller beer distributing rights in the Sacramento area, according to the Sacramento Business Journal, which says Fowler is now "one of a handful of 'mega-Miller wholesalers' " on the national scene ... Locals have their doubts, but Jung-Ho Pak is counting on a revival of the San Diego Symphony. The one-time associate conductor has quit a similar job he has held in Spokane for the past two years to return to San Diego and (hopefully) take over the symphony here. "Nothing is certain yet, but Spokane Symphony executive director Jonathan Martin said that Pak has decided to 'ride that bull' to the finish," reports the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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