New state politics editor at LAT

Assistant Managing Editor Janet Clayton tinkered with the Metro lineup down at the Times today, naming a new editor to oversee state government coverage. It's Linda Rogers, who has done the job before. The memo:

To: The Staff
From: Janet Clayton, Assistant Managing Editor

Colleagues, I'm pleased to announce a few new editing assignments that will take effect soon after the new year:

Pat McMahon, who has been in charge of state government coverage for about a year, has been promoted to Regional Editor, reporting to me. He'll be based in Orange County and will oversee and coordinate news coverage in both Orange and Riverside counties. Pat previously worked as the city editor and managing editor of the Orange County edition. He has also worked as a reporter for USA Today, the St. Petersburg Times, Congressional Quarterly and National Journal.

Linda Rogers, currently Weekend Editor, will become State Government Editor, overseeing coverage of the governor, Legislature and policy, and how those policies affect Californians' lives. Before she was Weekend editor, Linda was State and Political editor. She spent several years as an assistant foreign editor. She also was editor of World Press Review magazine in New York.

Stephanie Chavez, who currently works as a part-time editor of Sense of Place, will move to a new assignment focused on the weekend. She and Don Hunt will be Weekend editors, planning for and editing the Sunday and Monday papers and working with editors and reporters to ensure the most compelling and readable sections.

Jack Robinson, currently Orange County editor, is moving to the Business section, where he will be an editor. A fuller announcement on Jack's new job will come from Business editor Rick Wartzman.

Meanwhile, a separate missive sent to the Times staff today says that a nasty flu bug—not food poisoning from the cafeteria salad bar—caused this week's run of, uh, newsroom discomfort. The staff memo follows:

From: Denley, Susan
Subject: Cafeteria update
Sent: 12/9/2004 12:15 PM

As many of you know, several people became ill over the weekend and suspected that they might have suffered food poisoning after eating in the cafeteria. When a couple of folks alerted John Arthur to the outbreak of illness, we asked HR and the Cafeteria managers to investigate. They responded quickly, interviewing a number of the people and looking for patterns (what was eaten; how much later illness set in) in what happened to them. It turned out that there was no consistent pattern and, in fact, not everyone with symptoms had eaten in the cafeteria.

Yesterday afternoon, the Health Department inspected the cafeterias here at the main building and in Orange County and the Valley plant. All three passed with an A rating.

Meanwhile, it turns out that for the last couple of weeks, folks all over the building have been stricken with similar symptoms, whether they ate in the cafeteria or not. Bottom line: at this point it looks as if the cafeteria is safe, but that there is wicked stomach flu going around.

If there are any more developments, I'll let you know.

Wonder if it's the same bug that's being blamed for Mayor Hahn having to turn the SUV around and skip today's speech in the Valley. The Valley Industry and Commerce Association had changed the location so Hahn wouldn't have to cross a picket line. But 45 minutes before his talk was scheduled, Hahn's office sent out word he couldn't make it.

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