Columnist Al Martinez has been with the Los Angeles Times more than 30 years and, despite being exiled to the back of the features section several years ago, is one of the paper's most recognized bylines. He has written for TV and authored many books. We share Angel City Press as a book publisher, and previously shared L.A. Times Books, so I have co-inhabited a few book signing events with Martinez and each time have marveled at the crowds he draws. Well, he revealed in an angry farewell email to his Times colleagues this evening that the editors told him to take the buyout or else. His hurt missive concludes that "I think I deserved a better way of ending such a long and honorable career." His last column for the Times is June 1.
His email follows:
From: Martinez, Al
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 5:19 PM
To all: I dislike rumors and so I take these means to tell you all that I am a victim of the buyout/layoff frenzy. My final column for a newspaper I have worked for since 1972, in a business I have been a part of since 1952, winning more awards and honors than would ever fit on my wall, will be Friday, June 1st. I always thought that I would be the one to decide when it was time to walk away, when my prose faltered and my thinking blurred. But that's not the way it works anymore with the owners we have in the climate that exists. Too bad. I think I deserved a better way of ending such a long and honorable career.
Martinez is not the only veteran pushed to apply for the buyout, just the first to go public.