Unhappy reader puts Times on hold *

For Richard A. Aust of Lake Forest, the LAT's decision to scale back West magazine to a monthly was the last straw. If they are only going to serve him a magazine one week a month, he's only going to subscribe to the paper that week. He emails:

I have subscribed to the LA Times for more than 20-years. I have been disappointed by their increasing placement of opinions and 'soft news' on the front page. I subscribed to a news magazine to satisfy my desire for hard news.

And it has not gone without notice that the number of Sunday comics are about half of what they were five years ago.

I am also extremely disappointed by their decision to discontinue the Sunday West Magazine (formerly the LA Times Magazine). Future issues of West Magazine are scheduled to be issued on 29 July, 19 August, 16 September, 14 October, 18 November and 9 December.

In order to express my disappointment I have decided to place vacation holds on my subscription for every week where the magazine is not published, with the hold period being credited to my account. The vacation holds will be:

Monday 22 June resuming Monday 23 July 2007 Monday 30 July resuming Monday 13 August 2007 Monday 20 August resuming Monday 10 September 2007 Monday 17 September resuming Monday 8 October 2007 Monday 15 October resuming Monday 12 November 2007 Monday 19 November resuming Monday 03 December 2007 Monday 10 December resuming on an undetermined date (when they can tell me when the magazine will be published in 2008)

It is pretty easy to do. Up to three vacation holds can be placed using their automated attendant. Dial 800-252-9141, select option 2, type in your phone number, then type in your street address number. The automated attendant will ask for the date you want to start the vacation hold (you can use the telephone keypad to type the date as 'ddmm'). Then it will ask for the date you want to resume service, it will ask you whether you want to donate the newspapers, save them up for when you return or credit your account. Say donate, save or credit.

I encourage people who share my feelings to take similar "vacations from the LA Times" in the hopes that this once-great newspaper will get back on the right track.

Meanwhile, I'm told the weekly Merl Reagle crossword puzzle from the magazine will be available online at

* Phone number corrected. He had one digit off.

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