Security beefed up (a tad) in LA Times building *

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You may have heard about last week's incident in which a threatening man was taken into custody inside the Los Angeles Times headquarters at 1st and Spring streets. [* Fixed: First reports were he had a gun, but none was found.] With the Times staff winnowed down to a fraction of its former size, and the former corporate offices on site no longer needed, space is leased out to a call center and maybe other tenants, I don't know. Employees at the paper, at least some of them, have been uncomfortable for months about the dicey qualities of some of the call center workers. There has been concern about thefts and safety in the hallways, especially at night. I believe the few floors that still have editorial staffers on them have been locked and require card entry. Yeah, there's not much swagger left in the complex of buildings where Otis Chandler once strolled and where Picassos hung in the corporate lunchroom. The Times doesn't even own the place anymore; the paper reportedly rents from whichever unit of Tribune controls the real estate assets. Last year there was a flurry of clucking when it got out that the paper could not afford to pay the fee to use certain conference rooms.

Anyway, I guess a new sense of unease swept the premises after the incident, which involved one of these outside tenants, VXI Global Solutions. On Wednesday, Times chief executive Eddy Hartenstein sent around a note expressing how "the situation that transpired with a VXI employee on Friday night has been a cause of concern to us all." Included was a memo from the building security team that I doubt made people feel much more secure.


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