Now you see it, now you don't

paper in driveway.jpgI've had the Los Angeles Times delivered every day since 1982. My parents subscribed in 1964. This morning I left it the driveway. I didn't do this to protest the latest round of staff cuts that, with all due respect to those who have departed before or taken the buyout or remain in the building, have now drained the lifeblood and gouged out the marrow. Friends and professional associates are gone, and while talented and worthy staff remain, the paper's bones are brittle, cracked, and the paper has fallen and it can't get up. You know what happens to old people who break their hips and heads in a fall: they must take to bed. Prolonged lack of motion causes fragile body systems to shut down. And death.

I wish I could say I left the paper in my driveway as a symbol of, if not anger, then sorrow. But no. I just didn't go out and get it this morning because the paper has become so increasingly irrelevant to the city and to my life that I simply forgot it was there.

I didn't realize I had missed it until I drove over it on the way out.

As you have probably read, the movie based on LA Times columnist Steve Lopez's book, "The Soloist," has been pushed to next year. A eerie portent of how many staffers will remain when the film finally debuts? Forget blame, okay. Maybe it's not possible to do the counter-intuitive and spend for the best into the downturn so that the paper stands out again. Maybe it's a one-way street. Will the last person to leave -- Mr. Zell? -- please turn out the lights?

We deserve better in Los Angeles, and I don't think what we have is simply the result of an economic downturn, or readers stolen by the web.

Suddenly those ads asking me to subscribe to the New York Times have become very tempting.


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