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Lacey still doesn't like me

Mike Lacey, the head editor of Village Voice Media and the determining influence over the LA Weekly and OC Weekly, doesn't appreciate my reporting and comment on the inner turmoils (and comings and goings) at his papers here. Here's his previous letter; recent posts about the departure of Jeffrey Anderson and the LA Weekly's move to a sad part of Culver City spurred this new sour missive. It runs here as submitted, false accusations and all.

 As a source of gossip, half truths, lies, slander, unfounded speculation and general lazy-ass foolishness, LA Observed remains invaluable.

Comes the news flash that three writers have, or will soon, depart the LA Weekly. To LA Observed, these are not matters of opportunity but signs of darkening skies.

Perhaps a little perspective would help.

LA Observed initially observed that the Weekly's editor, Laurie Ochoa, only kept her job because her husband was one of our talented writers. [Uh, not exactly - ed.] This sort of sexist/racist speculation is the kind of nightsoil that only a blogger could get away with. In the real world, such insulting drivel would get someone punched in the nose.

More recently LA Observed speculated that the Weekly was moving to a new office as part of a conspiracy that I had hatched. The proof: The new office is on the westside, and I stay on the west side when I'm in town.

The reality: I have not seen the new offices. I don't know where the new offices are. I was not consulted about the new offices or involved in the selection of the new offices. The new offices were chosen by the paper's publisher.

Admission: When I leave the desert to visit Los Angeles, I do occasionally stay in a westside hotel. To paraphrase Willie Sutton...that's where the ocean is.

LA Observed continues to keep posted on its archive the wildly erroneous opening section of The Nation's diatribe attacking us from pillar to post. The author of this "expose" wrote that we paid $400 million for Village Voice Media, which includes LA Weekly. Since the writer was off by a mere $400 million (the transaction was a merger with no cash involved. See -- literally--dozens of business articles at time of merger), even the politicized true believers who run The Nation admitted their mistake and removed this egregious section from their Web site. What does it say when LA Observed can not even meet the minimal standards of The Nation?

So now we return to the latest news that one of our columnists took a position with the Los Angeles Times. Well ... good for him. And another writer has a book deal that will take him to Mexico City... Frankly, I'm jealous.

The third writer left when he could not force the paper to give him a new editor. Your theory is that there is something wrong with the editor in question, Jill Stewart.

Nothing could be further from the truth, despite your repeated attempts to suggest such.

In general we do not allow writers to shop editors as if they were selecting produce. We attempt to have writers meet generally accepted principles of journalism. Mr. Anderson is a talented reporter, but his personal conduct towards his editor was so over the top -- borderline abusive on several occasions -- that he found himself apologizing for his behavior and, ultimately, looking for a new employer.

In a city like Los Angeles writers find books, scripts and other opportunities. At any newspaper you have the occasional clash.
You might have ascertained all of the above if you ever picked up the phone and talked to the targets of your biliousness.

Yours etc etc

Michael Lacey
Executive Editor, Village Voice Media

[I've spoken or corresponded with more than two dozen present and past LA Weekly staffers, but Editor Laurie Ochoa has never returned my calls and emails checking on facts through the years. - ed.]

September 26, 2007 10:58 PM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor

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