I read with much sadness on LAObserved that Al Martinez was opting for the buyout at the Los Angeles Times, after working for the newspaper almost thirty-five years. He will be sorely missed by Times staffers as well as the readers of his column, let’s hope he starts his own blog down the road.
Several of my colleagues’ complained that the writers at the Times never spoke up as our department was reduced by downsizing over the past fifteen years, which only showed they did not read Al’s columns. Al wrote many articles on the life of blue-collar workers, and how downsizing throughout the United States was shrinking the middle class.
Kanani Fong and her group of writers met Al just a few weeks back, and they all loved him. I have to admit, he’s one of the few writers at the Los Angeles Times that respond to emails, and that sure makes me feel special about him.
Here’s Al Martinez’ farewell email from LAObserved:
From: Martinez, Al
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 5:19 PM
To: yyeditallSubject: buyout
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.