Cha, Cha, Changin'
Good Grief! I take a little relaxing weekend out of town and return to find my world turned upside down!
First, on Thursday the Daily Pilot editors published a submission of mine, including a two-year-old file photo, that capsulized my recent rant about Jim Righeimer's shredding of developer Barry Saywitz last week. (here) Of course, all the usual suspects who post anonymous comments in the Pilot online have taken their shots at me. I love it.
Then, on Friday, Daily Pilot Publisher Tom Johnson announced wide-reaching changes at our local newspaper of record. This was followed up with the introduction of the "new" Daily Pilot in a piece on Sunday which outlined some of the changes in detail.
Among these changes is the fact that old pal and muse, Byron de Arakal, has returned to the fold as a regular columnist for the Daily Pilot and, as a result, has placed his blog, Itchingpost.com, into a self-induced coma! No one knows whether it will ever return. This is a mixed blessing. It's great that Byron will be rotating with the ever-feisty Barbara Venezia, writing a Costa Mesa-centric column every other week. His perception and wit have been sorely missed on those pages. Even though Itchingpost.com has racked up over 19,000 hits since the counter was installed, Byron's views deserves a much larger audience. He will get that kind of audience the first time his words hit print in a couple weeks. The community will benefit from his contributions because no local writers have demonstrated his skill at dissecting an issue and reaching straight to the heart of the matter. His ability to slice and dice the clowns among us is unparalleled. I can hardly wait.
The changes Johnson announced are much more than a little botox injection - there is some major nipping and tucking going on. Another of those changes is the announcement that carpetbagger Jim Righeimer, our guy Riggy, will have his very own column every Saturday - purportedly to present his view of "conservative issues". I wonder what those might be? The War? Abortion? Illegal Immigration? Why do I care what a rookie planning commissioner thinks about those issues? Maybe because he's being groomed by the Orange County Republican hierarchy for bigger and better things?
Righeimer, who has lived in Costa Mesa only since last July, is a very smart guy, with strong political connections within the Republican Party. He's Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's protÈgÈ, hence his placement in his planning commission seat as pay back for Rohrabacher's support of our young jailer/mayor in the last election. He's an articulate fellow, but apparently not blessed with the burden of patience. And, based on his attack on developer Barry Saywitz last week, may be a guy who holds a grudge, too. If so, I guess I'm in big trouble, huh?
Riggy's column may shut up those yapping yorkies who write anonymously in the Daily Pilot griping about what they perceive as the "liberal" view expressed by that newspaper. We'll see. For my part, I don't care what those cowards who won't attach their real names to their comments think. They may be writing from Rancho Cucamonga or Laguna Beach, for all we know.
Another plus is that Steve Smith, who has been attempting to influence our morals and television habits twice a week for years, will be reduced to only one shot a week at us. This is good news, even though some of his recent columns have been less offensive and vacuous than previous ones. He will be addressing education-related topics - probably a good fit for his style.
"Your Neighbor" - The-Brain-Who-Ate-Costa-Mesa over at the CM Press - launched into Johnson's announcement with a couple entries that set a new low for coarseness, even for him, (here) and (here). I guess for his loyal readers who just can't get enough of his rants, this kind of "humor" was just fine and dandy. Every time I read that kind of literary vomit I find myself wondering what his young son - whom he frequently mentions in his blog and before public forums - thinks of his father's work. It's surly not the kind of stuff I would want my young relatives to read.
So, the jury is still out on the Daily Pilot re-vamp. Change is inevitable and, from the sound of things, the Pilot will be a much more readable, informative daily community newspaper. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product as it evolves.