I've had more than my shares of run-ins with former Los Angeles Times Latino culture writer Agustín Gurza, whom the paper axed yesterday along with 74 or so other folks. Or rather, it was a one-way street between Gurza and I, with him constantly snipping at me publicly and privately (I can tell you some stories, but won't). Whatever.
That's not the Gurza I'll miss. Nor will I necessarily miss his Saturday Culture Mix columns, which gave good press to deserving folks and will probably be replaced by nada. No, I'll miss the Gurza that many in Orange County continue to miss–the crusading columnist who took on SanTana's idiot pols before it became fashionable, who provided a voice for Latinos as we were finally emerging in gabacho Gomorrah, a reporter that treated naranjeros seriously as opposed to the backwards cousins of Eastlos. That Gurza hasn't been around since 2001, and the Doomsday Clock for the Times began clicking for me the day then-editor John Carroll reassigned Gurza to Calendar for reasons he never truly spun to anyone's content. He did good stories, but whenever I saw Gurza in the years after the move but before he became snippy with me if he missed his days as a columnist, he would just smile and say nothing.