When Clockwork was but a wee wind-up at a local daily, we used to bemoan a certain tactic the Los Angeles “By God” Times employed when we beat them. The Times would sit on the story a couple weeks and then publish their own version without acknowledging who originally broke the news–as if the previous reporting never happened.
Well, the Times is at it again, and today's victim is the Orange County Register.
“Convicted Orange County Sheriff Collects $215,000 Pension,” blares today's Times headline, which the Tribune Co. division's television partner KTLA dutifully picked up and read to cereal chewers this morning.
While it's nice to see LA's Spring Street and Sunset Boulevard warhorses paying attention to Orange County for a change, Clockwork liked the story the first time we read it–on the Register website.
Nine days ago.
That's when veteran investigative reporter Tony Saavedra broke that news on the OC Watchdog blog.
It was such a scoop that our own R. Scott Moxley felt obliged to post a hat tip to Saavedra on Navel Gazing, calling it “the day's most outrageous news.”
The day being July 1, not July 9, no matter what the Times' calendar says.
If you even have to ask, no, you can look at Paloma Esquivel's piece in the Times front ways, sideways, upside down and all around and you won't find mention of the Reg or Saavedra.
It's not as shameful as dirty cop Mike Carona getting $18,000-a-month from the taxpayers he disgraced, but it is still shameful.
At least Saavedra can take comfort in this: he and his colleague Ronald Campbell kept up with the Times in their follow-up Watchdog post.
Both dailies, citing court documents obtained thanks to pressure from reform advocates, report on the six figures earned by top retirees in the financially troubled county pension system. The Reg is alone in noting the $100,000 or more doled out by Orange County is nearly three times the proportion of the statewide CALPERS program, however.
Talk about shameful: criminal, philandering, possibly prison-bound earner Carona lands in the top 10 among the 515 county retirees enjoying yearly, six-figure pensions.