Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Times Mirror Criticized for Donation to Charter Campaign

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Times Mirror Criticized for Donation to Charter Campaign

Article excerpt

Opponents charge it's a breach of ethics

A $55,000 contribution by Times Mirror Co. to a controversial city charter amendment has brought a charge by opponents that the donation was unethical.

The ballot measure, which won by a heavy margin in the June 2 election, will change the way the police department is run. It will give the mayor and the City Council greater authority to hire and fire the police chief and limit the chief's tenure to two consecutive five-year terms.

Times Mirror, the parent firm of the Los Angeles Times, donated $55,147.50 to help pay for advertising space for the backers of Charter Amendment F. The company was the second-largest donor to the campaign, according to a report filed with the City's Ethics Commission.

Geoffrey Garfield, director of the Police Protective League's campaign against the amendment, was quoted in the Times as saying of Times Mirror's contribution: "It's an incredible ethical breach for a newspaper to give away space to only one side in a political campaign.

"Now people are accusing the Los Angeles Times of being biased from its editorial page to its reporting . . . and it is difficult to say otherwise when these kinds of contributions are made. The newspaper can't claim objectivity on one hand, then slip a check with the other to one side."

The Times Mirror donation was used for a full-page ad in the Times a few days before the election. The text contained the endorsements of several civic and business leaders, including Times Mirror chairman and CEO Robert F. …

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