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Harold Meyerson on Frank McCourt and Sam Zell

Angeleño Harold Meyerson, formerly executive editor of the LA Weekly and currently a columnist for the Washington Post, writes of his distate for carpetbaggers who come to LA and destroy our beloved public institutions with avarice and disregard for what matters to our city. An excerpt:

A curse has befallen Los Angeles. Two of its leading civic institutions -- and for Angelinos of my generation, perhaps its two greatest institutions -- were sold to men so venal, cynical, incompetent, and egomaniacal that they gutted them in just a couple of years. Now, higher authorities have stepped in to stop their further destruction, at least temporarily.

I refer, of course, to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers were already a storied franchise when Walter O'Malley moved them from Brooklyn in 1958. The Times had been the city's dominant paper since the early years of the 20th century, but only in 1960, when Otis Chandler became publisher, did it begin its rise to become one of the nation's greatest newspapers.

Last week, Bud Selig, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, took over control of the Dodgers to keep its owner, Frank McCourt, from using team revenues to pay off his wife, the team's co-owner, in a divorce settlement. Selig's action came as Frank was about to sign a 20-year, $2.5 billion contract with Fox Sports to televise the team's games. The divorce also brought to light that the McCourts, Boston-based parking-lot owners who moved to L.A. when they purchased the Dodgers, had been using team revenues to subsidize their multi-mansioned lifestyle and that Frank McCourt had had to take out a loan to make payroll earlier this month.

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