by Jay Allen Sanford 02.03.07
In December '06, around forty-five Union-Tribune employees agreed to give up their jobs in return for an early retirement package including a year and a half's salary, a year of health benefits and partial health coverage over ensuing years. The buyouts are part of the UT's strategy in dealing with declines in circulation and ad revenue. Long-time music reviewer and arts writer Preston Turegano chose the early retirement.
"I occasionally made the lives of local TV and radio figures miserable," he told the Voice Of San Diego. "It may have been rude to ask arts administrators how much they earned, or their age, but someone had to pry and probe. I often got the impression they would rather discuss their sex lives rather than disclose salary or age. I reminded a few of the offended that a newspaper is the eyes and ears of the public, especially when it comes to nonprofit organizations that receive taxpayer dollars. I came to love IRS Form 990s, public documents that show how nonprofits raise and spend money."
Turegano - first hired by the paper as a copyboy in 1970 - says his final column was killed and he was not afforded an opportunity to write a farewell edition. "I'm not dying, but mourning is unavoidable right now. Letting go of familiar surroundings and long time work-related relationships equals loss. I adhere to the notion that some co-workers are like relatives; you love them, warts and all.As for silence, not now, thank you, except maybe on the third floor newsroom of the Mission Valley Union-Tribune building."