May 9, 2013- The fight is on against possible Koch Brothers ownership of the Tribune papers, which include the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune.
Unions and liberal advocacy groups are planning protests and running ads (see photo below) on the Los Angeles Times and New York Times websites starting Thursday, according to liberal groups Courage Campaign Institute and Forecast the Facts.
And they have the leaders of the California state legislature behind them. Darrell Steinberg, the California Senate President pro Tem, and John A. Pérez, the speaker of the California Assembly, said Wednesday that they would oppose the sale, the New York Times reports. Both men control seats on the boards of California’s major pension funds.
“I oppose it,” Steinberg said of a possible sale to the Los Angeles Times. “I believe newspapers are a public trust. The Los Angeles Times has a long and respected tradition of community leadership and impartiality. The Koch brothers have a long and demonstrated history of a rigid political ideology.”
About one-quarter of the assets held by Oaktree Capital Management, the leading shareholder in the Tribune Company, comes from public pension funds, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. In a letter sent Thursday to Bruce Karsh, president of Oaktree and chairman of Tribune Company, ten public employee unions warned that a sale to the Koch brothers “would be adverse to the retirement security of public employees whose pension funds you are responsible for managing and investing.”
The letter said the Koch brothers are “anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-public education and anti-immigrant.”