It was disappointing and sad to read that the Los Angeles Times plans to lay off 250 workers, a majority from the editorial side of the paper. The Times troubles are reflected in the plight of other newspapers, which are losing advertising revenue to the Internet.

When one participates in the public arena, as I have for 30 years, you can adopt some bitterness to the press if you feel your efforts have been misread or even trashed by the newspapers.

While Thomas Jefferson is often remembered for saying "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter;" he also wrote: "Perhaps an editor might begin a reformation in some such way as this. Divide his paper into four chapters, heading the first Truths; the second, Probabilities; the third, Possibilities, the fourth, Lies."

In January 1991, when Governor Pete Wilson proposed a tax increase on newspapers, I wrote a commentary for the L.A. Times in which I considered my occasional bitterness toward the press and thought out loud how I could score points with the tax-increase crowd and give a little payback to those pro-tax newspaper editorials by supporting the newspaper tax.

But, as I concluded in that article, "We should not raise taxes on newspapers. Newspapers are an invaluable resource. Often they are the spine that holds a community together."

I think no differently today. Newspapers are a wonderful way to stay informed. I tell students at my Pepperdine University public policy classes that they can often get a better education about California government from reading newspapers than from reading text books.

As a blogger who tries to keep tabs on the goings-on in our large state, newspapers are the key resource.

Yet, I understand that times are changing. This website is an indication of that change. Now readers can get commentary and even news from the Internet as well as newspapers. Hopefully, the way we are moving will continue to offer readers the information they need about civic life. But I still consider today’s news that newspapers continue their downward spiral as sad and a loss.

In the meantime, to journalists as you look for other work but still would like to comment on California business and politics, give me a call.