Ron Burkle is trying to buy his way into a new club. But he appears to be
getting off to a rough start. Burkle, a billionaire, is among those who have
bid for a series of newspapers formerly owned by Knight Ridder. Knight
Ridder’s 32 papers were acquired by McClatchy Company earlier this year. But
McClatchy has put up some of its key properties, including Philadelphia
Inquirer, the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times, up for sale.
Burkle has been sparring in the courts and in the Legislature with the very
organization he’s trying to join. The California Newspaper Publishers
Association (CNPA) recently intervened against Burkle in his divorce case
and helped get a law ruled unconstitutional that Burkle tried to use to keep
his financial records private.
Burkle also is said to be the major motivation for the fast-tracking of SB
1015, the bill authored by Senate Appropriations Chairman Kevin Murray,
D-Culver City, which would restrict public access to divorce records. “This
guy could be sitting on my board some day,” said Tom
Newton, the CNPA lobbyist that is heading up the fight against SB 1015, who
was fully aware of the irony of his group’s opposition to SB 1015.
Capitol insiders say Murray’s bill, aggressively opposed by the CNPA, has
been “speakerized,” which means that Assembly Speaker Fabian N