Local Journos Remember Tony Tranfa

LA Observed reported yesterday on the death of Tony Tranfa, the 49-year-old online editor at the Daily Breeze.


His friends and co-workers were of course saddened by the news. But when they talked about Tony with FBLA, the first things to come to mind were the things that brought smiles to their faces.

Here are a few of those:

From former Tranfa co-worker Keith Sharon:

“I loved Tony’s sense of humor. He could be crusty and difficult at times, but he could usually crack up the room.

Here’s an example: His desk was positioned in front of a huge map of southern California. When a crime would occur, especially some heinous event involving guns or knives, he would gleefully stand and face the map.

He had fashioned a circular sight, the kind on a long-distance rifle, by cutting cross-hairs into a piece of paper. He would place the cross-hairs on the site of the crime.

You did not want to be a reporter whose home was within one mile of a crime scene.

Tony would yell “Sector hit. We’ve got a sector hit.” And he would push the button on a tiny police car he kept on his desk, setting off the tinny sound of a tiny police siren.

He would call your name for all to hear and begin asking you about the property values in your neighborhood now that this heinous act had taken place so close to home. Of course, the reporter would always deny that a sector hit had actually taken place. The standard argument would be that the “crime” hadn’t yet been proven. That it may not be a crime at all. No one wanted to admit to Tony that their lifestyle was in anyway affected by what had happened.

I’ll never forget the day when a police chase ended IN FRONT OF TONY’S HOUSE. I’ll bet every member of the staff sounded the little siren that day. We randomly shouted “SECTOR HIT” just to remind him that HIS property values were about to take a plunge.

Of course, he argued that the crime had taken place elsewhere, and the suspect had merely fled near his house. If you could ask him today, he would deny that a sector hit had ever occurred in his pristine Torrance neighborhood.

When I heard he died at the hospital this week, I thought about the siren sitting on his desk. Then I caught myself wondering how far it is from the hospital to his house.”

Jim Radcliffe who once worked for Tony said:

“Tony was a wordsmith, an editor who preferred to use mantra-like phrases to prod reporters instead of using a knife on their copy. But he might have brought more to the newsroom as the ringleader of one-liners and playful banter.

He could be caustic at times. But eventually, he would smile, slightly at first. And you knew everything was all right again.”