Columnist Bent on Rescuing Costa Mesa Bids Adieu to Readers

Today, author and veteran journalist William Lobdell penned his final twice-weekly column for LA Times community newspaper The Daily Pilot. All because of a most unusual new opportunity that combines elements of PR with an opening for belated civic duty. He writes:

It’s time for me to shift gears. I’ve lived in Costa Mesa for more than two decades and have a deep love for the city. My adopted hometown is facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis — and suffering from the controversies that spill from it. Open, honest, and timely communications from the city is critical at this time.

If successful, Lobdell’s efforts as communications director for Costa Mesa could prove to be a PR model for other fiscally challenged municipalities. The former LA Times reporter (and one-time Daily Pilot editor) has been promised a large degree of freedom by city chief executive Tom Hatch. Lobdell says he aims to create an organic website as well as set up regular town hall meetings, so that his hometown can become the “most transparent city in the nation.”

Good luck, Mr. Lobdell. FishbowlLA will be watching, with great interest.

Update – 03/24/11: The Orange County Register follows up with an item revealing the terms of Lobdell’s engagement: 90 day initial contract, $75 an hour, 40 hours per week maximum. It also touches on how unhappy some people are with this new Costa Mesa move, per the comments to his farewell column.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.