Monday, April 20, 2009

From Dave Lesher

I have many memories of Jerry, but one of the best is also one of the first. When I moved to the LA Times Sacramento bureau in 1994, Jerry took me around the Capitol for a round of introductions and a backstage tour filled with colorful, historic and even shocking stories from his decades in the building. When we got to Speaker Willie Brown’s office, Jerry walked right past the lobbyists waiting on couches, waved hello to the receptionist and marched into Willie’s office with me in tow. It was clear that Jerry was more than just a reporter in that building, he was a formidable part of the institution. Reporters always have a privileged seat in a place like the Capitol. You get to know the personalities by sharing the long hours and travel as well as witnessing the amazing victories and the painful defeats. Sometimes you talk about your kids or sports or whatever. Jerry was having those experiences and relationships before some of the newer staff and legislators were born. Some who work that close to the sausage factory for a long time develop a crusty cynicism. And perhaps that’s where Jerry was so unique. He clearly had as much excitement and love for his work on his last day at The Times as I did on my first. When Jerry retired from The Times, I moved into his old desk and when I was pounding on his old keyboard on deadline, I often thought about how many times he did the same thing and how much he enjoyed it every time.

-- Dave Lesher

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