Reporters are becoming as hard to come by in Sacramento as budget deals.
On this day 74 of the Great Budget Impasse, we learn veteran political reporter Bill Ainsworth, of the San Diego Union-Tribune, has agreed to take a company buyout and will be leaving at the end of the month. His colleague in Sacramento, Bill Mendel, has applied for the buyout as well.
Their rush to early retirement is surely hastened by reports that the U-T is on the chopping block.
Ainsworth's departure is part of a depressing trend in Sacramento, as bureaus that had beefed up when Gov. Schwarzenegger first swept into office now cut back or close down altogether. The Sacramento Bee reports that both the San Francisco Chronicle and Orange County Register are down to a single reporter.