The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a motion criticizing KNBC-TV Channel 4 for getting rid of reporter David Horowitz and for disbanding his "Fight Back" consumer-affairs unit in the news department three weeks ago.
The motion, sponsored by Supervisor Edmund D. Edelman and approved without dissent, instructed the county's executive officer to send a letter to the general manager of KNBC and to the president of the parent NBC network asking them to reconsider the "decision to cancel this important public service . . . and to renew the reporting contract of David Horowitz."
Horowitz, who pioneered consumer reporting at KNBC nearly 20 years ago, said that he was thrilled at the support from the supervisors, some of whom he has clashed with over the years.
"Maybe what the supervisors are saying is that by disbanding the unit, the station has cut back something that the consumer really needs," he said. "There is nowhere that I go, whether it's the doctor's office or the gym, where I don't have people asking me to resolve their problems. There is such a need out there and they have nowhere else to go."
Horowitz said that he was "interested in landing any place that will support what I do." If KNBC executives came to him and said they had made a mistake and wanted him back, he'd "sit down and talk to them about it," he said.
KNBC management, which has cut several veteran reporters over the past year in an apparent effort to reduce costs, declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Anderson, who has spent the past seven years as a reporter at Channel 4, has become the latest victim of cutbacks at the station.
Anderson, who was dropped last week, said that she had become increasingly frustrated with management and was planning to quit when her contract expires in November. But when she called in sick last week, she said, she was told "to stay home for good."
The station confirmed that it will not be renewing Anderson's contract and that she would not be on the air there again.
Anderson complained that cutbacks in staff in recent years, an emphasis on "trivial and sleazy" stories and the multimillion-dollar hiring of anchor Paul Moyer last July had pushed morale in the newsroom to "sub zero."
Anderson and other sources at the station said that KNBC has been interviewing reporters from smaller markets, presumably as lower-salaried replacements for those who have left.