Sam Zell Plasters "You Own This Place Now" Banners Over LA Times Office

Sam Zell, gnomic mercurial new owner of the Los Angeles Times plastered huge banners inside the office reading "You Own This Place Now." Was this just just a note to himself in case he forgot? Nope! Most people don't forget an 8.2 billion dollar acquisition that quickly. Instead, as Times publisher David Hiller mentions in an email,

His point is that our future is in our hands. It's not about the past, not about Chicago or the Chandlers or anybody else. It's about US in the Los Angeles Times Media Group family, and what we make of our mission and businesses in this amazing part of the world that is Southern California.

Also, that poster with the kitten clasping a branch over the water cooler that reads "Hang In There" is really an allegory for how Zell plans to cling to editorial integrity even while cramming every available inch of the paper up with ads. Let it be noted: the kitten always dies. Complete email after the jump.

From: Hiller, David
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 10:43 AM
Subject: Going for it in 2008
Good morning and happy new year.

I hope all of you had a happy holiday with family and friends. I was back in the wintry Midwest for the closing of the deal with Sam, and to spend a few days with my mom and other family there (thermometer didn't get much over 20 degrees!).

I hope you feel as good about Sam coming aboard as I do. He's a force of nature, and an injection of his kind of energy and confidence is a

great thing.

It was Sam's idea to put up the banners that say "You Own This Place Now." And that has been his steady theme. His point is that our future is in our hands. It's not about the past, not about Chicago or the Chandlers or anybody else. It's about US in the Los Angeles Times Media Group family, and what we make of our mission and businesses in this amazing part of the world that is Southern California.

I don't go too much for the usual New Year's resolutions practice, but this year I think it would be good to take to heart what Sam said in his first note to us on December 20 about how we act moving forward:

* We will take intelligent risks and reward innovation.

* We will tear down bureaucracy and reward entrepreneurial

spirit.

* We will compete fiercely, but with integrity.

* We will work hard and have fun.

These are good resolutions to live by. A number of you sent me emails over the holidays with suggestions and questions. There is also a Suggestion Box on TimesLink that many of you use. I welcome all these ideas, and will always answer an email and talk about some of the suggestions on my blog. And remember Sam has an email box too: talktoSam@Tribune.com.

I was glad to see many of you at our Town Hall meetings before the holidays. Our strategies and priorities we discussed are the ones we are telling Sam about. Near-term actions we will be talking more about in the next few weeks:

1. Completing 2007 year-end results

2. Finalizing budgets and action plans for 2008

3. Communicating 2008 compensation and benefit plans

We will also be planning our Employee Recognition Week activities later in February to fully recognize and celebrate accomplishments and contributions in the eventful year just passed.

I am looking forward to our coming year together.

David