So my soon-to-be-former editor, Tony Ortega, is going to New York to take over the Village Voice. I'm getting two questions regarding the move: What is Ortega, the man, like? and How long do you think he'll last at the Voice?
The answer to the first question is that Tony is a big-hearted man with big passions. He wears a size 15 shoe (though his feet are size 10 1/2). His love of Russian-made firearms and turn-of-the-century Portugese erotica are well-known, so I don't think I'm talking out of school. Little known fact: He was born with only one nostril, though that handicap obviously hasn't slowed him down in the least. Favorite song: 99 Luftballoons. Although he claims to be half-Mexican, "Ortega" speaks with a distinctly Norwegian accent and is rarely seen without his albino ferret, Pierre, a pet that can be hellishly ferocious but usually stays safely nestled in the crook of his neck.
As for the second question, I'm going to get semi-serious for a moment. Though there have been four editors that have come and gone in the past year, my prediction is that
Tony will sit in the editor's chair at the Voice for as long he wants to be there. Why do I believe this? For one, he has the temperament to weather the shitstorm. Trust me on that one. He's tough to rattle, and believe me, I tried. He'll be a stabilizing force; the drama will transfer from the Voice office to the pages of the Voice newspaper. Two, he has the hard-earned trust of the intrepid leader of Village Voice Media chain, Michael Lacey. That goes a long way.
So what about New Times Broward*Palm Beach? Well, I can tell you that Ortega's announcement at a meeting yesterday left the staff under what I can I only describe as a funereal pall. He's well-liked and won't be easily replaced. He's the Godfather of this blog, for chrissakes. But hey, when the merger between NT and VV occurred in 2005, I suppose we all knew these kind of changes might become more common. It's a big company, baby.