SMITH: New owner's early connections to PD family

As my newsroom colleagues and I filed into the mass meeting with the brand-new owners of The Press Democrat, we'd just consented to help the sale go through by accepting a pay cut and freeze, a reduction in vacation and an end to payments into our modest but beloved, decades-old retirement plan.

So why was Darius Anderson, the key member of the buyers' group, the one doing the crying?

It was genuinely touching when the wealthy and well-connected, 48-year-old Sonoma Valley resident recounted his humble beginnings and early connections to this newspaper.

He glanced often at special guest Dee Dee Parman, widow of PD publisher Mike Parman, as he shared how he figured long ago he would follow his father into law enforcement and made it as far as being a Santa Rosa parking-ticket writer.

Anderson said it was about the time his dad, former San Francisco policeman Tom Anderson, became Sonoma County's undersheriff (to then-Sheriff Roger McDermott) in the mid-1980s that the Andersons and Parmans became tight friends.

Darius Anderson made teary eye contact with Dee Dee Parman, whose publisher husband lost a public and good-humored battle with cancer in 2006, as he declared how happy he is to now help return the PD to local ownership.

The mood of the new owners' first meeting with we employees brightened as Anderson singled out Gaye LeBaron, who was there, and recalled the first time his name appeared in his hometown newspaper.

As he'd searched as a young man for a direction in life, Anderson became an intern and then an aide to Doug Bosco. The former congressman sat right behind him at the employees' meeting as the PD's new general counsel.

In D.C. in the 1980s, Anderson persuaded Bosco to let him serve as his driver. The item by Gaye told how the California boy's unfamiliarity with East Coast winters bit him the day he needed to pick up Bosco at the airport but discovered he'd left the Mercury in an ideal spot for it to became encased in a wall of plowed snow.

When it came Bosco's turn to speak at the employee meeting, he said he felt sick the day nearly a year ago that he read the PD was sold as part of a bundle to a Florida media company.

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