There he is, at his corner desk, furiously banging away at his keyboard, his head filled with righteous indignation: undocumented immigrants, Russian election interference, white supremacists, the gun lobby — and above all, the Great Orange One whose every pronouncement makes him gnash his teeth.
“You’re not going to believe this!” he explodes, reading out loud to the newsroom from the latest article polluting his Facebook feed.
This is J. News Editor Dan Pine, the heart and soul of our Jewish community publication. Hired as a staff writer 17 years ago, he has seen it all — and written about it. Whatever we throw at him, from a cover story explaining the inner workings of the Jewish Federation pension fund to a profile of Gov. Gavin Newsom to a film review or an interview with a Holocaust survivor, he handles every assignment with equanimity and approaches it with the same work ethic.
“There’s no crying in baseball” is one of his oft-used quotes.
Dan Pine is an L.A. native, which we try not to hold against him, and he has made amends by adopting all of the Bay Area’s sports teams. A graduate of Beverly Hills High School and Cal State Northridge, where he majored in English, he came to journalism after many years in PR, an inversion of the traditional career trajectory. He has an unmatched ability to find just the right words, especially for headlines of tricky stories (“Persian of Interest,” “The Electric Kool-Aid Chassid Test”). His quick wit keeps us laughing in the office. No one has a better comeback, or a faster one.
A leftie from way back — his parents were both Communists working in Hollywood — Dan kept his politics under wraps — in print, that is. He introduced us to the acronym PEI, or “Progressive Except Israel,” a label he embraces wholeheartedly. His liberal Democratic credentials coexist comfortably with his fierce love of Israel and the Jewish people. Don’t mess with this Zionist!
While Dan doesn’t suffer fools gladly, his big heart and generous spirit mark everything he does. He is open to all in the community, and is always willing to listen and learn. He treats people with respect, and they show it back to him. Journalists can often be bristly, but that’s not Dan.
He’s also a terrific mentor and teacher. He spent years with Write On For Israel, coaching local Jewish teens and leading them on reporting trips to Israel, where they produced videos and wrote about Israeli life and politics. And when we have summer interns, it’s always Dan who shows the most patience and compassion, sharing the ropes of life in a newsroom and helping them to polish their raw copy.
This week, after we finish the current print issue, Dan will pack up his desk and say goodbye to the staff. He’ll be 65 in April, and claims it’s time to retire. We beg to differ, but he’s ready to hang up his J. cap and spend more time with his wife and companion of many years, Robyn Raymer, as well as visit his son and new grandson — his first — in New York as often as he can. And, of course, spend more time on Facebook, sharing his opinions and his life.
We are not, however, letting him off that easily. J. would not be the same without Dan, so he will continue writing part time from home. We will miss his sarcasm and wicked sense of humor in the office. We will miss his institutional knowledge, and his extensive mental Rolodex.
Danny, we’ll miss you tons.