NEWPORT BEACH — After nearly 20 years as a mainstay of the Daily Pilot and a long career as a freelance writer and journalism educator, columnist Joseph N. Bell is retiring.
Thursday's "The Bell Curve" column will be his last.
"When a time for change comes, you act on it," Bell, 89, said in an interview Wednesday at his Santa Ana Heights home office. "You don't drag it out."
During his years at the Pilot, Bell, who will turn 90 on the Fourth of July, wrote from a liberal perspective in one of the most conservative areas in the country.
"He was never afraid to write what he felt," said William Lobdell, the Pilot's former editor and current columnist. "He was a liberal Democrat writing in Republican territory, and he never flinched."
From conservative politicians to the John Wayne Airport settlement agreement, Bell followed Newport issues closely. He also found plenty of fodder in Costa Mesa.