The movement to restore local ownership to the Los Angeles Times is picking up steam.

A dozen members of the California State Legislature representing Los Angeles County have joined the cause, signing a letter today urging the board of directors of Times parent company, Chicago’s Tribune Publishing Co., to change course following the ouster of Austin Beutner as publisher last month.

Signees include incoming Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas.

“As stewards of the public good, we cannot sit idly by and watch the demise of one of Los Angeles’s most prominent civic institutions,” the letter reads. “Our constituents deserve a newspaper that is led by individuals who represent their communities and strengthens their civic consciousness and pride.”

Nineteen San Fernando Valley leaders sent a separate letter Thursday encouraging Tribune’s board to consider the value of local ownership.

Last month, more than 60 prominent Los Angeles leaders, including former mayors Antonio Villaraigosa and Richard Riordan, put their signatures to a an initial letter supporting the effort.

Tribune Publishing’s decision in early September to fire Austin Beutner and appoint Tim Ryan as publisher, who joined from the Tribune-owned Baltimore Sun, prompted the calls and has also led to speculation over local billionaires preparing bids for the paper.

A spokesman for Tribune Publishing did not immediately return a request for comment.

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