It's not an easy time to be celebrating. The Bush administration has driven the economy into the toilet. After more than five years, the nation is still fighting a foolish, unnecessary war in Iraq. Unemployment is rising, and so is the cost of living.
But it's also been a banner year for grassroots democracy. Barack Obama, the antiwar candidate, the upstart, took on and defeated the vaunted Clinton operation, and did it in large part with little pieces. He raised millions from small donors and mobilized activists on the ground in a way we haven't seen in too many years.
And that energy is alive and well in San Francisco. The city that defied Washington and forced the legalization of same-sex marriage, the city that remains the heart of the antiwar movement, will be leading the way toward a more sustainable energy policy this fall. District supervisorial campaigns are well underway, with the mobilizations and energy coming not from big campaign donors and powerful interests but from ordinary people who live here and care about their community.
That's the spirit we celebrate in this Best of the Bay issue.
There's a lot more democracy in our selections this year more selections and ideas from our readers, more input from our community. Our cover art and the illustrations inside reflect the activist traditions and inspirations of this city.
It's bleak out there in America, but hope lives in places like San Francisco. And that's a great reason to be proud of all that is the Best of the Bay.