Politics Blog

The case closes

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I’ll start with a correction: I wrote last week that Cleveland and San Francisco were the only two cities where the chain that owns the SF Weekly faces direct competition from another alternative paper.

Actually, Village Voice Media, which used to be called New Times, owns the Seattle Weekly. Read more »

SF Weekly witnesses make the Guardian's case

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An expert witness for the SF Weekly put a bunch of charts before the jury Friday, trying to undermine the Guardian’s predatory pricing case – but every one of the charts seemed to prove exactly what we’ve been trying to say.

The Guardian is suing the Weekly and its corporate parent, Village Voice Media, for predatory pricing. The claim is that the 16-paper chain poured millions into propping up the San Francisco paper, which for 12 years has lost money while it sold ads below the cost of producing them. Read more »

Our expert, their expert

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Lawyers for the SF Weekly and its corporate parent tried mightily today to discredit the testimony of the Guardian’s expert on the damages caused by the chain’s predatory pricing in San Francisco.

It was a classic legal strategy: The Weekly lawyers tried to find flaws in Clifford Kupperberg’s detailed damage report, then brought in their own expert to argue that our expert was wrong.

But in the end, I didn't see anything presented that undermined the Guardian's basic argument: The Weekly's below-cost sales damaged the local paper, and those damages were in the millions of dollars.

The crux Read more »

Ryan Brooks plays Musical Chairs

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Yesterday, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced he was appointing Ryan Brooks to the Planning Commission.
That announcement necessarily meant that someone else on the Planning Commission was about to get bumped.

And today, the Planning Commission announced that the Mayor had accepted the resignation of Planning Commission President Dwight Alexander.

The latter move wasn’t entirely unexpected, given the shenanigans that occurred behind the scenes at the Planning Commission earlier this year.
And nor was the f Read more »

The damages: $5 - $11 million

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An accountant with more than 30 years experience analyzing damage claims in lawsuits testified today that the SF Weekly’s practice of selling ads below cost damaged the Bay Guardian badly – and he put the financial toll at between $5 million and $11 million.

Clifford Kupperberg took the stand in the Guardian’s predatory-pricing suit against the SF Weekly and its corporate owner. Read more »

Bad Day for Strong Women at City Hall

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They met in one of the smallest rooms in City Hall, but within ten minutes, the board that oversees the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission managed to make a huge decision that will cost tax payers $400,000, when they voted to fire SFPUC General Manager Susan Leal, this morning.
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SFPUC General Manager Susan Leal talks to the press about her record at the agency, the lack of stated reasons for her termination and her future aspirations. Read more »

Weekly publisher dodges the facts

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The publisher of the SF Weekly took the stand Friday and today in the Guardian’s predatory-pricing suit and presented all of the Weekly’s positions as if he’d been rehearsing for weeks.

And in fact, Fromson has been sitting in the courtroom watching most of the trial so far. Most witnesses in legal cases don’t get to watch the proceedings until after they’re done with their turn in the box – it might influence their testimony – but Judge Marla Miller has been pretty lax on that front. Read more »

Newsom's power play

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Newsom swore in a new batch of his appointed commissioners on Friday.(photo from sfgov.org)
Mayor Gavin Newsom's effort to fire Susan Leal (slated for tomorrow morning) has grabbed Read more »

Newsom needs to return the MTA's money

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What is Gavin looking for? A way off the train? Or a way to spend MTA money on hiring himself a climate change director?

"Crashes involving MUNI and pedestrians have nearly doubled in the past two years: in 2005, there were 34 crashes involving a MUNI vehicle and a pedestrian; while 2007 saw 62. These numbers include 3 fatalities in 2005 and 7 fatalities in 2007. Read more »

Newsom in space

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OK, this is just priceless. Our celebrity Mayor Gavin Newsom and his fiance actress, Jennifer Siebel, on Saturday went weightless during a flight out of Moffett Field as part of a promotional effort by a company charging $3,500 per head to experience zero gravity in a diving airplane. Read more »