On Guard: The story behind the Bay Guardian’s new ownership and the departure of Editor-Publisher Tim Redmond

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Tim Redmond's last day as the editor-publisher of the Bay Guardian was June 13.
Luke Thomas


[An abridged version of this article appears in this week's Guardian]

Longtime Bay Guardian Editor Tim Redmond left the newspaper last week in a dispute with its new owners over personnel changes and his autonomy within San Francisco Print Media Company, which also includes the San Francisco Examiner and SF Weekly.

Redmond led the Guardian newsroom for most of his 31 years with the newspaper and engineered last year's sale to Todd Vogt and a Canadian ownership team. As part of that sale — which Redmond cast to staff as saving the Guardian from bankruptcy and closure — Bruce B. Brugmann and Jean Dibble, the couple who founded the Guardian in 1966, retired from the paper, its Potrero Hill office building was sold, and the Guardian moved into the Examiner's downtown office in June 2012.

Redmond was the Guardian editor and publisher, the name at the top of our masthead and the person solely in charge of Guardian operations, and he told staff he had been guaranteed full autonomy by the new ownership, which was important to the Guardian staff. As such, he resisted Vogt's periodic efforts to control the newspaper, including early threats to fire City Editor Steven T. Jones for unspecifed reasons, which Vogt had mentioned to Redmond, directly to Jones, and to Guardian writer Rebecca Bowe prior to her return to the Guardian at the beginning of this year.

Nonetheless, Vogt did make some successful incursions on the Guardian's independence, initially by encouraging layoffs, later by interfering with Guardian endorsements in the November 2012 election.

On Oct. 26, 2012, without consulting Redmond, Vogt named Examiner Editor Stephen Buel to be vice president for editorial overseeing both newspapers, announcing that Buel would "oversee the editorial direction, content, tone and voice of our newspapers and web sites."

Shortly after the purchase of the longtime Guardian rival SF Weekly two months later, Vogt similarly appointed Weekly writer Erin Sherbert to oversee online communications at all three papers.

Neither Buel nor Sherbert directed or reviewed any Guardian editorial content prior to publication, although some stories from the Guardian and the Weekly began to appear in the Examiner's newspaper and website, often edited by Examiner editors but giving credit to their original source.

The Guardian's weekly revenues continued to remain flat or decline, at least partially because of the departure of two of the Guardian's commission-based advertising representatives, positions which remain unfilled. The San Francisco Print Media Company then instituted a new system in which ad reps would try to sell into all three papers, which particularly hurt the Guardian's bottom line during the run-up to the SF Weekly's large Best of San Francisco, published May 29. The Guardian's sales staff remains significantly smaller than that of the other two publications.

Vogt, Buel, and Chief Financial Officer Pat Brown began a conversation with Redmond about the need to cut expenditures, focusing on the newsroom, which until June 14 had seven full-time Guardian staffers and a part-time art director, who also works for the Examiner.

Redmond expressed a willingness to make cuts while also emphasizing the need to hire more ad reps to boost revenue, Redmond and Buel both told us. "He made it very clear that we need more salespeople," said Buel, who also told us that he supported Redmond's stance with Vogt and Brown that he should be allowed to choose where the cuts would be made.

"Todd and I were in the middle of difficult and ongoing negotiations for how to cut costs. My position is that it is entirely appropriate for the owner to ask us to cut costs, and then I would come back with a plan," Redmond told us.

Instead, on June 12, shortly before Redmond left the office to moderate a well-attended forum that he had organized on Plan Bay Area and San Francisco's long-term growth policies (see related story), Vogt called Redmond and Buel into Brown's office and demanded he lay off three specific people in the newsroom (ironically, not including Jones, whose work Vogt has come to publicly praise in recent months) as soon as the current issue is complete. That would have cut in half the number of writers and editors working under Redmond, making it difficult to put out a paper.

"To have me lay off three people by name is not acceptable," Redmond told us, holding firm that he would cut expenses but that he wouldn't let Vogt micromanage the Guardian in that fashion. Redmond informed Buel of his decision on June 13 and sought to meet with Vogt, who wasn't in the office that day.

"Tim told me in no uncertain terms that he couldn't do it," Buel told us. "He was civil and cordial and adult about it, but he was very clear he was going to leave the Guardian" rather than be forced to implement that decision. Buel then conveyed to Vogt that Redmond had offered to resign rather than making the cuts.

The next night, Redmond and Vogt exchanged a series of emails in which Redmond repeatedly offered to leave and help create a smooth leadership transition and Vogt repeatedly insisted that Redmond make the cuts and/or clarify whether he was resigning.

It culminated shortly before midnight with Vogt telling Redmond that his resignation had been accepted — to which Redmond responded the next morning that he hadn't offered his resignation — and that he was barred from returning to the office or speaking for the Guardian.

Vogt's explanation

Guardian staffers arrived to the office earlier than usual as requested, for a 9:30am meeting Vogt had called shortly before midnight, but Vogt was absent. The meeting commenced around 10:15am, with Vogt phoning in from Canada for his first meeting exclusively with Guardian staff.

"I've got a bunch of apologies to make," he began, explaining that he was flying to Canada for his six-year-old son's school assembly. "I'm embarrassed that I'm not there, but I'm more embarrassed that I contemplated missing my son's grade one graduation and school play."

He went on to describe his email exchange with Redmond the night before. "I accepted his resignation as editor of the Guardian, effective immediately," Vogt said. "I didn't ask for his resignation, I didn't want him to resign. But it was Tim's decision."

"For 12 months, we let — I let — Tim run the Guardian pretty much hands off," he said, allowing that on a few seldom occasions, "I actually made demands, some of which Tim listened to, some of which Tim disregarded." Vogt went on to say that he, Redmond, Buel, and Brown had been meeting to discuss "very serious and significant changes" at the paper, which would have included staffing cuts.

"Up until yesterday at 4:30, I was under the impression ... that not only was Tim on side with those changes, Tim had actually recommended some of those changes, both staffing and otherwise," Vogt said. "So I'm not exactly sure what occurred, but whatever occurred yesterday that made Tim have a change of heart is really irrelevant at this point. So, uh, again you all know Tim, and you have known Tim longer than you've know me, and whether you choose to believe what I just said, at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter."

Vogt went on to say, "Last month, it became painfully apparent that we had to make some radical changes to the Guardian. Some of the changes ... were going to affect the editorial tone and position of the Guardian. We weren't going to do anything crazy, like Philip Anschutz the Guardian," referring to the Examiner's former right-wing owner, "but we definitely were going to look to make some changes, because obviously what we've been doing ... isn't resonating with advertisers, and I honestly don't believe it's resonating with readers."

He went on: "Whatever you heard yesterday with respect to layoffs, or freelancers no longer writing for the paper, all of those decisions that had been made collectively between Tim, myself, Steve, and Pat are off the table."

Going forward, he said, "I'm going to look to Marke [Bieschke, appointed interim editor], and Dulc [Vice President of Advertising Dulcinea Gonzalez], and Steve [Buel] to quickly come up with a plan of what we need to do ... to get the Guardian back on solid financial and, and sort of ideological footing, in the community. I know some of you heard that certain positions were going to be eliminated and there's likely going to be pissed off people and hard feelings, and for that I'm sorry. And I'm not saying... that there won't be layoffs. There may well indeed be."

Then Vogt opened up the discussion for "Questions, comments, you can tell me to go fuck myself. Whatever it is, now is the time."

Jones asked about how Redmond’s departure would be presented to the community, and what he meant by the change in editorial tone. "No disrespect to Bruce [Brugmann], but I think the editorial changes that need to happen at the paper need to reflect sort of, progressive — the new progressive — movement, the new progressive values," Vogt responded. "The feature that Tim wrote two weeks ago [on the future of planning in San Francisco], that's the kind of stuff that I think the Guardian should be. But if anybody around the table is looking or hoping that I'm the guy who's going to provide the editorial vision of what the Guardian's going to be, we're in serious shit. I've lived in the city for 18 months, and I'm the last guy who should be opining on what the Guardian ought to be."

Shrinking the Guardian

Guardian Culture Editor Caitlin Donohue severed ties to the newspaper shortly after the meeting. "I was just shocked that I was being told by intercom to disbelieve my editor and mentor of four years," Donohue said when asked for her response to the meeting.

In that meeting, Donohue accepted a voluntary layoff. "After the various idiocies of last week, I realized it was time to hit the ejector button, and started putting my energies towards building new media that actually had a chance of success," Donohue explained later via email.

With regard to Redmond's ouster, Donohue said, "Getting rid of Tim, and the others they told him were next, is part and parcel of the company's slice and dice attitude to their acquisitions. You can't run that paper after cutting nearly 50 percent of its editorial staff — or a good one, at least."

On Monday, Gonzalez also resigned from the Guardian, effective July 1, further reducing its advertising staff. She had no comment for this story, but Vogt called her departure “a huge blow.”

Vogt still insists that Redmond helped develop the plan to lay off two of the three people they discussed. Buel also said that particular staffers had been discussed in meetings among the four of them, although Buel said only supported two of the three cuts that Vogt insisted upon.

"He fully supported two of the three cuts until Thursday," Vogt said of Redmond. "Suddenly something happened on Thursday. I don't know whether it was a conscience thing, or a change of heart or mind."

Redmond denies that he supported any specific layoffs, telling us that he insisted on being the one to make decisions on who worked for the Guardian and that he wanted to broadly review the Guardian's expenses, including what the company was charging it for rent and printing the paper.

"Tim was simply more interested in the editorial side and the Guardian needed some business leadership," Buel said, noting that he conveyed that assessment to both Redmond and Vogt a couple months ago, not intending to be named publisher of the Guardian himself last week. "I said that not at all envisioning I would be the person to do that."

Redmond said that he was cut out of the loop on decisions that Vogt and other managers made to restructure the advertising sales team to have reps selling into all three products, which sources who have worked in the department say created dysfunction and diverted energies that hurt Guardian ad sales.

"They never asked me how the ad department should be set up," Redmond said.

And while Redmond and Buel both say he strongly advocated for more employees to be dedicated to selling the Guardian, Redmond found himself playing the same role he had played as executive editor under the previous ownership: reacting to the paper's financial fortunes by cutting costs.

The Guardian had seven full-time staff writers when Jones was hired in 2003, which Redmond whittled down to just one by the time the paper was sold, despite the Guardian winning a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the SF Weekly and the chain that owned it, Village Voice Media, for unfair competition and anti-competitive pricing.

"I recognized in May that Guardian sales were down and I was not opposed to the idea that we had to cut costs," Redmond told us, later adding, "I came back with two plans. One, sell me the Guardian, or two, tell me how much I need to cut."

Vogt didn't accept either idea, insisting Redmond lay off the staffers that he had identified. Whether that final standoff is seen as a straight business decision, a personality conflict, or a question of the autonomy of Redmond and the Guardian, it's certainly true that it was the last in a series of conflicts between the two men.

Internal friction

Friction between Vogt and the Guardian's newsroom had been building for some time, centered around a couple of issues: payment of tens of thousands of dollars in debts to freelance writers that Vogt assumed when taking over the Guardian, and Redmond's authority as editor/publisher of the Guardian.

While the terms of the Guardian's sale to Vogt's group haven't been made public, sources say there were a couple areas of disagreement that delayed Vogt's acceptance of his responsibility to pay the freelance debt, although that was settled earlier this year.

Guardian staffers who work directly with the freelancers consistently complained about the unpaid debt and the difficulties it created in working with writers, and Redmond insisted that he was trying to faciltate payment but that there was nothing he could directly do to help. A plan was supposedly developed to pay the debts, but as of today, the bulk of the past freelance debt remains unpaid.

"We didn't have a ton of free money to pay the debt owed under Bruce's leadership," Vogt told us, adding that the company has been slowly paying off that debt, including expediting payments to key freelancers "when Tim said it was important."

Vogt also began complaining to Redmond about specific writers in the paper that he didn't like. "I had made demands about certain freelancers, 'I don't want so and so writing for the paper,' and they were still in the paper."

Redmond maintains that it was his decision what appears in the Guardian, not Vogt's, and that he resisted the owner's suggestions to fire certain writers, including L.E. Leone, the Guardian's longtime Cheap Eats columnist — who often departed from restaurant coverage to touch on an array of social topics, including her own MTF gender reassignment process — who transitioned into a sports columnist earlier this year.

"I think it was the coolest thing in the world that we had a transgender sports columnist who was one of the best writers in San Francisco. Todd strongly disagreed," Redmond told us. In the wake of Redmond's ouster, Leone resigned from the Guardian on June 15.

A perhaps more significant conflict over control of the Guardian came during the fall election when Vogt clashed with Redmond and Jones over the supervisorial endorsement in District 5. First Vogt opposed endorsing Julian Davis, but ultimately made it clear that it was the Guardian's call. After Davis was hit with new sexual misconduct allegations and responded badly to the developments, the Guardian revoked the Davis endorsement.

We then contemplated endorsing Christina Olague — who had regained progressive favor after defying Mayor Ed Lee on a couple of high-profile issues — but Vogt refused to allow it.

"He told me his newspapers would not be endorsing Christina Olague," Redmond said, a point that Vogt confirmed, explaining only that he didn't want to revisit the D5 endorsement after the Davis debacle.

Redmond said that Vogt then "threatened to fire me" for running a pro-Olague op-ed from longtime queer activist Cleve Jones, despite Redmond's explanation that the Guardian oftens runs guest editorials during election season supporting candidates other than those endorsed by the Guardian.

In fairness, Vogt wouldn't be the first Guardian owner to buck the newsroom on a political endorsement. In the 2003 mayor's race, Brugmann at the last minute overrode the consensus endorsement choice of Tom Ammiano, instead insisting the paper endorse Angela Alioto, although an apologetic Redmond allowed staff to print a dissenting endorsement in favor of Ammiano.

Meanwhile, both Vogt and Buel have issued public statements following Redmond's ouster pledging to keep the Guardian operating as it always has.

Buel insists that he and Vogt have both allowed the Guardian to remain an independent, progressive voice throughout their tenure — something that he said is clear from the Guardian's strong and critical coverage of corporate power this year — and they intend to maintain that approach going forward.

"I think its editorial independence has remained intact," Buel told us, assuring Guardian readers that would continue even without Redmond at the helm. "All I'm saying is keep reading and see if we live up to what I'm saying."

Tim's San Francisco

The day news of Redmond's firing hit the Guardian newsroom, the ousted editor created a website titled "Tim's San Francisco" on blogspot.com and posted a statement about what had happened.

"Hi, my friends, all the people I love and care about in this city. I'm sad to announce that after 30 years, I have left the Bay Guardian," he wrote. "I am proud of all the work that we did over those years, but sadly, it has come to an end."

After briefly explaining the details of his departure, he added, "The good news is that Blogger is free, and I will fancy up this blog in the next couple days, and I will continue to present perspectives and news about progressive San Francisco."

In the days that followed, online comments on Facebook, sfbg.com, and Redmond's new blog demonstrated an outpouring of support from community members.

"The Bay Guardian has been a venerable source for progressive talk (and organizing) in San Francisco and the Bay Area for years," Media Alliance wrote. "Despite the paper's shrinking physical presence, it maintained an influential role in City Hall politics and the Bay Area progressive movement, largely thanks to Redmond's editorial presence."

Christopher Cook, a progressive journalist and former city editor at the Bay Guardian, expressed his outrage over Redmond's ouster in a Facebook post and had issued a call to action, writing, "As the paper would say, let's give them hell." Later, he wrote, "Folks, a critical progressive institution has been bought out and now gutted by this aggressive media corporation. Where's the protest and uproar?"

Brugmann also offered this statement to the Guardian: "Tim came to the Guardian 30 years ago as a reporter, specializing in politics and investigative reporting. Tim soon developed, in my estimation, into one of the finest all around editors in the country. He was largely responsible for making the Guardian the major progressive voice in San Francisco, a major force in Freedom of Information and public access issues throughout the state, and a national model for the alternative press throughout the country."

Redmond said he's been engaging in lots of discussions with the Guardian's community in recent days, exploring whether Vogt may still be persuaded to sell the paper, or looking at ways to start a new media vehicle for the Guardian's community.

"I do have to give Todd credit for buying the Guardian and keeping it alive this year," Redmond said, adding that he was disappointed that Vogt chose to "basically destroy the newsroom" rather than taking him up on his offer to buy back the newspaper or explore other ideas for making the Guardian sustainable.

As Redmond told us, "I'm looking at my options for ensuring progressive, independent journalism is alive in San Francisco."

 

Comments

I will miss Tim. He is the last of the true socialists, a person who cares about The People.

I was a regular SFBG reader and have been upset by the ever-shrinking page count in my favorite publication. Okay, as was noted here, most of the porno ads have drifted elsewhere, and advertising is down. I hope that reflects a lack of ad sales personnel on the ground and not an abandonment of this publication by SF readers.

So, if 'progressives' now have to search online for good content, where am right-minded people like me to turn? I will certainly be checking out Tim's own new blog.

What's most unfortunate is the fact that politicians will no longer have to come before the SFBG board seeking endorsements just before elections. I used to love it when Tim got to grill all those candidates for school board and supervisor posts on what is right and wrong. He used to give em a good taste of progressive values. I'll miss those days.

Though, as Marcos points out, Tim was entirely too cosy with public-sector unions. If Tim were here right now, he'd be defending BART workers and their $90,000-a-year salaries (spike to $110,000 including pensions/healthcare). The public pensions are unsustainable.

Other than that, I loved the way Tim defended women's rights and the rights of the poor and working-class. I'll miss the old boy.

Maybe Bruce can be called back in? Bruce apparently has lots of money now. Surely he could rescue the paper?

Posted by KrisKraft on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

Predictable? Or what?

You're fooling nobody.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 5:31 pm
Posted by anon on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

And we're off to the races!!

http://sfist.com/2013/06/19/michelle_shocked_show_cancelled_tod.php

Michelle Shocked Show Cancelled, S.F. Examiner President Apologizes

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

When a story is hot and folks wanna weigh-in on local events and people and such, one place where commenting is worthy revisiting is SFist.com.

Posted by MPetrelis on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

"one place where commenting is worthy revisiting is SFist.com."

Ugh, that site. No gracias. As for their comment forum, the same: no gracias. I can't think of any comment forum around here anywhere worth being on. They are really no different than this one. And that goes for the Internet in general. Most comment forums are not worth reading because one learns (if they didn't already know) how many hateful, nasty, snide and partisan people are out there.

(Locally, Fog City Journal used to be okay until it unofficially became---what I now call it---"The Ralph Stone Journal." He's nothing but an Obamabot. I can't stand what he writes).

Posted by not ignorant "anon" on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 8:11 pm
Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

Oops! I accidentally scheduled a concert on Gay Pride weekend with a performer who, last time she was in town, said crazy ranty things about the gays bringing on the end of days... But I only did it because I intended it to be a healing opportunity for EVERYONE.

Which one is it then?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

Oh, and here's guest on the heels of guest.

Talk about predictability.

Posted by KrisKraft on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 6:58 pm
Posted by anon on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 6:06 am

I find myself agreeing with much of what Marc Solomon has to say on the narrow Roledex of Tim Redmond, pandering to the public employees' unions and parts of Nonprofit Inc, and how he allowed the comments section of the Guardian to be hijacked by trolls and anonymous b.s.ers.

So many weeks, I wouldn't pick up the Guardian because I grew tired of the paper serving as mouthpiece for Tom Ammiano, the Milk Club, the Bike Coalition, Gabriel Haaland, John Avalos, Mathilda Boringstein, and Tommi Avicolli Mecca.

It was not that I didn't want to read what they had to say necessarily, it was that they were always in the Guardian and pretty saying the same rap as the week before. A diversity of voices, queer ones particularly, was something I didn't/don't get from the paper.

Not palsee-walsee with the editors and writers or not passing the Guardian's political litmus tests? Kiss your coverage and issues in need of attention good-bye.

And while there were strict controls about what got into print, the failure to implement even an ez registration system for the online comments polluted the Guardian community and brand. Yeah, I not only stopped picking up the rag regularly, I also stopped checking out the politics blog for new comments.

Finally, as I've seen at AIDS Inc and Equality Inc nonprofits, it's never healthy for an entity to have an executive director running the show for more than five or so years. Things calcify and ruts develop, enemies lists grow longer and new voice stifled, when there isn't a steady turnover of leadership.

We have term limits for political offices, and we should start insisting on them for nonprofits and alternative and queer publications.

Just my two cents.

Posted by MPetrelis on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

It is not that the Guardian under Redmond did not cover my issues, they covered plenty of my issues. They even sourced me once or twice every year or two.

What is operative here is that they did not cover issues of importance to most liberal and progressive San Franciscans.

The SFBG also did not hold those whose issues they did cover and who they sourced accountable to any measures of effectiveness, accepting their claims on face value because they said they were acting on behalf of the needy.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 8:02 pm

Hey,

Y'all own the field now and it says whatever you want it to say. My only jump-in here was to honor Tim's accomplishments and to try and get the chick poop anonymous posters to out themselves.

No way.

That would mean revealing their family names.

Of which, they are deeply, deeply ashamed.

And,for good reasons I'm guessing.

What's your family name, 'Anon'?

What's your family name, 'Lucretial"?

Why do you only attack from anonymous ambush?

If you're afraid, just say so.

It's OK to be afraid.

What's your name?

What's your name?

My name is h. brown.

What's your name?

Go Giants!

h.

Posted by Guest h. brown on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 7:54 pm

That's "Jucretia's" family name.

You make it too easy you disgusting old anti-semite. See - all anyone has to do is repeat your past statements and you quickly follow by digging your grave for us. You don't even bother denying it - because you're on record again and again and again.

Progressive intelligentsia indeed. More like foremost commenter on Stormfront.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

"Y'all own the field now and it says whatever you want it to say."

That's how I see it too. The rabid right-wing trolls (anon, Lucrapia, top-poster "Guest" and, well you know the ones...the usual smug, hateful and nasty people, if they can be called "people") will stay here and genuflect to and gush over any pro-corporatist articles and the like published. They will continue to whine, moan and complain about any articles from the remaining BG staff which appear to be at all "progressive" or "liberal." Then, after the remaining BG staff have all left, I don't know who the septics will hate on? They will have achieved what they want. A conservative/right-wing corporatist BG despite the newspeak spoken at the time of the sale of the BG which was: The BG will become even more "progressive" than it is now. LOL. Ha! Did anyone fall for that newspeak/bull shit?

Posted by not ignorant "anon" on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 8:34 pm

Yes - our power is vast!!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

Big Talker: Your impotent "power" [sic] is strictly limited to hitting the "save" button.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 2:21 am

Don't apply for a job as a journalist.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 9:51 am

You'd have preferred "Sic Semper Tyrannis," huh?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 10:09 am

off by using Latin phrases like "sic", then they should at least use them correctly.

The full phrase is "sic erat scriptum" and is used to denote a word that has been deliberately misspelled because it is a citation that was spelled incorrectly in the original.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 10:33 am

Would you prefer that the SFBG continue to careen off of the cliff following their handfuls of select sources who led progressive electoral politics to the kill floor?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

Over the past few years now many of the very best newsweeklies in this country have been destroyed. Los Angeles CityBeat was lobotomized after five excellent years for the purpose of destroying the good reputation that paper had built. The original owners did that having been dissatisfied with the editors' moderately liberal leanings. The reinvention lasted a short time and the paper was closed. Next, the venerable Boston Phoenix closed, and now we learn that new ownership has methodically destroyed the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Essentially, the same thing happened in New York City years ago when The Village Voice was sold to what is now confusingly - intentionally of course - known as Voice Media - which is really the Phoenix, Arizona based Mike Lacey-led New Times faux-alt newsweekly mega-chain that owns most of the nation's largest alt-weeklies. Rare are the liberal-leaning owners. Almost all media outlets are owned by conservative or fascist parties who often claim to be libertarian or moderate.

New owners, almost always conservative or fascist, buy and then completely undermine the few liberal-leaning outlets that exist at a given time. There are three general approaches.

The FIRST is to buy the press, load it with debts that really belong to other interests they own and then, by claiming that the press in not fiscally viable, close it.

The SECOND is simply to change the editorial stances of the outlet.

The THIRD is the trickiest, and perhaps the most clever, one. The new owners state they have no interest in changing the editorial stances of the outlet. What is changed though is the advertising policy which pools the one outlet's advertising space with the advertising slots of other outlets. The other outlets, of course, are not liberal-leaning ones. Having so much more money than anyone else, the pharmaceutical, alcohol and tobacco industry advertisements predominate. Finally, the owners state that the paper's editorial stances must change - that is become conservative - in order to please the advertisers, though the owners state that the community has changed over time.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian was a great paper. It's destruction is a tremendous loss for journalism.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

Was Bruce part of the conspiracy? He made a lot of money selling the SFBG real estate.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 1:35 am

And they always have an agenda.

Posted by anon on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 6:03 am

Yes, Bruce won a large $20 million lawsuit and sold the SFBG building for a major profit.

He never offered to put any of that money into the newspaper.

Interesting that he is completely silent on all of these developments.

Posted by Ralph on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 6:16 am

At his age, few would blame him for cashing out and allowing a new generation to take over. With Tim gone, and Steven effectively neutralized, there is a real opportunity now to build something better and with a broader, more moderate base.

The revenues imperative cannot be denied because, without funds, this entity cannot exist at all. I believe that Stephen buel and Todd Vogt understand that profundly.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 6:27 am

what's kickin?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

And extend my best wishes that Todd and Stephen succeed here.

Now let them do their job.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

He is likely compelled by contract to be silent right? I'm sure he thinks it sucks.

Was it a 20 million dollar lawsuit? Was the building that was bought at the height of the last boom and sold before the beginning of this one sold at a huge profit?

Bruce deserves the right to retire after a lifetime of service to progressive journalism and this city.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

finessed their assets, loading them up with debt, and arbitraging differences in Canadian and US law. The result was that Bruce had to settle for a small fraction of that judgment.

And yes, nobody can talk about it, but I am not so estopped.

BBB made a couple of million on that building but that isn't a lot of scratch for a RE deal that was brewing for so long.

Agree that Bruce should move on and, aside from his weird obsession with PG&E, I don't think he can be blamed.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

in the same script they want us all to survive on, good intentions.

Posted by matlock on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

SFBG writers in seeking to right the ship. Using more freelancers to cut benefit costs looks like a no-brainer, and I suspect many people would be happy to write for free, just for the publicity for their causes.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2013 @ 6:04 am

Oh yeah, that's the neoliberal wet dream. Get your writers to work for little or nothing, then reap the profits. And to think that Vogt did zilch to build this paper and its influence with the prog community. Progressives owe him nothing.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

publicize their agenda.

For a genuinely objective and balanced paper, I'd agree with you.

But for a publication that is overtly partisan, writers are ten a penny.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

MORE CORPORATE 'BAFFLE-EM-WITH-BULLSHIT',

AS CIVILITY RECEDES INTO A PROFIT DRIVEN WEB, NET OR

DANTESQUE LEVELS OF................THE UNKNOWN.

Posted by Guest JD MYERS on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 7:48 am

People here seem to forget that. Even Tim, possibly.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 9:50 am

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Posted by Tenesia on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

Good for you Tim.

"In an update to Wednesday's story, the Bay Area Reporter shows that Vogt has lied at nearly every turn as he attempted to do damage control this week."

http://sfist.com/2013/06/21/sf_examiner_president_i_will_pimp_t.php

S.F. Examiner President: 'I Will Pimp The Hell Out Of The Show In All 3 Papers'

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

trouble than anyone here can help you with.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

Hi,
It's the 4-headed monster just checking in! Miss you Tim! But will follow the blog.
Bye now,
Daniele,Anne, Sue,Erika.
mwhahahahaha!

Posted by Daniele E. on Jun. 22, 2013 @ 8:59 am

KrisKraft
AnneGarrison
Erika the eternal victim
Sue

And a bunch more you invented during RossGate to make it appear as if women just love a wife abuser.

Why did you ever think we would be fooled?

Will you all be migrating to Tim's blog? Or will you leave some personas behind?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2013 @ 9:27 am

Just one question for you, Guest:
What if—and this is a hypothetical question—what if in fact these commenters going by the names of Daniele E., AnnGarrison, Sue, Erika, KrisKraft, etc—what if they really were individuals?

What if it could somehow be proven that each of these were actually real individuals?
I'm just curious how you would feel, or what you would have to say.

Care to oblige me? I'd really like to know.
Thanks.

Posted by Daniele E. on Jun. 22, 2013 @ 9:42 am

Rien. Ca ne compute pas.

Posted by Daniele E. on Jun. 23, 2013 @ 10:00 am

and all those other nom de plumes are really different people. But so far no such proof (or rather, evidence, to be more realistic) has been forthcoming.

Meanwhile consider my evidence. Soemthing like a dozen posters usuing a woman's name materialize in the middle of RossGate, all saying the same unlikely thing i.e. women supporting a wife abuser. One of them at one point - KrisKraft - admits using other names here. Then they all vanish as soon as RossGate goes away.

Now we have TimGate, and some of them predictably return. Quite a coincidence, don't you think?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2013 @ 11:34 am

You didn't answer my question.

Posted by Daniele E. on Jun. 23, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

It stated that IF it could be proven that these dozen handles were all different people THEN how would I feel?

Since you have decided not to present any proof, then it is moot how I would feel if you had done instead. To know for sure how I would feel, you'd have to provide that proof and that it be persuasive. I would then report my feelings to you.

If I had to guess how I would feel in that unlikely event, then I suspect my response would be "How did a dozen people so convincing parrot the exact same lines at the same time?"

"And why did KrisKraft admit using sock puppets if in fact she now claims that she did not?" (IOW, is she lying now or was she lying then?"

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

Guest,
As I previously said to you, why would I impinge on people's right to their preferred levels of privacy, just to satisfy your need to have your particular predilection of sock-puppet fantasy validated or discounted?

Do you not see the irony here, ahem—"Guest"?

I believe in making friends out there in the real world. If people want to voice differing opinions, that's fine with me. So, because I'm active in the progressive community, I know folks, and they know me (and the Guardian is a progressive paper, in case you hadn't noticed). Enough said. That's how I like it. And putting my name there differentiates me from all the other "Guests". For what it's worth, I like that, too. For the record. Because I like to speak for myself, as opposed to having some Anonymous Guest air their online-obsessions and fantasies ad infinitum.

But you insult people (latest manifestation of that calling women "broads"), and—because these were female names and were seen speaking out for justice in the Mirkarimi case—you blithely lump them all together as having the same voice....

Sorry, but anyone can see through your overt sexism. You don't see the connection of your thinking nothing of invading their privacy? Well, if you don't respect women, you wouldn't see that as a problem. Because your needs trump all—your need to discredit women *and* invade their privacy. Why not? You're on a roll.

Hey, maybe you can "move on", de-obsess and join the human race. This is a comment section: it's for commentary about issues. It gets pretty tedious to read about one person's inability to get over his/her weird imaginings about who is who on some comment board.

Posted by Daniele E. on Jun. 23, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

I claim that all these "women" are really the same one sad person desperately trying to fabricate some support for an unsupportable position like, say, wife beating.

You retort that each of these names are real, genuine people and you could easily prove that except that, of course, you wish to preserve their privacy!

Even "Sue" alleges there is objective, independent evidence for that, although she deftly omits to furnish links.

So I just have to trust you. right? The very same person who stands accused of artificially skewing the debate by pretending that you are a dozen or more who, otherwise inexplicably, think that it's OK for a man to abuse a woman as long as he has progressive politics.

If you have proof, provide it. Otherwise, "Danielle", you are are just burying yourself deeper and deeper.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

It's getting boring.
bye bye.

PS~if you reply, you will just be pissing in the wind. and you know something? your piss kinda stinks. word on the street.

Posted by Daniele E. on Jun. 23, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

noted for the record, as is the significance of your failed bluff.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2013 @ 5:58 am