Sunday, May 06, 2012

Bay Guardian and the Examiner merge

Former Bay Guardian building, photo from SocketSite

Writing about the Bay Guardian's merger with the SF Examiner, the San Francisco Business Times perpetuates the the myth about the Guardian and development:

The Bay Guardian has been a vocal opponent of development in the city, railing against highrise construction, luxury housing, and zoning rules that favor tech and knowledge-based companies over more traditional blue-collar jobs. Ironically, it was UPC that assembled and did the early planning on one of the most prominent highrises built in downtown San Francisco in the last decade: Tishman Speyer's two-tower Infinity project at 300 Spear St. UPC also developed a data center at 365 Main St., built a luxury residential loft project at 150 Powell St., and repositioned SoMa buildings like 330 Townsend St. and 840 Brannan St. for dot-coms. The company also completed a condo conversion of a former rental building in Alamo Square---the sort of project that the Guardian routinely opposes in the interest of protecting the city's rental housing stock.

I don't recall the Guardian opposing any of the projects mentioned---or even if they should have been opposed. Yes, the Guardian has been vocal about protecting the city's rental stock, but it's been MIA on destructive major developments in the last ten years, like Rincon Hill, the Market and Octavia Plan, and UC's hijacking of the old extension site on lower Haight Street.

From the Guardian's wimpy 2005 editorial ("Don't sell SoMa") on the Rincon Hill highrises:

Simply put, five more towers of luxury condos is too many. No matter how lucrative the payoff, when the projects come through for final approval, city leaders should reject at least two of these towers...It is laudable that [Supervisor]Daly is helping the city share in the astronomical profits that towers of condos for the rich will produce. But that virtue becomes a vice if too many of these deals get cut, changing the city's sociopolitical makeup in exchange for a huge slush fund that will understandably become the object of political infighting (fights that progressives will find themselves losing more and more once Daly's District 6 begins to look and vote more like the west-side districts). (emphasis added)

We're still waiting for an accounting of how much the Rincon Hill "slush fund" collected. The development fees Daly extracted from the developers was supposed to be distributed to the SoMA community to mitigate the impact of the skyscraper.

Brugmann and Dibble are retiring, and Tim Redmond will be the Guardian's editor, which means its erratic, "progressive" political coverage will continue. The Guardian and the city's left failed spectacularly on the homeless issue and on development, but it's been steadfast on the bicycle issue!

Now that the Guardian and the Examiner have merged the business part of their operations, the Examiner seems to be eager to move closer to the Guardian politically. Examiner publisher Todd Vogt to the SF Weekly: "If anything, it[the Examiner] will be progressively more progressive...It's time to update the paper to reflect the community."

This is not what San Francisco needs---another party line "progressive" editorial voice. Alas, if his recent editorials on bicycles are an indication (here and here), Vogt means he's going to do exactly that.

Vogt dumped columnist Ken Garcia when he took over, eliminating the Examiner's only serious political voice, which leaves him with columnist Melissa Griffin, who contributes to the city's political dialogue by joining the Mirkarimi lynch mob.

Labels: , , , , ,