When we last checked in on the high-stakes fight
between the San Francisco Bay Guardian
and its arch-rival, SF Weekly
, there was talk of settlement negotiations
following a California Court of Appeals ruling that kept SF Weekly
on the hook for about $22 million, payable to the Bay Guardian
The Bay Guardian, which won that $22 million as a result of a 2008 trial that found SF Weekly guilty of below-cost pricing of its ad space, is owned by a old-school San Francisco lefty named Bruce Brugmann.
is owned by Village Voice Media (the same people who own Seattle Weekly
, the LA Weekly
, and the Village Voice
), and in this morning's New York Times
one of the co-owners of Village Voice Media, Michael Lacey, offers a quote that doesn't sound very conciliatory toward Brugmann, a man he's hated for decades. Making no mention of any settlement talks, Lacey instead suggests to the Times' David Carr
that his company is going to fight on and—trial court and appeals court be damned—plead its case bfore the highest court in California.
“Bruce Brugmann believes he owns San Francisco and should dictate who is allowed to do business there,” said Mr. Lacey in an e-mail. “He announced upon our arrival that coming to his city would be our Vietnam. We don’t believe Brugmann or lower courts can tell us how much to invest in journalism, and we believe the California Supreme Court will agree.”
Maybe Lacey and VVM are really going to fight on until the last appeal is exhausted. Or maybe this is tough talk intended mainly for the audience of people involved in settlement negotiations. A VVM spokesman didn't respond to a request for clarification, and Brugmann said he didn't know of any actual movement by VVM toward the California Supreme Court.
When I reached Joseph Cornetta, clerk of the California Supreme Court, he told me that VVM hasn't yet filed a petition for review. “As of right now, there’s no petition on record," Cornetta said. But, according to Cornetta, VVM still has time. Based on the date of the appeals court ruling that Lacey is unhappy with, the deadline for VVM to make good on today's threat is sometime in late September.
And the war goes on.