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  • James Yamasaki
Yesterday I posted about a decision from the California State Supreme Court that seemed to bring an end to part of the Great West Coast Newspaper War, definitively sticking the owners of SF Weekly (the same people who own the Seattle Weekly, the LA Weekly, the Village Voice, and, ultimately, all of Village Voice Media Holdings) with a $22 million predatory pricing judgment, payable immediately to the victim of the predatory pricing in question, the independently owned San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Today brings a statement from Andy Van De Voorde of Village Voice Media Holdings, provided to the blog of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, in which he agrees that part of the battle has come to a close, and not in his company's favor. "The legal case is done," Van De Voorde told AAN.

Also in Van De Voorde's statement: a strong sense of disappointment with the California supreme court, a recap of a 2008 San Francisco jury trial that he obviously still thinks was unfair in finding that SF Weekly and its owners engaged in predatory pricing, and this:

This is a sad day for consumers who deserve the lower prices that only aggressive competition provides. And it provides a stark and oppressive warning to those who choose to produce quality journalism, and absorb its higher costs: that the California courts will draw no distinction in a predatory pricing case between the higher cost of professional journalists and the lower cost of freelancers and wire copy.

Even so, we have no intention of leaving San Francisco. We choose instead to stay, and to continue competing.

Michael Lacey, executive editor of Village Voice Media Holdings, concurred, saying in the same statement to the AAN blog:

Neither judges with gavels nor editors with delusions fueled by martinis can tell people which website or newspaper to read. As journalists, we will continue the fight in San Francisco.

Exactly how that will happen remains unclear. The owners of the SF Weekly now unambiguously owe the San Francisco Bay Guardian and it's publisher Bruce Brugmann (at whom the martini reference is clearly aimed, just search for "martini" here) some $22 million—far, far more than anyone thinks the SF Weekly is worth.