• James Yamasaki
In 2011, the Great West Coast Newspaper War will be settled.

It will happen very quietly—in stark contrast to all the very loud threats and recriminations that took this bizarre fight all the way to the California Supreme Court and beyond this year.

No one outside a small group of settlement signers will know the terms of the deal, but the fact that there is any deal at all between the cantankerous owners of the Village Voice Media alt-weekly empire and the equally cantankerous owner of the independent San Francisco Bay Guardian will tell us something.

After all, the owners of VVM (who also own the Seattle Weekly, the LA Weekly, and the Village Voice) spent much of the year deriding the absurdity of the Bay Guardian's victory over them in a 2008 predatory pricing lawsuit. Then they spent the rest of the year predicting that the Bay Guardian's $22 million judgment against VVM would be overturned by higher courts. What happened? That $22 million judgment was upheld by two higher courts, most recently the California Supremes.

How much money will quietly change hands between VVM and the Bay Guardian in 2011? Probably less than $22 million, but probably a lot more than a dime.