Posts Tagged ‘bay citizen’

The Case Against Gannett Co Inc’s “The Bold Italic” Website – Exh 1: Dismal, Dismal Numbers

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

The question is whether The Bold Italic website from Gannett Company, Incorporated (NYSEGCI,FWBGTTS&P 500 Component) is “villainous” – that’s the talk of the town, lately.

To wit:

“They’re hardly the villains in this town.”

Well let’s see.

I’ll tell you, over the years I thought that TBI was just one dude, a dude that I came across all the way back in 2010. He was proud that the average TBI visitor stayed on the site or on a webpage or something for like five minutes. Now we’ll see about that stat in a moment, but I’m just shocked that TBI has/had all those employees plus a custom-made clubhouse in Hayes Valley. That’s where I’m coming from.

Hey did you know that’s there’s a website called The Gannett Blog and it’s based in San Francisco? (I didn’t.) Anywho, let’s hear about the TBI from Anonymous:

The revenue plan was mysterious because there was no revenue. Not for the first 24 months anyway. The Bold Italic had a burn rate that rivals some of the most infamous dot.com fizz outs. They blew through $2 million a year for the first 2 years, before snagging a whopping $41k in revenue based on their skimming from entertainment ticket / event sales.”

Is that true? I don’t know. But where did that $41k figure come from? Such specificity!

Of course public relations doctrine from your S&P 500 type of companies is to say that such a specific statement such as this is “false” or “way off.”

That kind of thing is called a pregnant denial by some.

So, has The Gannet Company, Incorporated spent millions and millions of dollars on The TBI the past few years?

Sure looks that way.

Wow.

That’s starting to remind me of The Bay Citizen, actually.

(Of course the TBC produced a lot of great journalism, IMO.)

So that’s one side of the ledger, millions upon millions spent, or wasted, whichever, but what about revenue coming in? What about the number of readers, for example.

Let’s check Alexa, The Web Information Company.

Ooh, here’s something:

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The above graph show what the Alexa people think has been going on the past week. The San Francisco Chronicle / SFGate.com is in there as a baseline – it’s consistently something like the 1000th most popular website in the world, or something. No surprise there.

And look, this pathetic blog, the one you’re looking at right now, the one filled with animal photos and whatnot, the one with overhead of less than $100 per year, managed to make the grade as well. I can assure you that this is anomalous – either it’s a mistake or maybe a big website pointed to one bit and that generated a burst of traffic. I don’t actually know, or care to know, to be honest, and even if I did, I don’t know how to find out, oh well.

The real test is how TBI does compared with someplace like SFist, which is basically run by one dude. Check out Alexa – you can see that TBI gets beat by SFist consistently and thoroughly, week after week, month after month, year after year.

Ouch.

And I suspect that blue bump you see up there, when TBI clearly broke into top 100,000 territory, mostly had to do with the controversy related to a recent post from KevMo, Kevin Montgomery of TUA, The Uptown Almanac.

Mmmm.

And even that minutes-spent-onsite-per-visitor stat, the one that’s supposed to Have Meaning, turns out to be three minutes for both The TBI and SFist.com

Mmmm.

Of course there are other ways of getting revenue than simply having people look at your site.

Like there’s “partnerships” ‘n stuff.

That issue will be Exhibit 2 in the case against TBI.

(I haven’t proven villainousness yet, I’ll agree. I’m still on the fence. But I’ll look into it.)

All right, TBC, To Be Continued…

Detailed Report from The Bay Citizen re: San Francisco’s Sub-Par Taxi System – Going to the Sunset? Well, “Good Luck!”

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Turns out that San Francisco’s cab system is more akin to “Crazy Taxi 3 WestCoast (San Francisco)” than not.

See if you agree after perusing this lengthy bit from transportation writer Zusha Elinson

Hey, it’s the video game version of Levi’s Plaza. Check it.

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And I’ll tell you, the reason why your cabbie doesn’t want to take you way the Heck out there to the West Side in the Richmond District or the Sunset District is that if s/he does then s/he will have less cash in his/her pocket at the end of the shift.

Probably.

Like $3 or $5 or $10 less.

Oh well.

It’s like if you’re a “chicken and water” customer at a restaurant, you dig? You and your three buds look down at the menu and spot the cheapest entree (chicken, at the one chain I’m thinking about) and then the cheapest “drink” (water, natch). You all are just as much trouble for the waitress as regular customers* and yet at the end of her shift, she’s walking home with $10 or $20 or $30 less than she would if she had had more typical customers plus she may very well get chided by her supe for not trying hard enough to “upsell” and whatnot.

So that’s why hacks generally don’t want to take you to 46th and Ortega. ‘Specially when the City is hopping.

*Or more, as chicken and water people have a reputation of being more demanding than average.

So-Called World Capital of Innovation Can’t Seem to Solve the Bedbug Problem – Here’s the Letter You Will Get

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

You know, after you been bitten hundreds of times by bedbugs, which, you know, are all over the place in San Francisco. Still.

Like at your hotel, dear Visitor.

Like, I don’t know, did the Hotel Whitcomb,change its name owing to some issue with bedbugs?

The old Ramada is now the new Whitcomb. But it’s still the same place:

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Oh, here we go:

Downtown Bedbug Attack Costs Ramada $71,000

(I don’t know if I’d call this area “downtown,” but anywho, wow.)

Now, let’s hear from Kris Betz, Hotel Whitcomb Director of Operations, to get a (somewhat) canned response to a relatively recent allegation of infestation:

“19 July 2011

Dear Guest,

We are sorry for any discomfort that you may have experienced and we are very concerned about what happened. We want you to know that it is our highest priority to provide our guests with the cleanest rooms possible. We have a dedicated inspection team of trained staff that inspects all our rooms to ensure that these cases do not arise.

As you mentioned that you did not find any evidence, so it is possible you could have encountered them elsewhere. Please note that this incident has nothing to do with the cleanliness of our rooms. Please rest assured that this is not a reflection of our facilities cleanliness, as we take pride in providing excellent service and the cleanest accommodations, for all our guests.

Please feel free to contact me at your convenience so we may discuss any circumstances which may have occurred and please accept our sincerest apologies.

Kris Betz, Director of Operations”

I don’t know, man, I feel sorry for the Euros what stay at this place. They’re pretty much all gorgeous,* in-shape,* natural blond(e)s,* who just want to have fun in the 415, you know, they just want to pose for photos with big American police cars and fire trucks and stuff like that and what’s so wrong with that?

I feel sorry for them when they get shot and killed on Mason in Union Square or run over and killed by drunk drivers on Masonic or bitten 400 times by bedbugs during one stay.

I kind of feel that we’re letting these people down. I feel we’re shirking our obligations to our tourists. 

If I were Director of Operations at Hotel Whitcomb, I would engage in total war with the bedbugs.

And I wouldn’t write “Dear Guest” letters what discuss possibilities and evidence.

Just saying.

*Unlike me.

Teachable Moments for San Francisco Chronicle Writer CW Nevius: A Lesson in Journalism from Matt Smith

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

You see, Nevius? Here’s the deal. You wrote this:

SF police get new crime fighting tools: computers

But you should have written this:

Police department has no budget for smartphones for touted mobile app – Group donating money for app is also pushing for change in payroll tax

Do you see the difference, Chuck?

It’s the difference between being just another City Hall Megaphone and being, you know, an actual journalist.

Chuck on a good hair day:

Class dismissed.

Declaring the SFMTA a Rogue Agency – FIX MUNI NOW Becomes FIX MUNI SOMETIME LATER – “Give Us More Money”

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

San Francisco’s “Strong Mayor System” plus the SFMTA = the San Francisco’s worst government agency, one unresponsive to the Commonweal.

Zusha Elinson explicates.

Another part-timer goes full time - Training Day in the Birmingham Electric this week:

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Oh, what’s that MUNI, you’re actually perfect and your approach to everything is and always has been perfect and Mayor Ed Lee is a Golden God and everything will get better once you get just a little (or a lot) more money?

OK fine, whatever you say, SFMTA.

Substitution Exercise: Matthew Engelhart is Hitler, Cafe Gratitude is the Third Reich

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Ah, let’s check in with Matthew Engelhart of notorious Cafe Gratitude via Reyhan Harmanci’s Café Gratitude Shutdown Prompts Jeers as Well as Tears:

“Do you know who Deepak Chopra is?” he asked, referring to the self-help guru, before quoting from correspondence with his daughter. “She said, ‘I don’t know what you guys are doing but the fact that there’s so much passion for you, one way or the other, means you’re doing something great.’”

All right, that’s your baseline. now a little substitution. Imagine Adolph Hitler said this:

“Do you know who Deepak Chopra is?” the Fuhrer asked, referring to the self-help guru, before quoting from correspondence with Eva Braun. “She said, ‘I don’t know what you guys are doing but the fact that there’s so much passion for you, one way or the other, means you’re doing something great.’”

You see how that works? Pissing people off by doing bad things means that you’re doing something great, somehow.

(Also, property is theft, meat is murder, Terces is “secret” spelled backwards(!), Operation Barbarossa is the opening of the L.A. branch of CG, and, most importantly, Soylent Green is people.)

And speaking of Soylent Green, here’s what “2 for 1 wheatgrass Wednesday” looks like:

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Good-bye, Cafe Gratitude restaurant chain.

You are… welcome, to leave any time you want.

(Also, if you all are so rich, why don’t you pay your bills and your employees, you deadbeats?)

 

OMG, Now You Can Read “The Real Ed Lee – The Untold, Untold Story” Book Online With Searchable Text – Just Click the Link

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Apparently, there aren’t enough printing presses available in the Bay Area to keep up with the enormous demand the public has for The Real Ed Lee – The Untold, Untold, Story.” 

(Uh…, moving on.) 

Anyway, the upshot is that now you can see the text online in a searchable format. See below.

(Or kick it old-school with Bluoz, your choice.)

Click to expand

To review:

“The book goes through the details of how Lee rose through the ranks at City Hall, along the way approving a couple of fraudulent vendors and getting caught up in Willie Brown’s sleaze. It discusses how his campaign is taking credit for other people’s work and ideas. It describes how he promised over an over not to run, then went ahead and did it anyway. It’s got a great picture of him steering a 139-foot yacht with the caption “I’m on a boat.”

(Nice link there, Tim Redmond – I hadn’t made the connection.)

All the deets:

“The Untold, Untold Story” Goes Online - Leland Yee campaign can’t print “The Real Ed Lee” book fast enough for demand

SAN FRANCISCO – The reviews are in and the “The Real Ed Lee: The Untold, Untold Story” is a smash hit!

Has a serious political point, but it’s actually funny, sometimes really funny, and it’s much easier to read than the plodding “Ed-Is-Greater-Than-God” prose of the original…. For once, we have a campaign piece that made me laugh instead of crying. - San Francisco Bay Guardian

OMG, A new best seller to be! – Some guy on the internet

Everyone is talking about it! – SFist

The 55-page parody shows Lee on the cover as downcast, grumpy and triple-chinned. The book recounts dozens of previously published stories detailing everything from the two district attorney investigations into alleged ethics violations by his supporters and alleged cronyism. – San Francisco Chronicle

The 56-page booklet is heavily footnoted with URLs – The Bay Citizen

I totally LOL’ed – The San Francisco Citizen

((*sound of crickets*)) – Interim Mayor Ed Lee

The slim volume oozes sarcasm as it covers the history of Ed Lee’s tenure as mayor, including his promise to not run for a full term and charges of inappropriate campaign donations from contractors. - San Francisco Examiner

This is the first “hit” recipe in political history. - Eric Jaye

Less than three-months hence, Lee’s campaign is beset by multiple criminal investigations into alleged campaign money laundering, ballot tampering and other campaign election violations. – Fog City Journal

[Ed Lee staff] were pretty disgusted by it. – Tony Winnicker

Painstakingly put together to resemble the original propaganda mailer to the smallest detail. The type fonts are identical. The jaunty writing style is mocked all too well. – SF Weekly

The Leland Yee for Mayor campaign has already distributed thousands of “The Real Ed Lee: The Untold, Untold Story” to voters throughout San Francisco, however, the demand for the book has been so great that today Yee’s campaign launched the book online at http://www.lelandyee.com/the-untold-untold-story.

“We can’t print the books fast enough,” said Jim Stearns, Yee’s campaign manager. “Now that it is online every San Franciscan will have the opportunity to read this accurate account of our interim mayor and be able to compare his tarnished and corruption-filled record to Leland Yee’s 23 years of leadership and experience fighting for our community, especially seniors, students, and the most vulnerable.”

“The Real Ed Lee: The Untold, Untold Story” is a response to a book produced by one Ed Lee’s billionaire IE committees, which falsely glorified the interim mayor and ignored the multiple scandals and ethics violations of his campaign. The highlights of “The Real Ed Lee: The Untold, Untold Story” include Lee becoming interim mayor on false pretenses, his approval of fraudulent contracts, giving “golden parachutes, embracing cronyism, failure to follow ethics laws, illegal campaign contributions, money laundering (well, the first time), voter fraud, and the city’s future if Ed Lee were elected. The book also includes “Willie [Brown] & Rose’s [Pak] ‘No Longer Secret’ Make-A-Mayor Recipe.”

By comparison, Leland Yee has released several detailed plans on job creation, environmental protection, transportation, and schools. Maybe the most important of his plans – “An Independent City Hall” – would clean up City Hall, bring real transparency and accountability, kick out the powerbrokers, and return our local government to the people. To read Yee’s plan, visit http://www.lelandyee.com/issues/plan-for-an-independent-city-hall/.

Wow, Bevan Dufty Goes After The Bay Citizen, Bevan Dufty Attempts to Defend the Central Subway and Rose Pak

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

[UPDATE: Transit buff murphstahoe has this reaction:

"@BevanDufty calls Central Subway a "very strong connection to Caltrain" - wrong! http://t.co/32xzseD8 #sfmayor"]

First up is a conversation with Seán Martinfield, Editor and Publisher of the San Francisco Sentinel.

Excerpts:

“I feel confident I am as viable as anyone else in this race.”

Disagree, respectfully. An incumbent Mayor losing is like a once-every-couple-decades kind of thing, right? Incumbents have huge built-in advantages, of course.

“I definitely feel The Bay Citizen has marginalized me and that they have reported I’m a second-tier candidate within the LGBT community – when, if you look at the details of the poll, I doubt they’ve even sampled thirty-five LGBT voters in their sample.”

It’s not TBC’s job to spin for any particular candidate, is it?

“And so, you have The Bay Citizen which is an insert newspaper for the New York Times…”

Is that an insult? Is it meant to be? I can’t tell. But I can tell you that one look at its payroll will reveal that it’s a major bay area media entity.

“…and they threw a poll. An initiative like that is about marginalizing me. It’s about telling people that I can’t win.”

Wow. The whole exercise with USF and spending $10k on independent polling was about marginalizing Bevan Dufty? Really? (Maybe I’m not reading this right.)

The Bay Citizen called me “a Zombie” and didn’t even spell my name right in the story.

Zombie candidate,” IIRC. Some people (such as myself, for one) have issues with how RCV and public financing relate to each other under the current rules, of course.

Next up is this bit from Jerrold Chinn at SF Public Press. You can fire it up at 2:45 or so.

“Do you support the Central Subway? Why or why not?”

For the record, here’s the damning Grand Jury report.

Per the video, Bevan thinks that people don’t have any idea that Rose Pak was the first Chinese American reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle? I think they do and I’m not sure how this bears on the CS. (You know, some people want to take steps to improve the 30 Stockton corridor like right now, instead of after a decade of delays and cost overruns. Is that racist to want to improve things now? How is it that “transit justice” can only be satisfied by the current horrible, horribly expensive, Bridge-to-Nowhere Central Subway scheme? I’m baffled.)

Bevan says that “90% of the Central Subway will be paid by the federal government?” This seems impossible to me. Is this in writing? Does it include past and future overruns?

Bevan says that the CS has to come before any other major project, such as putting rails in on Geary. But he doesn’t say why.

Bevan says that we would lose in excess of $100,000,000 if we pull the plug now. I thought it was closer to $200,000,000 myself but of course bad transit decisions cost money. The question is what should we do at this point. (I think we’d all be better off taking a new tack by simply paying back the Feds.)

I don’t know, if anybody wants to go line-by-line on today’s updated critique from Save MUNI, be my guest. (To be honest, I don’t know how anybody can defend the station placement decisions, the car-length decision, the let’s stop at southern Chinatown decision, among others. The CS is a politics-first, transit-last project, IMO.

(And oh, BTW, there’s a pool going on right now around town about what position Bevan will be appointed to and when. FYI.)

O.K, enjoy, after the jump

(more…)

Update from the Leland Yee Campaign: “Latest Ed Lee Voter Fraud Just the Tip of the Iceberg”

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Here’s a look at some background and then find a fresh release below.

Ed Lee backers said to fill in ballots for others

More Fraud Accusations for Lee Supporters

The Ed Lee Story: An Expected Ballot Tampering

“Latest Ed Lee Voter Fraud Just the Tip of the Iceberg - Volunteers witness many instances of potential voter fraud and election violations by Ed Lee campaign

SAN FRANCISCO – Volunteers for Leland Yee’s campaign for mayor are hearing about and witnessing many instances of potential voter fraud and election violations conducted by Ed Lee’s campaign. Over the past several days, Yee’s volunteers have witnessed or heard from voters about at least six different incidents of voter fraud or intimidation.

“I am deeply concerned that the voting rights of individuals are being abused, seniors in subsidized housing are being taken advantage of, and laws that are meant to protect the integrity of the voting process are being ignored and circumvented,” said Yee.

Yesterday, the Bay Citizen and the San Francisco Chronicle reported on workers of an independent expenditure campaign for Ed Lee filling out ballots for voters and in some cases using a stencil which only allowed voters to cast their vote for Lee and no other candidate. The Ed Lee workers also collected dozens of vote-by-mail ballots from voters at the make-shift station.

“What we are hearing from the field is deeply concerning, not just for our campaign but for the integrity of this election and our democracy,” said Jim Stearns, Yee’s campaign manager. “We are encouraging individuals to report potential violations to the Department of Elections; unfortunately, our volunteers are witnessing that many voters are reluctant to speak out, because they are afraid of potential retaliation such as losing their housing.”

These incidents appear to be just the tip of the iceberg as Yee’s campaign volunteers and workers have also witnessed the following voter and election fraud:

At a number of Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) run housing complexes, residents told Yee workers that they turned their ballots over to their apartment managers. Volunteer Tommy Lin said, “Many residents told me they didn’t even know who they voted for, because their ballots were turned over before they were filled out.”

According to Yee worker Andy Li, at the federally-funded Senior Housing Complex on 441 Ellis St, residents were invited to the common room for help on how to fill out their absentee ballots, but were first treated to a projector video of commercials and videos of Ed Lee. Residents then were “assisted” by Ed Lee volunteers in filling out their absentee ballots.

In clear violation of election law, Bayview volunteers told Yee’s Field Director Anthony Thomas that they were paid $150 cash to walk precincts and do other voter contact in the neighborhood.

In a number of Filipino housing complexes, absentee ballots still have not arrived at residents’ homes, raising concerns that they may have been removed by apartment management. Yee is widely considered to be heavily favored in the Filipino American community.

A number of Ed Lee volunteers have attested that they were assigned to work on both Ed Lee’s official mayoral campaign as well as his various independent expenditure campaigns, raising serious issues of illegal coordination between the campaigns.

“It is imperative that the Elections Office, Ethics Commission, Secretary of State, District Attorney, Attorney General, and the US Attorney immediately investigate these various illegalities,” said Stearns. “Ed Lee and his comrades are already under investigation by the DA and US Attorney; it is now time for him to come clean for the good of San Francisco.”

Leland Yee is endorsed by the United Educators of San Francisco, California Nurses Association, Sierra Club, San Francisco Firefighters, AFSCME, SEIU, San Francisco Labor Council, and the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council. Yee immigrated to San Francisco at the age of 3. His father, a veteran, served in the US Army and the Merchant Marine, and his mother was a local seamstress. Yee graduated from the University of California – Berkeley, then earned a Ph.D. in Child Psychology, and later served in various mental health and school settings. He and his wife, Maxine, have raised four children who all attended San Francisco public schools. Yee has served in the State Legislature, Board of Supervisors and Board of Education.”

The Bay Citizen Plans Leadership Transition for 2012: Lisa Frazier to Step Down as President and CEO

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Well, you know, I’m not an “internet entrepreneur” on food stamps and Healthy San Francisco, so I lack the time necessary to natter excessively about Bay Area media hirings, firings, promotions, resignations, and whathaveyou. You know, I’m not up to speed on industry gossip the way some people are.

But here’s this:

“The Bay Citizen Plans Leadership Transition for 2012 - Lisa Frazier will step down as President and CEO in Q1 2012 but will continue to serve on the Board of Directors

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 21, 2011 — The Bay Citizen announced today that it will begin a search for a new Chief Executive Officer. Lisa Frazier, who co-founded the award-winning news organization two years ago, will step down as President and CEO in the first quarter of 2012 to pursue other opportunities. She will remain on The Bay Citizen’s Board of Directors and participate in the search for her successor.

“Through her unbelievable passion, tenacity, and tremendous operational and strategic expertise, Lisa transformed an idea to innovate and reinvent local journalism into a vibrant, award-winning online news organization,” said Warren Hellman, Chairman of the Board of The Bay Citizen. “Over almost three years, Lisa designed the business model, marshaled community support and succeeded in building a strong organization.”

Frazier has been The Bay Citizen’s President and CEO since its inception in January 2010, after leading the effort to create and develop the organization in 2009. She built The Bay Citizen from the ground up, hiring key editorial, technology and business staff, expanding the organization to 30 employees and establishing pivotal partnerships with The New York Times, KGO radio and the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She raised more than $17.5 million dollars from major donors, members, corporations and foundations that will continue to support the organization through 2014. The Bay Citizen’s growing network of individual donors tripled this year and now exceeds 6,000. Its editorial content appears online, in print and on the radio, supplementing the fast-growing audience at baycitizen.org, which now averages over 275,000 unique visitors per month.

“With its growing readership and expanding network of supporters, The Bay Citizen is in an excellent position to bring on new leadership,” Hellman said. “Lisa accomplished all that she set out to do and more as the leader of the organization. I am pleased that she will continue to serve on the Board and assist in the search for her successor.”

The Bay Citizen newsroom, now led by Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Fainaru, has won several awards, including a national Sigma Delta Chi award for investigative reporting. Along with Chief Technology Officer Brian Kelley, Frazier developed The Bay Citizen’s industry-leading technology program, including Project Armstrong, an open-source content management and business platform funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“We are proud to partner with The Bay Citizen to provide our Bay Area readers with high quality regional news coverage,” said Scott Heekin-Canedy, President and General Manager of The New York Times. “We see this as an enduring collaboration not only because of The Bay Citizen’s talented editorial team, but also because of the critical work done by Lisa and her team to build an effective model and infrastructure for our collaboration.” The Bay Citizen’s newsroom produces the articles in The Times’ Bay Area report every Friday and Sunday.

Frazier will join fellow Board members Hellman, Jeff Ubben and Susan Hirsch on the search committee for a President and CEO, support the transition process and continue to serve on The Bay Citizen’s Board of Directors.

“Close to three years ago I was surrounded by constant discussion of the death of the newspaper business in the United States,” Frazier said. “I reached a point where I felt it was time to jump in and take action. I was so fortunate to be able to tap the Bay Area community’s energy, spirit and passion for innovation to help develop a new model for sustainable local journalism. My goal was to establish a foundation upon which The Bay Citizen could sustain itself, provide great value to the Bay Area community, and lead technology innovation within the industry. I am incredibly proud of our team. They are innovators who see challenges as opportunities and I am confident they and my successor will continue the incredible progress we’ve made to date. I look forward to remaining on the Board and continuing to be a part of this talented and dedicated organization.”

ABOUT THE BAY CITIZEN:
The Bay Citizen is a nonprofit, nonpartisan member-supported news organization that provides in-depth original reporting on Bay Area issues including public policy, education, the arts and cultural affairs, health and science, the environment, and more. The Bay Citizen’s news can be found online at www.baycitizen.org as well as in print in The New York Times Bay Area report on Fridays and Sundays. For more information, please visit www.baycitizen.org.”