Bay Guardian rises from the dead: Will make historic endorsements Monday

The final issue of the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

On Guard column header Joe

Progressive news is dead, long live progressive news!

In a bit of good news going into the weekend, The San Francisco Center for Newspaper Preservation and Black Press reached an agreement to transfer intellectual assets of the San Francisco Bay Guardian to the center.

Though the center is granted non-commercial use only (that means no ads, and no profit), the agreement does give the center’s heads Tim Redmond and Marke Bieschke full possession of the Bay Guardian’s name, paper and digital archives, as well as the site sfbg.com.

Full disclosure: Redmond was my editor when I was an intern at the Bay Guardian, and Bieschke was my publisher when I was the Bay Guardian’s last staff reporter. My column, On Guard, takes its name from a Bay Guardian column by its founder, Bruce Brugmann (with his permission).

Perhaps more importantly, Black Press (who publishes the San Francisco Examiner and SF Weekly) also gave the center permission to revive a San Francisco progressive mainstay: The Bay Guardian’s “Clean Slate” endorsement guide.

“I’m thrilled that the Guardian’s past will be safely preserved for the future,” Redmond told On Guard, “And I’m glad that the Guardian’s voice on endorsements will be heard again.”

Redmond said the endorsements will print Monday – just in time for this crucial election that’ll seal the fate of controversial progressive causes, and candidates.

For those who aren’t in the know, for decades the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s “Clean Slate Guide” was a front page clip-out endorsement sheet, carried by thousands of San Francisco voters as they cast their ballots. For decades, the electorate scales were tipped by the Clean Slate’s proclamations.

“Bay Guardian endorsements were extraordinarily powerful because there was a group of about 35 percent of San Franciscans for who, that was how they would vote,” said Jim Ross, a long-time political consultant. “It was (these voters’) main source of information… and a progressive candidate good housekeeping stamp of approval.”

Although its power may have waned at the end, Ross said, “even on its last legs the Guardian endorsement meant something to a good chunk of people.”

Glenn Zuehls, the Examiner’s publisher (and my boss), told me “I’m glad everyone involved was able to work together to find a solution. The Bay Guardian archives are an important part of The City’s legacy and I appreciate Tim Redmond’s dedication to making sure they are accessible to the public.”

As for Redmond, he said the archives will perhaps be stored by the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley or the San Francisco Main Library, and talks are pending with both.

“I appreciate the help everyone at Black Press and the Examiner has given me at making this happen,” Redmond said.

Look out Monday for the Bay Guardian’s political endorsements, which will surely raise hell.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email him at joe@sfexaminer.com.

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