As the calendar moved from 2019 to 2020 a new decade arrived, and with that we are making significant changes to the Westside Observer. For starters, we will have a new ownership group, Westside San Francisco Media, which is in the process of purchasing the newspaper, website and trademarks. They are passionate members of our staff that have worked on the Observer for many years and they are taking this news outlet into the future.
The major change that tops the list is the move to a “digital-only” format. It is the plan to publish limited page papers in February and March to announce the changes and get our readers used to thinking about us as the online version of westsideobserver.com. The team is working on a redesign to the website, and platform changes that will enable you to get your Observer information on any device you currently use.
It has not been an easy decision to end 32 years of print … but the cost of print, the environmental impacts of paper and ink, and the availability of electronic media has made this the right time to “throw the switch.”
It has not been an easy decision to end 32 years of print journalism excellence, but the cost of print, the environmental impacts of paper and ink, and the availability of electronic media has made this the right time to “throw the switch.” See the photo of the tree? Even though we don’t use redwood trees for newsprint, it symbolizes the movement away from paper and the trees and energy that will be saved by not producing 15,000 copies each month. The other “issue” with print is that it has always been a static delivery mechanism, not able to be updated until the next month when a new issue hits the newsstands.
What can you expect? A new, redesigned website and platform, bringing you the same information that you have relied on over the years, and more. Need to see what Quentin (Kopp) thinks? He will be there, as well as John Farrell, George Wooding, Kathy Howard, Patrick Monette-Shaw, Dr. Derek Kerr, Nancy Wuerfel, Tony Hall, and our other great writers and contributors. We’re working to make it more interactive, working towards a day where we can get more of your feedback and ideas in real-time.
It won’t be instantaneous and there will be ways to interact and contribute to this exciting new enterprise. Check us out at westsideobserver.com and embrace the digital age.
Mitch Bull was the Publisher of the Westside Observer for twelve years.
The Assessor's Office announced that Monday, September 16, 2013, the filing period for a formal appeal of the 2013/2014 assessed property value will close. The period for appeals opened on Tuesday, July 2, 2013.
The appeals process as an opportunity for property owners to bring additional information to the table. However, the Assessor reports that there has been a decline in the number of appeals for the first time in over four years, with 2012/13 appeals decreasing to 5,500 from 6,399 in 2011/12. As home prices in San Francisco rise, this trend of declining appeals is likely to continue as homeowners see their property regain its base year value.
In order to appeal, property owners must complete the Application for Changed Assessment form (accessible by visiting www.sfgov.org/aab) together with a non-refundable $60 administrative processing fee and submit it no later than 9/16/2013 to the Assessment Appeals Board (AAB) at 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, City Hall, Room 405, San Francisco, 94102.
The Assessment Appeals Board is independently appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The role of the AAB is to equalize the valuation of the taxable property within San Francisco. Info: www.sfassessor.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This coming January the Westside Observer will celebrate 25 years in print. On Sunday Nov. 6, the owners Mitch and Alice Bull hosted a gathering at Que Syrah wine bar on West Portal Ave.
"It is our way of thanking everyone who contributes to the Westside Observer," said Mitch as he addressed the gathering of about 30 people that evening. He and Alice also own and manage the Castro Courier, another neighborhood newspaper that serves the community's need for local news.
"The Examiner and the Chronicle, I have respect for them," said Mitch. "But the City's mainstream papers are not covering the real news of the local community".
In San Francisco there are at least a dozen or more neighborhood newspapers, often referred to as "hyper-local publications," all of which have been reporting important local and citywide issues that impact residents. While the continued expansion of the internet has presented a challenge for all print media, the local papers endure.
Serving local residents and merchants is the main goal of these papers and the Westside Observer strives to stand out. In the past few years since Mitch and Alice have taken over as publishers, the Westside Observer has improved the design and production quality of the paper. The Westside Observer has transformed from a simple, flat design format, previously called "West of Twin Peaks Observer" with some spot color on the front page, to a full color, eye-catching 20 page issue each month.
Phyllis Sherman established the paper in the 1980's, to give residents a voice and report about local events and concerns not reported in the Chronicle & Examiner. Sherman continues to contribute to the paper with her column "Phyllis' Findings."
Producing a paper every month is a collective effort. With the help of many people like Editor Doug Comstock, the Westside Observer reaches from the West Portal - St. Francis Wood area to the Forest Hill, Parkside and Sunset District.
"I am happy to say that our paper is doing well and not in debt," said Mitch. He is looking forward to publishing "the paper" that residents go to first to get the local news.
Jonathan Farrell is a freelance SF reporter. Feedback: email@example.com