ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL
The Bay Area News Group’s Alameda Journal is basically three stories and a community calendar published once a week. It just got slimmer after losing a contract to the locally-owned Alameda Sun to print legal notices for the City of Alameda . The one-year contract may be worth more than $18,000.
The Alameda City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to award the contract to the Alameda Sun over the Bay Area News Group’s low-ball bid. This comes despite language in the City Charter that requires the city council to accept the lowest and “best” bid, said City Attorney Janet Kern.
Several councilmembers, though, including Frank Matarrese, questioned the definition of “best.” “Local ownership and operation qualifies it as being the best,” said Matarrese. Others noted the Alameda Sun’s higher circulation.
The contract is a boon for the Alameda Sun, a free, weekly publication that has run into financial difficulties of late. Earlier this year, it was soliciting donations from the community to maintain its publishing schedule. The Alameda Sun’s readership typically skews toward older residents and is known for its raucous opinion page that often resembles a long-form version of an online comments section.
Following a city staff recommendation to renew the Alameda Journal’s contract earlier this month, the publishers of the Alameda Sun sent a pointed letter to the city slamming the Bay Area News Group as outsiders and for recently triggering layoffs on the day it won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Oakland Ghost Fire tragedy.
“The Journal has quoted you a price that no one could ever compete with and keep its doors open. As a member of a nation-wide company, they are able to do this,” wrote Alameda Sun publisher Dennis Evanosky.
In addition, Digital First Media, the parent company for the Bay Area News Group is based in Denver, Evanosky wrote. He suggested the city’s money would eventually find it way to the New York hedge fund, Alden Global Capital, Evanosky said, that owns Digital First Media.