Tuesday, August 19, 2008

City gives paper newsracks it wanted

[Full disclosure: The Press Club's webmaster is Dave Price, an owner of the Daily Post.]

The newest newspaper in Palo Alto, the Daily Post, announced in Monday's edition that the city of Palo Alto has given it 27 spaces in the city-owned modular newsracks along University Avenue, the town's main drag.

Previously the city was only willing to give the paper 14 spaces. The Post complained, saying it should get the same number as its competitors. The Palo Alto Daily News has 39 spaces and the Palo Alto Weekly has 31.

However, the city's newsrack ordinance didn't anticipate new publications coming to town, so there weren't enough spaces allocated for daily newspapers to give the Post the same number as the Daily News or Weekly. However, there were dozens of spaces abandoned by non-daily publications. The city agreed to give the Post some of those spaces.

The dispute became heated at one point last week when a city employees grabbed all of the Post's racks in the downtown area and put them on a flatbed truck headed out of town. The move was prompted by complaints by the Palo Alto Weekly. The Post's distribution manager, Amando Mendoza, caught the workers as they were grabbing the racks and convinced them to leave the racks off at the Post's office instead of confiscating them.

Hours later the Post put the racks back and Editor/Co-Publisher Dave Price said in print that if the city employees attempted to confiscate the racks again, they would have to throw him in jail first. Price said he simply wanted the city to treat his paper like others in the area.

On Friday, acting city manager Steve Emslie called Price and asked him to come down to City Hall. Emslie proposed giving abandoned racks to the Post in order to level the playing field between the various newspapers. The two walked through the downtown district, with Emslie pointing out which racks the Post could use. In the end, the Post got 27 racks. While it wasn't as many as the Daily News or Weekly, Price said the number was sufficient to meet the new paper's needs.

No comments: