A view of Bay Bridge construction on a tour with the League of Women Voters on December 7, 2006. Photo by Alec MacDonald.

A few months after I started this job as editor of the Bay Area Monitor back in 2006, I joined a group of League members for a boat tour of the construction of the Bay Bridge. The new span wasn’t even close to touching down on Yerba Buena Island yet, and the old span was still bustling with traffic, although from our vantage down on the water we couldn’t actually see any vehicles. We did get quite an eyeful, however, taking in an astounding view from below. The juxtaposition of design from different eras was striking, with the bulky, boxy frame of the original bridge looking rather antiquated next to the sleek, seamless structure that would replace it.

Appearances aside, that old span served the region ably for nearly eight decades until the new span took over the job in 2013. No longer needed, the original bridge was then dismantled, and almost all traces of it are gone today except for a few pilings that were converted into an observational pier.

This, of course, is simply the way of the world, the past perpetually giving way to the future. The Monitor is not exempt from this cycle, and, as I’ve explained in recent editions, its own time for change has come. The League has distributed paper copies of the Monitor since 1975, but as we can no longer afford to do so, this edition represents the final one in print.

Our print legacy will not disappear like the old Bay Bridge; our archives can be perused at the San Francisco Public Library, and part of them will remain showcased at bayareamonitor.org, where we will continue to regularly post fresh coverage of the region in a reconfigured format. To lead this new iteration of the Monitor, I am pleased to announce that we have hired Michael Adamson, whose byline you might recognize from ESTUARY News magazine, an excellent regional publication that is similar to ours in many ways.

Michael has been helping us prepare for the transition for several months, and as we wrap up our last print edition, I am choosing this moment to step away and let him take the wheel. I intend to support the League and the Monitor in some small capacity down the line, but after 15 years at the helm, it is time for me to explore other pursuits.

I greatly appreciate having had the opportunity to manage this publication, and it has been an honor to serve the League. I have had the pleasure to work with many LWVBA board members over the years, serving directly under the supervision of the late Nikki Harris, former LWVBA president Marion Taylor, and current LWVBA president Sherry Smith. I am indebted to them all, and to every League member with whom I’ve collaborated.

It has also been an honor to work with the Monitor’s talented and industrious writers. Since the beginning, I’ve edited at least a dozen of them for this publication, but I am particularly proud of our current team that, as a whole, has been in place for the last five years. We took our first step in assembling a formal team when Robin Meadows came on board as our Water Education Initiative reporting fellow in 2014; she has shown unparalleled expertise covering water issues ever since. On the transportation beat, Cecily O’Connor has proven tireless in tracking down sources far and wide while also stepping up to produce our weekly Monitor Notes email newsletter. And Aleta George has championed conservation with a passion for all things wild that makes her so apt as an open space writer.

I want to express special gratitude to Leslie Stewart, who has rounded out the team by reporting on air quality and energy, but has also done so much more, and has been a part of this operation for far longer than I. Having preceded me as the previous Monitor editor, she has imparted indispensable knowledge and invaluable guidance that has helped keep this publication going, and she has pitched in to handle countless tasks, everything from accounting to proofreading.

When I consulted with Leslie about what to put on the cover of this final edition, she suggested the sun setting behind the Golden Gate Bridge as a way to signify the end of an era. Hoping to photograph this image from a unique angle, I recently hopped on a friend’s boat and we headed out to the western edge of the bay. The weather did not cooperate for the desired shot, but finding myself once again beneath the Bay Bridge, I took some photos that closed the loop on that 2006 construction tour, the new span now standing alone, serving the region ably as its predecessor once did. One of those photos is our back cover. For our front cover, I was lucky enough to receive a Golden Gate Bridge sunset photo from Ruby MacDonald, the outgoing LWV Berkeley-Albany-Emeryville president, and my mom (Thanks, Mom!).

This long list of thanks ends, as it should, with our readers. The League extends our appreciation to those who have recently provided financial donations: Hilary Glann, Sara Malaun, Sherry Smith, Alex Starr, Diana Stephens, and the Weigen Burch Charitable Fund. And to all our readers, we are so very grateful to have had you along for the ride, and we invite you to stay with us as we cross into a new digital future.

Alec MacDonald
Editor, Bay Area Monitor