Let’s start with this request: Sign up for Monitor Notes, our weekly e-mail newsletter.

Because yes, as announced on our cover, the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area intends to discontinue printing the Bay Area Monitor. After this edition, we have two remaining: one in April and one in June. The one in June will be the last of the current fiscal year, and the last of our 46th publication year. And with our funding running out, it just makes sense for it to be the last ever.

We foreshadowed this possibility last spring, right after the pandemic hit — although as we indicated then, the coronavirus does not shoulder the bulk of the blame for our pending discontinuation. Print publications and nonprofits have suffered since the global financial crisis of 2007, and even prior to that, really. The Monitor has a foot in both of those realms, so its struggles are not particularly surprising.

We can save a significant amount of money if we no longer pay printing and mailing costs. What’s more, we’ve seen a large increase in our e-mail subscription sign-ups, which are up 30 percent in the past 12 months. It appears that the internet is the most viable place for this publication to live.

To be clear, we do not anticipate providing the full Monitor magazine experience online. There is a possibility that we can offer longform articles, but those would be unlikely to come packaged together in a magazine layout, even an electronic one. Many details remain to be ironed out, but we can say with some certainty that our weekly e-mail newsletter — with its lower production costs, condensed coverage, and more frequent publishing schedule — stands as our most sustainable option going forward.

So, again: Sign up for Monitor Notes.

For as our front cover of this edition acknowledges, the Monitor magazine is reaching the end of the trail, and like the image on our back cover, it will soon become history. Those covers relate to Aleta George’s article on layered trails, with her own photo featuring the new Patwino Worrtla Kodoi Dihi Open Space Park in Solano County, and the Richmond Museum of History’s photo capturing the Point Molate Chinese shrimp camp circa 1870 – 1912.

Our other articles for this edition include a look at an elegant fix for Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta problems by Robin Meadows, an examination of small transit operator responses to the pandemic by Cecily O’Connor, and consideration of how low-income residents can be better included in the environmental movement to increase home energy efficiency by Leslie Stewart.

Leslie’s article links up with our topic for this year’s Bay Area League Day, which grapples with social inequality and how to confront it. We hope you’ll attend the virtual convening of this annual event on Saturday, March 6.

While we’re making announcements, we thank those readers who have contributed donations to the Monitor in recent months: Eric Arens, Dorie Behrstock, Janice Blumenkrantz, Elizabeth Brown, Nancy Burnett, Karen Butter, Kathleen Cha, Sally Faulhaber, Veda Florez, Bruce and Karen Joffe, Stella Kennedy, Joan Lautenberger, Jody London, Mischa Lorraine, Julie McDonald, Anne Ng, Sherry Smith, Alex Starr, Susan Schwartz, and David Vincent.

Oh, and one last thing: Sign up for Monitor Notes.

Alec MacDonald
Editor, Bay Area Monitor