Celebrating 10 Years of Shining the Light

Alex Walker, an aide for state Assemblymember Phil Ting, and Alexander Mullaney, the Light's publisher. Courtesy of Alex Walker

On Friday, we celebrated ten years of reporting with a distinguished bunch of the Ingleside-Excelsior Light’s readers and friends.

During a celebration at Rocks Den, Alexander Mullaney, the Light’s publisher and founder, accepted recognition from the California State Assembly and Senate as well as Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors.

Many thanks to all of the friends, readers and businesses who continue to support our work.

Below is Mullaney’s column about the milestone.

Mullaney’s Word – 10 Years of Shining the Light

The edition before you places this jaunty little newspaper in its tenth volume.

I started the Light in September 2008 after completing the journalism program at City College of San Francisco. I was compelled by the dearth of hyperlocal coverage the press provided our neighborhood then and inspired by my professor Juan Gonzales, who founded the Mission District’s El Tecolote biweekly, bilingual neighborhood newspaper.

I’d seen senseless neglect, awful waste, plain idiocy. But I’d also seen the might of community. I decided I could learn the business side and chronicle our times. How absolutely little I knew then.

A handful of small businesses and would-be politicians were willing to give me a chance and advertised with me, but more importantly my friends and family were willing to chip in time, money, patience and more.

There are many people to thank. Anthony Myers has been there since the first edition. Neil Ballard and Will Carruthers really make every edition special with their time and energy every month.

There are really too many people to thank in this short column.

All along I have strived to produce journalism that cannot be had anywhere else from a perspective that cannot be had by anyone but a local.

Provincial? Maybe.

So be it.

I like to think this newspaper is part of a proud San Francisco tradition: the small, independent press beholden to only the people.

I like to think it harks back to the San Francisco Call rather than the Chronicle or Examiner. The Call called itself the washer woman’s paper.

* * *

At this juncture, I cannot say whether the Light will shine for another ten years or a single year.

In my heart of hearts, I want it to go on.

The livelihood of the neighborhood and community press is an urgent concern of mine. San Francisco, a city of neighborhoods, is unique that it possesses more than a dozen small monthly newspapers.

Few cities have so much tree-pulp and soy ink circulating.

But I can see it diminishing here and faster than I’d like.

Please, if you can, do subscribe to our Patreon at

The campaign is for a lot more than just sustaining the print edition.

It’s about increasing the journalism that we do. If we can reach 500 or so members, then we can hire a part-time reporter who can do daily dispatches. The print edition of the Light barely scratches the surface, I’m afraid.

* * *

In July, according to the Taraval Station blotter, there was an armed robbery at the corner of Plymouth and Broad, where three homicides have occurred in the past year or so. Let’s see if all of those new security cameras City Hall installed will be of use.

Police and City Hall handle the violence in the Ocean View like firefighters going to a blaze. They put it out but not much more. They haven’t handled the underlying conditions — a lack of businesses, activity, jobs — driving the blight and violence. Let’s fireproof.

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