It was the Best of the Bay, it was the Worst of the Bay — depending on whether your favorites won or lost.
As is perhaps unavoidable in a project this size — but still regrettable — there were a few errors, and we've tried our best to correct misspellings and other confusions. (Let us know if you've spotted any others.)
But first let me reiterate a few important facts, which don’t seem clear to some folks no matter how many times we repeat them.
The Best of the Bay Readers’ Poll represents the readers’ opinions, hence the name: Readers’ Poll. The nominations come from readers, the winners are voted on by readers, and if you disagree with the results, you’re disagreeing with the readers.
The Best of the Bay Critics’ Picks, on the other hand, represent the opinions of CL’s staffers and freelance contributors (aka critics). There is no nomination stage in this part of the BOTB process, unless you count the brainstorms over bagels at my house in the spring, when a group of us toss around ideas for awards we’d like to give. We create the categories, both the general (Best Restaurant) and the highly specific (Best Place to Get Stupid-Delicious Frozen Potstickers Then Go Home and Eat the Whole Bag By Yourself). Some of these, like Best Restaurant, overlap categories in the Readers’ Poll, so that the readers’ and critics’ choices match (for instance, this year Chris Ponte of On Swann was awarded the Best Chef title by both readers and our restaurant critic, Jon Palmer Claridge). If you disagree with any of the Critics’ Picks, you know who to complain to, because each pick is initialed by the person who wrote it. And you can always bring your complaint to my desk, which is where the buck stops.
But speaking of bucks, here’s the most important fact of all:
Even though I know that there are parties (often for their own self-serving reasons) who are determined to see a bought-and-paid-for conspiracy behind every win, neither the results in the readers’ poll nor the choices made by staff and critics are rewards to advertisers.
Do some of the winners advertise? Yes.
Do some businesses, both advertisers and non-advertisers, campaign to get people’s votes in the Readers’ Poll? They do, and they should.
Do we fix the Readers’ Poll so that advertisers win? No.
Do I or any of my staff or contributors give out Critics’ Picks according to who advertises? No. No. No. No.
I said no.
Call me at 813-739-4854 or email me at david [dot] warner [at] creativeloafing [dot] com if you want to argue about it.
You won’t win.
P.S.: My publisher made another relevant point after this Editor's Note was published in the CL print edition: He's lost advertisers in the past who were upset they weren't voted the Best of the Bay — what, you mean, advertising didn't automatically translate to an award? (Nope.) Or, conversely, they've been upset by the criticism in a Critic's Pick. Just so ya know.