One of the reasons we read the weeklies is because, thankfully, we live in a town big enough for two of them. They don't always see it that way, however - the relationship between the Weekly and the Guardian is acrimonious at best. Well now it can once again be described as litigious. That's right, time to round up some lawyers because we're gonna have a suit on our hands!

This press release landed in our inbox (really, thanks so much for thinking of us!), legal docs, Editor's statement and all. Then we get tipped to the story ahead of press, which was sweet. The Guardian alleges that New Times, publisher of the Weekly and the Express, as well as other 'alternative' weeklies across the country, has been selling ads below cost and striking secret deals to keep advertisers from buying space in the Guardian - which would be a serious violation of California fair business practice law.

New Times has seen trouble in the past - the DOJ and respective state's attorneys went after them for using over-aggressive ad pricing to drive out competition in Cleveland and Los Angeles. A Guardian sales manager settled a case against her to avoid being taken to court over accusations that she secretly defected to the Weekly and brought Guardian account secrets with her. But in the world of civil action and settlements, it's hard to ever really find fault.

SFist has poked fun at both publications (they may buy ink by the barrel, but we can buy bits by the boatload - and frankly we love both Yojimbo and Fistful of Dollars), and we're inserting ourselves squarely in the middle of this one. We're so conflicted - incredibly happy and incredibly sad. Happy because we'll have a bunch of totally compelling gossip! Sad, because the Guardian could lose big time or the New Times could cut the Weekly loose and we're back in the boonies. As they say in the biz, DEVELOPING...