What this actually means is that a lot of people have been stopping by The Tattler to check things out, and then decided to stick around. Which is a good thing in my opinion. Back when we started this project in late 2008 the general opinion around town was that if you wanted to reach a lot of people, you had to print the news on paper, and then distribute it free to every house in town. Which is, as you can imagine, a very expensive proposition.
Nowadays even Sierra Madre has embraced internet journalism, to the point where you have to wonder about the relevance of our once upon a time rival in town, the quite pulpy Mountain Views News. A weekly newspaper distributed almost exclusively downtown, and whose current addiction to reprinting press releases and current events articles that have have been seen elsewhere makes you wonder if even they get it. The sole purpose of their existence today apparently being to get paid for printing legal notices, with only a couple of hundred people actually seeing them.
It also shows that people in Sierra Madre are interested in reading real news, and that if you lay down the facts people will seek you out. The notion that in Sierra Madre everything must be kept nice and sweet, and that if you offer people here too much of the hard stuff they might become confused and sad, has now been consigned to the trash bin of local history. The insulting and condescending assumption that people here just can't handle reality hasn't stood the test.
So who actually reads this stuff? It certainly isn't everybody. While 50,000 plus hits a month is quite a lot for a town of less than 11,000 souls, it hardly means the entire population of Sierra Madre turns to this page every morning. We do get repeaters, and some out of town readers as well. I figure the portion of this town reading The Tattler is around the same percentage that votes. The 30% to 40% of people living here who care enough to actually cast a ballot during City Council elections. You have to face it, a majority of the people living here likely don't even know the name of the Mayor, or that every other week their elected officials meet in session to deliberate on such things as their taxes and real estate development. So what possible use could they have for The Tattler?
The way I look at it, politics in Sierra Madre is played out by two distinct parts of the community, each comprising about 15% of the population. The first 15% cares deeply about preserving this town as much as they can, and supports the notion of an independent City that runs its own affairs. A Sierra Madre that isn't dominated by so-called regional governments who, all too often, turn out to be corrupt pressure groups working for Sacramento lobby-driven agendas that are frankly insane. The crazy notion that packing downtown with "transit village" high-density style development will somehow help stop global warming being a good indication of the madness in this state.
The other 15% appear to believe that they have a right to exploit the birthright of all Sierra Madreans for their own personal gain. No matter how detrimental to the popular interest that might be. Or, and this is a rather sad thing, that others should be allowed to exploit what this community has to offer for their own profit. The people be damned. The seemingly endless capacity of some to believe in and work for things that are counter to their own personal interests always has to be taken into consideration. There truly is one born every minute, and even they don't give themselves an even break.
Since December of 2008 there have been 1,155 articles posted here, along with 62,387 reader comments. And now one million hits as well.
Take a deep breath. We are only getting started. There is still an awful lot of work that needs to be done.