Saturday, December 15, 2012
And that happened only after I had called a bunch of folks and asked if they might take a look at it. All of whom were polite, but not exactly as enthused as I had hoped they might be. With a couple asking the question, "Why are you bothering to do this? People only read newspapers." Obviously it was going to be a bit of a struggle.
Today, after 5 years of dedicated typing and 1,268 posted articles, things have changed. As of this moment (Dec 15, 3:50 a.m.), this blog has been viewed 1,207,287 times. Which is a lot for a small town of a little under 11,000 souls. Out of that lofty 7 figure total 592,607, or just under half, have come in the last 12 months (excluding December). A good indication that much of the interest we have been receiving developed in the last year or so. Last month alone we broke the 60,000 mark for the first time, which means that on a daily basis we are now being looked at by over 2,000 people. Or roughly the same number of folks that actually bother to vote in local elections here. Give or take a few hundred.
The Sierra Madre Tattler has also been the happy recipient of 69,918 comments to date from you our loyal readers. Which, I must tell you, is extremely gratifying. In the eyes of people who get their news on-line the legitimacy of a blog is often based on the amount of comments it receives. And any blog that ends the business day with a zero in the comments column will likely be viewed, fairly of not, as a thing of little value. No matter how good and well-informed the writing. To those who comment here you truly are The Tattler, and I owe an awful lot of this to your thoughtfulness. Good traffic figures are fine, but it is something that comes in a distant second to the quality and frequency of your comments.
I'd go into the history of the last 5 years with you today, but were I to do so today's post would become a book. Something that I have actually, and finally, begun to write. It will take a little time, however. The research part, which is everything ever written on this blog, is already done. Weaving all of that into a coherent tale being the challenge. I also have an agent who claims she will be able to find someone who would actually print such a thing. Something I am sure she tells all the guys.
But I will say this. I believe we have helped to change the way news is written in this town. If you recall, five or so years back the way events were covered was when something went down, the person writing the story would call our City Manager or Mayor to get an official word on what happened. It doesn't happen that way so much now.
Today a claim that the Mayor or City Manager possess all knowledge here in Sierra Madre would be a hilarious assumption. When is the last time you read a story where the Mayor's opinion on an important event mattered all that much? In the era of the Internet his word, or the word of the City Manager, would only be the beginning of a search for the real story, and never the final word.
As an example, I personally have not spoken to the City Manager of Sierra Madre since July of 2010. Why would I bother? That was when she, along with a rusty pipe toting Bruce Inman, attempted to convince me that the reason for a water rate increase was to repair an aged and rapidly failing water infrastructure. A tale that was receiving quite an awful lot of officially generated publicity at the time.
Later, of course, it turned out that this was a damnable lie and, as a very savvy reader of this blog discovered, the real reason for that water rate increase was to cover some old and festering water bond debt problems. All of which was uncovered through Internet research and then covered on The Tattler with our typical thoroughness and persistence.
Today our news belongs to the people. Our disingenuous City government lost that one because we took it away.
Where does it all go now? I personally think we are headed towards some rather momentous times for our little town. While the demons of downtown development have not experienced many victories of late, I believe that the beast has awakened and is once again hard at work. The reason for this being two-fold. One is the economy is slowly getting back to its feet, and in a country that doesn't manufacture as much as it used to, one of the key economic drivers today is housing and construction. You can't import houses, they at least are still American made. That market is coming back, and the beast knows it.
But the other reason is government money. Sacramento's SB 375 development mandates have finally found a financier, and his name is Uncle Sugar. Stack and pack development is not just the law in California, it is also the law of the land. And both parties in Washington DC joined together in a bipartisan glory to legislate the wherewithal to fund it. And what they have in mind for little towns such as ours is very similar to the Downtown Specific Plan that was rejected with the passage of Measure V back in 2007. With a little greenwash applied to make it all up to date and pretty.
Just in case you were wondering what the so-called Green Committee and its enablers are all about, they're here to tell you a story. The one that says buses and densely packed downtown condos are going to help save the planet from environmental collapse. And as truly idiotic as that one may seem to many, there are those who do believe it. And at least some of them are also convinced that they will be receiving Federal money to make it happen.
And, of course, all the usual suspects are involved. They always are. There is also very little that they will not do to win the 2014 City Council elections here to make certain their town wrecking dreams finally come true. They're even preparing to dump Nancy Walsh. After she gets to be Mayor, of course.
But I guess I have now wandered afar. And we will have to wait and see how these things actually unfold. But I can tell you this. 5 years is just the beginning. There is a lot more that will need to be written.
And, as always, The Tattler is on it.
Posted by The Moderator at 6:00 AM