David Rodeback's Blog

Local Politics and Culture, National Politics,
Life Among the Mormons, and Other Stuff

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Thursday, February 11, 2010
An Announcement

I'm not Ahmadinejad, and I didn't promise an earthshaking announcement today, only to deliver a wee little tale about what the world basically already knew. I actually didn't promise anything, which is not to say I haven't been planning something. I do have a bit of news for you, about one blogger (me) and his Web site (this) -- and a change that starts right now.

Five and half years ago, I slipped quietly into the blogosphere and began imparting my thoughts. I didn't even tell my family and friends. I just started blogging. I began with no readers at all, not even my wife or mother.

I addressed a variety of subjects, but mostly politics and government, emphasizing matters local to American Fork, Utah. I conceived it as a civic activity, because more information and more discussion are always needed, especially where local government is concerned. That need seemed particularly acute in American Fork several years ago.

There was also a secondary, therapeutic element, perhaps. You may think that writing for publication of any sort is an odd thing to find therapeutic, but I am what I am, or it is what it is, or something like that.

Two presidential and three local elections have come and gone since then, and any number of issues have evolved and devolved. I've attended many meetings and events -- reporting on some of them, occasionally at great length -- and have had many discussions with officials, candidates, voters, and others. Many of these encounters were somehow electronic; many were face-to-face. Sometimes they were on the record, sometimes off.

I've endorsed candidates and explained my own votes in some instances, and simply discussed them without revealing my votes in others. I've lambasted anonymous cowards and other villains, sometimes preemptively. From time to time I have angered and offended people, usually by speaking my mind, but occasionally by being outright wrong in one way or another, such as failing to see something from a perspective I should have considered.

(I've also used the vertical pronoun too many times already in this little essay, but I'm at a loss to discover a reasonable alternative. The "royal we," perhaps? We think not. Onward.)

Not that all my blogging has been about politics. I've discussed concerts in American Fork; books about economics; a pizza in Chicago; Delta Airlines customer service in Albany, New York; military heroes; religious leaders; my favorite television shows; schools and the people who inhabit them; shopping for shampoo; life in mostly-Mormon Utah; going to traffic school; a psychic's arrival in American Fork, even Hostess Twinkies (which I dislike). And somehow, like a volunteer kumquat sprouting in the backyard tomato patch, a perennial Groundhog Day Limerick Contest popped up in the midst of it all.

For all that, the principal mission and justification of my ongoing effort here at LocalCommentary.com has been civic and primarily local: to spread information and foster discussion of issues, institutions, principles, and candidates. I thought I was helping to fill a need, advancing the cause of good government. I still think that. Not everyone agrees, but I've heard from enough readers over the years to think that, overall, this has been a good thing in more minds than my own.

When I began, I felt I was stepping into a large vacuum. I certainly could not fill it completely, nor did I expect or presume to. I keep hoping that the vacuum will pull in enough other attentive, thoughtful, and articulate people to sustain a vigorous, ongoing, multi-sided discussion of local issues, which will not rely on or be dominated by one voice. Almost six years after I started blogging, I haven't abandoned that hope. The discussion still seems rather one-sided at times -- we might say, my-sided -- but I think I see progress and potential.

All of this is prelude to a little announcement.

You know all those hours I mentioned, which I have spent attending meetings, learning about issues, talking to officials and others, and writing about all of the above? (Most of that time was specific to American Fork.) I need the hours back -- not retroactively; this isn't Star Trek. Just prospectively.

Translation: Looking ahead, I now see that I must turn that time to other purposes. Perhaps that is simply the weasel's way of saying that I choose to use it elsewhere; you decide. In any case . . .

Effective immediately, I'm getting out of the business of blogging aggressively about American Fork and its politics and government. Whether this leaves a noticeable hole in the local blogosphere and local civic discussion is not for me to say. I will not stop blogging -- let alone writing -- altogether, and I'll probably mention American Fork now and then in the future. But I'll be directing those several hours per week I used to average trying to keep track of local government and politics to those other, as yet unnamed projects.

I don't want to make too much of this evolution, even if it is my own, but perhaps some loyal readers will want more of an explanation. I will offer that tomorrow. In fact, I might even interview myself, which seems to amuse some of you. Truth be told, it amuses me, too.

Stay tuned.

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