And Now A Few Words About.... Me!
The past couple years or so has been very interesting here at A Bubbling Cauldron, and especially so over the past couple weeks.
WORDS AND RECOGNITION...
I've written a lot of words since I launched this blog over five years ago, and particularly the last 18 months - and some of them are actually worth reading, or so the many new readers apparently think. The editors of The Daily Pilot chose to select me to be among their DP 103 again for the second year in a row - this time nearly in the middle of the pack instead of riding the caboose. I'm honored to be mentioned with the others on that list - folks who actually DO stuff in our communities, not just write opinions. You can read that list HERE - look for me at #65, comfortably snuggled between the irrepressible Barbara Venezia and the wonderful Crissy Brooks.
...AND MORE RECOGNITION
Then Venezia, a former Newport Beach City Council candidate, former columnist for the Daily Pilot and current columnist for the Orange County Register, did a profile of me last week, which you can read HERE. It was fun to chat with her. She pretty much got things right in her piece, for which I'm grateful. Quite honestly, all this ego stroking is a little embarrassing for an old guy with too much time on his hands.
HALF A DECADE AND STILL GOING STRONG
I've been a prolific letter writer since 2002 - I wrote my first ever "letter to the editor" in response to a commentary then-Daily Pilot columnist Byron de Arakal wrote criticizing Costa Mesa elected leaders. You can blame Byron if you don't like what you read here - it's all his fault. I've been blogging since the middle of 2005, starting with what I've frequently referred to as a "bargain basement" blog tool supplied by my internet service provider, Earthlink. After about 18 months I made the shift to Blogger, the Google blogging tool, and welcomed comments on my blog. That's been fun - sort of.
BUDGET AND FAIRGROUNDS
The municipal budget crisis and the Orange County Fair and Event Center fiasco has created opportunities for me to make new "friends", and to get to know some folks who are not so friendly. Such is life in the wonderful world of blogging.
BEING STROKED BY PROS, SO TO SPEAK
One of the interesting by-products of writing about local issues has been the attention paid to me by public relations types. Those fine folks get paid lots of money by their clients to influence public opinion in their favor and, somewhere along the line, some of them apparently decided that my ego was in desperate need of massaging. Now, I like a good shiatsu as much as the next guy and I always do appreciate hearing a pitch made by pros, but I've found it curious that when I publish an opinion that doesn't track with their views, some of those very nice folks can get very edgy and snippy. That seems like a curious reaction when you're attempting to influence an opinion. Regardless who's making the pitch, I always try to hear and understand both sides of the issue before writing about it. The operative word there is "try".
FOLLY AND PARTISANSHIP EXPOSED
Throughout my blogging career I've focused on some of the capriciousness and folly of more than a few of our local politicians. For example, I've written, here and elsewhere, about the perpetually incompetent Chris Steel, who ran for city council unsuccessfully nine times before finally managing to get elected with the help of a few frustrated folks on the Westside of our town. His four years on the council set a low water mark for council member competence and were marked by an increased emphasis on partisanship in local politics - a negative factor that has only been amplified by the subsequent elections of Allan Mansoor, Eric Bever, Wendy Leece and Jim Righeimer.
"YOUR NEIGHBOR" AND OTHERS
And, I've spent a lot of time and words on some specific influences here in our little slice of paradise - especially one very bright and very misguided old fellow who has tried to use his prodigious intellect to change the complexion, literally, of our city. For the past decade he has been the most vocal of the self-named "improvers" - a disgruntled group, unhappy with the presence of our large Latino population. It seemed that many of their overtures to "improve" our city were poorly-disguised attempts to oust the Latinos from our borders. So far, all they've done is divide the city and make the Latinos a little uneasy. I've not written much about "Your Neighbor" lately, but he's still there, beating his drum of racial intolerance and force-feeding his readers his mantra about racial purity.
WHY A BUBBLING CAULDRON?
Since there are so many relatively new readers stopping in to take a peek lately, I thought I'd provide you with a link to explain just what prompted me to start this trip in the first place. The link, HERE, will take you to a dedicated page at my old blog site that explains the reason I started doing this, and my goal at the time. Nothing has changed since then except I've generated tens of thousands of words for my readers to consider. I fear I will never master brevity - such is life.
MUCHAS GRACIAS, AMIGOS
Thanks to all of you for visiting this site, and especially to those of you who have chosen to post comments and/or write to me privately at the email address attached to this site. I hope you'll continue to do so, whether you agree with me or not. I don't mind compliments, but I especially enjoy a well-crafted opposing viewpoint, so keep them coming. My purpose, after all, was to provoke and enhance the debate of important issues in our communities. That's still my goal...
So, with the continued encouragement of my lovely and patient wife of more than 43 years, off we go for more fun and games. I'm going to try to continue to provide you with some facts and lots of opinion as we move forward. Please fasten your seat belts and place your tray tables in the full upright position...