A year ago today I launched Seattle City Council Insight. What a crazy ride it’s been.
My reasons for doing so were twofold: first, to give me an outlet and a reason to write every day on topics that I care about. Second, because over the previous several months I’d come to realize that the City Council, Seattle’s legislative branch of government, was wrestling with big, complicated issues that had no simple answers, but few citizens were tuned into that conversation.
My hope was that I could add another piece to local political discussion, one that complemented the existing traditional deadline-driven news coverage and partisan opinion pieces; both are important, but they are far from complete. Underlying that was a belief that some people would want to read long-form, evidence-based discussions of complex issues even when there isn’t a neat, tidy conclusion at the end.
I’m thankful for many things. First and foremost, I’m thankful for every person who has ever read any of my posts. Kurt Vonnegut had it right: reading is hard work, and writers need to make it worth the reader’s time and effort. Like most writers, I obsess over whether my writing is worthy of you.
Second, I’m thankful for all the words of encouragement people have sent me over the last year. Particularly in this train-wreck of a political campaign year, it has reaffirmed my faith in The Great Experiment that so many citizens want to honestly wrestle with the issues and not just simplify them down to talking points.
Third, I’m thankful that I’ve managed to avoid being pigeon-holed into some partisan classification. We have so many here: the left vs. the right, labor vs. business, Sonics fans vs. port employees, NIMBYs vs YIMBYs, car people vs. bicyclists, homeowners vs. urbanists. Over the last year I’ve written things that each of those groups would love, and others that they would hate. I’ve been neither claimed nor disowned, and I like it that way.
Finally, I’m thankful to all of the dedicated city employees — most notably the nine City Council members and their tireless staff — who have been willing to talk to me, answer my dumb questions, point me in the right direction, and correct my mistakes. They do that despite all the criticism I throw their way. They are true professionals and honorable city servants. Despite what you might think, this gig has increased, not lessened, my faith in city government.
One year in, I still love writing for this site. Occasionally someone asks me whether I’m going to burn out and walk away from it, but I don’t think that’s likely to happen any time soon. I learn new things every day, and the readership numbers keep trending up. So long as people keep reading, I intend to keep writing.
Thanks again for all of your support, and keep the suggestions coming for how I can make SCC Insight better.