I’ll cut to the chase: back in September, after much soul-searching, I decided that after six years of work on SCC Insight it was time for me to move on. At the end of December, I’ll be discontinuing publishing here.
I started SCC Insight in late 2015 as a writing project, after I had left my corporate job and when I needed a daily impetus to continue developing my writing skills. I had neither the foresight nor the intention that it would grow into what it has become today, nor did I understand that I was creating a monster that would quickly take over my life. I’m very proud of the reporting that I’ve done: demystifying City Hall’s arcane processes so that we all can understand them, as well as trying to complement traditional news media reporting with a data-driven and analytical approach to specific issues. But every journalist working the local government beat can tell you that it is both physically and mentally exhausting. I’ve learned so much over the past six years, but I’m ready to do something new.
I want to thank every government official and staff member who made time to talk to me, and every local journalist who treated me like a peer when they had no good reason to do so — especially in the early days when I had no clue what I was doing. I have done my best to return the favor, and to “pay it forward” to other journalists new to the scene, but I don’t believe I could ever fully repay the debt I owe. In particular, I want to thank Leslie Helm, Omari Salisbury, Marcus Green, and David Brewster for taking a chance on me.
I also want to thank all of the financial donors who have generously supported SCC Insight. I’ve saved up enough of your donations to keep this web site up and maintained for several years, so it can remain as an archive — as always, free to everyone — of observations on six important and often tumultuous years of Seattle city government.
As for what I’ll be doing next: I honestly don’t know. I have a handful of ideas for new projects, but I have deferred making any decisions until next year, so I can both stay focused on finishing up the final months of SCC Insight without shortchanging coverage, and also get fully clear of it and regain some perspective. But I do know that it won’t involve reporting on City Hall, nor lobbying City Hall, nor working in City Hall (I lost count years ago of the number of times I’ve been asked whether this site was a precursor to running for office; the answer was “no” then, and it’s still “no”). I’m not moving out of Seattle, and I will continue to try to be an informed and engaged citizen; it just won’t be my job to do so.
My most sincere thanks goes to each of you, the readers. Kurt Vonnegut observed that reading is hard work, and if we writers are going to ask you to read our work, we have an obligation to make it worth your while. I have tried to keep that in mind with every post. My greatest joy in writing here, the one that has sustained me for six years, is the discovery that there is an audience for “wordy and nerdy” writing: an audience that wants to understand the details, wants to see the data presented in informative ways, and sometimes even wants to read the original source documents.
We seem to be in the midst of a Great Reshuffling of local journalism in Seattle, especially among those covering City Hall. I’m delighted for those of my colleagues who have recently taken a new step in their careers, and I’m glad that most of them are staying local so that we can continue to benefit from their work. We doubtless will also see some new bylines soon as open positions are filled with talented newcomers. Please continue to support (and pay for) local journalism; it’s critical for a functional society and an accountable government. I also encourage you to take this opportunity to let local publishers know what kind of journalism you want to see, and if “wordy and nerdy” is your thing, then demand more of it.
It has been a privilege to write for SCC Insight, and I am forever changed for having done so.
This is really sad news (for us), but as someone who has just retired (from a federal government auditing agency) I get it. One of the things behind my decision was that it is time for younger staff to take the lead.
Your work will be missed. I have always joked with my wife that if I ever saw you at a brewpub, I would buy you a beer (or two) and we could discuss the importance of government oversight and auditing (can’t get any more nerdy then that).
Best of luck on whatever new adventure you will find.
PS – to all younger reporters that might read this, learn from Kevin’s use of data and to use criteria to develop any findings. This makes any conclusions so much stronger.
Thanks for the kind words.
Kevin your always-enlightening view of SCC will be truly missed. I will especially miss seeing you in the Convergence Media events. I fear we who want nerdy and wordy analysis will be hungering for awhile. I wish you the best!
I am literally bereft. My value as a citizen was grown immensely by what I learned here. Thank you and please continue to be a voice for something — anything! — in our city. We need as much help as we can get.
Good job, Kevin! Best wishes for your further endeavors. —David B.
Thank you for writing details. I wish others wrote like you. I have no idea what is in the recent (federal) infrastructure bill, despite reading the news everyday.
You did some very good work that you can always be proud of, Kevin, which is one of best things anyone can do with the limited time they’re given. Congratulations and looking forward to whatever comes next.
Thanks Ansel — that means a huge amount to me coming from you. You are one of the journalists that I looked to for a model as I started figuring out how to do this in the early years.
Thank you for all that you’ve done here. It has been immensely helpful to me, and I’ll miss this. Wishing you the best in your final days of SCCI and whatever comes next!
Thanks for all you did and especially for fostering a deeper sense of how government works by taking in and analyzing the details.
I relied on your work as gold standard for reporting on local government . Thank you and good luck with your next chapter.
Thanks for all your contributions. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for you.
What type of stories and investigations are you hopeful to see covered in the coming months?
Thanks for the kind words Jeffrey.
There will be a lot of work to do reporting on the incoming Harrell administration, and particularly its approach to public safety, policing, and homelessness.
Another big story that needs far more attention is the police accountability system, which is badly broken: the OPA, OIG and CPC are all deeply dysfunctional right now and seem to be in need of new leadership and perhaps a retooling of their respective roles and responsibilities. Carolyn Bick has been doing outstanding coverage of this for the South Seattle Emerald, but the Seattle Times and other mainstream news outlets have been AWOL. I wish I could have done more, but I have a personal conflict of interest (a family member that works for one of the three agencies) that limits my ability to write about it.
And I think towards the end of 2022 we will need to start seeing some reporting on the early results of the city’s investments in community-based alternatives to public safety. What has come out of the ECI funding? What’s going on with Participatory Budgeting? Are civilian alternatives for 911 response being stood up?
I am truly gutted. Kevin, your “wordy and nerdy” coverage filled a giant journalistic chasm in our community. Sadly, the days when the Big Dailies devoted staff and investigators to do the digging necessary in increasingly secretive local government are gone. The devotion and dedication you put in were only surpassed by your careful analysis and quality writing. You exposed so many things unnoticed — or worse, ignored — by other outlets that the loss of your column will be deeply felt. Truly, I have tears.
Know that you made a difference.
Know that you were appreciated.
Know that the void you leave must be filled.
Just want to echo some of the other commenters that your voice will be greatly missed – was so refreshing to read your writing/analysis and get some “insight” into how our city functions – sad to see you go at a time when we need more light shed on the decision-making in city hall but wish you the best in future plans!
Wow Kevin, your work through SccInsight will be missed. You set a standard for timely transparency during a period of big changes for Seattle. What does Kevin have to say is my go to when we need to get the background and details without a bunch of typical media editorializing hype.
Some of us think that details matter when it comes to the process of governance. Most of us are overwhelmed by the nearly unnavigable plethora of public record created in that process. You managed to pull out the salient information and synthesize. I am hopeful some have watched and learned from your example, but I will miss the clarity, backed up by references.
Sadly, we as a society don’t support institutionalization of this kind of work. Credible messengers are invariably volunteers. We don’t listen. We don’t read. We favor arm waving and opining, rarely based on having the whole picture. Especially in our media.
Maybe you could help the city integrate it’s website information in a manner that provides the traceability and transparency in a more consumable manner? Sadly, communication of the facts doesn’t seem to be a priority.
Best wishes for a great holiday season. Can’t wait to see what you do next!
I am so, so sad to hear that you are discontinuing SCC Insight. No one comes near to providing the comprehensive reporting you do on what is going on in City Hall. You excel at making complicated issues understandable. I would often read something on your site and wonder why The Seattle Times wasn’t covering it. Thank you for your work and good luck with your next project.
Thank you for your efforts, and best wishes in your future endeavors! I haven’t read daily but it’s been great to know someone who isn’t drinking kool-aid has been doing the hard work of following and interpreting goings on at the virtual city hall when an issue catches my attention.
Frankly, I’m irritated that I donated my hard-earned money a few months ago to a news source that is folding up. I have a very modest income and don’t have a lot to give, yet I entrusted my money to you because I found you to be the absolute best local source of city news. Sorry to sound disgruntled — just irked to know I threw precious income away — but best of luck in your future endeavors.
Jenna, I will refund your donations in their entirety.
This is sad news, indeed. You have been an absolute civic treasure and I really appreciate it. I hope your new endeavors give you satisfaction and joy!
Thank you for your time and attention Kevin, it was very much appreciated by those of us seeking to drive change from within. And yes, City Light’s EIM participation is doing quite well for our customers and renewable resource integration in the region. Peace.
Thanks Robert. Will we see a report in the near future on the EIM performance? I’d be very interested in that.
*Super* appreciated every word you wrote. Your ability to synthesize information and willingness to stay with it for so long is admirable. I’m glad you are listening to your heart and starting something new. Best of luck to you, Kevin.
Kevin Schofield, your fine contributions to journalism and good governance will be greatly missed. It is a sad, sad day for Seattle.
Thank you for your work. I have visited this blog countless times over the years. I have a reputation among my friends as someone who is very ‘in the know’ about Seattle Politics and it’s largely thanks to your work reporting and compiling information. Even though, as someone very far left, I don’t always agree with your politics, I find your dedication and transparency really commendable. I’m even starting to do a bit of freelance writing work in the city myself alongside my day job and I look to you as an example to emulate. Best of luck in the next chapter Kevin!
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