I’m grateful for my readers

Today’s holiday offers us an opportunity to pause and reflect on all the things in life we’re thankful for. I’m fortunate to have many blessings in my world, which I’ll be spending the day thinking about as I toil over a hot stove and may delineate at the dining room table later this afternoon. But there’s one thing I feel particularly fortunate about that seemed appropriate to share here, and that’s all of you who read my little blog.

When I started A Better Oakland a year and a half ago, I just wanted someplace where I could vent my frustrations about the Mayor, the media, IZ, the plastic bag ban, the media, and, oh yeah, the Mayor. I don’t know if I really expected anyone to ever read me, besides dto510 and maybe a couple of our mutual friends, but writing this stuff down felt better than just yelling at the newspaper every morning. I certainly had no idea that it would grow to this level of traffic or anything close to the time commitment it takes now (if I had, I probably never would have started!) Back at the beginning, I had fewer views during an entire month than I usually get before lunch these days. So somehow, a bunch of you ended up here, apparently liked what you saw, and decided to come back for more. So thank you for that.

And special thanks to those of you who help make this site a much more exciting place by leaving comments. I know it might be intimidating to jump into our discussions, given my tendency to sometimes be a little…let’s just say curt when I respond to you guys. What can I say? That’s just how we’ve always done things around my place. You needed a pretty thick skin to grow up in the Smoothe household, and everyone gave as good as they got. But I adore all my comments. Whether you’re agreeing with me, or challenging me, or having your own little totally off-topic debate, I love all the energy and passion on this site, and I love seeing Oakland’s issues being vigorously argued by people who obviously care a great deal.

I’m also deeply grateful for all the amazing people I’ve met because of this blog, who enrich my life more than I can say – something I really never anticipated happening at all when I started. Also, I thank those of you who e-mail me with tips, story suggestions, random thoughts, and responses to my writing. Please know that I really do enjoy and appreciate every message, and I swear, I really am trying to get better at responding. I know I suck at it right now.

Anyway, thank you all for reading and for caring about Oakland’s future. And have a great Thanksgiving.

14 thoughts on “I’m grateful for my readers

  1. Quercki M. Singer

    Thanks for doing this for me. I particularly like the way you support what you are saying with links to the source documents.

    Your humor and sense of proportion really delight me. I loved that in a post about the media coverage of Oakland’s budget issues, you wrote:

    They complain about Dellums having a driver, which I suppose might sound ridiculous until you remember that he’s like 130 years old and being the Mayor, has to go lots of places, and that we want to encourage people of a certain age to stay away from the wheel of a motor vehicle for the safety of everyone else on the road.

    Like you, I’d love to see “A Better Oakland,” and your blog helps.

    Also, I changed my handle to be more “oak-y.” Quercus agrifolia is Latin for coast live oak, our local oak.

  2. Becks

    V – We’re grateful for you too! I don’t know how I’d keep up on Oakland politics without you. Plus you make me laugh just about every day. Thanks!

  3. oaklandhappenings

    I return your thanks also, V. As for suggestions for stories, I have three follow-up ideas for a few of my favorite ABO development projects:
    (1) Citywalk: I walked by it today, and the eastern half has become “Trojan Tower (west)”; a near replica of what 14th & Jackson used to look like before the wrap came off that still-incomplete one. Also, it is November…the month that they said work would begin again. November 27th, and I see almost NO change in comparison to the last 12-13 months, or whenever the hell they stopped work because of the whole Olsen company scenario.

    2) Measure DD/Lake Merritt perimeter Improvements: apparently, there is now very slow progress to get work done on the east and west sides of the Lake, with signs saying that late 2009 is the targeted completion date. However, this project also seems to have been dragging, with very little being done every week. Are there financial issues with this project?

    (3) 1100 Broadway– STILL no anchor tenant?? Looking at a big promising sign and a big dirt patch just don’t go together.

    If anyone else has answers, please feel welcome to share. Until then, happy gobble day (or whatever else you choose to eat as your main entrée).
    –O.H.

  4. Chris Kidd

    I am so very grateful for this blog and for V. It has helped make Oakland’s politics and planning issues so much more accessable to anyone on the outside looking in. Being able to comment and write on this blog, and the desire it’s fired within me to actually help change what we all bitch about, was a large part of the motivation I needed to apply to grad school.

    You get a piece of my diploma, V. Thanks.

  5. mark

    Thank you so much for the website. You are doing a great public service.

    It is nice to see that so many people care about Oakland and our future. For years, I thought that I was the only one.

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!!!!!

  6. ConcernedOakFF

    Thanks for doing your part in increasing the transparency of the City of Oakland. If it was not for civically minded people such as yourself, this city would be so much worse for the wear…

  7. Patrick

    Ever since I discovered your blog, it has become a daily “must read”. I’ve learned a lot about Oakland and had my thinking on various city issues challenged and even changed. A Better Oakland is required reading for anyone who has an interest in our beautiful city, as it is the best and most reliable source for in-depth informaton. You must devote an inordinate amount of time to this site, and the results are nothing short of superb. Thank you, V.