Sunday, March 29, 2009

Number 775... and the End

So, this is it. After over three years and 775 posts (counting this one), Save Fitchburg is taking it's final bow. There will be no other posts after this one.


If you know me, you know that Save Fitchburg hasn't exactly been my favorite thing for a while. It was frustrating. It was repetitive. It was repetitively frustrating. I never got into it to be called a liar. I never did it for people to think I was trying to be something I wasn't: A guy who cared for and was interested in the city.

Things took a new level when the Pride happened. That was never part of the "business plan." But it was good in that it made Save Fitchburg better. Covering Fitchburg full-time gave me better insight into what was going on, and how to write about what was going on. Leaving the Pride has left a bit more on the outside, which is fine. But it made Save Fitchburg a bit less.

It's no secret that I'm now working in state government (for the record, it wasn't a "political hire." No one from Fitchburg, except for my wife and brother, knew I was even interested in the job until I had given my notice to the folks at the Pride. See, this is kind of stuff I don't want to deal with anymore). Unfortunately, that leads some people to believe that I have a state-run agenda. While that's not the case, there's a saying about even the appearance of a conflict being a conflict.

I enjoyed spouting off about Fitchburg politics. Sometimes I was right, sometimes I was wrong, but I was always thinking about what might be best for the city. I did not enjoy the animosity and the people who didn't like what I wrote and just assumed I had an agenda. See the start of this paragraph for the outline of my "agenda."

After three-plus years, I have no need and no use for the headache anymore. No need to read comments and have to literally get up and walk away because they were so infuriating. No need to have people assume I'm up to something devious. This is a long time coming, and it's certainly time.

That said, Fitchburg isn't "saved." Yelling stupidly about the trash fee isn't the way to save it though. As for me, I'm getting out of blogging and politics, and I'm going to try something different.

If you're on Facebook, please join the group "Fitchburg Now." If you're on Twitter, please follow "fitchburgnow." The goal isn't politics and government. It's following the community. If you're an elected official or a community leader, and you have an event coming up, please use the "Fitchburg Now" group page at Facebook or Twitter through "fitchburgnow" followers to let people know. Afterward, if you have photos or video of a Fitchburg event, please put it on the "Fitchburg Now" group page at Facebook. There's plenty of room for some good online community networking in Fitchburg. I hope "Fitchburg Now" at Facebook and Twitter can help be a part of that.

I'm excited about this new little experiment. I'm not sure it will work with any efficiency, but I'm optimistic that it might. I think there's some untapped potential for the city in Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. Just try to figure this out together, shall we?

So, this is it. The end. Save Fitchburg is all done. It was, certainly more often than not, a pleasure. I loved writing about the good stuff that happened, and I loved good, honest debate about this issues. I loved writing about the Celtics last year (I know you didn't Svens, and I apologize). But the negatives were truly very painful, and at this point the benefits aren't outweighing the negatives. If you're a Save Fitchburg lover, I'm sorry about that. But let's do something else.

So, let's keep it going. Let everyone (or at least a bunch of people) know what you're up to, and share your successes. Go to Facebook and get into the Fitchburg Now group. Get on Twitter, and follow fitchburgnow. If you want to reach out to me, use this e-mail address:

Thanks for reading, thanks for writing, and thanks for caring. While I'm putting to bed something that was pretty significant and important to me, I'm glad to moving on to something else. Join, me won't you, in supporting Fitchburg Now.




Sunday, March 15, 2009

While We Were Out...

Go away for a week, and a mayoral candidate drops out. Huh.

It's old news by now, but it's worth touching on here. Rachel Rosenfeld dropped out of the mayor's race last week, just a few weeks after getting in. She never got the chance to knock on a door, print a yard sign, or even get signatures on nomination papers.

On her website, Rosenfeld wrote: "The very simple fact is that I do not have the physical stamina required. While I see very clearly the job that needs to be done, I also see very clearly that I do not have the physical resources to push this tremendous boulder up the hill. To make it through a successful campaign and not survive the elected term would leave the city in worse turmoil."

From the get-go, her health (she's never been shy about her ailments) has been a question. I asked myself in an e-mail interview. Here, in full, is her response: "It is not an issue for the citizens. Just don't smoke near me. I have never failed in a commitment to family, friends, community or synagogue. I have the personal assistance I need for any mobility issues that may arise, my reasoning and intellect are superb, and I don't plan to invade a foreign country or sign up for any cross country hikes. I have as examples Ted Kennedy, JFK, FDR and a close relative Cordell Hull (who had the same familial disease for most of his lifetime), as well as my own mother and grandfather who dealt with this inconvenience for many years. I have the advantage of knowing both my abilities and my limitations and while my abilities will be an asset to the city, the citizens will not be inconvenience in any way by my limitations. My breathing and mobility issues have taught me the value of persistence, objective and goal setting, patience, and priorities. Similarly my financial issues have brought home priority setting and strict fiscal management."

That was posted on Feb. 19. Less than a month later, she's gone.


Certainly, her health, unfortunately, is an issue. Campaigns take a chunk out of anyone. If health is already an issue, why go through that meat grinder? Perhaps the more she thought about it, the more she thought she couldn't win.

If I had to guess, she quickly decided she didn't need the headache. She took a pretty good beating here, but that was nothing compared to the S&E forum, where she was absolutely obliterated very quickly. There were some things that weren't mentioned here that were aired out rather fully (and in some cases, perhaps inaccurately) elsewhere. It was brutal.

Here's the thing. Whether it was here, on her website, or elsewhere, Rosenfeld had made a name for herself. Some people liked her. They thought she was smart, passionate, and right. Some people didn't like her. They thought she shot from the hip, was condecending, and didn't really have any solutions. Apparently, those that didn't like her really didn't like her.

It will be interesting to see what she does next. Will she go back to being everywhere and anywhere in her opinions? Will she pick up the activity at her website, which traditionally has been a little sporadic in updates? Will she reign herself in after what happened over the last three weeks?

It might seem ridiculous to ask all those questions of a Internet-based commenter who was in the mayor's race for all of three weeks. And if a legitimate challenger to Mayor Lisa Wong doesn't bubble up, the questions are probably moot. But Rosenfeld has shown, if nothing else, she's hell bent on getting Wong out of office. If someone rises up to take on Wong, they'll have a cheerleader/hatchetman in Rosenfeld to rely on in some capacity. It's a good bet right now Wong doesn't have that challenger, but if so, Rosenfeld will play some kind of role in the next election.

Labels: , ,


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Bye Week

It's that time of year when Save Fitchburg heads to warmer climes for a week. Whether it's union squabbles, streetlight questions, or more anger about the (seemingly dead) trash fee, you're on your own this week. Won't be posting, and won't be checking comments. Unicow, you've been warned.

Enjoy the week, and I expect all this snow to be gone by the time I get back. Get on that, will you?