My dad used to tell us crazy stories when we were kids. Sometimes they were so over the top that we didn't know whether or not to believe them. He once told us a story about wrestling a bear. We didn't believe him.
Turns out, it was true.
I've been lucky enough to have a lot of stories to tell myself since starting this blog.
Over the last few weeks I've been struggling with how to properly end The LionStar Blog. I am moving on to another stage of life and career and as a result, I am leaving The LionStar Blog behind me.
Its not the easiest thing to do. I've quit a couple of times before. But the previous times it was after an election and usually out of frustration. This time is different. The change is not only professional, but its personal as well.
This year has been a year of change for me. And like most change, it wasn't always comfortable and welcomed, but change comes whether you want it to or not. Ultimately it was a wonderful change that signaled a new beginning.
The message I wanted to convey in a final piece on The LionStar Blog is one of gratitude. I am truly grateful for the fact that for several years now, you have come to read my blog for information and analysis. I didn't always get it right of course. I was wrong many times along the way but I like to think I was batting around .800, which are Hall of Fame stats any day of the week in baseball.
Whether it was by a PC, tablet, or cell phone, via Facebook, Twitter, or my URL, I was able to connect and engage in a dialogue about local policy with thousands of El Pasoans every day. Not many can say they did that.
Hard to believe but I'm proud to say that The LionStar Blog left a footprint in this town. Not a big one, maybe not a deep one, but a footprint nonetheless. I never planned on influencing policy, shaping an election, or breaking the occasional news story. Thats not what The LionStar Blog was supposed to be. It was just supposed to be a place were I could post summaries of forums and occasionally get up on my soapbox for a rant or two.
The pictures, videos, and audio recordings were never part of the plan. I never intended to put so much work in to this little project. It just sort of happened.
Like a romance. Unplanned, unintended, and out of nowhere. But it felt like a good thing so I went along for the ride.
I was originally anonymous when I started blogging. I wanted to be able to write what I felt without having people try to pressure me or intimidate me. I was accidentally outed by Sito Negron at Newspaper Tree when I wrote a column about Cesar Chavez. That was ultimately a good thing because I learned that I would only have credibility if I were able to lay my analysis with no net underneath. Any blogger with a set a brass ones doesn't need to be anonymous.
And yes, along the way I've had my share of people who have tried to pressure me, push me, pull me, sweet-talk me, and intimidate me in to, or out of, writing something. Thats when you should what you're made of.
I've had the chance to interview every major elected official in this town. I've interviewed almost every candidate who's run for anything in this town over the last few years. I've interviewed the homeless, celebrities, Senators, and even Cabinet members. I've interviewed Republicans, Libertarians, Green Partiers, and of course members of my own beloved Democratic Party.
I've been a local source for media outlets in town, in Austin, around Texas and in DC for info on candidates and issues. Trust me when I tell you that its a little overwhelming at first when they come to you for local information. But I like to think I made my pop proud. He got a kick out of my blog even though he didn't really understand the power of the internet at the time.
For the most part, people hate me. And I'm okay with it. Trust me, I take more than my share of lumps. And I doubt most of you would be able to take the amount of crap people say and write about me as easily as I have over the last few years. Sometimes its just a front. I'm a human and of course some of the stuff stings a little. But it comes with the territory.
If you don't want to get hit, then don't get in the ring.
But if you enjoyed reading my blog, I thank you for reading it. If you read it because you hate me and just wanted to see what I was talking about on that particular day, I still thank you.
So it comes full circle. David K started the local blogosphere and he's the last one standing. As he should be. Batman always needed the joker, and the Yankees are no fun without the Redsox. But David K and I, despite being from totally different worlds and opposite ends of the political spectrum, have never been enemies. Hell David K and I once made up a fake candidate for County Judge just to have fun with the media.
He doesn't even live in El Paso anymore but he still knows more about local politics and policy than most people that go and cast a vote. You have to respect that. And I do.
So no big finish here on The LionStar Blog. Just a big heartfelt thank you.
But before I go, here's a couple of fun facts about The LionStar Blog:
My first piece was about Anna Perez. She was with the County Attorney's Office then and a candidate for El Paso County Commissioner. She's going to be a judge tomorrow. Things really do come full circle. The last campaign sign my dad ever put up was for Commissioner, then candidate Anna Perez. He held the sign for me while I hammered it in the ground off of Montana. And I'm actually writing my last post on Commissioner Perez's dinner table this evening.
My first interview with an elected official was with City Representative Eddie Holguin at the 2008 Texas State Democratic Convention. He was a Hillary Clinton delegate then. A few years later and he is now poised to run for House District 76 if he so chooses. And he's probably still waiting for the rest of the Clinton Super-delegates to come in.
My last interview was with Congressman-elect Beto O'Rourke. I've always enjoyed interviewing O'Rourke and there's a reason. O'Rourke is a challenge. As you know I relate a lot of things in politics to boxing, but my dad related it to baseball. Whenever I do an interview I typically like to “back them off the plate” as my dad used to say. Throw something hard, inside, and near the head. It sends a batter a message. So I do the same thing with questions. No matter how hard, fast, or inside the question, O'Rourke never backed off the plate. Even when political wisdom said he should've.
So that's it people. I'm reminded of a line from Forrest Gump when Bubba dies. Forrest says “If I'd have known that was the last time I talked to Bubba, I'd have thought of something better to say.”
Well I can't really think of something better to say right now other than the echo of my roots.
Si se puede! La causa sigue!
And of course, SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER!