Happy 10th Birthday to Us
It was a Thursday evening, October 21st, 2004 when I saw with my Dell Inspiron at the Starbucks at Coldwater and Victory in North Hollywood reading about the demise of The Fourth Floor, the original anony-blog covering City Hall intrigue. The blog runner had decided to shut down because there was intense pressure coming from a few City Council offices to "out" the blogger. I eventually came to know the identity of the Fourth Floor blogger, but not sure if they ever outed themselves, so I won't do it here.
Suffice to say I was pretty disturbed that the forces that be would attempt to shut down such an informative and delicious site that I figured the only thing I could do was try my own blog. Not being a City Hall insider and only possessing an avocational knowledge of local politics, it was a tad bit of hubris on my part to think it could work; but I was in good company - at least three four other blogs emerged from the ashes of the Fourth Floor; sadly none of them lasted more than a few weeks.
What happened next was beyond my biggest expectations. People started reading the blog. Insiders started sending stories. Other writers, journalists and bloggers provided information and technical support. Some joined up as writers. The blog took off. I was soon regularly appearing on talkradio programs, being interviewed by publications, frequently used as a source by the likes of the Daily News, the LA Times, LA Weekly, KCAL 9, KABC Radio, KFI Radio, KRLA Radio and so many others. We were chosen as the website of the month by Los Angeles Magazine. And, we even made the likes of CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer when we reported that then Councilwoman Janice Hahn had used her city vehicle to illegally park in a handicapped spot.
Then there was that day where we got the biggest to date and since spike in readership - when we revealed the name of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's alleged girlfriend. You know who the lady was; given that she has moved on and has a new life, perhaps we don't need to repeat her name.
Along the way, I met many people, made many friends, even found what I thought at the time was THE love of my life; all of which changed my life in so many profound ways. There jammings, alliances and re-alliances, fights, battles, law suit threats, a protracted battle with a State Assemblyman, battles with fellow staff members and so much more.
In recent times, I have not been able to be as involved with Mayor Sam as much as I was or would like to be. I've had probably as many unrealized dreams for the site as unexpected blessings coming true. I hope at some point life situations allow me to be more involved and truly bring the site to what I think it's full potential could be.
But we made it - ten years. Wow. Not many endeavors last that long.
Mayor Sam has many fathers/mothers and tenders, but were it not for Scott Johnson, we would not have survived. His dedication and tenacity, even when's pissing off the majority of readers, has kept this site alive and vital. I can not recount how much I owe Scott for his major contribution.
I had hoped to do more for the tenth anniversary, perhaps a big celebration, maybe, a special podcast or radio show, a tour of talk radio programs, interviews in other blogs and publications and a whole series of articles about the last ten years (but you can read such a thing if you buy Joseph Mailander's book!). I just did not have the time for that. As it is, I am writing this during a rushed lunch break. Perhaps in the near future, we can celebrate belatedly. But the biggest thing I think we can do to celebrate is to just keep working and getting the word out there. Given the state of Los Angeles these days, we need MayorSam now more than ever. So let's keep it going.
Finally, I want to thank a boatload of people. This is in no particular order and some of these folks I am not even friendly with these days. But they had a contribution of some sort of another. Hopefully, I have not forgotten anyone, but I am sure I probably have:
Rita of Sunland AKA Wally Wharton
Patrick Range McDonald
Councilman Bernard Parks
Bernard Parks, Jr.