A few weeks ago I wrote about my job search (my position with the Tribune has been eliminated) and its effect on my family. It was an exercise that my boss, Jim Ripley, calls “navel gazing” — a piece focused on the writer’s personal experiences that all too often lacks any connection to readers and their lives.
Well, it seems that column did have a connection. I received e-mail messages from a couple dozen readers who sympathized with my situation and wished me well on my search. I am pleased that the piece struck a chord and I thank every one of those readers who responded — even the one who said that I would still have a job if the Tribune stopped its “continuing support of liberal candidates and liberal policies.” I have always found it amusing how, if the news stories and opinion pieces we publish don’t endorse a reader’s exact political mind set, we are just a bunch of left-wing cronies.
Today is my final day with the Tribune. But I am happy to report that beginning Jan. 12, I will be the editor of the Sedalia Democrat in Sedalia, Mo. Despite the newspaper’s name, its editorial philosophy — like that of all Freedom Communications properties — is libertarian. I am excited about this new chapter in my life and that of my family.
But as I look forward to my new adventure, I cannot help but think about my time in Arizona and everything that I will miss about the East Valley. More navel gazing? Yup.
My family: My sister and brother and their families live here, and it has been great having all of our kids get to spend considerable time together. This has forged memories they will carry forever. And while friends are great, the family safety net is the strongest (“I’m stuck at work, can you pick up the kids from school?”).
The ASU-UA rivalry, especially the Territorial Cup: I didn’t attend either school so I really don’t have anything invested in the feud. But since I work and fraternize with both Sun Devils and Wildcats, I get a kick out of the intensity of the exchanges. One of the best parts of the rivalry unfortunately is gone: The late Bob Moran’s “Sparky and Wilbur” commentaries that examined the state of both programs.
Red Mountain: I can see this natural marvel every time I venture out of my east Mesa neighborhood. Some folks are taken by Camelback Mountain, others by the Superstitions. I’ll take Red Mountain’s multi-hued majesty.
Joe and Andy’s Carnival of Ridiculousness: Will I really miss the antics of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas? Only in that they always provide fodder for letters to the editor and the Vent — which in turn provides their public information officers the opportunity to gnash their teeth over any and all perceived slights against their bosses.
Mesa under the direction of Mayor Scott Smith: I wasn’t convinced that Smith was ready for the job when he won the office in November. I am happy to concede that I was dead wrong on that one. Smith is using his business savvy and is reaching out to the community and to other municipalities to ensure that Mesa remains an integral cog in the ever-changing East Valley. I’ll have to watch his progress, and the city’s, from afar.
The shrimp tacos at Tia Rosa: If you haven’t tried ’em, you’re cheating yourself.
Calls from Pat Kelly: The Mesa resident left frequent messages on my office phone about things we published that he agreed with or loathed, but he was always passionate about his point of view.
Tribune readers: The time you spend with what we create each day, be it in print or online, is appreciated by all of us. I am hopeful that you will continue to get your local information — news, features, entertainment and commentary — from the East Valley’s best news team. Which brings me to …
The Tribune newsroom: I contend that the folks I have worked with here are among the most talented journalists anywhere. Some are staying with the Tribune, some are moving on. But it has been my privilege to ply my trade alongside such dedicated and remarkable professionals. Thank you, one and all.