Hey, apologies for the long absence. Believe it or not, I have other duties in the world, one of which is working full-time for another publication. That one pays me money; this is just for fun. So you can see how the priorities break down.
But really, there’s no excuse for keeping a website sailing untended through the internet like some digital Flying Dutchman, and there’s no time like the present to get chores out of the way. Besides, so much to blog about lately in our leafy Eden.
Take the steep decline of Grosse Pointe Patch, which was once a direct competitor and now is a sad shadow of its former self. Any one-person operation — and make no mistake, each Patch is only as good as the local editor, who is the sole reporter, too — is a precarious one, and when founding editor Sara Martin left, the air really went out of the balloon. I know they’re looking to hire someone; they even contacted me. (Not interested.) Patch claims to be a going concern, but the jungle drums of the journalism world say they’re circling the drain. I believe there’s a real need for a lively, interactive, online local news source, but there’s this stubborn reality we all need to face: THERE’S NO DAMN MONEY IN IT. Maybe a super-dedicated person could figure out a way to write, edit and photograph the news around here, and sell the ads to put food on the table in their off hours, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Anyone who saw poor Sara trying to run from one city council meeting to the next, maybe with a school board marathon thrown in, knows it can’t be done by a single person.
I missed Sara’s work when I read about the travesty of Monday’s school board meeting, during which Cindy Pangborn produced a document out of thin air that she said would cut the proposed $48 million technology bond by more than half. Gotta tell you, I laughed out loud when I read this:
“I looked through this, and I’m having a real problem with the amount,” Pangborn said. “I picked out some things, like I say, with experts, of what we had to have to get that security and that infrastructure started – that’s under $20 million for what is absolutely necessary to get us up to speed.”
Pangborn said the $20 million over seven years, according to accountants she spoke with, would net the district $6 million in interest savings, while maintaining the proposed upgrades.
Look! I have experts! (No, I won’t tell you who they are.) They say $20 million will do it! Let’s all vote now!
Finally, speaking of Patch, I see Pete Waldmeir has time on his hands, and is talking shit about me/GPToday again. He’s entitled to his opinion, but not to his twisted version of our history. Which, in his head, is this:
GP Today folded months ago when Nancy Nall Derringer left following the death of founder and publisher Ben Burns. It had held a 501(c)(3) charitable tax exemption, presumably because Burns provided part-time jobs for some Wayne State JO students. Last I checked, Derringer was working for, or just contributing to, a lib-leaning magazine named Bridge or something like that owned by publisher Phil Power.
We did fold GPToday 2.0 after Ben’s death, but I left months beforehand, when I took a job with The Center for Michigan. Pete’s always had a bug up his butt about our 501(c)(3) status, which we earned fair and square. We were a learning lab for Wayne State journalism students, we tried to cover our community to the best of our ability, and I don’t think we have very much to apologize for — Ben, Sheila Tomkowiak and I poured hours into the site, because we thought, and think, Grosse Pointe deserves better than one timid weekly. We may have failed, but we tried. And whatever was left over in the bank account went to WSU.
Meanwhile, Pete has his own causes. One was working hard against last fall’s millages in the Woods. He brought up, many times, the new pool liner at Lake Front Park, an unexpected expense that he liked to call “Vicki Granger’s million-dollar no-bid pool contract,” or some such. Every time I heard this, a memory nagged at me. Was it a photo? Where did I see it? It must have been the Grosse Pointe News, but when? Did I hallucinate the whole thing?
I finally dived into the scanned archive. Turns out it wasn’t a mirage. You ask me, this picture says everything about politics around here. I post it here not because I want to fight with a senior citizen, but because why the hell not:
Hope to be around more often in weeks to come. Is everyone having a great summer?
– Nancy Nall Derringer