Recently I wrote a post called David Pepper was supposed to win. Not Mark Mallory. The two gentlemen who left comments on the piece are both long-term participants in the local political scene, far more knowledgeable than I am about these matters. And both of them wanted to focus on the streetcar.
The only problem is that my post wasn’t about the streetcar. In fact, I can’t remember ever writing anything about the streetcar since I started this blog.
Cincyopolis has turned out to be far more influential that I ever expected. Last time I checked it had about 1271 regular followers and 537 ‘likes’ on the Facebook page, with new ones added everyday. Compared to UrbanCincy, it’s a spit in the bucket. But my followers are some of the smartest, most influential folks in Cincinnati: elected representatives, former elected representatives, political wanna-bes, activists, corporate executives, real estate professionals, developers and professional journalists.
But the real reason I know my work is having an impact is the not-so-subtle push-back when I get too close to off-limit topics. Then the comments start to come in fast and furious that I suspect are solicited by the economically and politically powerful. Sometimes lawyers have been hired.
The first time I felt this type of attention was when I wrote about the valuation of John Barrett’s home in Indian Hill. All of a sudden the John Barrett fan club appeared out of nowhere, telling me in glowing prose about how much the Barrett family has done for our city, how unfair it was for me to attack him, calling me a hypocrite because I live in a condo with an abatement. Since I did not feel that these comments added anything of substance to the facts of my post, I simply exercised the internet-given right of all blogging-platforms and hit the “delete” button. One woman got so frustrated after her third attempt to gain access that she concluded, “Since you are not going to publish my opinion, I guess I have to start my own blog.”
Give that lady a cigar, Cincyopolis-followers. Everybody has the right to start their own publishing platform these days. It’s a lot of work to build these things. Cincyopolis is my sandbox and Kathy Holwadel gets to decide who has earned access to this audience and who hasn’t. It’s not a right. Publishing your viewpoint on my blog is a privilege.
The rules are simple:
1. Anybody who says anything along the lines of “Kathy Holwadel, you are great. Thanks for doing this,” – you guys are in – no questions asked. This is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had, volunteer or otherwise. Almost every post I write gets somebody pissed-off. One day it’s the social justice people. The next it’s corporate executives. COAST. Anybody happy with the way things are now. Journalists. Politicians. Folks who want to know why I can’t just shut my mouth and be quiet, get along. That’s a lot of negative energy to absorb on a regular basis – so I’m going to take all the pats on the back I can get. Your support is why I keep asking questions even though I was raised to avoid conflict at any cost.
2. First time a person posting uses the word “streetcar” I will delete the comment. The second time, that individual is banned from cincyopolis. This blog is not about the damn streetcar. There are countless other media outlets dedicated to beating that dead horse.
3. If you already know all the answers, this is not the right spot for your input. Asking the right questions will get us better results.
4. This blog is about identifying citizen-driven solutions and getting them implemented, not politics. We have to work within the existing process, but as far as the individual politicians are concerned, I could care less. Whether your name is Cranley, Mallory, Seelbach or Winburn, you’ll all be gone soon enough and there will be a new batch to take your place. But those of us committed to our city, have to live with the results of your votes for a long time to come. Citizens have no choice but to educate themselves and get involved – otherwise we’ll be the ones left to clean-up the mess.