Well it’s the last day of 2008, and time for the obligatory end of year post. This year I’d like to share my best & worst of Shiawassee in 2008.
New Technology: The Internet. Ok I know it’s not new, but the Internet as a force in Shiawassee politics really took off this year. Sheriff Wilson’s focus on “anonymous bloggers” raised the profile of the forum and the people posting on the Argus. It’s great that people are finally starting to get comfortable with online interaction. The only problem? At least 2 libel suits have been filed, due to a few angry people who thought the internet was a safe place to get their vengeance on.
Elected Official: Lauri Braid. Oh, this one hurts me, considering that she’s up against Democrats like Jack Johnson and Joe DeCaire. But I always held Lauri personally responsible for the state of elections in our county, and if you’re going to hold someone responsible for the bad stuff, then you’ve got to give them credit for the good. In the January primary, Shiawassee County was the worst in the state, in terms of reported election problems. (See here and here. Most of these problems were unintentional) By the November general election, we were among the best. More than anything else, the integrity, accessibility, and fairness of our elections form the bedrock of our democracy. Throughout the year, Lauri & co. worked hard to make sure that everything was as it should be. So to Lauri and all of the Shiawassee area clerks and election staff — nice job, and thank you.
Election Result: Deana Finnegan defeats Jon Wilson. My personal opinion of Jon Wilson aside, this is one of Shiawassee’s proudest moments. A woman defeats a male incumbent for the office of Sheriff. I was proud.
New Hangout: The Korner. Kitty-corner from Chase Bank in Vernon, this little joint is the latest new hangout for good old-fashioned fun. RoboJoe presents open mike and a family friendly atmosphere, and they even had Christmas caroling the weekend before Christmas. Head on down there, or check out this thread for more info.
New Idea: I’m taking this one for myself. The Shiawassee Skill Share, which I am determined to make a go of in 2009. If I can make it work with IT, then surely others can make it work in their respective professions. We could really have something special here.
Proudest Moment For Me: Just a personal note … my proudest moment this year — Troop Care 2008. About $1450 in product and cash, and a good chunk of that came from Shiawassee. In the end, we sent 42 boxes to 8 Michigan units deployed in Iraq. And it was all made possible by the good people in the forums and on the blogs. Thanks!
Best Example of Class: Dr. Wegman’s handling of his negative press, and the way that he took care of his staff while working out his problems. A class act.
Technology: Inside or outside of Shiawassee, this has to be Windows Vista. I’m recommending to all my clients that they skip it entirely and migrate straight from XP to Windows 7.
Vista Blue Screen of Death
But I don’t want to rip off my readers by taking the easy way out. So, the “real” worst technology would have to be the Owosso water infrastructure. 90 miles of pipe, 80-100 years old, 50-100 patches per year. With the cost of replacing the mains at $350,000 per year, and the economy in the tank, that technology is going to stay there a while.
Most Shameful Moment: Rachel Scott. Greg Shire. Lebowski Center. The only thing more shameful than the lack of justice in this county is the lack of outrage by the citizens.
BoC Decision: Commissioners fine churches for feeding the hungry. Could be a food ministry, it could be serving food at a funeral. It doesn’t matter, our commissioners wanted to charge the churches the same as they’d charge a school or large restaurant. Why? Because they want the health department to have the money. And because they can.
Election Result: John Pajtas defeats Jack Johnson. Sadly, some of us saw this one coming. Jack Johnson was targeted by the local GOP because he was a PITA to TPTB. (That’s “pain in the ass” to “the powers that be”) But although targeted by the GOP and warned by the Dems, Jack didn’t campaign, and he made the mistake of alienating some of his allies. Come election time, even his supporters weren’t campaigning for him the way that he needed. Despite being the best candidate in this race and arguably the best commissioner in terms of his intentions, he became the only incumbent commissioner to be voted out of office.
Dumbest Mistake by Politician: Sheriff Wilson withholds information from the Argus Press. Oh this was stupid. The press doesn’t like it when office-holders withhold information, and this caused the Sheriff international grief. More importantly, local residents don’t like it when their Sheriff withholds information from them. It was this decision that cost Sheriff Wilson the election.
Biggest Delta: The difference between the real and perceived role of bloggers in the Jon Wilson election. This was truly something to behold. The day after the primary, I received three calls congratulating me on the defeat of Jon Wilson. (Que?) The week before the election, I noticed a car in a parking lot in Flint, that had a bumper sticker on it. The driver was putting his groceries in the car, so I went over to talk to him. He had no idea who I was. There was an entire grassroots movement out there that had nothing to do with bloggers.
Saddest Business Decision: The Argus Press cancels the e-Edition. Looks like I won’t be totally paperless next year.
Shameless Holiday Marketing: Meijer rolls out Valentine displays. Good grief, do they know that Valentines isn’t until next year?
And on that note, I am excited to jump in to 2009. 2008 was a great year for me. I had the honor of being selected to blog the Democratic National Convention, I was promoted at work, and I started grad school. 2009 will be even better. A New Year, a new project, and maybe I’ll pick up some new friends along the way. My New Years resolutions are to A) help 10 people get trained and find new jobs in the computer field, and B) start a paper newsletter promoting all of the local area blogs and forums. It’s going to be a great year.
So long 2008, and thanks for all the fish.