How I feel about my blog posts is a lot like how I'd feel if, instead of only having one child, I had several. They all would be my favorite!
But risking some tears from unchosen posts, I was able to pick just one Salem Political Snark post per month to comprise my favorites list for 2018.
Before sharing them, I want to say that the always-interesting Breakfast on Bikes blogger has put together an absolutely great overview of goings-on in Salem during the past year from the standpoint of land use, livability, and transportation issues.
So be sure to check out "2018 In Review: In Between." Here's how it starts out.
What to say about 2018? I want to think it is a pivot, a transitional year. I'm not sure that there was a whole lot big and new, and maybe even nothing truly decisive, but there were concluding actions, things ending, and also things gathering and starting. Maybe this will be a mistake, and the year will turn out to be very insignificant.
The wish is always to be able to place the year's events in some kind of narrative, to find shape and pattern - and progress. But as we have seen, a Whiggish attachment to Progress is very often just fiction, and history has no such teleology. Maybe 2018 is just a random splatter of events.
As you can see from the following blog posts, progressive/liberal me found a lot to like locally in 2018, along with a lot not to like. On the whole, I agree with the Breakfast on Bikes blogger: progress has been made, but much more remains to be done.
Here's my favorite posts, one from each month, with an excerpt from each.
Here's 5 good reasons not to shop at Salem's Hobby Lobby
The biggest reason was given in a Slate podcast interview with Candida Moss, a Professor of Theology who wrote a book about the company's efforts to Christianize this country, "Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby."
After hearing Moss talk about some Hobby Lobby horror stories that I'll summarize below, at about the 21:14 mark Mike Pesca, the interviewer, says that the engine of all that Hobby Lobby sets out to do is their stores.
So, he said, "When you shop there, you're giving directly to their efforts." Moss agreed, saying that the company's evangelical owners are the religious equivalent of the Koch brothers.
Larry Tokarski leaves the public with a $7.5 million development bill
It took me about two seconds to say "Yes" when the publisher of Salem Weekly, A.P. Walther, asked me via an email if I'd be interested in writing a story about the unbuilt section of Lone Oak Road that the City Council is asking the public to pay for, after the developer, Larry Tokarski, walked away from his obligation to make the road improvements.
Today I had an stimulating conversation about Salem, including political goings-on, with a person who had some appealingly fresh ideas about what needs to change in our city to make it a better place to live for everybody -- not just the already well-off.
Our talk got me to thinking about what Salem would be like if... where what follows the "if" is an outcome unconstrained by what exists today, because that would pretty much guarantee more of the same.
In this Year of the Woman, politically and culturally-speaking, I find it surprising that Jacqueline (Jackie) Leung's Ward 4 City Council race against incumbent Steve McCoid isn't getting more attention.
...Leung and Varney are the most progressive candidates in their races. So as I noted last month in "Jackie Leung should get Progressive Salem support for her City Council campaign," it's strange that Progressive Salem, which works to elect local liberal candidates, hasn't made an endorsement in the Ward 4 race.
Like I said last Tuesday on election night, Jackie Leung's 53%-46% victory over Steve McCoid in the Ward 4 City Council race warms my progressive heart.
...There are lessons to be learned from political newcomer Leung's upset victory over an incumbent city councilor, especially when Micki Varney's 48%-52% loss to incumbent Councilor Jim Lewis in the Ward 8 race is considered.
I'm a fan of strangeness. But there's pleasing kinds of strange and disturbing kinds of strange.
Watching yesterday's special City Council meeting about Salem's toxic algae water crisis via a Facebook feed gave me the latter sorts of feelings...disturbing.
I'm sharing a moving opinion piece by Jane Wille in today's Statesman Journal because we need more poetic feeling and less financial greed here in Salem.
As you'll read below, Wille is saddened by the loss of the Old Lindbeck Orchard property in West Salem, which she says is to become high-density retirement housing.
Last year the Salem Breakfast on Bikes blogger reported that it looked like a fenced gated community apartment complex was planned for the property.
This supposedly is progress. I'm not so sure.
Early on, I assessed Troy for possible mental illness after he told me that he has a journalism degree from the University of Oregon, noting that, given the declining fortunes of newspapers, if he'd been born a lot earlier, probably he would have gotten a degree in Buggy Whip Manufacturing shortly after the Model T became popular.
However, after Troy told me about his reporter experience in Roseburg and Vancouver, Washington, I realized that he's been getting paid for his writing, while I've earned precisely zero from fifteen years of blogging, and very little from the three books I've authored.
So if there was a crazy writer sitting in our Beanery booth, clearly it was me.
A mere 19 minutes later, at 11:49 am, Michael Slater wrote a post on a Facebook page where Salem City Council issues are discussed that critiqued the Our Salem Stakeholder Advisory Committee, which a City of Salem web page describing the planning effort says "will be providing guidance to staff."
What's the value of eight lives? Is it greater or less than the desire of Costco to build a new Salem store on the graves of the deceased?
I'm talking about the lives of large white oaks, not humans. But those are important questions to tree-loving people like me, which includes many of the neighbors who live near the Kuebler Gateway Shopping Center where the Salem Costco is planned to be relocated.
Trigger warning: if you love books, and hate to see them mistreated, you might want to partially cover your eyes when viewing the photo below. I'm sorry that this blog post has to be so graphic, but as the saying goes, A picture is worth a thousand words.
(And this post is much longer than that.)
It is clear that the Broadway Coffeehouse, which is run by the Salem Alliance Church, does indeed discriminate against LBGTQ people as my previous posts on this subject have laid out.
As you can read below, I've asked representatives of the coffeehouse and church if the coffeehouse would refuse to hire someone otherwise well qualified but who was gay, in a same-sex marriage, or engaging in same-sex sex. The same questions have been asked by a KATU reporter and by another interested person, Johnny Green.