To say I am starting a new blog when I have been blogging for 25-30 years may not make sense. Next Saturday is the first day of my 44th year in municipal government. I have decided to update my Web site (in progress) to have a more formal blog as the centerpiece. It will also include a library of just about anything I have ever written or presented, personal or professional, if I can locate everything. That may take some time. I will send the blogs by email and then keep them on the Web. The frequency will depend on my time. I’m shooting for weekly.
I am a “right now” person, so my blogs will contain whatever is on my mind. However, there will be some central themes:
Economic Analyses. Most of you have been the recipients of a vast amount of analysis work that I send your way. A colleague once said that I’ve never met a number I didn’t like. Well, I do get fascinated with data analysis. It’s a strength and a weakness. There is an ocean full of public data in my world – terabytes of data that go unanalyzed. I can’t resist trying to glean the buried stories in public data. While sales tax data is my main occupation these days, my hobby of data analysis is without limits – other than time. I have my own server now and have beefed up my SQL skills after maxing out my good friend Mr. Excel. I hope to advance my research and share those results with you.
Underground Government. I live in McKinney, the center of Collin County. A couple of years ago I wrote quite a bit about Looking for the Good. It was in defense of the city staff against a watchdog group that I thought had stepped over the line. However, I am now in my third year of a closer look at how things really work in McKinney from the governance standpoint. I am convinced there is an underground government, and I intend to expose what I am finding. There are some disturbing staff issues I have – like how could you charge $8 million on credit cards in just a few short years? But my digging has led to much more serious issues I have with the elected officials and boards. My writings will also include the ultimate Collin County Bad Boy, AG Kenneth Paxton.
The Personal Realm. Writing is cathartic for me. I am 68 years old, have been married for 48 years. Our son and daughter-in-law have given us three wonderful grandkids (9, 11 and 13). My wife Linda and I try to go on a cruise a couple of times a year and average a musical or play about once every week or two. We are strong in our faith and have a few really deep friendships. I love to write personal reflections. My blog will be filled with my personal, transparent writings. My hobby also includes photography – mine and the interesting work of others I find. My criteria is simple: if a photograph makes me pause and gaze at the subject, the light or the angle, I might pass some on to you.
While I have a fairly long mailing list of both professional colleagues and personal friends, I will not impose my blog on you. By way of this invitation I will be building a separate blog mailing list. Therefore, if you are interested in receiving Let’s Talk About It, Lewis!, you will need to let me know. Just reply to this invitation. I would also ask for you to consider sending this invitation to anybody you know who might be interested in signing up for this free blog. I will not share my list with anyone under any circumstances. You can also be easily removed from my blog list by simply requesting me to take you off. No explanation required.
I look forward to our chats. I will invite you to enter into a conversation with me. Nothing will be shared without your permission. As an avid reader close to 100 newspapers daily, I view just about every one of the 100,000 stories over the years as a case study. I will be commenting on stories as I have in the past. Better than that, again over the years, many of you have asked me questions, shared your own local issues with me and basically entered into a meaningful conversation with me. I thrive on those exchanges. Many of the articles and blurbs I have written in the past are the composition of my words and your words without mentioning our conversation.
By the way, my informal blogs are usually written and proofed quickly. This is my one and only apology if I blow a grammar gasket or say “pubic health” instead of “public health” as I once managed to do without my spell checker catching me.