For some reason, this job reminds me of running Crystal Rapids.
Crystal is the worst, best rapid in the Grand Canyon and our boatman had been telling us what amounts to campfire ghost stories about this wild series of deep holes crashing into a frothing boulder field for the past 100 miles.
Just as we got close enough to hear the ravening roar of the water, the thunderheads that had been gathering themselves for a nervous breakdown since morning unleashed a frenzy of hail punctuated by terrible crashes of lightning.
Flinching from the hail and the lightning and staring down into that chaos of water was the best scared I’ve ever been.
Well, except maybe the last couple weeks.
Here I am in the best town I’ve ever found, working with the best folks I’ve ever located, hoping we can all make a newspaper that you’ll love — and look forward to in the driveway.
And all the while I’m just hoping I don’t get bucked off the front of the raft and sucked under.
By now you’ve probably noticed some changes — especially here in the opinion section. Maybe you like them — maybe you don’t. But I figured I’d try to explain things.
The Roundup isn’t our newspaper — it’s your newspaper. If we’re not giving you something you need, you’ll find something else to do with your time and your money. We’ll dry up and blow away. I’ll have to get a real job.
Here in the opinion section, you get to have your say. And because we live in a wonderfully, strangely, irrepressibly interesting and diverse community, these pages ought to be just as insightful, intelligent, quirky and unexpected as you folks.
So, that’s the goal: We’re the town square and the neighborhood bar where you go to find out what’s going on — and what your neighbors make of it all.
So when it comes to letters, we’re interested in every point of view — so long as you live in the neighborhood. Of course, we do need to keep them short — let’s say around 400 words — so we have room for everyone.
We also believe in the good intentions of our neighbors: Even when they’re putting out wonderfully weird ideas. So we don’t go in for name calling or character assassination. We’re not likely to run letters that engage in either of those two vices. And we also need to know that you put your good name behind your opinion.
Oh, and we don’t like flogging poor dead horses either: Which means after a little back and forth, it’s time to move on.
Now, in the last couple of issues some of our friends have gotten pretty ... well, passionate. They’ve bandied about words like “liar” and questioned one another’s mental capacity and patriotism. That’s pretty entertaining — but it generates more heat than light. Besides, the politicians do so much of that these days, I’m not sure we should encourage them.
Oh, yeah — speaking of politicians.
Take a look to the right. You’ll see a point-counterpoint debate between two politicians who hope to represent you in the Arizona State Senate come November. We’d like to get a real debate going in these pages before then. So we’re offering an open invitation to candidates to write guest columns so they can talk directly to you. Of course, we’d like to offer opposing candidates a chance to turn it into a real discussion. That seems fair — and useful to our beloved readers.
I figure it’s just like Crystal Rapids.
Sliding down the slope of the river into the maelstrom, it seemed all fury and fear — impossible to unravel. I sat in the front grabbing those ropes so tight it’s a wonder my fingers didn’t break off. We plunged into a wall of water, which submerged us. But somehow the raft crashed through the wall, dropped into the pit, climbed out the other side. And well before I ran out of screams, we broke through into the exhausted water below the rapids.
At just that moment, the sun broke through: The world sparkled.
Kind of reminds me of that moment on Tuesday and Friday morning when the paper comes rolling off the press: What a ride. Hope you enjoy it.
— Pete Aleshire, Roundup editor