As a candidate for Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay’s Best Local Troublemaker award, I forgot to think about how Tampa-dominated these awards can be. How else can you explain Joe Redner leading in this category. Five, ten years ago, sure. But what did Redner do this year to deserve this recognition? Almost everyone else on the Readers’ Poll for Best Local Troublemaker makes their trouble in Tampa. What basically has happened is everyone going on to vote for their favorite Bucs player, went on to vote for the only name they knew for Best Local Troublemaker. Joe Redner has been Tampa’s bogeyman for years now, so the memory of him still haunts the locals.
If only those voting knew my full body of work. No one else has caused more trouble in Tampa Bay than me. But like eight of the ten candidates running for St. Petersburg Mayor, I will lose my election to a better candidate.
However, there is an award I believe I deserve: Best Local Blog. There are several other blogs in the mix for this award, but, in all honestly, few of them are doing what I am doing with my blog.
First of all, it would be in bad taste if either of Creative Loafing’s own blogs won the award. So scratch them. Not that I would give it to Wayne Garcia’s Political Whore anyway. I think he had an off-year, which is like saying Tiger Woods is having a bad year of golf just because he hasn’t won a major.
Last year’s winner, the other St. Petersblog (I had the name two years earlier), is the snarkiest site around and it deserved the recognition it received last year. But, this year the Splog has been largely absent from the blogosphere, unexplainably going months without a new post. No one is a bigger fan of St. Petersblog, but it would be insulting to the rest of the local blogosphere if St. Petersblog won again after sitting on the sideline for most of the year.
Sticks of Fire is the Doyle Brunson of local blogging. The granddaddy of them all still mixing it up with the new kids. But time has passed by dear ol’ Tommy and he knows it.
I would probably vote for Catherine Robinson’s Out in Left Field if she wasn’t such a trollop. Seriously, Robinson has this hot photo of her in a bra with a look in her eyes that says the rug matches the drapes. And her post Creative Loafing’s “I Got a Brazilian For This?” Launch Party was one of the best reads of the year. But that slut just doesn’t have the depth or newsiness that my blog had. But Robinson probably did enough work on her hands-and-knees this year that she’ll take home the hardware.
The Daily Deuce is like reading a blog from 2006. Decent read, but it could use a new template. ReCreating Tampa is a better read than most, while The Spencerian is a great read, and Alex Pickett’s blog is a fun read, but none of these blogs post often enough to make a compelling case for Best Local Blog. (Update: I totally stand corrected as noted below). One blog that posts frequently and deserves consideration is Ybor City Stogie, but that blog is more of an aggregator of other blogs.
Saint Petersblog is the best and worst of what blogging represents. First and foremost, this blog is not only part of the discussion, it has driven the discussion. In Tampa Bay, especially in Pinellas, this blog is a must-read for those in the political scene. Love me or hate me, and it is probably the latter, this blog has been a major influence in St. Petersburg’s Mayoral Election. Many of the stories found in the St. Petersburg Times political coverage began on this blog, so much so that the authors of the Bay Buzz blog wrote a tongue-in-cheek lament when I said I was no longer going to post on that blog.
In fact, I can count at least a dozen stories where this blog was where an important story about the St. Petersburg Mayoral Race began, whether it be about Deveron Gibbons’ driving record or Scott Wagman’s poor decision to advertise on Google.
This blog also played a major role in some of the most followed political stories that came out of the Tampa Bay area, such as the controversy over Dr. David McKalip’s emailing of a racist image of Barack Obama.
And it’s my goal to extend this influence to next year’s US Senate, gubernatorial, congressional and legislative races.
I am especially proud of the graphical element in many of the posts, such as this post criticizing Bill Foster. I am also proud of the original research this blog conducted on several different stories, such as candidate fundraising and early voting.
Most importantly, I have increasingly positioned this blog as a counter-weight to the local political coverage of the St. Petersburg Times. Creative Loafing used to be the alternative to the Times, but has long since abdicated that role. I had hoped some of my colleagues in the blogosphere would have picked up where CL left off, but only the other St. Petersblog has shown the courage to do so. I won’t call myself courageous, but I will say it takes something to call the local newspaper the c-word for trafficking in “mugshot journalism”.
If nothing else, I think there’s something to say about the effort I put into this blog. I’ve thrown up 641 posts this year, much of it original content.
Finally, I’ve done my best to make this blog interesting, good-humored, snarky and intensely personal. I may not win the Best of the Bay award and I highly doubt David Warner is going to allow his editors to say this best blog, but I am very proud of this blog and know that its best days are ahead.