City Life: I'm not going far

December 31, 2010|By Steve Smith

Last month, I accepted an offer to write a weekly column for the real estate supplement that is included with the Daily Pilot each Saturday. That supplement also appears in newspapers stretching from Seal Beach to San Clemente, which gives me a significantly larger audience and a chance to write about an important subject in which I gained some expertise a few years ago while writing for another publication.

My first real estate column appeared Dec. 18 and there is one in today's supplement. This will be my last regular City Life column for the Daily Pilot.

During the 12 1/2 years I have been writing regular columns for the Pilot, I have gone from twice a week to once a week, have had five editors, written more than 500,000 words and have missed just two deadlines, both of which occurred when I was in remote areas and could not send the column via e-mail.


And despite having been called just about every name in the book during that time, I have enjoyed every moment.

Of all the columns, there are two that stand out.

Several years ago, I wrote about a homeless family that had been given hope for a better life through the incredible support from the Orange Coast Interfaith Shelter in Costa Mesa. After reading that column, an anonymous donor gave $10,000 to the shelter. To that donor, again, thank you.

The other column was the most fun I've had writing anything for the 30 or so publications that have carried my byline since 1996. In 2006, this column fell on April 1, aka April Fool's Day, so I asked then-City Editor S.J. Cahn whether I could write a column that was an April Fool's joke. He approved, so I wrote that I had been cheating on my claim that I had not watched any television since 1994 and had even installed a small satellite dish inside a swamp cooler to hide it from my family and neighbors.

Even though I had given two good clues to the fact that I was fibbing, I caught many readers by surprise. After I came clean, one personal acquaintance was so upset at being fooled that she promised never to speak to me again. Hers was not an April Fool's joke — she was quite serious.

Over the years I have tried very hard to help you think differently and more deeply about our local issues because they have more impact on your life than almost anything that goes on in Washington. I have tried to make the point that we must always think of better ways of conducting ourselves and our business and that we should never be satisfied with the status quo.

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