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It's A Gray Area: My weekly column will become monthly

September 17, 2011|By James P. Gray

In 2004, I took an unpaid leave of absence from my duties as a trial court judge and ran for U.S. Senate as a Libertarian. I knew I would not win the election, but I was so upset at the direction our country was headed that I wanted to be a part of the discussion.

Frankly speaking, it was a waste of time and effort. President George W. Bush's conceding the election in California virtually from the outset resulted in the senatorial campaign of Republican Bill Jones simply never getting off the ground. So there really was no discussion, and Sen. Barbara Boxer won the election without much opposition or fuss.

After the election I decided to try to be a part of the discussion by writing a weekly newspaper column. When the editors of the Daily Pilot expressed interest, I promised them that I would write the column for at least a year. In many ways this approach has worked, and it has given me the privilege of being able to "sound off" on lots of various topics. I thank you as readers for affording me that privilege.

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But now I have been writing this column every week for more than four years, and for some time I have had the germs of an idea for another musical in my head that I would like to pursue. So I simply do not feel that I can both continue to live with my Thursday deadlines each week for this column and also have the time to research, write and perfect my new musical. That being the case, five weeks ago I called my editors and told them of my decision to put "It's A Gray Area" to bed.

Nevertheless, it has been a great run. During the past four years we have been able to discuss approaches that would guide back to excellence our systems of education, health care, immigration, drug policy, criminal justice and others. In fact, the response was so positive to many of those proposals that I expanded them into a book, "A Voter's Handbook: Effective Solutions to America's Problems," published in 2010 by the Forum Press.

Other things discussed over the years in this column have been the seven major religions of the world, as well as the separate worlds of fly fishing, white water rafting, school uniforms, reading, traveling, synchronizing our traffic signals, a sea horse nursery in Hawaii and geothermal power plants in Iceland, among others.

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