A reporter’s reluctant 2009 resolutions

I made my 2009 resolutions this morning.

It all started on my way to work when a driver swerved in front of me on Interstate 680 and forced me to slam on my brakes. I resolved to stop swearing at people who cannot hear me. How dumb is that?

Then I got to thinking about how my real first resolution emerged earlier this morning after I got up the nerve to get on the scale. I resolved to lose the 10 pounds (more or less, mostly more) I gained while I was on vacation in December.  This will no doubt surprise my husband and my son, who will come downstairs and find in the garbage all the leftover fudge, ice cream, pie, ambrosia and frozen cookie dough.

Here at the office, more 2009 resolutions reluctantly emerged.

I resolved to throw out the 50 pounds of 2008 campaign mailers on my desk. It’s not like they contain any facts worthy of the space they occupy.

What about all the political books on my shelf? I’ll never have time to read all these books and more will pour in this year. Maybe I should resolve to read more books in 2009? Or maybe I should just resolve to free up space for the new arrivals. That’s dooable.

And what should I do with all my research files on Dean Andal, the unsuccessful GOP congressional contender? If I toss them out, he’ll run again and I’ll be sorry. I’d better keep them for a while longer.

I have all these boxes of local campaign finance reports, too. I resolve to hound local officials to put these reports online so that I don’t have to slaughter so many trees and store the bones under my desk. That’s better. Badgering people who can hear me is a better use of my time, right?

My best resolution (this one is for my editor, in case she is reading this post) is to revisit my long list of undone stories that went by wayside in the insanity of the 2008 election season.

Given the shaky economy and poor outlook in the newspaper business, I resolve to try and keep my job.

Tell me, what are your 2009 resolutions?


Headed out for ‘stay-cation’

Vorderbrueggen at the helm of a sailboat in the San Francisco Bay

Vorderbrueggen at the helm of a sailboat in the San Francisco Bay

It has been a long election season and I’m headed out for stay-cation, one of those vacations where you stay home and do all the stuff you haven’t done in a year like clean the closets and clear off the home office desk and go to the gym more often.

I am also eagerly awaiting the imminent birth of our third grandchild. Our daughter-in-law delivered our second grandbaby on Nov. 24. Our daughter is expected to deliver her first child any minute now and she wants us present for the birth.

And there’s Christmas presents to buy and those Christmas cards to write, too. I’ll have more than enough to keep me busy.

We will most likely find reason to sail, too. A day on the water is always better than a day off the water.

Yes, it is hard to leave the political desk on the eve of a new presidency and all the politics swirling around the appointments and the inauguration.

But the boss has ordered me out of the building as I have accrued the maximum number of vacation hours allowed and as such, I am a financial liability on the corporate books. In these uncertain employment times, one tries to be as cooperative as possible, if you know what I mean.

So, I will go.

But I won’t be far and you might still see me posting to this blog if political events warrant an interruption in my efforts to locate the surface of my home office desk. If I’m on the  Bay, don’t count on it, though.


Concord Salvation Army crew heads to Denver

Volunteers with the Salvation Army Concord Corps, a group that sends folks to help feed people at disaster scenes and major public events, are headed Friday to Denver, where they will make up part of the emergency preparedness team at the Democratic National Convention.

I’ve written a news story for tomorrow’s front page but I took a time to shoot a short video of Salvation Army Major Clayton Gardner and the two volunteers who will drive their kitchen-on-wheels, also called a canteen, 1200 miles to Denver. (The canteen is in the video behind Gardner and the volunteers.)

Standing in the video, from left to right, is Concord residents Richard Lueck and John Primus, and Gardner.


Vorderblog: CC supes race attracts $1 million-plus

Can you believe Contra Costa County still collects campaign finance reports on paper? Geeminy.

But I spent a good part of the day going through them and learned that the candidates for Contra Costa County supervisor in June and the outside groups that sought to influence the outcome spent more than $1 million.

Check out my column on Sunday for the full details of which candidate spent the most and had the most spent to oppose his candidacy. (Hint: It’s the same guy.)

Here’s my video for the today on the subject:


Vorderblog: Calling all delegates

I deployed the Flip camcorder tonight during my interview with Democratic delegate Kath Delaney from Kensington. It’s one of a series of taped interviews we’re doing with East Bay delegates headed to the national political conventions in Denver and St. Paul in late August and early September.

Here, I’m asking Delaney how she feels, as an elected delegate for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, about the near-certain nomination of Sen. Barack Obama as the party’s nominee in Denver. Delaney is a longtime Clinton supporter.

We’ll offer prior to the conventions a full package of video and online interviews with delegates for Sen. John McCain, as well as Clinton and Obama. (Don’t worry. The quality will be much better. You can’t see it in this video but our expert photographer Karl Mondon was taping the interview using a fancy camera. I’m using my new Flip video as an experiment to see how it would come out.)