Tom Riggins: Time for a change

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This will be my last column for the Lahontan Valley News. I have declared candidacy for County Commissioner for District 2. Pete Olsen holds that seat now but will be termed out and can’t run again, much to the regret of many.

Continuing to write this column would be problematic. First, for the LVN since it could be construed as unpaid political advertising. Second, because it might pose concerns with the State Ethics Commission for something I might say, however inadvertent. Thus it is time to end my column.
I started to write for the LVN in October 2009. It doesn’t seem that long ago, and I did a double take when I referenced back to my first column. One thing is for certain, there was never a shortage of topics to write about. It didn’t seem to matter who was in office. Oddly, I rarely wrote about local issues. That is a testament that most local governance is doing a good job, or at least better than their state and federal counterparts. Although I must say, nothing against LVN but that threshold is pretty easy to surpass.
Several “thank you” comments are in order. First is to Steve Ranson. When I first approached him about having a conservative columnist to offset the then two liberal ones published, he told me to submit a writing sample. I did so and he agreed to give my work a try. Writing for print media is slightly different than normal everyday writing, plus as part of my work I was doing a lot of more technical writing. It took a while, but Steve patiently reviewed my submissions and provided feedback on what I needed to change and how. After a while that wasn’t necessary anymore, so thank you for your patience and the education, Steve.
Next I need to thank the editorial staff at LVN. I have been able to write on just about any topic I wished without censorship or editing other than grammatical issues. I have written on some fairly inflammatory topics and made some outrageous statements, at least in liberal minds. That is decidedly unlike their media peers in most locales. Freedom of the press was one of the most sacred institutions of our founders. So much so that the press was given special protections in the Constitution. The press, or media in today’s world, was intended to be the watchdog over government activity and possible wrongdoing. Somehow that message has been lost in many cases. I made no secret of the fact that I was writing opinion columns, even though they were as fact-based as possible.

Sadly, too many of today’s so-called reporters are nothing more than opinion writers. They hide their opinions under the cloak of news reporting. They have abandoned all pretense of factual and unbiased reporting. That is why I appreciate the basically unrestricted latitude to write about whatever I wished.
Anyway, sorry about the diversion. The biggest thank you is to you, the readers. Thank you for the positive feedback and encouragement. What amazes me is that sometimes I would write a column about a topic that seemed to me to be somewhat humdrum and would get positive feedback on it. Likewise, some topics I thought would be popular went largely discounted. I never have figured out what triggers a reader’s interest. I guess I will never be a best-selling author.

Nevertheless, thank you for your support and kind words. I leave with some sadness but also anticipation of possibly something new. It has been a fun ride. May you all have the best life can offer.


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