By T.J. McGinty
In my 32-some years on the Westside, I've seen ideas, projects and people come and go. Some smart, some silly and some, only describable as, well... “Westside.”
When a Westside family decided to make a go of a little neighborhood newspaper here, I wasn't sure if it was smart or silly. It didn't occur to me at the time that it would be simply wonderful. How well it's worked for them, I don't know; how well it's worked for us here on the Westside is beyond doubt.
There are few things in the history of this country more powerful than the press. One of the expressions of that power is its ability to focus and unite people. Before the Westside Pioneer started, we were pretty much on our own. The city really decided what it would do or not do with us or to us without a lot of concern for the people who actually live here. We were simply those diverse, eclectically strange and politically impotent folks living on the other side of the tracks; hard to understand and easier to ignore. Yes, if it was a big enough issue - like the '97 attempt to close Westside Fire Station 3 - we would rally and fight; but it wasn't easy. When the Pioneer came along, it gave voice to who we were and enabled us to stand together and become a force within the city.
Information, it is said, is power. No matter how involved or uninvolved you were with Westside events before the WP you were better informed because of its arrival. No longer does the city simply have its way with us. From DOT planning for Hwy 24 to Kum & Go's planned monstrosity next to Old Colorado City, the Pioneer informed us in enough time to mobilize and do something. People - ordinary people - coalesced with the more involved among us and we took action together.
And we enjoyed the less tangible but powerful benefits of that information. The Pioneer also covered what nobody else would have considered newsworthy. But even if we didn't do anything about any of those things - we knew about them; and, as a result we know ourselves and each other better for it.
A “free press” has been called everything from a gift to a necessary evil. In the course of human events though, I've found few publications one can call “good.” We on the Westside have been the clear beneficiaries of one of them. As the Pioneer moves now to an online-only publication, it is important that we all belly up to the bar - as the Jordans have so graciously done - and continue to support for the next 10 years this wonderful gift we've been given for the last 10.