The Coastal Post is now well into its third year of publishing as a news-monthly after being a weekly newspaper for 16 years. We're not going away. We'll be around.
Despite minimum advertising revenue—my ongoing nemesis for the last 20 years—we have 30 percent more locations where the paper can be picked up, all but 4 to 6 percent of the papers are getting grabbed every month, there's direct mail to every box holder in Stinson Beach and Bolinas, we're on the Internet (https://www.coastalpost.com) and subscriptions are holding. There are about 30,000 readers in the county that love and hate this little rag.
Columnists Frank Scott, Kirby Ferris, Betty Machado, Judy Borello, Mark Van Proyen, Jim Powers and Edward Miller are pumping monthly missives. News writers Joan Reutinger, Steve Simac, Karen Nakamura, and Jim Scanlon are covering the world, the county and their backyards, each serving as canaries in their respective gold mines.
Publishing monthly is a very different experience than weekly. Although our twelve pages of news, letters and columns are really equal to a 24 page paper were there the advertising percentage in most publications, the scope of news coverage is very different. There's no way to be a newspaper of record on a monthly basis but there is the luxury of being able to pick and choose the issues covered. And we love to write from a point of view, a bias, a slant.
We could use another news writer or two, more subscribers, a basket of advertisers, a couple of newer computers, a scanner, and world peace, but who couldn't.
Covering news over the last 20 years makes the changes in Marin County stand out. Housing has become prohibitively expensive, the middle class has seen income lose ground to living costs, both parents in families have to work, there are more single parent families, two or three jobs are required to make ends meet for young people. The county is aging. The traffic is choking.
The Mill Valley Record and the FAX are gone. The Independent Journal which was independent in 1975 is fully MacDonaldized and homogenized as a Gannett publication, most all the locals gone, most of the news non-local.
Fewer people are voting, working on causes, fighting for the environment, stopping the bad guys.
That's the bad news.
The good news is most of Marin's beauty remains. Ranching is alive and well. The ongoing California recession doesn't hit the county as hard as surrounding areas. The political "good ol' boys" have lost their grasp. Marin is still left of right even though the political pendulum has swung to the right in the country and state.
On a personal note, nothing but good news on the home front. My kids are doing well. Michelle, Rocky, Iamuel, Nikki and Lena are growing and learning. Some have made such great gains. Anna is getting stronger. Mary has developed into a really good cook and nanny and starts college in February. Beau is working hard and going to college. Danni is a wonderful mother and happily married to Chris. Eve and Magica are home with their moms. Kelli is happy, working and has a boyfriend. Chinoa is thriving. Sarah is making headway. Gabe is out of the woods with traffic ticket problems. Seth is working hard and with Beau. Aileane is at the art institute and raising wonderful little Max. Reggie is a basketball star and accepted for college on scholarship. Eric is working, paying his way and a computer whiz. Jenny is working and staying away from the right things.
And then there's Smiley's Schooner Saloon and Hotel, mentioned here because it really supports the newspaper with advertising, and because the owner is occupies the same skin as the Coastal Post's publisher. It deserves a plug. It's softer than it was in the 80s, but still one of the last great local saloons and one of the oldest (1851). There's eclectic entertainment on Friday, Saturday and Sundays and six guest rooms in two garden bungalows. If you don't subscribe, advertise, write letters or give us news tips, you can give the Coastal Post a boost at Smiley's.
It's the beginning of another year as the 1900s rapidly approach in a collision course with the 2000s. Here's a wish from all of us that all of you will have a happy, productive and meaningful 1996.