Monday, June 29, 2009

Start me up

So it's Monday and I'm out on the street, looking for ideas... what should I be writing about? What's happened over the last few days (or weeks or months) that we missed? What do I need to know?

(By the way, my Official Comeback Column was in the paper yesterday... for some reason the comments online got merged with the comments from my Mark Sanford column from three days before. I don't know why, but it makes for an entertaining read.)

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Tommy & welcome back. For new stories, it would be great to understand exactly where and how the federal stimulas dollars are being spent throughout the area. We hear some about monies being allocated, but don't see much evidence of it.

Anonymous said...

As for me, I'd love to hear exactly what you were doing in Boston, how the food was up there, how polite the people were there, etc. I really liked your column about what you missed about Charlotte. I may grumble about Charlotte sometimes, how bad the traffic is, how overcrowded it is, etc. but when I go on vacation I am always happy to go home.

Anonymous said...

How about a column on the vitriolic hatred expressed in so many postings regardless of topic. I applaud dissent on any subject but the absolute rage is unexplainable, or is it?

Anonymous said...

Vitriolic?! You don't know what the F you're talking about!

Anonymous said...

Tommy, what's it like to return to the Observer to find so many co-workers (I was one) gone? I hear it's like a morgue in there. Also heard y'all have to bring your own toilet paper now, is that really true?

Anonymous said...

Welcome back!
Something I've been wondering about for a while....

If the city of Charlotte just had it's biggest "boom" in tax base (with all the new condos/neighborhoods/transit development) then why, or better yet, how could Charlotte be broke? I would understand if I saw tens and hundreds of millions poured into our infrastructure (storm water, police, curb and gutter) but leaders in charge of infrastructure are standing with their hands out?! Were there tax deferral incentives given to the development teams? Were there impact fees....are there impact fees proposed for future projects?
Seems with all the boom from a decade - it's implausible to have this much bust in a year?!? Where's the accountablility? What steps are being taken to illustrate these anomalies and prevent them from future occurance? These are, after all, OUR dollars and cents we're talking about here.

Anonymous said...

How about an article or two on the impact of the banking crisis - from a more personal level. Lets hear your take on the fact that thousands of hardworking bank employees in Charlotte are facing unemployment and uncertainty while the folks that caused this mess - like Ken Thompson have moved on to another job.

Anonymous said...

With your great stiletto-in-a-biscuit style, please look at where Charlotte is going post-2008financial crisis. The city has many resources but has also suffered much trauma.

Anonymous said...

You could write about how the Observer is feeling about their endorsement of Barack Obama 6 months into office.

lkm said...

Welcome back, Tommy!

I look forward to whatever topic you decide upon.

And, I now that you'll bring to it - and us - something we've had all to little of, of late: humanity.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tommy, welcome back but, take care of yourself...live a long time and take it from someone that knows...lose weight. It will keep you around for us and your family to enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Based upon the regular letters to the editor and buzz postings which suggest raising airport parking fees to pay for teachers, perhaps you could teach some readers the difference between airport revenues (which support a great economic engine) and state and local property taxes, which are responsible for our schools. Some folks need to re-visit the "kill the goose which lays golden eggs" analogy re. solving problems with airport fees.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! Tell us about Boston, and family, and how strange Charlotte must seem!!

Anonymous said...

How about a follow up story on Nick Mackey. You were in favor of making him sheriff, what's he up to now that he is a NC rep?

Hub Justice said...

Is it just me, or are bananas getting greener and greener in the supermarket?

Anonymous said...

Tommy, you look terrific!! Welcome back.

Anonymous said...

Please do some stories on small businesses throughout Mecklenburg county that are struggling to survive - no stimulus money, no advertising budgets, no CEO's making $1M+/yr.....

Anonymous said...

How about something about the importance of keeping North Carolina an attractive place to do business by keeping our taxes low for incoming firms and their employees. Have you seen the proposed new taxes?!!! Locally, an effort to keep this a good place to do business by avoiding things like impact fees, etc that drive up the cost of homeownership and push the rung of affordability higher for those who strive to own their own place. Those "developers" employ a huge majority of local folks and we need to keep people coming here and keep the wheels moving!
Thanks and Welcome back.

Anonymous said...

Low taxes were the reason to move here in the 70's. Low taxes can easily translate to low quality of life. G

Greenspaces, culture, and public art don't come free. Build it WELL and they will come. Build it to PROFIT and they will run.

Anonymous said...

We missed you Tommy, soooo glad you're back!! I'd like to hear more about any of this: The creative way IRAN & Michael Jackson can make the news TOGETHER & help build humanitarian & political awareness with our young people.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvOx4avw8WY&feature=channel_page
From,
An American Italian Jewish woman, go figure.

Anonymous said...

Tommy, why don't you go after David Cerullo like the guys at your "sister" NBC station. See if you can locate Chris Clackem, he broke the original Jim and Tammy Faye story. That will keep you busy for a long time.

Anonymous said...

First...welcome back. Lots of people have missed you.

Second...how about some things not to write about? Like...don't write about the United Way, Ken Lewis, Mike and/or Mary Easley, or CMS/Peter Gorman. The Observer remains in full overkill mode on those subjects.

You're always at your best when you delve into the more personal aspects of what/who you write about. You could also undoubtedly do a better job of writing about local immigration issues than Franco does. Get up close and personal with the subject...don't smother us with statistics. Of course, if you do take that on, be prepared to get flamed.

And by all means, don't spare the sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

How about doing a story on an honest and faithful politician? Although it's probably easier to find a virgin in a brothel

Anonymous said...

Tommy, welcome back. Like 11.48, I too am an ex-Observerite; nice to see you back in "print."

Anonymous said...

Tommy, welcome back! We've missed you. I've always very much enjoyed the way you write and once told you that you have the same type of heart in your writing as did Kays Gary. That type of writing is rare and enjoyable. Regarding your column, I would like to see you get involved with helping the most under-funded demographic in the non-profit community. That is older and disabled adults. There is a lot of help for children. And I understand that a lot of help is needed, so I don't want to see any of it go away. But I would like to see this community step up to the plate more when it comes to funding services for the elderly and disabled. Perhaps you could help with that.

Anonymous said...

To loosely quote from the the Movie, "Escape from New York"; "Tommy Tomlinson, I've heard of you! I heard you were dead!" No lie, imagine my surprise, to see you back on the Observer. I mean it's really good to see you back on the paper. Wow. I'm going to try and remember who told me that damned nonsense.......

Anonymous said...

It would be great to do an update on the Southend projects that were going to make Charlotte blossom into something more than a little southern town (sarcasm) and now have left us with eye sore after eye sore of banners for condos. Silos at Southend, Dharma Lounge. Local Dive Bar are just a few.

Anonymous said...

You were gone?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see a column on why Charlotte city and county government officials are always pushing for growth as a means of "growing" our tax base; yet we are continually told that, because of "growth," new infrastructure requirements, etc., necessitate increased expenditures and higher taxes and fees (example: water and storm water run-off rate increases). Since increased population also results in other costs such as reduced air quality, more traffic congestion, noise polution, etc., how about a column explaining why growth is good if it does not carry with it reduced costs to the taxpayers as a result of economies of scale. Or, why Charlotte never realizes economies of scale that would result in lower taxes.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back. Now rip that new Jim Bakker, the Inspiration networks guy with the 2,000 foot screen porch. Unbelievable; it's happening again!

Anonymous said...

http://www.geofftech.co.uk/iblog/2009/06/29/8-reality

Anonymous said...

so far, it looks like there are at least a few of us who are in favor of looking into the charlotte equation: development + lower taxes = increased tax base and better quality of life which equals a more appealing environment to attract businesses.
C'mon, who thought that up and how long is it going to be force fed?!?

Bobby Clark said...

While there are many perspectives that could be discussed about the unemployment situation, I'd be interest in how boomers are having to reinvent themselves due to inability to find a job in the former field.

Anonymous said...

How about what's going on with the visual arts scene this past year with the downturn the economy.

Anonymous said...

Tommy,

Apparently a lot of folks aren’t aware that Mary Newsom, Fannie Flono and other Observer staffers already cover in their own blogs or in the printed newspaper many of the topics mentioned above. Instead, we need you to explain Southern Culture to us newcomers. For example:

1. Why do Southern kids call their grandmas “MeMaw”? (Where did that come from? Is that name reserved for the maternal or paternal grandparent? Is the proper name for a great grandmother MeMeMaw? Is a MeMaw the same thing as a Ya-Ya?)

2. My neighbors have invited me to a “pounding” for their newlywed daughter and son-in-law. I realize they don’t care much for the jerk who married their sainted daughter, but why ask me to watch him get his comeupance?

3. My boss told me he has a place on the river, and that I’m welcome to come there fishing anytime. That’s nice, but I’d much rather go to one of the lakes around here. I mean, how does one troll for muskies on one of the tiny rivers around here? There are muskies here, aren’t there? And what the heck are crappies? We had croppies where I came from, and theye were good eating.

smoky scout said...

So glad to see you back! I want to know when your book based on your columns is being published - my scrapbook is getting full. You can write about big stuff, you can write about small stuff, but your viewpoint is one I will always want to read. Sorry, Boston, he's ours!

Anonymous said...

Tommy:

I'll join the chorus in welcoming you back. As for topics, I always enjoyed how you alternated between writing about people & things that were in the headlines, and people & things that weren't in the headlines. Call out the people who need to be called out and give cudos to those who deserve them.

For a more lighthearted fare, write about your time in Boston vs. life in the South.

Welcome back.

Anonymous said...

from one bearded man to another - how about writing how your decision to grow facial hair has affected you...esp now that you're back down south. i swear you and i are the only two people in charlotte with facial hair.

Anonymous said...

Tommy,

Welcome back. Why not write about how angry people are because of the back-breaking taxes we already have and our idiot governor trying to add $1.5 billon more. Clueless.

The story above the fold in Sunday's Gaston Gazette was that they are going to start having cops in the tax office because citizens are so angry and irate they are threatening and cursing the Zaccheus crowd in the tax office there.

Bet the same thing is going on in Mecklenburg.

People are angry and frustrated and they feel so powerless against a government that appears to have turned on its own citizens.

Vincenzo said...

good stuff in your previous articles..nice following as well, duly bookmarked column

poke some fun at Barney Frank,

uh no pun intended.


Looks like you have been gone awhile
tell us how things have changed in your opinion since you've been gone.

tommy tomlinson said...

These are some great ideas -- the Great Charlotte Theory (growth conquers all) is definitely being put to the test now. Well worth writing about and I'll figure out some ways to get a hand in.
To some specific thoughts/questions:
11:48 -- We don't have to bring our own TP, but no doubt, it's quieter in our newsroom. A newsroom should never be quiet.
2:02 -- I'm pretty sure we've been going pretty strong on the David Cerullo story... check out our coverage here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/inspiration/
3:53 -- I'm not sure what a "pounding" is... none of the ideas I can come up with are appetizing.
2:58 -- "You were gone?" Best line of the day.

Anonymous said...

Another vote for how much your life has changed for the better since you grew a beard.

Imagine a world where we could drive down North Tryon Street and see men with beards instead of the feminine metrosexuals who get manicures and dye the tips of their hair.

Actually, imagine a world where we could make a left-hand turn on to North Tryon Street.

Jonathan said...

Glad to see that more men are growing beards these days (mee too!)...the clean "business look" is so bland. The Good Lord put hair on a man's face for a reason, and it wouldn't be growing there, if He didn't want us guys to show it off! Keep your beard, Tommy, it looks great. Maybe our next President will sport a beard as well....

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! What about Organ Donor Awareness? With high profile folks getting them (Jerry Richardson, Steve Jobs), you would think donation would go up, but people are so cynical when someone wealthy is transplanted - suggesting they bought their way to a life saving miracle. We have been working and waiting for a year for a liver transplant for my husband. We need more donors!!

Anonymous said...

I was the very blessed recipient of a "pounding" many years ago. I've also been lucky enough to be on the giving end. This in when a bunch of people get together and every gives a pound (or several pounds) of whatever they have. It can be to a new couple starting out, or a family having a hard time. Flour, sugar, canned goods, meat, oil, paper products, you name it. Mine were all in my small home-town Rock Hill church. There were a way of us loving and looking out for each other. I'm sure God smiled on them.

Anonymous said...

YEA, ANYBODY SICK YET OF ALL THIS MEDIA 24/7 BLITZ OF THE DEAD BEANPOLE MJ TO SELL HIS TIRED WORN OUT CRAP? THOSE 3 SURROGATE WHITE KIDS WHO ARENT EVEN GENETICALLY HIS ARE FINALLY SAFE.
AND WHAT ABOUT MAMA JACKSON RUSHING OVER ON HER CELL PHONE DEMANDING TO THE NANNY "WHERE DID MICHAEL HIDE ALL HIS CASH?.. I KNOW HE GOT A BIG WAD HID IN THAT BIG HOUSE" ?

Anonymous said...

Tommy, help us understand why all the state cuts seem to be in education. Who else is towing the line, where are the other cuts, certainly there are other places the state can make some cuts.

Irish Stew said...

Hey, Tommy, i'm hanging out at your table, in between writing a rant about bluebottles and looking out of the window towards the west, where Boston lies, far over the Atlantic Ocean. Loving the columns. What i'd like to read about, from the perspective of being a European, is why the issue of fidelity is such a hot potato with the conservative American public? I can understand the hyprocritical angle - politican preaches family values blah critises Clinton blah - and is then caught out, but really, why does it matter? What has it got to do with the ability of a person to do their job? It's a little extreme as an example, but look at the circus unfolding right now in Italy, where Berlusconi is still surviving, depite being allegedly active in the romance department with women not his wife. And Mitterand, whose mistress and "love child" attended his funeral, along with his wife. Why is sexual fidelity in the US for people in the public eye apparently a requirement of office?

tommy tomlinson said...

Irish Stew: First, it's great to hear your voice... second, I think the issue isn't infidelity as much as hypocrisy. Of course there's an undercurrent of moralizing that's part of all this, but to me, it's about breaking promises. If you can't keep the vows you made on your wedding day, how can people trust you to keep the promises you make to get into office? That's where I think a lot of the anger is coming from.

On the other hand -- and there's always at least one other hand -- this is another case where you have to, so to speak, separate the artist from the art. If Mark Sanford were a truly effective governor, I suspect he'd have a lot better chance to survive. In a weird way, it's sort of like Michael Jackson -- at his death, most of us were willing to put aside his (possibly criminal) weirdness and focus on how good the music made people feel.

There. I've now managed to merge the Mark Sanford story and the Michael Jackson story. I should probably just go ahead and retire now.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could get together with Ann D. Helms and interview some of the teachers who lost their jobs with CMS...especially the first year teachers who worked after school as tutors, earned standard and above standard on their performance evaluations, whose students raised their achievement scores, who have proper certification/licensure(In other words, did everything right). Find out how they feel about Teach for America "teachers" coming to work in CMS for 2 years without teaching credentials or education credits from college. Find out how they feel seeing teaching vacancies on the CMS website which are open to the public. Maybe ask them how they feel about losing their health insurance and paycheck, but still having to pay for their college loans for their education degree.
Just a thought...
PS Welcome back from Beantown!