Farewell to the Foothill Cities Blog

I hadn’t checked the FCB for a while, since it’s been mostly dormant for months, but I thought to do so Monday. I was greeted by a fresh post from last Friday that the blog is shutting down. Headline of the farewell post: “The End.”

The blog began in late 2006 and covered Pasadena to Claremont, linking to or excerpting news articles and presenting rumor and opinion. Its founders, who were anonymous, called themselves Centinel and Publius, after the writers of the Federalist Papers. (Eye roll from LA Observed here.)

The blog kicked up some controversy. Accusations about the then-Pomona city manager led the city attorney to try to shut down the blog by sending a cease-and-desist letter.

FCB was popular, claiming in April 2008 to have received 10,000 comments — with one of mine the 10,000th.

I wrote: “My blog recently topped 1,000 comments, so the FC Blog must be 10 times better! Congratulations on the milestone.” (Co-founder Centinel promised to “find some way to reward Mr. Allen,” but never did.)

FCB folded in late 2008, a demise blamed on a server meltdown, then returned that December. Centinel wrote: “…we’re back in action and ready to do what we do best: make unfounded accusations, piss off local officials, and imply that local government is going to hell in a handbasket.”

But the return quickly fizzled. By mid-2009, FCB promised to resume daily posting in mid-August, which never happened.

In Friday’s post, referring to the blog’s long-absent founders, contributor The Real Zajac notes that “the enigmatic Centinel and Publius no longer return even my email. Technological problems with the server software impare even my power to post this goodbye. Were I an administrator I could continue this struggle myself. But, as I sit, I deem it time to throw in the towel once and for all.”

A moment of silence, please, as the towel flutters to the ground.

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  • http://empoprise-ie.blogspot.com/ John Bredehoft

    I regret the passing of the Foothill Cities Blog, as well as what it represented.

    In an age in which Facebook and other services insist on real and confirmed identities, FCB’s citation of the Federalist Papers reminds us that there is a place in American society for anonymous commenting.

    While I used to practice the art (I was cited in a late 1990s column under my then-pseudonym “Ontario Emperor”), and while the Goddess of Pomona continues the practice today, the writers of the FCB used their anonymity for a purpose, and helped to keep the people of the Foothill cities on their toes. I hope that another voice takes their place in the future.

    [I agree with most of what you say but disagree that they "used their anonymity for a purpose." What purpose was that, exactly? My bias as a person who attaches his name to what he writes is, of course, obvious. -- DA]

  • http://diversitown.blogspot.com meg

    I’m with John about anonymity, Dave — but of course we already knew we disagreed on that point.

    But that’s not why I’m posting.

    It’s hard to keep a blog going for years. Even if you remain untouched by the changes in online readership patterns (Facebook, Twitter, now Buzz, something else tomorrow…), the pressure of coughing up something on a regular basis that meets your standards for yourself — that’s a tall order. M-m-m-my Pomona never would have made it this far without the help of my esteemed co-authors. Even that’s no guarantee; look at the long silence of Claremont Insider.

    Journalist blogs (like this one) are in a different situation, I’d argue, being sponsored by the organization and counting as part of the job for the journo. And even then I imagine there are days when it’s like pulling teeth — especially when you’re *also* producing thrice-weekly columns.

    All of which is to say, I miss FCBlog, but I understand that all good things come to an end.

    [I respect anyone who tries a blog, whether they're able to stick with it or not, for the reasons you mention. And I respect the ones who do stick with it even more, like you and K. You're right, producing a blog isn't always fun, even when it is part of your job. I'm sorry to see the FC Blog go.

    That said, the FCB took shots at us journalistic dinosaurs while proclaiming its evolutionary superiority, and look who's still around and munching trees. Like most journalists, I welcome competition. But rather than fill in the gaps on coverage, as I believe the FCB said it set out to do, it mostly just commented and carped on stuff newspapers wrote. Lesson: Journalism, like blogging, is hard! -- DA]

  • Kristy

    What a shame. I read that blog religiously my first two years of college. I felt so “in the know” about what was going on in our little area. It will be fondly remembered.

  • Bob House

    “look who’s still around and munching trees”

    Next “Restaurant of the Week”: Armstrong Garden Center at Foothill and Claremont Blvds. “I began with a pleasant but presumptuous little sycamore sapling . . .”

    ["And foie grass. Er, gras." -- DA]

  • John Clifford

    As a former contributor to FCB (I was invited during the Watt-Genton destruction of downtown Pomona’s 2nd Street), I do truly miss them. They have a much wider audience to those important issues that were endemic to the entire area. While I also contribute to Meg’s blog, I totally wrote differently for the two blogs, with their decidedly different audiences.

    As for anonymity, I decided right away to go ahead and put my name up front. Not that I didn’t consider anonymity, I just couldn’t figure out a way to maintain it. Especially since I have a tendency to overdo the parentheticals (much like this).

    I’m just sorry I never got to do the in-depth review of the city of Pomona’s web site that I had promised Centinel. Maybe some day, somewhere.

    [You produced some good field reporting from council meetings for FCB, as you do for Meg's blog. I wish there had been more of that on FCB. Connecting the foothill cities as common territory was a good idea. -- DA]