Patch ran a little experiment this week and posted a story of and as soon as the readership figured out that the "party line" was open -- the comments came pouring in.
By the hundreds.
Veteran Patchers got the drift pretty quickly and folks in Lamorinda had fun "talking" with people from Benicia, but it is also evident we need to do more to drive home our commitment to as our audience grows even larger. Call it a work in progress, and we will most certainly try it again on stories with broader, beyond-Lamorinda reach.
A poll we ran on sparked more than 400 comments and proved, yet again, that Patchers have strong feelings when it comes to local and national politics.
"A clear sign that Romney is on board with the crusade to remake domestic policy within 3 months, if the House majority is retained (likely) and if the GOP wins the Senate (a definite possibility)." -- Bobbie Dowling
"I've got to thank Romney for once again making the choice of who to vote for so easy. The "Pro-life" bias (really Pro illegal and dangerous abortion) will alienate most women. The anti-Medicare concept will alienate everyone over the age of 60. The raise taxes on the middle class and give the upper class big tax cuts will alienate most of the workers of the country. So who's going to vote Republican? Wealth-to-do guys in their prime earning years. And that won't be a majority of the eligable voters in this country. But the democraticj/independent voters need to get their votes out there!!! Let's bury this election!!!" -- Janet Scrivener
"In the predominately Democrat state of California, a Republican's vote will not make a difference for President. Wish it weren't so but that's a fact." -- Wendy Harrison
"Women voters need to take a hard look at Ryan. Older conservatives dependent on social Security and Medicare should also take a hard look - he wants to get rid of both. This guy is a right wing extremist. I recommend Fact Check for every political statement on both sides of the fence. Romney picked him because he brings the conservative vote and as a moderate Relublican who flip-flops he needs their support." -- Susan D. Keefe
Alrighty then, 400 or so comments later we called the game and the stream of public consciousness ground to a halt. What did we learn? That the readership appears divided along party and idealistic lines and that we may be in for a nasty horse race in November. We'll see, but thanks to all for playing... nicely.
In a nice break from politics we printed a little story on a throwback to another age when on his way to... well, we're still working on that. No one seems to know where he went. But we got a picture of him thanks to a quick-thinking Patcher and everyone in town seems to have caught a glimpse of the stranger as he passed through... pack horses in tow.
"I saw him about 10:45 a.m. on Sunday -- he was headed west on the south side of Canyon Road where it meets Country Club Drive. He was leading a team of what looked to be three fully-laden pack mules.
I assumed he had been to the Safeway to stock up on provisions and was headed up to the backcountry near Canyon...
"In any event, a refreshing change from the usual weekend vista there of bicyclists riding $10,000 bicycles while wearing froo-froo outfits." -- Andrew L.
"Bikes are better than cars and horses are better than both. I love this...." -- Nancy Lee
"I heard that he had FOUR (not three) mules when he entered town, but found one missing after leaving them tied up near Starbucks while he got a venti half-cafe frappuccino." -- Chris Nicholson
"I saw him in Concord on Willow Pass right before you hit Clayton. Thought I was hallucinating :) -- Candace Morton
Speaking of cool pictures, we opened up a bit of Patch bandwidth to you along the way. We were pleasantly surprised to see some professional-grade images come in -- a far cry from our sandy-fingers-partially-obscuring-the-lens shots of our time at the beach. Thanks to all you super shooters who took the time to send in your snaps.
"Beautiful pictures!!!" -- Amy Chu
"Really, really NICE pictures CN. I hope you escaped without picking up any new ideas. (kidding) Although I admit, I did embrace the co-ed saunas (back in the 20th century), I never understood how Swedish socialism could work when you can just call in sick every day. Nevertheless, it is the French who seem to be in trouble financially. Go figure?
Kudos to the other photogs as well. Very nice! Amanda, I hope you were you able to interview an extra-terrestrial. We can't all travel to area 51, you know." -- Moribund Dave
"Oh, but you can, Moribund Dave. You just have to be willing to run at midnight. :) -- Amanda
Good week on Patch, with lots of conversations and interaction and even one or two "teachable moments" (I promise not to use that overused phrase ever again).
Can't wait to see what next week brings our way.