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The long goodbye

Original post made by Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor, on Apr 28, 2010

I'M HEADED to the hospital -- and everything's fine.

It's been a great five years as your editor here, but changes are afoot: I've taken a job at El Camino Hospital, where I'll be a media relations guy.

Happily, then, I'll still be in town. But this newspaper is the last one I'll be doing for the good old ==I Mountain View Voice==.

My boss announced the change in an interoffice e-mail with the subject line "Don is heading to El Camino Hospital." Everybody thought something terrible had happened.

No, not terrible. But bittersweet to be sure. This move comes five years almost to the day since I [Web Link began my tenure] at the ==I Voice==, and you can't walk away from such a long and fruitful run without feeling a pang.

In that time I've written some goofy things, including problematic headlines ("[Web Link More teachers getting preggers]"), fun ones ("[Web Link Squirrels fight back]"), and a good number of these columns.

My best-received column was actually an op-ed piece -- "[Web Link What's eating Aaron Katz]," a 2006 take-out on a Saratoga lawyer whose litigiousness was causing difficulties for local districts. The piece won me an award and, coincidentally or not, it was the last we ever heard from Aaron Katz.

I've also made a few small tweaks to the paper and instituted a few things, like the intermittent but ever-popular "Seen Around Town" feature photo. Who knew so many residents were amateur photographers?

And I've met numberless amazing people, seen a million nooks and crannies of this fair town, and thoroughly enjoyed every one of the 1,399 tacos I ate at Taqueria Los Charros on Dana Street.

A lot can happen in a half-decade, and did, especially to my profession, which saw hundreds of journalists fall by the wayside in the Bay Area alone. The general decline in newspaper revenue led to consolidation at the ==I Voice's== parent company, resulting in its offices being moved to Palo Alto not long ago. Remember that trusty old building on Evelyn Avenue, the low-slung white cinderblock thing across from the train station? We're not there anymore.

Another big change was the push to online a couple years ago, which basically forced us to shift from weekly to daily coverage. At first I worried we'd devolve into a tin-eared wire service, but I think we managed to step things up while retaining the ==I Voice's== distinctive voice.

There are so many stories I never got a chance to tell you. Like that of Mountain View resident and Army Corps of Engineers man Rock Donahue, who was promoted to brigadier general earlier this month at the Corp's division headquarters in San Francisco. (His twin daughters Morgan and Taylor are freshmen at Mountain View High School.)

Then there's Martin Littler, English troubadour of the Senior Center, who plays guitar and sings to the amusement of his peers. Somehow Littler ran afoul of the center's recreation manager after singing a specific song -- though he never could figure out which one. Last I heard, a petition in support of Littler was being circulated among the seniors there.

Those stories, along with countless others, will have to wait. Luckily for ==I Voice== readers, you are now in the capable hands of Andrea Gemmet, a veteran journalist who will bring fresh eyes and ears to the Story of Mountain View while maintaining the paper's quality and character.

Adieu, then, and thanks for reading. You can still follow me at [Web Link twitter.com/donjfran] -- or look me up at El Camino Hospital.

Comments (6)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Alicia Crank
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 28, 2010 at 9:14 pm

It's been fun, Don.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cynthia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2010 at 11:07 am

Thanks for your wonderful writing and managing of our town paper. I'll miss your wit and perspective from your "Editor's Desk," as well as your coverage of our schools, arts and other essentials of Mountain View. Good luck in your new endeavor!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2010 at 11:24 am

Best of luck to you, Don. I havent agreed with all of your editorial stances, but you've substantially rasied the bar for the Voice. Well done


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jon Wiener
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Congratulations to both you and Andrea. I can't wait for the future Public Records Act lawsuits between you guys. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that you made a huge mistake forsaking the burritos.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 3, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Don, Did El Camino Hospital just forget about your lawsuit against the Board when they claimed they were a private organization and didn't have to disclose the million dollar compensation of the CEO? This was a lawsuit that the Voice won, as El Camino Hospital even paid for the legal expenses of the Voice. I guess your hiring by the hospital suggests: "If you can't beat him, buy him!" This is truly a dark day for the citizens of the Hospital District.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Caryn Coleman
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 8, 2010 at 4:21 am

Congratulations! They are lucky to have you.


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