Sunday, May 8, 2016

Thank You, Gary.

It is hard to believe that we will not hear from Gary Welsh again.  His Advance Indiana blog was a true asset to the Indianapolis community.

Unquestionably, he loved a good conspiracy theory.  But, I cannot recall him applying those to local government.

He had an outstanding ability to remember people and their relationships to each other, and to events, places and policies.  His talent in this area astounded me.

He was a really good writer.  When he was frustrated, you felt it.  When he was pissed off, you knew it and why.  He could weave together a complex series of events so that it was comprehensible.

He cared about good government.  He wanted elected officials to rise to the occasion and do their jobs in the best interest of the public - not feather their friends' and donors' nests.  He held decision makers feet to the fire; whether those decision makers were in the limelight or in the shadows,  He was often disappointed, frustrated, or angry at the frequency with which personal ambitions won out over the public good.

He cared about a responsible press.  He desperately wanted real investigative journalism - which he saw as the true role of the media - to dig into the backroom deals and pay-to-play politics that run like a current through Indiana government.

He had a shit list and nearly everyone was on it, at least from time to time.  My take was that he had special relationships with a couple of elected officials who he admired for how they did their job; Christine Scales and Angela Mansfield come to mind.  He touted the journalism of Kara Kenney and Russ McQuaid.  He had high expectations, but he wasn't unrealistic.

He had a huge readership and what he said mattered.  He also had an impressive pipeline of contacts who would feed him information - stuff that either they had no way to circulate themselves, or stuff that their public position would preclude having their name tied to.

Certainly members of traditional media followed Gary; some trolling for leads.  Only rarely did he get attribution, which says more about them than about Gary.

Gary was a prolific blogger, no doubt.  He used his talents to let our community know what our government was doing and who it was benefiting.  He was passionate about it.  He did it like no other.

I like to think that Gary has taken up a spot near the Pearly Gates and is setting about critiquing the alacrity with which St. Peter allows entry to certain folks and watching closely who exactly is being given the golden harps.

Thank you, Gary.  For all that you did for our community for so long.  You made a mark and there is a void left in your passing.