Unclassified Info: He's still got a few bones to pick

I have some good news for my haters. As of this time next month, you will no longer have to suffer through my liberal rants. That's right, Aug. 31 will be the last day I write for this paper.

It's been a great three-year run and I've enjoyed the experience tremendously. As it was explained to me, the end of this column is simply part of a change being made by the Glendale News-Press to cover different local topics.

While it was unexpected, I have no feelings other than gratitude. Change is a good thing. It is never to be feared, mostly because it is inevitable. And if that change benefits you readers, then I am all for it.

So why not wait until my final column to say goodbye? I know myself too well. I'd have obsessed over my departure for the last month and it could have had a negative effect on the column. I also have a big mouth and news of my departure was going to get out anyway.

Bidding adieu this week gives me the chance to scoop this story and have some real fun for the next few weeks by focusing on what I like to do — inviting thoughtful debate.

My goal from the beginning was to deliver commentary and opinions that would cultivate debate and discussion. My task was not to write something that every one in our community would agree with. I felt it was more important to speak honestly about topics that impacted us as individuals, as a community, as a nation and as part of the human race.

On a local level, I am pleased to have put a spotlight on individuals in our community whose lives benefited from a little media attention. My all-time favorite was helping Escott Norton resolve an overbilling issue with Glendale Water & Power after the utility refused to admit that its meter had overcharged him by several thousand dollars.

I ranted and raved about texting and driving from the beginning — long before the phone companies and others found it fashionable. I've tried to regularly remind all to drive with greater consideration, mostly because we are recognized as being among the worst drivers in the nation.

I'd love for that to change.

Even though the focus of this column was supposed to be about Glendale, I was often willing to use the negative experiences in my life as subject matter, regardless of the personal price. I wrote about marital problems, challenges of being a single dad and childhood traumas — and not for entertainment purposes or for notoriety, as some have suggested. I did it with the intention of helping others learn from my mistakes and, hopefully, do things better than I have.

I also exposed my own tribulations so those who might have suffered similarly would not feel alone and might be encouraged to speak their own truth and find their own healing.

Yes, I've mocked local institutions like our Rose Parade float. But I've done so not out of spite, but to express what I see as a need for change. Spending money on flowers and a parade may have been a tradition for years, but with education and other human services lacking funding, it seems like an antiquated tradition that ought to be reconsidered.

Lastly, I want to thank all you haters and likers. I have enjoyed hearing each and every opinion and have done my best to respect your differing points of view. Some of you have even managed to change my mind.

So here's to the inevitability of change. I'm relieved that the prediction of my first column did not come true and I did not bring about the demise of this paper. In celebration, I'm going to do my best to make it an entertaining final three weeks.

After that, if you want to follow me, I will continue writing my point of view on the Internet at ipinion .us. And I welcome all of you to follow me on Facebook.

GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is currently working on his second novel and the second half of his life. Gary may be reached at gh@garyhuerta.com.

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