Monday, June 9, 2014

All Good Things Must Come to an End?

Last week I received news that the Pacifica Tribune was cancelling all special sections except Seniors including the Cars section where my column appears. I've been writing for the Trib for a long time, since 1997, and it's been a good ride. Much longer and better than I ever envisioned.

I wasn't overjoyed with the way I found out. A couple of months ago the Trib said that from now on they would like to receive my articles a week in advance instead of the past "as long as it's in before the end of business on the Friday before it's published." Not a big deal. Last month (May) the Trib requested I write a story about local businessman (and friend) Jeff Lee. I was happy to do so. This month (June) I, like usual, fell behind and sent them an article a couple of days late with my apologies. This is the response I got: "That's fine. We've eliminated all the special sections except Seniors. You are still welcome to contribute about topics of interest, but you don't have to have a piece ready every month. There's no more cars section. I loved what you did about Jeffrey and the motorcycle racing. Anything like that would be great." To be fair they did leave the door open to other articles, just not reviews. 

When I moved to the Las Vegas area and I found that I could not get press cars here I thought that was the end of the line for the Trib. In fact the Trib said they had someone local who was interested in writing; I tried to hook the guy up with my connections but he flaked. The Trib graciously said that whatever or whenever I could write an article would be fine. When we traveled and I was able to get a press car I wrote a review; when there were no cars available I wrote on car shows or whatever I could. Sometimes it was hard to come up with a subject but somehow I was usually able (with a few exceptions) to find something that I hope my readers found interesting. 

It's ironic that my column has come to an end as Nadine and I are planning to move back to the Bay Area. I had hoped to get back into some press cars. It is doubtful that we would have ended up in Pacifica; it's a little to expensive (yes) for us retirees. But we miss the Bay Area terribly and we are in a position where we can afford something in one of the less expensive areas.

I am not pleased that no auto company will send press cars to Las Vegas (either from L.A. or Phoenix). They say it's too expensive, which on the face of it it is for many of the companies. But there are car companies, mostly upscale companies, that provide cars to a writer in Boise, Idaho. But you can't argue with the folks that own the cars.

I don't intend this to be the end of the line. I like to write about cars. I think I'm good at it (I know I'm not one of the greats and I'll never win any awards). As soon as we get back to the Bay Area I'm going to be beating on the door of every paper out there, big or small. To all those in Pacifica who have put up with my columns all these years, thank you. To paraphrase Richard Nixon, "you haven't seen the last of Bruce Hotchkiss."

2 comments:

Will Askee said...

Gosh, Bruce, I will miss that column. One of the few I read religiously. I really enjoyed your reviews and special articles over the past 17 years. Where are you thinking of moving? East Bay? South Bay? I figured you wouldn't last in that environment for more than a couple of years. My old neighbor didn't either. He had big plans after I sold his home and ended up losing a bunch of $$$ screwing around in those GD casinos and partying with his buddy that was already living in Henderson. See you soon, I hope.
Bill Haskins

Doug Shankle said...

Well Bruce... can't say as i am too surprised (at your leaving Vegas)but i will admit i didn't even think you would last as long as you did. I thought it would be pretty strange going from the nice cool fog to over 100 degree weather but you gave it the ol' college try and now you know. haha Looking forward to seeing you back in Calif. Have a safe trip. Doug