I'd never set foot in Tucson before December 2002. That's when Tucson Weekly publisher Tom Lee asked me to come down and take a look-see.
I was the news editor at Las Vegas CityLife, one of the Weekly's sister publications at the time. Michael Parnell, then the editor of the Weekly, had decided to soon move on, and Tom wanted to discuss the editor's gig with me.
Michael picked me up at the airport, and we made the short drive to Weekly World Central--after a quick lunch stop at the Kyoto Bowl on Valencia Road and Tucson Boulevard. I spent the afternoon meeting with Tom and chatting with the various folks at Territorial Newspapers (most of whom thought I was simply making a friendly visit, as they did not yet know Michael was leaving).
As the sun began to set, Michael decided to take me on a tour. He drove me up Tucson Boulevard to Kino Parkway and then Barraza-Aviation Parkway. Imagine it: Downtown in 2002. Early evening. Nothing going on. We then zipped down Broadway Boulevard to the Doubletree at Reid Park, where the Weekly put me up for the night. Michael and I later met Tom at City Grill on Tanque Verde Road. After a pleasant dinner, Michael took me back to the hotel; the next morning, he dropped me off at the airport.
If memory serves me right, Tom called me later that day and offered me the job. I told him I needed to think about it.
On one hand, I really liked the people I'd met at Territorial Newspapers. On the other hand ... well, there was my initial impression of Tucson. Downtown on a dead midweek evening? Broadway between downtown and Reid Park? Can you blame me?
Of course, I ended up saying yes--albeit with a great deal of trepidation--and joined the Weekly a month later.
That trepidation was all for naught. Six-plus years and now two anniversary issues later, I'm still here--and I am elated and honored to have been a part of the Weekly for what seems like a long time to me, although I've been around for less than a quarter of the Weekly's existence.
Tucson's grown on me, obviously, but the real reason why I am honored and elated to be here is the people--both my colleagues and the Weekly's readers. You all rock. You're the reason that this paper has survived for 25 years, and you're the reason it should thrive for another 25. Thanks, everyone.
Welcome to the 25th Anniversary Issue.