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On 3/17/2004 Wednesday 0836 PM Martin Dodge sent an email; our  responses (centered to differentiate them) follow each STILL pertinent statement

Being a retired journalist (and retired tech writer, trainer, and about a thousand other things that don't leave one rich or famous), I applaud your plans.

Thank you.

Are you sure you know the amount of work you are letting yourself in for?

I think I do, but certainly I don't know for sure. The intent is to have an available place for local expatriates to publish, or otherwise state, their opinions, stories, etc., of things that apply to all of us; things that can not get published elsewhere in town for a multitude of reasons.

Well, since you asked, I will tell you what I would like to see in an e-newsletter stuff that can't get into the Atencion.

Ahh, well, that IS the purpose of this paper.

That is, honest reporting about SMA, including its worts.

Good, so far. No problem with that.

How did the previous city administration get away with (what it did)?

Printing what you originally said is against the law for all but Mexican citizens. We are allowed a lot of latitude on free speech, but anything that political is a jailable offense IF we are not deported first. I have link on the paper, already, that has a copy of the Mexican constitution.

And go beyond SMA to explain what goes on in Mexico. Why has it been so impossible for so long for Mexico to climb out of poverty? Why is (there a problem with the) police forces? Etc. Atencion cannot run that because its advertisers would flee -- all the big advertisers (the real estate brokers) want to see is fluff, and they get it.

We are beholden to no advertiser (not even the Lycos-provided-ones that are from San Miguel. We do not have to worry about that. But, as I mentioned above, there are local laws that we MUST follow.

In a couple of months, you might get a story from me. "The Expat Who Couldn't Make it in SMA." I will begin the story paraphrasing that conversation between Claud Raines and Humprey Bogart in "Casablanca."

That sounds good and I both welcome and look forward to it.

"Why are you here?"
"I came for the waters."
"There are no waters in Casablanca."
"I was misinformed."
Except my conversation will go
"Why are you here?"
"I came because the living was more affordable here."
"Living in Mexico has become quite expensive."
"I was misinformed."

Martin Dodge

Dear Michael,
Congratulations! What a great, wonderful idea and service to the community. I will submit an item for the San Miguel el Grande Pro Musica, A.C., in a separate message, with more to come no doubt.

May I suggest a page titled "Music in San Miguel"? I noted in a recent Atencion that a person is going to start a regular feature there listing all of the musical events in town, but with no indication of the time frame he or she will cover. It would be nice to have a listing of musical events going out for several months, so those of us planning such events could try to avoid the conflicts that too frequently occur. The Music Calendar could be a simple date, name of event with artists, and location, with a link to a page for the sponsoring organization that provides more detail on the program, bios of the artists, etc.

In fact, perhaps you could have a "Master Calendar of Events in San Miguel" that includes all kinds of events throughout the year, with the purpose of helping all of the different community service organizations from colliding too frequently. Each outfit could be invited to submit their schedules, and with enough lead time many events can then be re-scheduled voluntarily to avoid the conflicts. "Forewarned is forearmed."
Russ Archibald 3/15/04

Hello Michael,

Maria Teresa Valenzuela forwarded me the email of your online newspaper project. Please add me to your email list.

I love the idea of a San Miguel specific online newspaper and I will contribute what I can. There are so many great ideas that I am delighted to see included like stories of San Miguel from the past. Here are some additional suggestions

1—Photographs of sites around town this will take up lots of space and it may not be your focus but I think it would add an artistic dimension to the website.

2—Emphasis on Mexican culture and people Yes, there are many interesting ex-pats but let's not forget the culture we are embedded in and that generously hosts us and often entertains and puts up with us daily.

3—Humor what about a column of language bloopers. I make enough of them to fill a years worth of newspapers.

4—MEXICAN FIESTAS this is probably my biggest complaint about the Atencion. I actually am not an Atencion-basher but on this issue I think it is woefully inadequate. There needs to be some place that the local community to research why those dang fireworks are going off...and what is happenning around Easter in Atontonilco...and why were the Conchero Dancers filling the streets in front of the Parroquia. I do not mean simply the when and where, but more importantly., the WHY???

I will soon send you an event listing for publication of a lecture Maria Teresa is giving. I think she would make a worthy person for your interview section on local personalities. I have about 3000 photographs if you want those to be published just let me know how many and on what topic.            Patrice Wynne 3/14/04

Good idea! I hope it gets the support it deserves.

A suggestion: a section for restaurant reviews. I can contribute the list I send periodically to the Coollist. Regards, Don Gussin 3/14/04

Sounds great and count on me to subscribe. I think some real articles about what is going on in SMA would be interesting. Have you heard of a group of 14 Mexicans who run SOCIEDAD CIVIL EN MARCHA A.C.? They organize a social cultural exchange by inviting Ambassadors from all countries to San Miguel each May to dine in their homes and see what our city has to offer. They also organized classes in the traditional arts for underprivileged children and orphans who express interest in learning the old traditions. Such as papermacher, painting, weaving, sugar sculpture, carpentry and design. Is this the sort of article you wish for the paper?    Sue Reid 3/14/04


Your idea of a online newspaper for San Miguel residents is a great one! I only hope that you will allow "resident-wanna-be's" to contribute from time to time.    Good luck and I am putting this site in my favorites.   Glen Ellen Chandler 3/14/04

Hola Michael,       Good idea! Congratulations!          Bob Wolfe 3/14/04

Fantastic idea - I have forwarded it to my friends here in SMA.  I volunteer with the S.P.A and we put articles in Atencion each week with animals for adoption.  It would be great to be able to put adoptions, animals that have been found, etc. in the online paper too.  We could have one key person email each week with animal info (text or with pictures depending on what you want) on who is available for adoption.  We could also post immediately if a lost animal has been brought to the SPA in case it is a SMA residents animal.

I love the idea - as we all line up each week waiting for Atencion I do wonder if there is some other way to get our news and information :)                   Cuidate,        Laurianne Manchester 3/14/04

Great idea, Michael.

Hope that Community of Hope can be included in your charitable nonprofits, COH does not advertise as it has no funds, neither applies for funds nor gives out funds, is a nonprofit group rather than a organization, solicits no volunteers (as our Volunteers go through a training program). However, we want the community to know we exist so we can provide free services.    Pat  Tirkot 3/14/04



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