When I first started this blog nearly nine years ago, one of the first persons I connected with in Florida political blogging was Kenneth Quinnell. At the time he had a blog called T. Rex’s Guide to Life, and he had a sharp wit and tons of political savvy. Not long after, we met up in person when he ventured down to Miami, and we went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was there that he proposed setting up a community of progressive bloggers to write about Florida politics. His enthusiasm was strong for it, and within a few weeks he had pulled together a good mix of writers from across the state that we eventually dubbed the Florida Progressive Coalition. It was right after the 2004 election campaign, and there was a lot to write about; national and local politics and the inevitable scandals and outrages that are a part of any endeavor where humans, money, and power are involved. Kenneth was in the thick of it, and he also managed to herd us together to sponsor the Florida Netroots Awards to recognize good works among us. (I was nominated several times in several categories but never won… but never expected to.)
As with all ambitious things spread among a lot of people over a vast distance, FPC was a loose collection — often I wanted to get Kenneth a “Head Cat Herder” t-shirt — and as time went on, peoples’ priorities changed. Life moved on, people get married, divorced, changed jobs, lost jobs, added kids, and so forth, and after a couple of election cycles, FPC became a one-person operation with Kenneth as that person for the most part. But he too had other things going on — he’s become an important contributor to Crooks and Liars, writing about labor issues — and it was clear that he had choices to make.
He’s made them. He’s pulling the plug on the FPC blog (which will stay up but inactive) after the 2012 Florida Netroots. He leaves behind a lot of good writing, great wit and insight, and a good feeling that we — but mainly he — did a great job with a tough crowd. My contribution was minimal, but I thank him for highlighting my occasional flashes of brilliance, and I’m sure that whatever we’ve done for good, has been mostly to his credit.
Thank you, KQ.