We try – and fail – every year to convey to all our readers one basic truth about our annual Voice of the Year feature: It is not an award.
We are not endorsing the views expressed by any of the people we include, nor are we declaring anyone a hero or a champion (though some of them inevitably reach the list by doing something heroic or award-worthy).
We produce the list to chronicle who piped up and led important civic conversations throughout the year. Some people are in positions where leading major public discussions is their job; others are forced into it and would probably rather not have to (as was the case this year, when the family of a daughter who was brutally murdered years ago became a major voice in deciding the county’s next district attorney).
For the podcast this week, we highlighted several of the people who appeared on our latest Voice of the Year list, including many who’ve appeared on the show over the last year or so.
City Attorney Mara Elliott at one point came on the show and laid out her vision for a city attorney who no one notices much. Once elected, she was anything but, disrupting and shaping virtually every major policy debate in town. That’s why we named her the 2017 Voice of the Year.
We’ve also pulled highlights from earlier shows featuring housing and refugee advocate Ramla Sahid, homelessness activist Mike McConnell and Loxie Gant, who went on the record this year to describe unwanted touching from a teacher at La Jolla High School, revealing the extent to which the school was aware of the problem but never told parents about it.
It was also a big year nationally and locally for journalists to grapple with why we do what we do, and for the public to reassess its relationship with us. Scott Lewis was feeling pensive this week and wrote down some thoughts he had on the question, and shared them at the top of the show.