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Gadfly Losing Steam? Persinger Airs Frustrations 

City Hall blogger will tone down coverage, citing financial concerns.

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Clarification: In earlier print and online versions of this story, Style omitted Silver Persinger's bid to unseat Henrico Delegate Jennifer McClellan in November 2009.

Even the most tenacious gadflies get fed up with strafing garbage. Take Silver Persinger, one of Richmond's most unfailing chroniclers of City Hall.

After a year of providing single-handed blanket coverage of City Council, its various and sundry committees, subcommittees and ad-hoc committees both in electronic print and in video, Persinger published a frustrated, open letter to readers on New Year's Day.

“Over the year, I've posted 120 entries and entertained over 7,400 visitors,” writes Persinger, a self-described “perennial political candidate” who most recently ran against Henrico Delegate Jennifer McClellan last year, garnering 17 percent of the vote. He also ran in near-anonymity for president in 2008.

In 2010, “I am proposing to scale back my coverage of the City Council's committees,” he writes, still promising to be there — video camera in hand — for council's twice-a-month Monday meetings. But, he writes, he simply can't afford to attend meetings beginning before 5 p.m.

“On one hand this is a protest, for years I have requested that they hold their committee meetings at 6 p.m. to encourage the public to attend,” he writes, adding, “I lost wages and this blog consumed a considerable amount of my free time in my evenings over the past year.”

One part apology and one part bitter lament of community apathy, Persinger's letter takes the tone of a New Year's warning to Richmonders who don't take active — or at least passing — interest in the quality of their government.

“People who live here … don't take our democracy seriously,” he writes. “Many times, the Richmond Times-Dispatch does not cover very important issues that are discussed at meetings. Since the public does not attend the meeting and they are unable to read an honest account of the meeting, the public largely remains in the dark.”

While resolving to devote slightly less time this year to City Hall windmill tilting, Persinger's blog remains regularly updated at http://richmond-telegraph.blogspot.com.

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