Sunday, May 08, 2011

Time To Stop and Reflect on What's Really Important

I got a call today asking me if I knew anything about Ron Miller.  I met Ron when I started blogging the Alaska Redistricting Board.  He was the Executive Director helping to coordinate the enormously complex task of redrawing the map of the state's 40 house and 20 senate districts.  It's complex because it has to meet various Federal and State constitutional and statutory requirements, involving a lot of data analysis.  There's great pressure because the board has only 30 days to come up with its preliminary draft plan, and then 60 more days to complete the plan.  And how the maps are drawn will greatly influence who gets elected for the next ten years and thus the future of the state.

The board has spent the last few weeks making sure that people in over 30 locations had a chance to meet with the board.  Ron was the man in charge of coordinating all this - both the administrative side (just making all the travel arrangements for five board members and some staffers was a logistic challenge) to the arrangements for all the computer support and working out the districts.  He was the person the board turned to help them get their work done.

My caller had heard that Ron had died.  I've just gotten a confirmation e-mail from a member of the staff.  From that first day when Ron invited me to snack on a cookie in the back after a long, lunchbreak-free six hour meeting, Ron has been unfailingly helpful and cooperative - as have all the staff and the board.  He told me that they weren't allowed to use State money for food, it was staff and board member contributions.  I last saw Ron just two days ago at the final public hearing on Friday. 

Ron tended to stay in the background, but it was clear that the board depended on Ron and his staff to arrange all that was necessary for the board to do its job. 

It's important to sit back regularly and pay attention to what's really important in life, to the people who are important in our lives, to let them know we love them.  Life is short.  Live it well.

Ron, I didn't know you long or well, but my life was better for having met you.  My thoughts are with your family now as they summon the strength to endure your passing and to carry on with you in their hearts.


  1. Steve, you perplexing liberal goon. You compared the process to the Pakistani government, and your ADN "Compass" piece which was actually a hit piece helped kill this man. Sheila Toomey in the ADN article, which referenced people who actually gave two damns about him, said he "worked himself to death." I'm sure he did work so hard. I am sure your silly coverage did something to help in his stress levels. You miscreant. And, YES, I am the "troll" StrawberryGirl on ADN. Quote me. You careless jerk. You published this piece before the family could start grieving. All in the name of "being first." At least ADN had quoted people who cared about him. You appall me.

  2. Steve, maybe it's time I Skype you. This is all so familiar ground. Ron died, but it was his body that made the call, not you, not him.

    Your personal critic puts strawberries in bad light. I would advise she change her handle before she collapses their futures market.

    Your friends in London

  3. StrawberryGirl, here. Steve pretends that meeting this Ron Miller enhanced his life. How? Sounds like he took a sloppy look at all Miller's work for the past month and took a big proverbial you-know-what on it with his entries. I bet the guy tried so hard. Check the ADN, the guy had a long accomplished career. At some point your spirit can get crushed. His body couldn't absorb any more impact from the stressed areas of the brain. Steve may have very well been an element.

  4. The level of discourse on the Net is so pitifully low - as evidenced by this thread. Thanks, Steve, I appreciate your perspective and insight.

  5. StrawberryGirl is actually a man. Probably BlueberryBoy. One and the same.

    It is complete bullshit to blame Steve A for Ron's death. Hey StrawberryIt, why don't you agree to meet me at a coffee shop someone anytime. I will show you the other end of your ass. You are nothing more then a coward.

    AND...the redistricting board IS Gerrymandering. PLEASE. No question about it.

    Thanks Steve for the great coverage.


    How is the Alaska Redistricting Board Like the Pakistani Government? Either They Are Incompetent or They Are Intentionally Concealing

    Wow, Steve.


  7. Those of you who have been supportive, thank you. Anon, 1:30, I appreciate your support, but would hope that StrawberryGirl's comments don't push other commenters to slip into her confrontational style.

    StrawberryGirl - Since you haven't identified yourself, I don't know if you've ever met me or even talked to me or how you could know my motivation. Nor do I know your connections to the board or to Ron Miller's family. I don't think you honor Ron Miller's legacy by your attacks. I've left these three comments up (I don't know that they are actually all from the same person) though they violate my guidelines for avoiding personal insults. I did this so readers can judge your comments for themselves. But I think they have enough to go on. If you add further comments that continue in the same vein, I'll delete them.

  8. Steve - I agree with your sentiments about Ron as well. I only got to know him through attending all of the Redistricting proceedings and he was always responsive to my inquires and dealt with his position with the utmost professionalism. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.



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