I have decided to retain this space for future use as it is/was #1 in search hits for my name "Matt Varble" and may be of some commercial or personal use for me at a later time and it is an achievement by Google standards. I also wish to utilize this space to dispel any myths or other very silly things you may see in relation to my name coming up should you be somebody seeking legitimate information about who I really am as today there are no standards, controls, or ability to determine the validity about what garbage you may see online about somebody or something. So here's the scoop right from the source (that would be me):
1. I used to be very involved politically in Champaign, Illinois as a candidate for city council, and was an officer of a local grass roots movement (CU Smokefree Alliance) which was successfully able to get a public indoor smoking ban passed in Champaign-Urbana in mid 2006 after years of effort. I was also the author of this (once) locally popular political blog, and member of the City Human Relations Commission (which I quickly found out is a do-nothing organization). I am still involved in some capacity and am routinely sought for advice by candidates looking for ideas on strategy for conducting local political campaigns and how to respond to certain issues and I have also been invited to some speaking engagements (and paid an honorarium) to discuss my knowledge and experience related to some of these municipal political issues even though I have moved out of the immediate area.
2. Obviously these events and former opinionated political commentary on this blog and my former hobby as a local political activist were controversial and created some friction politically and some folks have taken great offense to this and other political stuff I was involved with on a local level. I also was very identifiable as the public spokesperson of the group pushing for the smoking ban that created all these waves and we really rocked the boat by our challenging of the status-quo and I engaged in allot of public appearances and (at times) very contentious debates. I am also an intellectually curious person who doesn't always accept an answer at face value and apparently when dealing with local government, fact finding and asking questions isn't so popular as generally most public officials and bureaucrats don't like people who try to change things and it rubs some the wrong way. My view is that as a taxpayer and citizen you have the right to know and that there shouldn't be any resistance when seeking public information and answers to legitimate questions (hence one of the main reasons I ran for City Council).
So, a few knuckleheads who had their feathers ruffled because I had the audacity to start asking tough questions (beginning with my term on the Human Relations Commission), proceeded in making it their vendetta and decided that personally attacking me with juvenile insults, and disparaging my name and my character on the Internet while remaining anonymous was the only way to vent their frustrations and to try and exact some sort of petty revenge. Of all the advances in modern technology it's sad that it frequently is used in that much of an unproductive manner and really speaks to the theory that some human beings behavioral shortcomings haven't changed much over time, and it merely becomes more amplified and evident with the existence of the Internet and blogs. Now I have to sit here and waste my time in response to it out of my concern about any potential future implications or opinion forming that you the "unexposed" reader may come across.
3. So bearing this in mind, I ask you to please take any slanted/opinionated information written about me for what it's worth (which is largely anonymous and not credible information) as it has no validity and is based upon animosity out of some anonymous beings stemming from one or more ridiculous local political disagreements and further affirms why most folks don't desire to get involved in local politics or government (especially local government) as this can become your long term reward for attempting to engage in an assertive and proactive business like approach toward making changes on a local level. I also ask you to critically evaluate what I have to say here as well, and if you choose not to believe me, I welcome any healthy skepticism and would happily point you to any other (mostly) objective sources of information (i.e. public meeting minutes, videos, newspaper articles, other personal references) to attest to what I have said here.
Do I regret the outcome today? On the whole the answer is no, and it was a great experience, but if I had to go back in time and do it over again I think I would've allocated more time focusing on career fulfillment and spending more with my family and church as that is what I've now discovered to be far more rewarding than doing something politically. No good deed goes unpunished as they say...
Have any more questions or concerns? Please feel free to email me at mattvarble@(nospam)hotmail.com and I'd be happy to fill you in as there's much more to me and to this story and I have a much larger life biography beyond local politics (successful entrepreneur, budding career in HR among other things).
Thanks for taking the time to read this.