About the author
Bob Sullwold was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, the son of two graduates of The Ohio State University Journalism School. His first job was answering phones in the sports department of The (Toledo) Blade, where his father was sports editor. During college at Yale, Bob worked on the sports desk at the New Haven Register and held summer reporting jobs at The Blade and the Akron Beacon Journal.
After graduation from Yale in 1975, Bob was hired by the Minneapolis Tribune, where he covered the cops and joined the American Newspaper Guild. He left Minneapolis for Harvard Law School. He was graduated in 1979 and moved to San Francisco to become a litigation associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, then an old-line San Francisco firm, now an international behemoth. He was made a partner in 1986 and stayed until 1995, when he left Orrick with one of his Harvard classmates and Orrick partners to form Sullwold & Hughes. (Check out www.greenstamps.com). The firm specializes in investment litigation.
Bob met his future wife, Jane Cosgriff, when both were law students. Jane practiced law at a large San Francisco firm and at an East Bay boutique before she discovered golf. Her involvement with women’s golf clubs led to her appointment to the Alameda Golf Commission, of which she was elected chair. Initially, Bob served as Jane’s research assistant and financial analyst as she investigated claims by elected and appointed officials that the golf complex was being subsidized by the City’s general fund. (In fact, precisely the opposite turned out to be true).
He continued to perform those functions as Jane, Joe VanWinkle and Norma Arnerich led the fight first to save the Mif Albright par-three course from closure by the City; then to prevent the dismemberment of the historic 36-hole layout, and finally to kill the proposed swap of the Mif for vacant scrubland located in Harbor Bay Business Park. Bob’s assistance broadened to writing op-ed pieces for the local papers and delivering three-minute speeches at Council meetings.
When Jane, against Bob’s advice, decided to run for Council, Bob became her campaign manager. His ignorance of the power structure and lack of political savvy contributed to the unsuccessful outcome. But the experience did require Bob to accumulate a wealth of information on public issues. And it awakened his desire to emulate his journalistic hero, H. L. Mencken, and his current favorites, Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins. Starting this blog is the – perhaps unfortunate – result.
About the title
In 1932, a Washington correspondent for the Baltimore Sun named Drew Pearson began a syndicated column for the Scripps-Howard newspapers called, “Washington Merry-Go-Round,” which he continued writing until his death in 1969. Most famously, Pearson was one of the first columnists to challenge the red-baiting Senator Joe McCarthy. Not all of Pearson’s work was as admirable, and he sometimes played loose with the facts. But his willingness to take on the Establishment and to challenge conventional wisdom displayed the attitude that animates this blog.
Concerning John Knox White, I draw your attention t o an op-ed he wrote in the Alameda Sun;
how do I sign up to get your blog via email?
Click the “Follow” button in the column on the righthand side of the page.
Hi Robert. I’d like to get your opinion on an organization called Better Angels, whose mission is to depolarize America by helping people who disagree politically find common ground. We do this by hosting workshops that bring 5-7 conservatives together with 5-7 liberals to have a discussions facilitated by two non-partisan moderators. My friend Joe LoParo, two other partners and I are hosting a workshop in Alameda on June 1. Can I send you more information? This is the website; http://www.better-angels.org
Robert… when are you going to write something about all the changes to the rent control ordinance the people of the city voted in … I know the people voted in the last election not to ‘enshrine’ the voted in rent control ordinance in the city charter,
And thereby allowing ‘tweaking’ by city council… but wasn’t there supposed to be Annual reviews?
There were two major changes to the voted in rent ordinance just this year!
I’ve written to the mayor and council but … no responses …
Bob, I have noticed (sadly) that we are seeing fewer Merry-go-round posts these days. I hope that you have been able to avoid COVID and that you and your family are thriving. I miss your insight. Without your posts the political dialogue in Alameda is somewhere between TikTok and Twitter on the discernment continuum.
Thanks for the kind words.
After getting unexpected bad news from Ohio in early June, I kind of lost interest in many things, including MGR. But with the election season beginning, I intend to resume writing the column. I’ll be posting one this afternoon or evening.
Curious that the acting city manager has appointed a permanent HR director rather than going through a recruitment, as it should be done for any open position. I would like to hear your opinion on that.