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It hit me when I pulled up outside my apartment in San Diego on Saturday morning following a week-long 3,000-mile drive across the country. Somehow, someone who’s spent his whole life figuring himself as a Northeast guy has now lived in three out of the four corners of the United States.

My last two stops, San Diego and Naples, Fla., came without me knowing anyone in either town. So why do it? Simply put, I believe in any community’s right to know how its government works. That’s what I hope to be doing in my stories as voiceofsandiego.org new political reporter.

Also, you know, writing is fun.

My passion for writing, my mother likes to say, began when I was growing up outside Philadelphia. For college, I moved on to Georgetown University in Washington D.C. After years of taking phoned-in box scores in the Washington Post‘s high school sports department, the Post let me write. My first beat: high school gymnastics.

Coverage of lots of other high school sports followed. In September 2006, I took a full-time position in Naples, Fla. writing about a small island for the city’s newspaper, the Naples Daily News.

Most of my time in Naples, I covered Ave Maria, a new, Catholic-inspired town and university on the Everglades’ edge founded by Domino’s Pizza magnate Tom Monaghan. In May, I wrote a three-part series on the town’s government, revealing that the developers could control Ave Maria’s government forever, an arrangement that might be unconstitutional. Also, during my Naples stint I attempted an experimental narrative on a local Marine wounded in Iraq. If you’re interested, more of my writing is here.

Now, I’m thrilled to turn my focus to San Diego politics. Given VOSD’s short but illustrious history, I know I have huge shoes to fill on the government beat. I mean, some of my predecessors are now my bosses.

So help me out. One of the most important journalistic principles is just to listen. Contact me on the phone, 619.550.5663), through e-mail (liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org) or on Twitter, (twitter.com/dillonliam).

Tell me what I need to know about covering San Diego politics and what issues you care about. Give me recommendations on books or articles to read on San Diego and its history. Compliment me for sticking with the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies through years of futility.

With what I’ve already learned through the few San Diegans I’ve met in my first couple days, I expect it will be some time before I find out what that Northwest corner of the United States is like.

— LIAM DILLON

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