We thank the Lincoln Journal Star's Don Walton for his interview with Leavenworth Street (which you can read in full, here).
Don intro-ed his piece, in part, with:
Ah, the mystery. Who is Street Sweeper?...
Street Sweeper sounds like the name of a Dickens character. Imagine some guy in black wearing a stovetop lid and carrying a broom.
Get on the case, Holmes.
After that, he pretty much copied and pasted our email interview from what I wrote.
He did trim a few parts, but here is what I wrote back to Don in response to his questions:
1) When did Leavenworth Street debut?
Our first posts were on January 17, 2006.
2) How did you choose your name? What came in second?
We decided we wanted something with an Omaha identifier; Dodge Street was too trite; Howard Street was a bar; we came down with Leavenworth Street because we grew up going to places like Broncos and LaCasa, and eventually graduated to the Barretts and Paulis and Marelybones pubs. I don't think it was happenstance that ESPN chose Pauli's on Leavenworth Street as their home away from home. Sure it was the Cubs bar, but also, other than probably South Omaha, that stretch of Leavenworth Street has a feeling of the heart of Omaha (well, to us anyway).
Second place was Mike Fahey Street.
3) How did it all come about? A conversation over coffee or a beer, an event, an idea, a challenge, a dare?
After an evening of too many Dr. Peppers, a morning discussion led to mutual disdain for the political bent of many so called news stories in an unnamed daily newspaper HQ'd in Omaha. We were tired of the fact that the paper had no checks or balances for opposing political views. They were unchallenged. So, our first suggestion was an underground newspaper -- but we realized we weren't in a 1970's high school. So the concept of a blog came to place.
4) What is the purpose or goal of Leavenworth Street? Has it evolved?
The idea was always to discuss politics, and create an alternative to the local main stream media. And to add some entertainment, irreverence and fun to the discussion.
Every once in a while we hit policy issues where appropriate, but otherwise the goal is to discuss politics.
5) Who are you? are you one or more? What do you do at work and play? Age range? Gender? Presumably, you live in Omaha? Have the players (if plural) changed?
As I responded recently on Twitter: I'm Batman.
Here's my response to those who want to know who writes Leavenworth Street, etc. You want to know who Street Sweeper is, read the blog. We have been doing it for over four years now -- having at least one new post every week since we began (a small point of pride). If you read someone for four years, I would hope you could get to know what that person is like, what they think, where they are coming from. Would knowing that the person's name is Jamie McChavezski really help you to know more? Maybe a little, but then what would you do with that information?
I would rather be judged on the merits (or demerits) of what I write.
6) Do I know you?
Does anyone really "know" anyone?
7) Why the anonymity? How many people know who you are? Who is most likely to give you up?
Basically, because we would be unable to continue with the blog if our employers knew we did it.
8) If you were trying to discover who you are, what clues would you pursue?
Professor Plum. In the conservatory. With the lead pipe.
Seriously, I don't know what there is to gain by discovering who writes the blog. It's ALL right there in front of you.
9) Do you try to score first with news online? you posted mark lakers online first other recent firsts? has that become more of a goal?
While we mainly comment on the news and the associated politics, it is fun to occasionally get a scoop. The Lakers thing was fairly random, though probably wasn't that big of a deal. We were happy to be able to provide an open forum for Jim Esch's full explanation of why he decided to quit the Democrats. And our discovery of Jesse Jackson Jr.'s karate prowess after his spat on the House floor with Lee Terry was copied nationally. (Still very proud of the scoop that the City of Omaha was taking over the local newspaper.)
One regret was when we "outed" KPTM's Calvert Collins Facebook photo supporting Jim Esch -- which eventually led to her getting fired. We certainly didn't intend that, and hope that it didn't cause too much pain for her. Though she has a new gig in Las Vegas, so maybe we helped.
Our goal is still to discuss politics. If that entails the occasional scoop, hopefully that brings in more readers.
10) How do you hear or discover this stuff? Conversation when socializing? Work contacts? Networking? Sources? Got some moles?
We follow the money. Or, it's just plain old contacts. It's rare that we take something we learned in a social situation and discuss it publicly.
11) How many readers do you have? Has that number been growing?
We certainly don't have the numbers of the big national blogs. Our readership is still mainly Nebraska, and we have no problem with that. It has been steadily growing over the years.
12) So, is this political passion or internet passion? Goal-oriented or recreation? Work or play? Are you having fun?
All of the above? Really a political passion. A goal would be a better informed public. There are times when it feels like work, but in the end, if it wasn't a little fun, we would absolutely stop. That's why we toss in the occasional political Separated at Birth. It's politics and it's government, but occasionally you gotta lighten up, right?