updated: Mar 07, 2013, 7:00 AM
By Harriet Marx
Today would have been Peter's 51st birthday and I just wanted to take a few moments to honor his
memory and what he achieved with Edhat.
It's hard to remember what life was like B.E. (Before Edhat). Opening the Daily Edhat e-mail each
morning has become such an indispensable ritual, along with checking the Fresh Local News page
several times a day...and even more frequently when anything even vaguely important is happening in
our "little blue town by the big blue sea" as Peter often referred to it.
I became a fan of Edhat, and of Peter, in 2004 when the site was new and already filled with wonderfully
interesting, useful and/or entertaining content-features like Lunch with Louie, Person of the Week, the
Gas Prices map, and especially all those fun daily contests. (Of course these were before local news
became Edhat's most prominent feature.) The all-SB eclectic content mix was unlike any site I'd found
anywhere else-and it still is.
After getting to know Peter I realized how much of Edhat's "quirkiness" was shaped by his personality.
For example, one of the quirky things that Edhat originally became known for was Peter's love of
counting stuff in Santa Barbara-palm trees on Cabrillo, planks on Stearn's Wharf, dogs and horses and
drums and people in parades-and having readers guess the correct numbers. But without Peter's
terrific writing, such topics could have been snore-inducing. Instead, they made you smile. I don't know
if he ever got enough credit for his "writer's voice" but I think his use of wordplay and humor were
delightful. I also appreciated his efforts to keep politics and negativity out of his writing and out of
Edhat (with the possible exception of the hilariously snarky restaurant reviews). Peter often seemed
genuinely bewildered by the rough-and-tumble world of online commenters and trolls whose sole
purpose appears to be politicizing or criticizing. He never understood why anyone would take the time
to write hurtful things, and it bothered him that despite his best efforts he couldn't keep Edhat free of
Peter worked incredibly hard to keep Edhat running, often working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week for
the first few years. He told me he couldn't have done it without the behind-the-scenes help and
support of his amazing wife, Sue-Edhat's unsung heroine.
As hard as it is to remember what life was like before Edhat, it's harder still to think of what life would
be like without Edhat. Peter really wanted Edhat to continue on beyond his own life, and he never gave
up hoping that this would be possible. Before he got sick it looked like Edhat was within sight of having
1,000 paid subscribers-a landmark that, sadly, he never got to see. When he wrote a heartfelt letter
last September to Edhat readers about subscriptions, just 10 weeks before he passed away, his only
reference to his situation was opaque:
"Due to current circumstances, it has become hard on me and the small but Dedicated Staff of
Edhat.com, to maintain, improve, and monitor the website."
If you didn't see his letter, or would like to read it again, it's here.
Just a thought: If a paid subscription isn't possible for you or if you already have one, another way to
help keep Edhat alive and well is by spreading the word to businesses about why it's good to advertise
Thank you, Peter and Sue, for all you have done to make Santa Barbara a better community.
49 comments on this article. Read/Add
# # # #