SOUND OFF: Have an idea for the newspaper? Ask – The Bakersfield Californian

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Reader: Among the many things I dislike about President Trump and the Republican Party is the way immigration reform is a favorite wedge issue, and immigrants are despised and scapegoated is what I find to be the most distasteful.

Our immigration system is broken, so why is it that The Californian in its Market Watch section of the paper in the stocks of local interest column doesn’t report the daily stock price for GEO Group Inc., the private prison company that runs the Mesa Verde detention facility? Mesa Verde is frequently in the news, and it runs on taxpayer money and there’s a lot of human anxiety and suffering going on there.

Is the paper just too chicken to keep the need for immigration reform in the public mindset?

— Tony Amarante

Peterson: Not running a particular company’s stock price in a list of only 22 stocks of local interest makes us chicken? Let me repeat that: The list has 22 stocks. That’s it. And you’re the first person, Tony, who has requested that GEO Group be added.

But based on your request, I had it squeezed in starting Friday.

I’m willing to entertain more requests. But for each stock we add, we’d have to either take another one out (that will bring some complaints), publish them in a super tiny font size (that will bring a lot of complaints!) or extend the box to include more (a possibility, but it would cut into space for other items). Gone are the days when newspapers printed two full pages — and sometimes even four on Sundays — of stock prices.

You’re right on this: Mesa Verde is frequently in the news. I counted 11 stories and columns that we’ve published since the start of April. Whatever your take on immigration issues, Mesa Verde is hardly ignored.

Reader: The whole page (the Saturday, May 16, Opinion page) is a total winner for me — it’s good and good to look at. I don’t know what the comic book newspaper-editor character Perry White would say, but after he’d chew out everyone for the lousy job everyone did (remember this was an afternoon paper) he’d only give out a little grunt this time before telling everyone to get out.

Today’s Opinion page result was contest-worthy, maybe my favorite page of the year. It was different but seemed to be evenly balanced, though I do not care for most of Mr. Thiessen’s theories. However, his last sentence was good.

If I could choose one thing only, political cartoons are the best. Please print more, if it’s not too expensive.

Thank you for your time.

— Matt Jett

Peterson: Glad you liked the May 16 Opinion page. More political cartoons? Fair question. Like other features and elements in the newspaper, more of one thing is going to mean less of another. Fewer syndicated columns to fit more cartoons? Readers, weigh in and we’ll consider this idea.

Reader: Hello, I have read comments by several readers regarding recent columns written by Robert Price. I might as well contribute my two cents.

Thank you, Robert, for your articles over the years on the Bakersfield Sound musicians. The research and the stories by family members and others who were there “back in the day” are first rate.

I’m glad that The Californian has allowed Robert to continue his articles on Bakersfield music history. I can agree or disagree regarding politics. (But seriously, do we really need Leonard Pitts’ column?)

Oh, well, I can skip over Pitts and read what I want. Keep up the stories on the music history when time allows. And thank you to our good friend Fuzzy Owen and his family for all they have done.

I’ve been a subscriber since the 1980s. Every time I’ve seen Robert Price, he has always thanked me for being a subscriber.

— Joe Stormont

Peterson: Joe, allow me to add my thanks for being a longtime subscriber. I appreciate it.

Robert is definitely an authority on the Bakersfield Sound musicians. His recent column on Fuzzy Owen brought tears to my eyes.

Reader: Why all the fuss … hmmm. In response to a couple of letters regarding “Are we witnessing too much fuss over first responders” makes me wonder if people give their letters much thought before submitting.

I understand people have a right to their opinion but maybe there are some things they have not thought about.

Doctors, nurses, firefighters and police officers see a multitude of accident victims. Their sympathetic nervous system kicks their fight-or-flight response into high gear in a matter of seconds. The breathing quickens, the heartbeat gets faster, in other words very stressful situations that wreak havoc on the immune system and heart. This type of thing happens to most first responders a couple of times a day. Due to these conditions along with other toxic exposures, numerous studies have been conducted on the shortened life spans of police and fire personnel.

On top of that they have to live with the images they are exposed to in their line of work. Imagine how it feels to comfort a child when their parent had been injured or killed in an accident. Or trying to save a life when there is no hope. Sometimes we need to think about what others are dealing with.

The teachers are the backbone of our nation’s future. Most of them work far more hours than a 40-hour week and are required to purchase some of their supplies. Some teachers give kids the help and confidence they need to succeed in life. They deserve appreciation for the sole fact of the impact they have on our children’s lives.

The big fuss we are seeing now is the times we are living in. Normally our first responders and teachers do their job without any recognition … which to me is a shame. Gratitude goes a long way in making a person happy.

The first responder and teacher heroes of our community help save lives. Personally, I cannot think of a better reason to make a big fuss.

— Tina Nichols

Peterson: Thank you, Tina, for your thoughtful note.

Reader: I thought someone would have highlighted the caption (with the 144th Fighter Wing photo) that indicated the planes flew east from Stockton. That would have been a very long flight!

— Dan Tuttle

Peterson: Dan, you were one of two readers who pointed out that the planes flew west from Stockton to San Francisco. We corrected this unfortunate error as soon as it was flagged.

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