This feedback forum is designed to give readers a way to voice criticisms and compliments or ask questions about The Californian’s news coverage. Your questions — which may be edited for space — are answered here each Saturday by The Californian’s Robert Price.
Reader: I would be surprised if Rep. Kevin McCarthy became President Donald Trump's chief of staff ("McCarthy as White House chief of staff? He may have the chops," Robert Price, Feb. 14). As Republican Majority Leader, McCarthy may still have designs on becoming Speaker someday. You will recall his failed effort a few years ago. He made an embarrassing snafu in a Fox News interview, saying the Benghazi investigation's sole purpose was to ruin Hillary Clinton politically. Then he used a non-existent word, "untrustable," to describe her.
McCarthy has a safe Republican seat where he is building a federal pension. Chiefs of staff are transitory; they come and go with little job security. I am not sure whether they can earn a government pension like members of Congress.
Columnist Robert Price makes good copy though.
— Mark Salvaggio
Price: The chances McCarthy would accept the job of White House chief of staff strike me as pretty close to zero. He'd only take the job if he were considering retirement from Congress and I very much doubt that's the case. But when his name pops up as a possibility both times an opening (or possible opening) comes up, you have to wonder.
McCarthy, by the way, specifically said on Wednesday that he's not interested in the job and noted that it's not vacant anyway.
Reader: I hope this letter, and the accompanying gift, triggers a memory for you, Robert. They relate to an article you wrote about my wife, Carolyn Mack, and her collection of Americana — many red, white and blue decorations spread throughout our home.
Your article followed closely after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. You visited our home, took pictures, and wrote some very nice things about Carolyn.
I remember being concerned that she may not receive fair treatment and I contacted you. You told me not to worry.
I have not forgotten your very nice treatment, and spoke of you fondly on many occasions. We read you religiously for many years. "Read" can be both present and past tense. I still read your every word. However, my wife passed last year, and she read everything you wrote. Carolyn was a secretary for many years and prided herself on spelling and grammar skills. She wished all Bakersfield Californian journalists would follow your lead.
So, where is this going? Carolyn mentioned to me that you were particularly taken with her red, white and blue USA bowling ball. I have been slowly going through her things (no easy task), with the goal to downsize. I look at each item (difficult at best), trying to link it to someone or something. When I got to the bowling ball, it screamed your name.
I would like you to have this prized possession of Carolyn's. Thank you for giving her a memory that made her feel good for a long time.
— Howard Mack
Price: Journalism organizations pass out awards every year and on rare occasions they hand me one. Well, I'll take this bowling ball — and especially this letter — over any of them.
I must confess that Carolyn's ball occupies a little more space on my desk than I'd like so I'll need to come up with a more permanent solution, but I am honored. Carolyn is blessed to have been so well loved.
Reader: Don't forget that bleeding-heart liberals buy and read your newspaper too. I might cancel my subscription because you only print conservative viewpoints.
— Bill Guerrero
Price: I apologize for our nonstop, wall-to-wall publication of conservative opinions, Bill. We'll try to squeeze in a little liberalness, too. But don't expect a lot.
The Californian welcomes your comments and suggestions. To offer your input by phone, please call 395-7649 and leave your comments in a voicemail message or send an email to email@example.com. Please include your name and phone number. Phone numbers and addresses won’t be published.
Robert Price's column appears Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @stubblebuzz. The opinions expressed are his own.