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SOUND OFF: Let both sides speak!

Reader: I have always believed that the purpose of an Opinion section in a newspaper was to allow differing opinions on political and nonpolitical issues to be put out to the reading community to allow people to consider and arrive at their own conclusions.

But lately the letters seem to predominantly come from one specific side of the political arena and that is primarily an effort to mold and guide the public's opinion to a desired result. The only thing that I can figure is that one side is so fearful of the large numbers of constituents on the other side that they must flood the media with inflammatory and divisive commentary to create a false sense of superior numbers.

Let both sides be heard equally and let the readers form their OWN conclusions — and let the chips fall where they may.

— Jerry Poncetta, Bakersfield

Peterson: Jerry, we agree! One of the purposes of the Opinion section of a newspaper is to allow a variety of opinions on political and nonpolitical issues, and let the members of the reading community decide and arrive at their own, individual conclusions.

Do I think the letters lately (at least in regard to politics) have been from one specific side? Absolutely — they have been.

But this is what we're receiving. I can only review for publication the letters and Community Voices that come our way.

Jerry and I had a little back-and-forth conversation on email about this, and he noted that he and others have no way at all of knowing what correspondence comes into the newspaper. True. At some point people either have to believe me, or not. (Sorry, no full access to my email!)

Jerry noted that perhaps his letter would provide motivation for people on both sides of debates to make an effort to make their points known.

I hope so, Jerry. Honestly, my job would be much easier if I received an equal (or close to it) number of letters on both sides of various debates, especially but not limited to politics and the actions of elected officials. (For example, I received letters on both sides of the debate over the new South High mascot. That was a bit more balanced. But again, I printed what we received.)

So send your letters to opinion@bakersfield.com, or use the online submission form that can be found at Bakersfield.com. Write up to 250 words, and use your true name, address and phone number. Your name and city or town of residence will be published.

Slightly off topic, but related: Check out Sunday's Opinion section for a Community Voices piece by local Pastor Angelo Frazier. He writes about decorum in debate — even when you don't agree with the other side.

•••

Reader: Then there's the genius of the Bakersfield Daily Socialist. (Sent via email with a copy of Thursday's editorial cartoon, which depicted Liz Cheney standing on a pillar with the word "truth," the word "Trump" crumbling below her and the words "Aw, c'mon Liz! How does that help us build back better?" Also attached was a link to a story from the National Review with the headline "House GOP votes Stefanik into Cheney's former leadership role." That happened Friday morning.)

— Jerry Todd, Bakersfield

Peterson: Thanks, Jerry, for your comment, which I see you also sent to a string of at least 20 other people in the community.

Notice I had to explain a lot of your letter in parentheses because your one sentence gave no context to your comments. More helpful for print would be if you penned a letter to the editor up to 250 words laying out your position. (See what I said to the other Jerry above!)

Readers forward to me a good number of links to other news and opinion sites. Fair enough. But I don't have rights to reprint these stories. You're informing just me what you think by sending a link — not the entire readership as you could with a letter to the editor. I'd imagine, Jerry, you are pleased with the election of Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., to the No. 3 post in the House leadership. If so, just say so.

For now, I have tried to give you a chance to speak via your one-sentence comment.

Executive Editor Christine Peterson answers your questions and takes your complaints about The Californian’s news coverage in this weekly feedback forum. Questions may be edited for space and clarity. To offer your input by phone, call 661-395-7649 and leave your comments in a voicemail message or email us at soundoff@bakersfield.com. Please include your name and phone number.