Reader: Dear Mr. Feinberg, I have been a subscriber of The Californian for over 30-plus years. I enjoyed your warmhearted article on the homeless center in today's paper ("Positive vibes abound, as M Street Navigation Center hosts its first Thanksgiving," Nov. 27).

I did have one concern, however. If you look at the picture that accompanied the article, you will see that the volunteer facing the camera has her mask pulled down BELOW her nose. If she had sneezed, it would have been all over the tray of pumpkin pie plates she was about to serve.

We need to protect our homeless; one way is to safeguard their health and volunteers, staff, etc., should set the example for what is needed to stop the flow of this virus.

Thank you again for letting the public know about this new center.

— Gerri Payne

Reader: I wanted to let you know that I thought your article on the front page of The Californian on Nov. 27 was good. It was a fresh change to not have politics on the cover.

However, I am curious why The Californian repeatedly posts pictures of people not wearing their masks following CDC guidelines.

Attached to your article was a photo by Rod Thornburg. A women was handing out pumpkin pie to a resident. This volunteer was wearing her mask under her nose while serving food.

This is so irritating. People look at the paper and think well, this lady isn’t following the guidelines and she made it on the front page of the paper, why should I.

Wearing a mask is just a simple thing that can help the community stay safe and hopefully help eliminate this horrible virus. Please Californian, help be an example with that. Stop advertising people not following guidelines.

— Nancy Giertz

Peterson: News Editor Teddy Feinberg, along with freelance photographer Rodney Thornburg, told the heartwarming story of the first Thanksgiving at the new M Street Navigation Center. Teddy told me he was pretty impressed with this new refuge for people experiencing homelessness; we were glad to highlight it in our holiday coverage.

The topic of publishing photographs of maskless people — or those wearing a mask incorrectly — has come up in Sound Off before. I might disappoint the same people by repeating my response: We don't tell people to put on a mask (or wear it correctly) before we take their photograph. We reflect what is in our photojournalism, not what should be. And of course, there's always the fact that not everyone agrees on the should.

Nancy, when it comes to news stories on coronavirus, we will continue to reiterate what public health officials say about the importance of masks and other health precautions, such as physically distancing and thorough and frequent washing of hands. But we certainly know that not everyone listens, complies or agrees. That's abundantly apparent. (And even those who genuinely intend to wear a mask properly may experience a momentary slip of their mask, as could have been the case with our pie-serving volunteer.)


Reader: Thanks, Bob (Price), for another great article celebrating the human spirit ("ROBERT PRICE: KC Steakhouse’s resilient Cassie Bittle preaches survival, practices serenity," Nov. 29). You have stood apart from most journalists over the last year in featuring people who lift us up instead of tear us down. Keep it up. I always look forward to reading your articles.

— Bruce Freeman, Bakersfield

Peterson: I agree: Columnist Robert Price penned a great column on Cassie Bittle and her incredible resilience and human spirit in the face of this pandemic. It was a well-written piece and I am thankful that Cassie took the time to talk with Robert.

Despite all the bad news — and boy, has there been a lot — I think our journalists have done a fine job of featuring people who lift us up. Here are just a few examples, all from the last week: "Bakersfield special education community remembers Rafer Johnson," by Emma Gallegos; "Bakersfield-born musician part of two record projects recently nominated for Grammy Awards," by Steven Mayer; "Jim Ranger makes top nine of 'The Voice'," by Stefani Dias; and "She's back: Former BHS standout Caldwell leads Grand Canyon in first game back since ACL injury," by Ron Stapp.


Reader: Congratulations. Your Leonard Pitts article "Let's give them something to howl about" (Dec. 2) is a new low in "journalism."

— Greg Gilbert

Peterson: So an opinion column with which one does not agree constitutes "a new low in journalism?" Interesting.

I do thank you, Greg, for sharing your opinion on Pitts' column, in which he writes, "You may think all this is offered by way of explaining why I think President-elect Biden should pardon Donald Trump. It's actually offered to explain why I think he should not. The idea of pardoning Trump — which Biden has already rejected — has been kicking around the pundit sphere quite a bit recently, proposed by everyone from columnists E.J. Montini and David Leibowitz to former Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci and former House Judiciary Committee counsel Michael Conway."

Pitts' column included history, current events and his opinion, clearly labeled as such on the Opinion page. We don't all have to agree with it.


Reader: Hello Christine,

I admire your patience and tenacity with those who are so critical. I appreciate that I am able to read our local paper, and that it presents unbiased news. Our country has become so divisive! Sadly, many only read or listen to their political extreme views, and don't get honest news.

I especially like articles by Robert Price, Brian Smith, Herb Benham, you and the crossword puzzles. Facts, true anecdotes, humorous nostalgia, explanations and challenges.

Over the years, there has been inconsistent delivery of my paper, possibly due to times when a substitute delivers it. My current delivery person is doing an excellent job. It is always delivered in a timely manner in the driveway. In the past, there has been an insert in the paper during the holiday season with the delivery person's address. I hope this will be the case this year, as I would like to send a tip.

Thank you for continued excellence!

— Joan Curtis

Peterson: Joan, thank you for your kind note, which arrived last Saturday and really lifted my spirits as I sat grumpily waiting for a reporter to turn in his work, which was late! (Oh my, yes, it happens!)

It really makes me happy to hear you enjoy all the columnists you mentioned. Good to hear you're receiving your newspaper in a timely manner, too. I want my colleagues' work in readers' hands — or at their fingertips if they're reading the e-Edition, using a mobile device or sitting at a keyboard.

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 Please include your name and phone number.