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SOUND OFF: People leaving — and coming to — Bakersfield

Reader: I came across your article “Bakersfield conservatives leave for less liberal states” today (Oct. 11). Although I enjoyed the read, I have to say that I came away a little disappointed.

The views of your interviewees go unquestioned and unchallenged. The article does not make any effort to examine the causal links or logic of your interviewees’ claims — they are presented as seemingly undeniable facts. For example, as framed, implicit in the article is the assumption that Democratic policies are the cause of the homelessness and poor air quality complained about.

The article failed to provide any real context or factual framework to help readers understand and judge the truth of the matter. Notably, no quotes or response from anyone with differing views is included in the article: neither new arrivals to Bakersfield with progressive leanings nor longtime residents who are staying nor any of the political figures whose policies are so heavily criticized by the subjects of your article. Perhaps you sought such quotes and perspective but were rejected, your article is unfortunately silent on this.

Ultimately, this article comes across as political commentary thinly disguised as a human-interest story. Perhaps it was not intended that way on your part, I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt.

In the future, I think your readers would be better served if you provided more context and critical examination in such articles. Certainly when it comes to topics of public importance, like here (as opposed to mere human-interest stories.)

Again, I appreciated your article and I think it’s a worthy topic. However, at least as a stand-alone article, I feel the execution left something to be desired. Perhaps you could follow this article up with a sequel examining and interviewing Bakersfield’s new arrivals and still long-time residents who welcome and enjoy the state (and city’s) leftward tilt? If that were the case, the journalistic approach taken here might be a little more acceptable. You might even turn it into a series examining the city’s evolving population and political outlooks.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

— Best regards, Blaine Mustoe

Reader: Were you trolling the Danforths? Leaving California for Washington because you’re “conservative” is like leaving Alabama for Arkansas because you’re liberal. I hope they enjoy their new home, but doesn’t sound like much a change in politics.

— Antonio DeVincentis

Reader: Moved to Ohio from Bakersfield this year after 67 years in California. I couldn't see a future in this state. All the fees were killing my retirement income, DMV to gas taxes just too much!

We built a new house and a new life in a small American town. Thanks for listening. Time for conservatives to make a statement.

— Gary Griffey

Peterson: Thank you Blaine, Antonio and Gary, for your feedback. I really just want to afford you the opportunity to express your thoughts and experiences here.

And Blaine, you're partially in luck on your request: Check out Sunday's edition and for John Cox's next story surrounding this topic, this time focusing on Bakersfield's new arrivals. People moving in and out of our area — and the reasons why — is a huge topic. John's tackling it in pieces.


Reader: Good work and thanks go out to Steven Mayer for his story "Back in Service: Oildale's Rathbun branch library reopens after going dark for a year and a half" (Oct. 15). We are so glad to have it open again if only for two days a week. Better than nothing. It is very well needed in the Oildale community.

One thing not mentioned in the story was Oildale's history exhibit full of old pictures and oral histories of a great generation and their memories. Also a photo album with the beginning of discovery of oil in Oil City. Hope this was not lost with the remodel and returns for the patrons to enjoy.

— Fred and Linda Enyeart 

Peterson: It seems to me that people who love libraries really love libraries. And when they aren't fully accessible — due to COVID-19 or in the case of Rathbun, the need to make repairs and address water damage — communities suffer.

While I don't know the exact plans for history exhibits at the Rathbun, I recently did a deep dive into our internal archives and shared a slew of Californian photos depicting Oildale's iconic landmarks and people with the Kern County Library, at their request, for use in the Rathbun. I will be curious to see what kind of display is created when the time is right!


Reader: I do not know if running the Cagle cartoon "No. The crazy hasn’t stopped today" on Oct. 14 and Oct. 15 was an error or intentional but I approve. It is so true "The crazy hasn’t stopped today." Heck run it randomly from now on until the world gets a little sane.

— Alex Wiyninger

Peterson: I'm sorry to disappoint, Alex, but a political cartoon should publish just once. An error was made, and I have to admit it. I already got a pretty good scolding from another reader.


Reader: Your Oct. 10 column led with the subject of free COVID testing and the associated admonition to get it done so everyone can legally relax a little. There are a substantial number of willing participants in the eastern part of the county which have not been afforded the opportunity to participate. Something wrong with this picture? I think so.

By the way, the virus is nowhere near the problem here as it is in Bakersfield, so testing here would have a much leveraged beneficial effect on county statistics. We’d love to help!

— Paul Decker, Ridgecrest

Peterson: I asked Kern County Public Health Services, and was told that in Ridgecrest, Rural Health Clinic Urgent Care and Heather Stone Urgent Care offer COVID-19 testing. But they aren't listed as free.

Additionally, Rite Aid in Rosamond offers testing, I was told.

Free testing options in east Kern, as listed online at, include Kern Valley Hospital's county-partnered site, Adventist Health Tehachapi's county-partnered site and Rosamond Library's OptumServe site.


Reader: I didn't see a single plane, not even a hint of jet sound, let alone actually see one after waiting outside for over an hour in southwest Bakersfield ("Can you tell an F-16 from an F-22? Today's flyover of plethora of planes could provide practice," Oct. 9). What a joke. Some "Flyover." Poor.

— Dean Kruse

Peterson: There was definitely a flyover of military aircraft in the skies above Bakersfield, Tehachapi and other Kern County communities last Friday. Photojournalist Alex Horvath captured the sight in photos we published online and in print ("Residents watch from yards and rooftops as 'Aerospace Valley' hosts Bakersfield flyover," Oct. 10).

I think it's great that the Aerospace Valley Air Show was still presented — albeit in a different way because of COVID-19. But yes, I can imagine it's impossible to fly over every last square mile of Kern County!

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; your phone number won’t be published.

Coronavirus Cases widget

  • Positive Cases Among Kern Residents: 156,517

  • Deaths: 1,781

  • Recovered and Presumed Recovered Residents: 147,668

  • Percentage of all cases that are unvaccinated: 92.72

  • Percentage of all hospitalizations that are unvaccinated: 93.17