Reader: I enjoyed the mixed bag of articles in the paper on Sunday, Dec. 27. From Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer’s hysteria about crime ("Community Voices: LA DA George Gascón has an offer no criminal can refuse") to Samantha Barnes' piece on living white in society ("Other Voices: Recognizing privilege") and the privileges it brings to an ode by Joe Mathews (often so cynical) to our neighbor SLO ("Joe Mathews: In California's Middle Kingdom, life is SLO"). Nice combination!

— Kathy Harlan, Bakersfield

Reader: I can't take it anymore. TBC is just another mainstream media liberal rag.

I just read, in the opinion section, a column about white privilege. Written by a 20-something who doesn't even live here. What kind of person is she: running stop lights, speeding, and drinking in a vehicle. How does she know what would happen if the driver was black? When people are arguing and resisting arrest, they don't seem too afraid of the cops. Here's a lesson, if you don't want to come into contact with cops, stop breaking the law.

TBC's opinion section has become a bastion of liberal lies.

— Van Fairbanks

Peterson: These two letters perfectly illustrate how two people can see the same opinion piece so differently. The Opinion section offers a variety of opinions; you don't have to like them all, Van.


Reader: Ha on your picks of political cartoons. Bland as milk toast, with no pizazz. Same as your newspaper.

— Name withheld

Peterson: I asked "name withheld" — this writer didn't want to be identified, she said, out of concern for "ticking off" some Republicans — which political cartoons she would have liked to have seen published in our year-in-review selection that published Dec. 31.

Her response: "Nothing — as you probably don’t carry Mike Luckovich, Clay Bennett, Rob Rogers, etc."

There are various providers of political cartoons. Some work for an individual newspaper. Some are syndicated and used by many newspapers. We subscribe to Cagle Cartoons and can use any of their cartoonists' work. They offer a wide variety of commentary — some, I would argue, that are far from bland.


Reader: Wow. I was blown away when I read a recent Sam Morgen article (“Settlement between KCSO and Justice Department draws mixed reactions,” Dec. 24). Sam took liberties at aggressively giving an opinion piece basically attacking our sheriff’s office after the state of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra instituted reform measures to curb acts of unnecessary aggression by law enforcement officers.

My first thought was is this nonsense really here in Bakersfield/Kern County?

The AG from San Francisco/Sacramento told Sheriff Donny Youngblood to address aggressive law enforcement tactics to curb citizens’ constitutional rights and treat individuals with respect and dignity.

Then, lawyer David Cohen comments that he agrees with the AG’s efforts. Then, the Peace Officers’ Union piles on to protect a totally PC position, obviously not caring for its rank and files’ safety.

Then, to top off this jab at our beloved sheriff’s office, some lady told us in the article that there is racism in KCSO.

That was the ultimate punch in the gut by all of these senseless PC attacks.

Wow! Hey, Sam, how about the other side’s position on the efforts by Youngblood and his peace officers?

As we should all know, our sheriff’s office does an incredible job!

— Ed Davis, Bakersfield

Peterson: Ed, I respectfully disagree with your contention that reporter Sam Morgen "took liberties at aggressively giving an opinion piece." Sam didn't offer his opinion. Yes, Sam quoted several people, including leaders of two unions representing staff in the department, offering their opinions on the settlement. That's what a reporter does.

I would also note that the story you reference was what we call a day-two story, following up on the breaking news ("Kern County Sheriff's Office enters into 'major settlement' with Department of Justice following civil rights investigation," Dec. 23) of the settlement we reported a day earlier.

In that story, Sam wrote that Sheriff Donny Youngblood "adamantly opposed the notion his department was guilty of the grievances included in the Justice Department’s complaint."

Youngblood explained: “We realized that going forward we had two choices: We could go to court and let a jury and a judge decide whether we did anything right, wrong or indifferent. Or we could go to the table with the Department of Justice and make our organization better than what it was before. So what we chose to do was to partner with the Department of Justice to make us the best agency that we could be. And I think that’s where we wound up.”

Ed, because your opinion piece covered much more ground than criticizing our reporter, it appears in its entirety on Saturday's Opinion page.


Reader: The Californian and pliable Christine Peterson must believe all their readers are stupid or maybe they are themselves stupid to believe that Dan Walters ... is bipartisan. ...

However, I don’t blame Christine. She wants to remain bland and offend no one. In this case in her effort to be nice she was both ignorant and uninformed of Walters' history and political point of view.

I would suggest anytime she labels a columnist non-partisan she do her homework ...

God, if you can’t be accurate, at least be honest. Not all your readers were born yesterday.

— Panfilo Fuentes, Bakersfield

Peterson: Panfilo, why are your comments always so mean-spirited? (This is the part of your letter I could print.)

I stated last week that Dan Walters writes for the Sacramento-based CalMatters, which its website describes as a "nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters."

CalMatters offers straight news stories, which are nonpartisan. Walters is a columnist, which means he can offer opinion in his reports.

There's a difference, Panfilo. I wasn't born yesterday.


Peterson: Happy New Year! That feels strange to say, because the holiday has never been a big deal to me. But I know it is for some, as it represents a new leaf, a turning of the corner, and perhaps most importantly, hope for something better.

Hope. We all need that right now, perhaps more than ever. So maybe I should shout "Happy New Year!" from the rooftop.

In that vein, a friend challenged me to find a positive story for the newspaper every day. I think we do look for the positive, but could there be more? Sure.

So let's try this, with a certain level of intention: If you know of something particularly positive or uplifting that you think would make a great story, send some basic information (think who, what, where, when, why and how, including how to contact the people involved) to Let's share more of these stories.

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.