Reader: So the Big Enchilada for The Californian gives his journalistic take on Jose ("Who killed audacious, driven Jose Arredondo, and why?," July 21). A large portion is dedicated to salacious speculation — based on unsubstantiated rumors started by other, green-with-envy car dealers.

The Mexican is perceived as unable to secure automobile dealer success without resorting to drug or money laundering? Outrageous and extremely racist and unworthy of a legitimate journalist to focus on slanderous, unproven whispers. Try wearing a turtleneck sweater for your Californian photo ops. The pronounced scarlet of your neck is showing. Resent that characterization? Good — now you know how the Arredondo family feels about the drug storyline you in the media ... (favor) regarding this philanthropically inclined gentleman. Shame on you. You’ve never been an elite writer anyway; perhaps you fear for your job due to new ownership.

Now, the other folks who own dealerships ... (have started) dozens of rumors regarding drug usage and nefarious dealings. So before you throw stones, stones borne of trying to assist rival “white” dealerships, name names. 

— Mr. Know It All 

Price: I had to pull out a dry-erase board to chart your logic. Now I have a Jackson Pollock on my hands. All offers considered.

Let's review: The jealous, rival, "white" dealerships have started "dozens of rumors" over the years about Arredondo's alleged involvement in the drug trade — rumors so pervasive virtually every person I've spoken with, and you've spoken with too, I'll wager, has wondered if his brutal murder July 15-16 near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, was a cartel hit. But I was wrong to even mention it? Imagine the reader feedback that would get, Mr. Know It All. That's not an elephant in the room. That's a rampaging herd busting through the wall into the kitchen.

So, what was my verdict on these rumors, and on how history will judge Mr. Arredondo? You seem to suggest that I endorsed the view of Arredondo's dealer-detractors, but that's hardly the case. I quoted two people who knew him well; both denied having ever seen any inkling of illegal activity. Both talked, quoted and not, about his generosity and philanthropy.

Here's where your logic really gets fuzzy: I was irresponsible for having referenced these "unsubstantiated rumors" but you demand that I "name (the) names" of the rumor-spreaders. What kind of rhetorical contortions would that sentence have to endure?

Your full, original complaint included the name of one of these alleged rumor spreaders. Unless you have a copy of the surveillance video, you're spreading "unsubstantiated rumors" yourself.

•••

Reader: In his July 23 column, "You said what?," Herb Benham discusses how someone may have called him an idiot. Anyone who makes a living writing in 2019 can’t be an idiot. I enjoy Herb’s column and I hope he continues to earn his living writing for The Californian.

Also: Thank you for your coverage of the Tour de France bike race. Some may think I’m an idiot for spending $1,000s on biking, but I can afford it and I enjoy riding in this area, and I enjoy reading about the premier bike racing event in the world. July is my month to spent about three hours a day watching the TDF, but I still enjoy reading about it.

In summary, thanks for Herb’s column and the TDF articles, not necessarily in that order.

— William Michael Daniel

Price: I'm guessing Herb has written 30,000 columns over 30 years, so he is familiar with insults. He'll attest to my position, I'm sure, that being called an idiot is good for you. It's humbling, thickens the skin, helps one take a punch. Herb and I call each other idiots every morning the way sprinters stretch before a race.

On behalf of our entire band of idiots, I'm glad you're enjoying Herb, the Tour and your expensive hobby.

•••

Reader: Surprised to see someone writing in last week's Sound Off section about my story ("He didn't make it to the moon, but his expertise helped take us there," July 14). I loved your answer. I'm still surprised that nobody has wondered: What did he contribute to the Apollo program? You didn't mention in the Sunday story that I was a Customer Training Specialist teaching the Sequential Systems, which was designed to automatically rescue the astronauts in case of a pad abort. A major crew safety concern. Anyway, everybody in my family and friends loved the story, sort of like the "October Sky" story and film.

— Will Waddell

Price: There's a lot I didn't mention of your story, Will, as you know, but your precise job description does indeed seem like an important detail. Glad everyone enjoyed the story.

•••

Reader: Although I agree with the spirit of your response to Larry Dunn's most recent observation ("How do you pronounce 'Latinx'? (and other 21st-century linguistic challenges)," July 20), you didn't answer the question in your headline.

I have occasionally been present with colleagues who are sensitive to exclusions created by language and who thus use the term. The typical pronunciation of "Latinx" requires three syllables, the last of which is "ecks." It approximately rhymes with "The Kleenex," which you might need for your midsentence sneeze.

— Bruce Hartsell

Price: La-tin-ECKS? That word sounds like it needs a pharmaceutical side-effects disclaimer. But, again, I appreciate the sensitivity of some to exclusions created by language. A nicely succinct way to put it, by the way.

•••

Reader: I never miss your Sound Off — I read it word for word — and I just had to laugh out loud at the last letter from the reader last week who put her Californian on the bottom of the bird cage because Trump's photo gave them a good target. Keep on writing those articles.

— Loretta Fleming

Reader: I am a new subscriber to your newspaper. The last letter in Robert Price's July 20 Sound Off from the reader who always put the newspaper with Donald Trump's photo in the bird cage, so the birds could be crapping on his face, was too much.

Price answers that he is happy to be of assistance. I think I'll just put Robert Price's picture in the bird cage.

As a new subscriber, I just don't find this necessary. Robert Price, come on, you're not the judge for what everyone else gets to read — except you are, I guess — but this is unnecessary.

— Patsy Clemo

Price: Patsy, I would have been equally happy to be of service to a reader who folded her daily bird-cage liner in such a way that Nancy Pelosi's photo is looking up at Polly. Newspapers have a million and one secondary uses, and I'm not going to discourage any of them.

The Californian’s Robert Price answers your questions and takes your complaints about our 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. Include your name and phone number; they won’t be published.

(6) comments

Fram Smith

As is often the case , facts are being withheld which prevents the honest broker from making a fair determination as to the content of Jose's caracter. That the story on how Jose was murdered has changed and is no longer important to anyone , screams conspiracy. In any case, I only buy Toyota vehicles from Longo Toyota in El Monte the last weekend in September , so I have no idea if Jose was a honest car dealer. Does anyone know anyone who bought a vehicle from him or from his dealerships? I find it strange that I know no one who ever bought a vehicle from any of his dealerships in over 20 years. I guess it could happen. But Jose seemed to have more cash to give away than Daddy Warbucks. And all the infomercials must of cost a small fortune , which never seemed to make good business sense. There was something about Jose that seemed disingenuous and not legitimate. It always seemed that Jose was attempting to buy that which is not for sale ; respect. These honest words may upset some ; and for those folks , please just think of me as a racist and bigot. For the simple minded , it is far easier to attack those who attempt to learn the truth , than demanding that the public be given all the facts so a fair understanding on the life and death of Jose , can be determined.

KA24Bako

Articles have been well written. If anything, it seems you’re going above and beyond to focus on Arrodondo’s good deeds. The elephant in the room is obviously the thoughts about drugs and cartel. You guys have made it very clear those are just rumors. Regardless of what Mr. Arrodondo was doing and why/how he was killed, it’s a tragedy. Even if the rumors are true (we’ll probably never know) he can still be a great person. Sometimes people make poor decisions and get caught up in things of little importance. I choose to focus on the positive of who Mr. Jose is. Thoughts and prayers for his family. May they carry their family torch and let his legacy live on.

Veritas

I posted earlier and it did not violate the rules listed by your employer, yet it was censored. Is that not a violation of my 1st Amendment right?

Veritas

The above comment is only a small part of what I posted. Why would the Californian not post what I wrote when they routinely post the ramblings of racist and inciteful individuals, without censor? I followed your stated rules for acceptable comment, although you allow many to violate said rules. I am going to forward what I originally posted to a civil rights law firm. Fortunately,I did a screen shot of what I posted showing that the Californian received it. Talk to you soon.

MJKoelzer

Robert - two issues. First, what ever happened to incremental rate increases for the subscription ? 25 - 30 % is excessive to say the least. It will definitely affect the readership numbers ! Secondly, who decided not to state the ethnicity of crime suspects when asking for the public’s help ? It smacks of hyper PC-ism, and will hinder, not help in the apprehension of these people. Enjoy the raise ! Matt Koelzer, 661 885-5858

Rachel Legan

Keep up the good work Bob.

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