Reader: Congressman Kevin McCarthy voted Oct. 16 to oppose President Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops from northern Syria, exposing the Kurdish population there to Turkish advances. Your column on McCarthy ("McCarthy needs to catch a different train while he can," Oct. 6) may have helped here.
Kevin and Rep. Devin Nunes of Tulare voted with House Democrats on a bill "opposing the decision to end certain United States efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria." It passed overwhelmingly.
— Ann Gallon
Price: McCarthy's vote on HJ Res. 77 might be the first time he has in any way criticized Trump, but it was not an indication he is sizing up an escape from the president's gravitational pull. His vote was simply an acknowledgement of the bipartisan wave of opposition to Trump's irresponsible pullout order.
The U.S. essentially leaves the Kurds, allies in the fight against the Islamic State group, vulnerable to genocide at the hands of the Turks. And for what? Trump typically boasts that he has won some important concession in dealings of this magnitude with foreign leaders, but there was no such "win" in this case. In fact, it's an unmitigated defeat: Turkey launched an airstrike in Syria that killed five Kurdish civilians mere hours after telling Vice President Mike Pence it would abide by a five-day cease-fire. Had Pence even left Turkish airspace? I suppose, but not by much.
Might McCarthy have also supported the resolution because of what I wrote about his association with this deeply flawed president? That's flattering, Ann, but I don't think so.
Reader: McCarthy would never heed Price’s advice or that of any other news source whom his whisperer deems fake news. If McCarthy broke away from Trump, he would likely not only be challenged by Democrats, he would be primaried by a number of fire-breathing Republicans in the 23rd.
McCarthy's best hope is to sit tight and double-down on the Trump lies and constitutional breaches until the end, win or lose.
— Panfilo Fuentes
Reader: Your Oct. 6 column on Congressman McCarthy needing to back away from Trump was spot on. Thank you for speaking the truth and supporting it with facts. Something that is in short supply these days.
— Chris Fendrick
Reader: I just want to say thank you for your reporting — I appreciate the honesty. I am a Republican who refuses to accept the lies and deception that the Republican Party has become. I clearly see what is happening and your stand on the issues has been accurate. Please continue your reporting and know that there are many of us that do not support the radical, uneducated views of some of your locally infamous critics. It appears that he is as crazy as Donald Trump. I was compelled to support you. Keep up the good work.
— Another Kevin
Reader: Ahh, yes, wasn't the 1996 Amtrak ride to San Diego with young Kevin McCarthy you wrote about ("McCarthy needs to catch a different train while he can," Oct. 6) where he said abortion wasn't something Republicans should be legislating?
He is quoted in the Aug. 17, 1996, edition of the Orange County Register as saying: "The draw to the party is over economic issues. Abortion ... this is something you should talk to your minister, rabbi and your family (about)."
Now he says “I’ve defended my pro-life position for my whole political career. But in my whole political career, I’ve also believed in rape, incest and the life of the mother as exceptions. That’s exactly what Republicans have voted on in this House, that’s what our platform says."
The Republican platform has no exceptions listed, instead calling for a Human Life amendment to the Constitution. How is it he doesn't know what his own platform says? That is difficult to comprehend.
— Michelle Pettigrew
Price: Yes, it must have been the very same train trip. This illustrates two truths about politics: Politicians tend to have poor memories and the Republican Party has moved significantly further to the right in the last 25 years, largely on the social-issues front.
Reader: Mr. Price, I have to tell someone at The Californian just how delightful it is to work with reporter Ema Sasic. She is amazing and I really enjoy her work.
— Michelle Corson
Price: Ema is so enthusiastic in all she does she is making the rest of us look bad. You're doing a fine job over there at the Kern County Public Health Services Department yourself, Michelle.
Reader: I tried to call you last month when your fine, well-written article ("Where We Live: 25 years after the Battle of The Marketplace, Haggin Oaks is at peace," Sept. 1) was published but did not manage to reach you. My name is Leon Lim and I used to live at Sisteron Court, Haggin Oaks, and was a member of the Southwest Community Action Committee, or SCAC. I paid the Fresno lawyer’s fee to make the lawsuit filing against Castle & Cooke possible.
SCAC was not against growth, but was organized to protest Castle & Cooke’s “bait and switch” of the development design. We were told in the beginning that they would build an upscale, small-footprint, Georgetown-type shopping center. But they switched to a sprawling regular shopping area with a gasoline station at the center and a fast food restaurant at each corner of the property. We won the lawsuit and amongst other things made them take out the gas station, fast food restaurants and got Castle & Cooke to upgrade the design to the quality of their Seven Oaks Country Club with the brick veneer, etc.
As you know, Bakersfield is very pro-growth and usually gives the contractor/developer free rein on design, quality, etc., and doesn’t worry about the environment too much. This idea is supported by all the powers that be in Bakersfield. So the SCAC was ridiculed in trying to change what mighty Castle & Cooke wants to do. None of the Bakersfield law firms were willing to support us with the lawsuit. Even large law firms from Fresno turned us down. We finally found a Fresno lawyer who was willing. But we think he was a bit nervous and not willing to take it on until we paid him the entire estimated cost of the lawsuit up front.
The Marketplace would not look as it does today without the lawsuit. Even without getting the credit, SCAC is happy we did what we did. May I have your comments, please?
— Leon Lim
Price: Members of the Southwest Community Action Committee (or, derisively by supporters of The Marketplace, SWACKOs) were widely portrayed as unrealistic, private-property-rights-hating rabble-rousers. But the fact that, one, the group was largely successful in court and, two, a quarter century later the Marketplace remains Bakersfield's most attractive, welcoming and successful shopping center tells us a lot. The SCAC, difficult as it may have made life for city officials and some in the development community, did the city a service.
Reader: Robert, your recent Rio Bravo article ("Where We Live: Rio Bravo didn't win the university but it kept the character," Sept. 29) was a very interesting and an enlightening bit of history about Bakersfield. My wife and I learned a lot about the history of the area in which we live: The Castle & Cooke-developed part of Bakersfield and the location of the college finally west of Highway 99. It so happens that we bought the Haggin model of the homes offered in The Greens of Seven Oaks for our retirement home in 2001. Congratulations for a fine piece of journalism.
— W.A. Waddell
Price: Thanks, Will. Last December, when I set out to write about the neighborhoods of Bakersfield for my "Where We Live" series, I didn't realize I'd be mining such deep reservoir of local history, much of it previously reported but largely forgotten. Who wants a copy of the book?
Reader: I would love to see your job description under the new owners of The Bakersfield Californian. Even if you are the "head honcho," I'm sure you have a job description. Even "head honchos" have job descriptions — that I do know. I think yours probably includes something like "Make sure to run letters anti-Trump more often than pro."
— Caroline Reid
Price: I have little to do with the opinion pages in my current role. I don’t select or edit the letters. But I do know this: We print the letters we get. Write one and, and as long as it's coherent and does not cast wholesale, nonspecific aspersions, we will print it. Also, I am not the head honcho. Cliff Chandler is the on-site general manager and Christine Peterson is the executive editor.
Reader: Robert, just a quick question. Why is it that you allow lefties to regularly and rudely insult those of us who support Trump but lately you won’t print my letters, which I feel are much less mean-spirited?
Have you truly left the journalistic middle, as some suggest?
— Mike Ladd
Price: Mike, we don't publish letters that criticize entire groups, be they political parties, religions, ethnicities or professions. You can criticize an individual — Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, me — but the criticism must be at least somewhat specific about the person's alleged shortcomings.
These quotes from five of your recent letters underscore our concern about your approach:
● "Liberals are so deranged they have become an obscene caricature."
● "(Democrats must) get out of the gutter, lose your superiority complex and the absolute hate for anyone who disagrees with you, and try telling the truth."
● "Democrat politicians have always preferred slaves and power."
● "Hope everyone enjoys all the ... terrorists that are coming to our neighborhoods thanks to progressive/democrat totalitarians."
● "Why are you attracted to totalitarian democrats and liberals? They are only using you!"
We have printed 12 of your letters since September 2016, Mike, so it's not like you're on a watch list. Please just address specific issues without vilifying entire groups.