Reader: Great article ("Robert Price: Noriega Hotel closing? Now it's really hitting home," April 28) about the closing of the Noriega Hotel. I used to caddie up on the (Hill) Bakersfield Country Club and Babe would always find a loop for me when I was a kid. When it rained I would stay around until somebody would tell me no play today.

Shucks, so I would walk to the hotel or Luigi's and eat free because they knew I would pay next week. What memories, wow. It is a pleasure to read your articles. Hopefully before time runs we can have a steak and a Picon punch.

— Steve Kling

Reader: My family moved into east Bakersfield in 1947. I was 2 years old. At the end of our block was the home and office of Dr. Leland Lewis, 1727 Baker St.

His wife and nurse was Sally Lewis and they had three children, Susan, Peter and Chris, who was my best friend in life.

Sally told us that Doc frequented Noriega's and it was a men’s-only establishment until she convinced Doc to take her there for dinner. She claimed to be the first woman to dine there and was very proud of that. The Lewises are all gone now but they would always hold their family and friends' gatherings at Noriega's for any occasion.

We grew up on the streets of east Bakersfield and have many grand memories of that time. So it is hard to see it in it’s current condition, and maybe it is time for the things that will never be again to pass also.

— Doug McGinty

Reader: I got curious while mourning the loss of my favorite Bakersfield restaurant, Noriega's. After narrowing my search, and using the Smithsonian magazine as a starting point, I found three boardinghouse-style Basque restaurants in Nevada: Martin Hotel, Star Hotel and Louis' Basque Corner. I may have missed some in Idaho, Oregon or Washington, but looks like Noriega's wasn't the last. There are very few, perhaps a road trip to Nevada ...

— Rob Lang

Peterson: The closure of Noriega Hotel has surfaced many rich, beautiful memories from readers on our story comments, Facebook page and in letters.

While I certainly had not dined there as often as many of our readers, I recall the first time I went. I was mesmerized by the family-style dining, with perfect strangers sitting to your left or right. By the end of your shared meal, they weren't strangers any longer. You had learned something about them and shared fulfilling conversation.

And as a lover of soup — I can eat good soup 365 days a year — Fridays were great. I'd have a bowl of Basque soup and the clam chowder!

•••

Thankfully, he was healed and able to go home. Sadly though, on Page A3, you posted a picture of six first responders, three family members and the young boy himself not even coming close to practicing safe distancing. Eleven people in the photo and only one wearing a mask.

What message are you sending here?

I agree it should be a memorable homecoming but one first responder would have been sufficient or practice what is being preached.

— Kevin Flom

Peterson: I'm unsure, Kevin, if your main criticism is that the people at this uplifting event celebrating a child's recovery weren't all wearing masks and social distancing during this time of coronavirus, or that The Californian published a photograph that showed that — or both.

I can't speak for the fire department or the family members who were there.

I can say The Californian endeavors to cover important news and features in our community, and this is a great story of tragic circumstances turned to healing and celebration. We can all agree on that.

But we can't and don't control how these events play out. If everyone is wearing a mask and social distancing, that is what a photo will show. If only one person is, that is what a photo will show. We don't control or manufacture what is in a photograph. That is a big difference between the photojournalism we practice and other kinds of photography.

Now I know some readers will say something like this: Well, you should only publish photos that show people doing the "right" thing. That becomes complicated because we don't all agree all the time on what is "right."

•••

Reader: John Cox’s two real estate-focused articles that are in today’s edition (Sunday, April 26) of The Californian, which are “Housing holds fast” and “Despite crisis, apartment tenants hang on,” are excellent takes on different ends of our local real estate market. From ag to “Zoom-omics,” and every business sector in between, he is reporting “gold.”

— Thank you, David Collins

Peterson: We agree, David: Business Editor John Cox's work is gold. He keeps our readers informed on all aspects of local business, and explains and writes in a way that we can all understand.

••••

Reader: Although I'm not a football fan, I endured a couple of hours of the football draft on Thursday night (April 23) for one reason — to see Bakersfield's own Jordan Love be selected by the Green Bay Packers. Woo hoo, Jordan!

Jordan's parents served our community in law enforcement for many years and Jordan has been highly visible on the sports pages since he was in high school and college. Many of us have followed Jordan's development from childhood into the fine young man he is today.

That's why I fully expected this exciting news to be on the front page today. Not only was there no mention at all, but on the sport page it wasn't even the main article. Jordan's big moment was relegated to a side column. Come on!

— Karen King

Peterson: I asked News Editor Teddy Feinberg, who also oversees our sports coverage, to weigh in on this comment. He explains our situation perfectly.

Teddy writes: "There's no question Jordan being drafted in the NFL Draft's opening round was front-page material. The truth is that him being selected in the first round wasn't a guarantee, which meant slotting a front-page position for a story that would be coming in on deadline was problematic.

"At the very least, however, we should have teased to it off our cover to the Sports section. We wish him nothing but the best in Green Bay, and will be following his progress closely (this coming from a longtime Detroit Lions fan, BTW). Go get ’em Jordan."

•••

Reader: Hello, Christine,

I was raised Catholic. Went through all the Holy Sacraments: baptism, First Holy Communion, (catechism), confirmation, marriage, (divorce), ... I am now and have been for a number of years what might be termed ”spiritual, but not religious”; my spirituality and philosophy seems to lean somewhere near the Buddhism area of the spectrum.

On that April 11th Saturday preceding Easter, I thought the Jesus editorial cartoon was not only humorous but appropriate.

I and we often are tasked with going about in the world with the philosophy and ethos “what would Jesus do?” I would like to think Jesus would have gotten a kick out of that nonoffensive cartoon; the Jesus I believe in anyway.

I think Jesus would say to Wanda and Louise, “Ladies…, come on…, lighten up; this is funny, and appropriate, being how tomorrow is the celebration day of my having arisen, in fulfillment of the Scriptures, thereby giving credibility (wrong phrase) to Christianity.”

— Alvin Gregorio

Reader: I am a Christian. I don’t think the cartoon in Saturday’s paper (April 11) was sacrilege, distasteful, or in need of an apology.

Jesus was a man who did not stand on ceremony, for the most part, when it came to Himself. He hung out with all the “wrong” people, like tax collectors and prostitutes. He strived to teach people how to live in a godly way, and often used parables. He wanted people to spend time listening to the word of God above all else, as shown when He told Martha to stop fretting over food preparations and just sit down with Him for a while.

I think he would have thought the cartoon hilarious.

— Thank you, Janice French

Peterson: Thank you, Alvin and Janice, for your notes. You have offered the other side of the debate to an editorial cartoon that two of our readers last week found distasteful.

I also took a call from a gentleman this week who was quite unhappy with the cartoon. He said that "she wrote" in Sound Off that ... I gently told him that he was speaking to the author of Sound Off. (Yep, this editor joins in picking up calls to the main newsroom line!) We had a cordial back-and-forth conversation about the cartoon, and in the end, while we didn't agree, we both appreciated talking it out.

This is a perfect example of how several smart, thoughtful people can see the same cartoon very differently.

Next topic?

Executive Editor Christine L. Peterson 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; your contact information won’t be published.

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