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SOUND OFF: Quality-of-life issues shouldn’t be boring | Christine Peterson

Reader: Regarding Monday’s article (“Getting up to code: City of Bakersfield improves parks’ access for the disabled”) about improving access to city parks:

Ishani Desai wrote: Other ADA-compliant structures include a new access ramp that leads directly to the park. What park is “the park?” There wasn’t a word about which park the writer was referring to.

The writer apparently has sort of an odd definition of “structures.” Usually, “structures” refers to buildings.

The article is basically about repaving five city parks and putting in an access ramp at one of them. This warrants a front-page story? This stuff is BORING. Do you think Californian readers really care about such articles?

— Signed, John Sweetser

(Too bad I don’t know what gender the name “Ishani” represents. Means I have to use the longer word “writer” instead of “he” or “she.”)

Peterson: Yes, John, I do believe some readers are interested in reading about quality-of-life issues. Improvements at Bakersfield parks certainly qualify. I’m sure parents who take their children to parks would be interested. I believe disabled individuals who could not fully access some local parks and now will be able to do so would be interested. I’m sorry you found this too BORING.

Your question about which park was getting a new access ramp is legitimate. Turns out it is all the parks mentioned in the story.

Webster’s New World College Dictionary, the one we use if a matter is not addressed directly in the Associated Press Stylebook, defines structure as a “manner of building, constructing, or organizing,” or “something built or constructed.” Seems we’re OK with that word choice.

Receiving and reading your comments for 24 years now, John, I know you prefer brevity. So I know it bugged you to type “writer” instead of “he” or “she.” Ishani is a woman and a talented reporter. Now you know.

Reader: I no longer see the general letters to the editor section and wonder if you guys are no longer interested in hearing from readers. All I seem to see anymore in the opinion section is continued Donald Trump bashing by so-called journalists. That will not keep me from writing this email/letter to you. I’m certain there are many out in the local population that have the same opinion as mine and so I offer the following. (The writer sent a letter about people entering the country illegally who receive health benefits. That letter was published in Wednesday’s newspaper.)

Peterson: First, let me remind you that the Opinion section contains just that — opinions.

And yes, we absolutely are interested in letters to the editor to publish in the Opinion section, and use them several days a week.

In an ideal world, I would receive enough letters to run a local letters column EVERY day. In reality, we receive enough to do so a few times a week. (Some readers send letters four or five times a week! In that case, while they are read, no, every last one does not get published. We call such senders “frequent flyers,” but no, we don’t offer any points.) But if I had enough from different people, we’d run letters every day.

Bill sent a follow-up email to me sharing that maybe he didn’t see letters because he only receives the Sunday newspaper.

Bingo! Our customer care team will be happy to set you up for a seven-day subscription. Just call 661-392-5777.

If you’re only reading one day a week, you’re missing a lot — and not only letters. Just this week, we had letters to the editor Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And I saved a batch I was going to use Saturday for Sunday’s newspaper, so hopefully, Bill, you will see them. If you miss them in print, you can also check them out at Bakersfield.com/opinion.

Reader: Enjoyed Froma Harrop’s column today (“Any idea how sexist short shorts are?,” Thursday) and so agree!! Sadly we keep lowering the bar and (it’s becoming) impossible to get it raised up again. The way things seem to be going, soon we will have to dig a hole to get the bar low enough.

Peterson: I agree, Donna. Froma hit the issue spot-on. I’m shocked by how some young men and women, and children, are dressed. Some of their choices (or their parents’ choices) wouldn’t pass muster for cleaning house attire in my home.

But I come from a strict school uniform background, where even wearing the wrong color of socks — only white, navy blue, gray or black were allowed — would land you in hot water.

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 soundoff@bakersfield.com. Please include your name and phone number.

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