Letters to the Editor
For Your Consideration
Bravo on taking the helm at our community’s news hub. I’m excited to see how you balance old and new, and already am encouraged by your first editorial in which you present just one change – no longer publishing anonymous letters. This must be top priority for you to lead with it! It’s also a journalism standard. A few more for your consideration: 1) Letters with profanity will not be published, nor will rants; 2) Letters must be exclusive to the MJ – those sent to other publications or posted online will not be considered; 3) Letters written under pseudonym will not be published; 4) Individuals will be limited to how often their letters will be published – maybe no more than four in a calendar year.
There is a fifth standard that I hope you’ll entertain and that’s to decline unreasonably long letters. The MJ has a long-running tradition of accepting letters that run to multiple columns and sometimes occupy more than a page. Most often, the letter-writer is a “regular” who expounds on his opinions far too frequently. Short letters show confidence in one’s position – 250 words should be enough.
A possible win-win solution to #4 and #5 is to consider a longer letter for an Opinion Feature or even a Guest Column – an OPED page, if you will.
The last thing I wanted to do in my letter was to exceed my not-so-self-imposed word limit, so here’s one more “Letter to the Editor” rule for just you to mull – another accepted standard: The writer should take as his/her starting point an article or other item that appeared previously in the MJ. All too often, our writers are sharing (dictating?) their unsolicited opinions on issues far away from Montecito, and don’t even attempt to link them to local interest and importance. These are Opinions, not Letters.
Newspapers are a prime forum for democracy – thank you in advance for promoting intelligent and informed exchange in Montecito.
Since you’ve asked, this is who I am and here are a couple of opinions…
I’m Ted Tedesco, a 21-year resident, having moved here from Dallas, TX.
I am very pleased that you will no longer print anonymous letters, especially for all the reasons you have stated. Nuff said! Good beginning!
A caution I would offer is the practice of editorial commenting on letters written by readers. Letters had a pattern of arguing with anyone who wrote a more centralist or liberal inclination viewpoint. Many such readers, I know, just gave up trying to say something that wasn’t conservative/libertarian enough.
One final suggestion is a bit harder maybe, but seems typical these days… a limit on the length of letters. Far too many letters seem like term papers! Whew!
I’m looking forward to your editorship. Thanks for the opportunity to write you.
I am a reader of the Journal from out west and I admit to not knowing Montecito geography except what I learn from Hattie Beresford‘s histories. I wanted to thank you for bringing out a family newspaper, with so many great writers, for all of us for so long.
And also to lament that the letters section, which is one of, if not the best parts of the paper, might be well nigh irreplaceable without your replies.
These are brief but not tedious, welcome when a moderately longer reply is called for, and homey, sensible, grounded, a contribution that does not pretend to be something special, but is.
For example, I wonder if the Journal will take an editorial position on the upcoming elections, notably presidential. That’s when idealism works less well and hominess comes into its own. Last time around, we got one person’s developing views, leading up to a superb editorial ahead of the election. If you do continue with other writing, I assume it would turn out well, given the above qualities.
Missed the Mark
I normally like Dale Lowdermilk‘s satire when he drops a new letter.
This week, after reading his insane “cars kill more people than guns” argument, I just wanted to run him over with my car.
Can someone else please ring in on this false analogy, and kindly shoot a few holes in his reasoning?
At the risk of seeming impolite… on the issue of mass shootings, just shut the hell up, Lowdermilk.
Satirize something else that doesn’t involve death.
There’s so much else out there that is absurd, and needs your special brand of whatever it is you call “your writing.”
Beware of Hearsay
I just returned from an extended travel to read that the Journal has changed leadership.
To Jim Buckley, I say thanks for your contributions in making the Journal such a valuable community asset. Having lived elsewhere, I know the difference. I appreciate your publishing my letters unaltered and in your kind comments, and wish you well in your next adventure.
To Gwyn Lurie, I wish you well in your new endeavor. Your editorial in Vol 25 Issue 47 was encouraging. The recent congressional “hearings” (the opening statements eliminated their being classifieds “depositions”) have illustrated the misleading, waste of time of hearsay, which has the same effect as anonymous sources in that neither presents admissible evidence in court.
(Editor’s Note: Thanks for your note, Brent. I appreciate your being encouraged by my editorial. I do feel strongly about people taking responsibility for their words. Not sure I understand your parallel to the recent impeachment hearings in Congress. I’ve been watching quite closely and it seems to me that the number of primary witnesses to the actions and intentions of our President is staggering. Far from hearsay. Interesting how two intelligent people can have two such profoundly different take-aways. ~ GL)
Just What the Doctor Ordered
All my doctors are moving on… now you..
Congrats… You have done a great job and I have come to enjoy and look forward to picking up the MJ.
I think we all look forward to the new outlook…
Best to you on what is next…
Too Little Too Late
While it is great the work on the bridge on East Valley Road by Mt Carmel has been completed, it is disturbing that everyone is patting themselves on the back for completing all the bridge work needed after the January 2018 debris flow.
It is disturbing for two reasons;
1. It took almost two years to get this done.
2. There is still bridge work that needs to be completed on the west end of 192 on the Toro West bridge.
The Toro West bridge is located between Ladera and Toro Canyon Road and is still in a state of disrepair and necked down with K rails to a single lane across it. According to Security Paving personnel that occasionally are on site there, the bridge has been done since June/July but the lead ins to the bridge need to be widened, and they have been told to not work on it. This seems to be true as no one has been working on it for the last six months so those of us that live in the area are still subjected to a single lane bridge with poor visibility and no repair date identified according to Security Paving.
With the recent Cave Fire and the storms that are coming in we are again concerned about the fact that one of the only exit paths in the area is compromised and there seems to be very little interest on Caltrans/Security Paving/SB County to finish the 192 repair work. This point was driven home by the large media event was held to celebrate the 192 bridge work being completed, while there is still at least one bridge that needs to be finished. This celebration is especially irritating given the fact Das Williams office has been contacted numerous times about the Toro West bridge, but he participated in the completion celebration.
It is great that the other bridges have been mostly completed (they still need the bike rails), but contrary to what is being communicated, the bridge repair job is not done yet and there seems to be no completion date identified for the remaining work.