On Tuesday’s Opinion Page in The Record, ran a number of letters received in February from Betty K. Thomas, who is a political Conservative and a frequent letter writer. She was one of the participants in the Conservative Roundtable discussion held at The Record a few weeks ago.

We ran those letters en masse in part because Thomas has been a serial letter writer for a long time. I wanted to illustrate how she continues to write despite The Record policy because she felt it important to express her views.

The reactions have been somewhat predictable and mixed.

Those who lean to the right politically are thrilled and in agreement with her points of view.

“You may not know this, but by doing what you did with Betty K Thomas did not go unnoticed. I have to question why you chose to do it, but for the very first time in 12 years, I say ‘Well done!’” writes George Kennady of Valley Springs.

Those who lean left, not so much.

“I hope you have a similar stash of letters from a lefty with too much time on their hands that you can publish to counter balance Ms. Thomas,” writes William Maxwell of Stockton.

And for the record, I do not have a stash. What I have found is that people in agreement with what we print usually remain silent.

Those who do pipe up often will ask why we are running viewpoints contrary to their own.

It’s part of the community conversation that we’re having.

As I’ve said repeatedly, even if you do not agree with someone, you should at least try to listen. Of course, there are some cases where no matter what you do, that listening just won’t happen.

Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. recently wrote about a Knight Foundation study that revealed that some people just never listen.

He writes:

“But there was one finding that leapt out at me: Four out of 10 Republicans said they always regard as ‘fake news’ accurate news stories that cast a favored politician or group in a negative light. Let that marinate for a moment. They concede it to be true, but they regard it as ‘fake’ if they don’t like what it says.”

For Democrats, that number is 17 percent.

That, in part, explains the complaints we receive about The Record being a Leftist newspaper for publishing stories that cast President Donald Trump in an unfavorable light.

As I tell readers, we do not make up those stories, we use the most trusted news sources available, and we’re not changing them.

But disagreeing on that does not mean that we cannot at least discuss the issues we care about so passionately.

On today’s page you’ll find a new feature called Point-Counterpoint.

Its purpose is to allow local writers to debate on a single topic.

These are your friends, neighbors and co-workers, for example.

Today’s discussion asks: Should teachers in schools carry weapons?

This issue heated up again after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

We hope these two takes cause you to think further on the issue of school safety.

Comings and goings

Longtime Record reporter Alex Breitler put away his notebook and pen for the final time last week. Alex has moved on to become public information coordinator at San Joaquin Delta College.

It’s always sad when someone you worked with a long time leaves. As I told Alex several times, he had many of the qualities that make for a good journalist.

Alex worked tirelessly on his beat, exemplifying what every reporter should aspire to be: inquisitive, accurate, dogged, productive and fun. He took his work seriously but never himself.

I’m sure he will do great in his new gig and although we will miss him, we also will continue to cover our territory.

With that, I am happy to announce that Edison High grad and longtime Stocktonian Tony Acosta has returned to The Record. Tony is a fixture at the Oak Park tennis courts and loves his University of Southern California Trojans (he’s a graduate). He will focus primarily on sports but also will be pitching in on metro beats, too.

 

Contact Editor Donald W. Blount at (209) 546-8251 or dblount@recordnet.com. Follow him at recordnet.com/editorblog and on Twitter @donblount.