From the e-mailbag

E-mails … we get e-mails … we get bytes and bytes of e-mails … e-maaaaaails!

I’ve had some interesting exchanges with readers over the past week. A few I know would interest others, so allow me to share snippets of what’s flowed through the CN&R mail server.

• “Sarah Palin is qualified to be the vice president. I see nothing in our Constitution that a qualification is getting the approval of liberals.”

You are correct in the strict constitutional sense, but I think you’ll agree that there are a lot of living, breathing adults who may have the right to run for office yet are not qualified for it.

• “What makes Sen. Obama more qualified to be president than Gov. Palin?”

First, he’s served in the legislative branch and worked with the executive, so he not only knows how things work, but also has established relationships. Second, he’s served on Senate committees overseeing matters key for a president: Foreign Affairs; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; Veterans Affairs; Health, Education and Labor.

Third, he’s spent the past 18 months or so traveling around the country and the world, getting first-hand views as well as answering hard questions about himself and issues. Most important, he’s rallied millions of Americans who find him an effective leader.

All of this is in marked contrast to Palin. That’s not wholly her fault, because the position she holds is in an isolated state—but fact is, regardless of any of her inherent qualities, she lacks this broad exposure … and is vying for a position of international importance.

• “If Sen. Obama is the agent of change, why did he pick a running mate who has been entrenched in Washington, D.C., for the last 35 years?”

Not to be flippant, but to use a taxi analogy, I know I’d prefer to be in a cab with someone who really knows his way around D.C. before we started taking shortcuts and side streets …

• “Complaints that letters to the editor have themselves been edited to serve the paper’s position—versus the valid reason of paring down submissions for space considerations—are growing in number.”

I try to print as many letters as possible, regardless of their alignment with my views. That’s why not every 250-word submission runs at 250 words. Frequently letters come in at 300 words or more, despite the limit listed in our publication policy, which notes that letters also may be trimmed for clarity or libel.

See, other concerns trump word count. For instance, I expect every letter—regardless of who or what it’s written about—to have a basis beyond inference of motivation. There’s a big difference between an opinion and an assertion of fact (the reader’s statement above represents the latter). That’s why I write back to letter-writers seeking clarification, substantiation and/or their OK on suggested edits.

• “I am curious about when the results for Best of Oroville will be coming out, as well as if you know who won ‘Best place to work out’ in Oroville.”

The results for Best of Chico, Best on the Ridge and Best of Oroville will be out Sept. 25. I know who won, but we keep a lid on the winners so there’s a surprise factor … ;-)

Fresh faces: A few weeks into the fall semester, the CN&R got some great new interns, including this staff’s first from Butte College. Joining our team: Serena Cervantes, a journalism student at Butte who has written for the Fresno Bee; Laura Brown, a journalism student at Chico State whose emphasis is photojournalism; and Matthew Siracusa, a photography major at Butte. Also, Sarah Kelly is back, as a copy-editing intern.