Publisher's Note: Letters and a columnist

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By Tom McDonald

Sometimes the letters to the editor consume me. Sometimes there are just too many.

And, sometimes, they are just too good.

Our last couple days worth of Viewpoints pages are a good example of what I’m talking about. When I started building Friday’s editorial pages last Wednesday, I had a dozen letters in the system ready to run. I got six in on Friday, and three more in today.

These nine letters represent a healthy range of thoughts about the issues facing our community. Starting with Friday’s published letters and working our way through the three running today below this column, we find: outrage over the recent cemetery vandalism; a history lesson about Jews and the first nuclear bombs; a former school official’s self-defense; a proposal for the city’s economic development ambitions; a tribute to a wonderful golfer and better man; an advocacy piece to save a rural post office; and a pedestrian’s appreciation for something as simple as benches along the sidewalk.

I would submit that, in these nine letters, we can feel our community’s heartbeat. Agree or disagree with any or all of them, it doesn’t matter, because these letter writers keep the blood pumping.

And just think: as of this writing on Saturday morning, I’ve got nine more letters waiting to be edited and placed in upcoming editions.

The heartbeat continues.

• • •

There seems to be a misunderstanding floating around as to why Rock Ulibarri’s history column, which ran for weeks in our Friday editions, was stopped. Some seem to think I killed it off, but I didn’t.

From the beginning, Rock’s intention was to write a weekly “people’s history” column to coincide with the production and unveiling of the murals in the old Safeway parking lot in New Town. And that he did, ending the series of historical perspectives with the murals going up for all to see.

I had less of a problem with the content of his columns than some people I’ve spoken with. I happen to believe that even the ugly underbelly of our collective past needs to be exposed — to help explain issues what still haunt us, and to help us learn from the mistakes of our past — and Rock’s columns did that.

On a more personal level, I got to know Rock better through the weeks in which his column was running, and found him to be a good-hearted and progressive thinker. I didn’t always agree with his take on things, and he hasn’t always agreed with mine, but that just adds flavor to our relationship.

If I have any regret about running his historical perspective pieces, it’s that they seem to have given some readers the wrong impression about the man and his intentions. But that viewpoint was offset by others who think he represented their history quite well. So I suppose it balanced itself out.
I for one appreciate Rock’s contribution to the community conversation.

Tom McDonald is the Optic’s editor and publisher. He may be reached at 505-425-6796, ext. 237, or tmcdonald@lasvegasoptic.com.