Get It Straight
Sure hope your new feature "Debriefer" is not a harbinger of the way the new editors at the Bohemian will be dealing with the community they are attempting to serve. This alternative to Sonoma County's daily has a proud history of covering the local progressive community, so your snarky piece about the Andy Lopez coalition ("Ravitch, Run," May 21) was a surprise.
Maybe the "Debriefer" had a bad day, so he couldn't find the time to actually contact anyone from our group regarding our plans for responding to the much-delayed decision by the Sonoma County district attorney as to whether or not she'll ever be indicting Deputy Gelhaus for Andy's murder last Oct. 22. But wait! He admittedly had time for his contact in Ravitch's office, who gave him the feedback that the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez (JCAL) is spreading "rumors" in an attempt to "push Ravitch's hand" for said decision. He even compared our "tactics," which he misrepresented, to those of "irresponsible right-wing news outlets"!
Wow! Those are a lot of assumptions without talking to anyone! Unless your "Debriefer" is psychic, could you please explain just how he arrived at all these erroneous conclusions? It's true that the JCAL has been on alert for the past two weeks and has organized around the possibility that the DA might actually make her decision after over seven months of investigation. Would the "Debriefer" prefer that we just wait without any kind of contingency plans? And he was just plain wrong when he wrote that "protests were planned unless she ruled now." The protests are planned only if she doesn't charge Gelhaus. Get it straight, Debriefer!
And by the way, isn't the idea of "debriefing" its readers the whole point of a respected newspaper's mission? Are you now just limiting this effort to a short, skinny column on one page? We understand that it is difficult to fit in the actual news with all the wine and food ads, but somehow this paper has managed to do it for over 30 years. I sincerely hope that a new editorial team will not change that tradition. Gabe Meline—we miss you!
Editor's note: 'Debriefer' is two columns in length, twice as long as the Bohemian's previous news brief column. 'Debriefer' included a follow-up item about Ravitch's forthcoming decision in the May 28 issue.
I've ridden close to 100,000 miles, on three different bicycles, mostly in Sonoma County. Showing drivers you care about staying out of the way, and using courtesy, eye contact and a smile, makes the experience a lot more enjoyable and a lot less fearful (Open Mic, May 21). I've been buzzed a few dozen times, and have had the "Why did you get so close?" chat with some bikers trying to show me something, but most folks are pretty cool. Be nice out there, folks. Some of these drivers are also lovers, and you may need 'em on your side of the bed some day.
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Good points, Tom, but it's worth keeping in mind that there are situations when a bicyclist or group is in no way acting out of "self-entitlement" or aggression by occupying a lane when safe to do so. As drivers, we should keep this in mind and not bug out and honk a horn whenever we have to wait 10 seconds to pass. Bridges are key examples. Many, like the bridge out of Pt. Reyes on Shoreline Highway south out of town, have no bike lane. Just because a stripe exists somewhere on the side of the road does not mean that you can safely pass.
As of June this year, you cannot legally pass a bike without three feet of clearance, minimum. On a bridge like that, it's totally unsafe to pass anyway. The dude honking in a case like this was likely the aggressive instigator, although he may have not realized that, and did not necessarily deserve a beat-down. Clearly, everybody needs to chill a bit. I'm just pointing out that occupying a lane, in some situations, like a blind curve or bridge, is the correct thing to do per California's motor vehicle code, and not a display of aggression.
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I would have appreciated an article of recommendations from the Bohemian editorial team for the current election. The Press Democrat had a few recommendations, as did the San Francisco Chronicle. As the leading liberal journal in the North Bay, your input on the election was missed. Please do so for the big election in November.
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Editor's note: Because we cover Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties, it's not feasible to publish a complete voter's guide, but we will continue to publish coverage of key races and ballot initiatives.
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