Today is the last day we will publish election-related letters to the editor. It’s been quite a run.

We’ve published more than a dozen full pages of letters from politically inclined readers. I haven’t taken the time to count the total number. It must have been hundreds. One day this week there were 39 letters in the queue of confirmed letters.

Most of the writers took a positive approach to describe why their particular candidate is best, rather than tearing down the opponent

Thank you for that. Your light shines brightly through the haze of scary political commentary, outbursts and physical threats. This restraint demonstrates a lot about our community.

It was my pleasure to confirm each letter and to hear from many about what you think of the paper, what we do well and what we don’t.

Going forward, I intend to remake the editorial page in hopes of a livelier, more local conversation with the community. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get a single complaint from anyone that they missed a favorite national opinion writer. But I need your help for this change to work.

If you have an expertise on a local issue, I’d like to hear from you. We have many accomplished professionals and researchers in our community who can offer new ways of thinking about issues and suggestions to solve problems.

I’ll give you an example. I received an op-ed from a reader who had just signed his name and listed his town and phone number. When I went to Google to find out more about him, I learned he had a doctorate degree from a prestigious university and had held a top position with a Fortune 500 company. He was writing about economic development.

So I put this out to each of you. Who has a solution for what to do with the empty but iconic Sonora Dome? Who knows what school districts should do to live within their means? Who has established a successful business and can tell others how to do the same?

There are so many possibilities for op-eds. Pot, aging, infrastructure, forests, keeping young people here. Who has a human-interest story that makes a point about the greater community? Who has a funny story? What is great about Tuolumne and Calaveras counties?

If you just have a vague idea about what you’d like to write, call me and we can discuss it.

I’m also instituting a new rule about content. The one-letter-for-each-candidate rule worked well, and I’d like to extend that to ask writers to not send in letters that cover the same ground they wrote about two weeks or a month before.

We have a few writers who write generally the same letter frequently. Beginning now, the limit is one letter a quarter on the same topic. Choose a new topic or offer some new information on the recurring topic. I’ve already imposed this rule on some writers — and I will admit, they weren’t too happy.

But the idea is for the page to make a difference. To show new ways of thinking about old stuff and to inform readers about something they didn’t know before. As I’ve said in this space before, two words define good writing: be interesting.

For now, we’ll continue to allow writers one letter every two weeks. The limit is 300 words — a requirement I have been a stickler about for some time, despite what some readers think. In the body of your letter include your name, address and phone number so I can call you to confirm the letter.

I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas.

Contact Lyn Riddle at
or 209-588-4541.