Our letters to the editor section is really a community forum

Opinions, opinions, opinions — everybody has one!
Each and every week, with every single issue, the Lassen County Times recognizes and celebrates that simple fact, and we open our pages to our readers and give them an opportunity to express their opinions in our letters to the editor section. We’re more than happy to offer this opportunity to them. The newspaper believes this free and open marketplace of ideas is essential to our democracy and to our republic. Our very freedom depends upon it, and that’s one reason the Founding Fathers recognized the freedom of the press in the First Amendment to the Constitution.
As any enlightened person might expect, from time to time one will find letters to the editor expressing almost every imaginable point of view — Republican, Democrat, Tea Party, Libertarian, left, right, communist and sometimes even the plain, old downright crazy and kooky.
Pardon us for having to explain the obvious, but the opinions expressed by these letter writers are the opinions of the writers, and not the opinions of the newspaper. The newspaper does not judge the letter writer’s opinions before making a decision to print a letter. Sure, we print letters containing opinions with which we might agree. We also print letters with which we disagree. Our letters to the editor section is truly a community forum, giving members of the community a place to share their opinions with our readers.
The newspaper expresses its opinions in editorials like this one. We do not express our opinions in our news stories. We also publish opinion pieces by other authors.
You’ll notice in this week’s letters, several writers responded to a previous letter by a writer who frequently contributes to the newspaper. This give and take, back and forth, opens a discussion in our community, and that’s a good thing. We should not be scared of ideas, and we should believe the better ideas will always rise to the surface.
There are some guidelines to which we ask writers to adhere. Some letter writers become frustrated if their letter does not appear in the newspaper because it fails to meet those guidelines. We apologize for their frustration, but the intent of these guidelines is to create a framework for our letter writing readers.
We do not publish anonymous letters, third party letters or open letters. All letters must include the writer’s name, city of residence and a phone number so we can call and verify the writer actually wrote us their letter. If you write us a letter and we cannot contact you to obtain this verification, your letter will not be published. We do not publish more than one letter per week per writer, and only one letter per month per writer on a particular subject. Likewise, we publish only one letter per writer per month on a state, national or world news topic. We do not publish letters with an overtly religious theme, and there is a 500-word limit on all letters. We reserve the right to edit letters, but we always try to be gentle in our editing in order to preserve the tone and perspective of the writer. If a letter contains potentially libelous statements, we will ask the writer to rewrite it. The deadline for letters to the editor is noon on Thursday.
If you’ve got an opinion to share with our readers, we’d love to hear from you. Just send us a letter to the editor.