Gomez's criticism of mayor, council off-base
At the risk of mixing metaphors, in his tome of Dec. 20, Joe Gomez needs a little stale bread with his whine. He's now crying the blues because he and his chums, overwhelmingly rejected by the people of Barstow, no longer have absolute control over decisions being made, critical infrastructure policy decisions, that are finally being made intelligently on the behalf of the people of the City of Barstow rather than for the personal satisfaction of a few self-serving council members that had kept the Barstow area in the backwater of progress for so many years.

Joe must have been very gratified when he was carried to election by wealthy interests outside Barstow, and indeed outside even San Bernardino County as well, in 2004. He was made a present of, and enthusiastically joined a controlling council majority that had repeatedly made a mess out of city management by, yes, micromanaging infrastructure amongst other things; a majority that were really the ones responsible for the high city manager turnover since 2000.

The year 2000 was also the year that the people of Barstow finally began to realize that their interests were being disregarded by the controlling council majority and elected a mayor that had the potential, and the enthusiasm to put Barstow back on the map. Mayor Dale deserves kudos for trying his darnedest to do so despite the venomous opposition directed his way by electoral rejects and encouraged by their representatives on the City Council.

It's very difficult to believe that any rational person could arrive at the conclusion that the City Council should not have any part in decisions made by a non-elected city manager or any other city employee for that matter. The City Council exists to protect the interests of the city - end of story. It can't protect city interests if it abdicates its completely justifiable responsibility in choosing, overseeing, and (God forbid) correcting major city administrators including, but not limited to the city manager and police chief.

The mayor, by himself, can have very little impact on city policy without the support of the council. To lay blame on the mayor, is at the least delusional, and is a blatant disregard of public responsibility that demands cooperation and cajoling where possible and criticism with at least a smidgen of common consideration. With a little luck, the people of Barstow will give this guy the bum's-rush in 2008. Then maybe Barstow can get on with ensuring that Barstow and its people justifiably benefit from a stable, forward-looking, and responsive mayor and City Council.

Robert Vasseur Newberry Springs

Hospital a mess under private contractor
While walking, recently, through the Barstow Community Hospital parking lot, I quickly noticed what a junkyard our once fine medical facility has turned into, i.e.; dozens of hospital beds thrown outside on top of one another, the sidewalk leading to the front entrance very dirty and very stained, and cigarette butts that have not been picked up all year.

What a shame that the current hospital contractor will manage the new hospital. Again it's time to take our hospital back.

Frank Wyman Barstow