Editorial: Extraordinary Circumstances

By Michael Durand

As a monthly newspaper, it is impossible for us to cover all the news about the spreading global pandemic. News changes hourly. 

As journalists, we do recognize our obligation to share information. We are doing that regularly on our website and Facebook page.

Thanks to our diligent public officials and community leaders, we are getting frequent updates about the coronavirus and its impact on our City and our neighborhoods. Visit http://www.RichmondSunsetNews.com to get recent information about how the City and various organizations are mobilizing to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to offer services to those who are feeling the impact. Also, please “like” our Facebook page, SF Richmond Review, to get more information.

Everyone I talk to recognizes that we are living through a weird, eerie time. To me, it feels similar to the time shortly after 9-11 or the JFK assassination. It is important to remember that, like those times, things will eventually get back to normal. 

With our publications, we want to offer a sense of normalcy. Luckily there has been no interruption to our printer and our delivery team. We have kept our press run at 20,000 copies, which are delivered door-to-door to about half the neighborhood one month, the other half the next. We drop 7,000 copies in local stores, libraries and in news racks, which are refilled once or twice when they get emptied. Find a list of locations on our website.

Keeping things “normal,” we’re still covering local news, writing feature stories, providing the popular Police Blotter column, printing updates from our columnists – Assemblymember Phil Ting, Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, Realtor John M. Lee, veteran politician Quentin Kopp – and continue our features on local artists and personalities. 

Not in our paper this month is the calendar of events. Because of the statewide shelter-in-place order, all gatherings have been canceled. Hopefully that sense of disappointment we all feel by not being able to gather will remind us what social beings we are and how important we are to one another. Let’s take the time to make a phone call to a friend we haven’t heard from in a while, just to ask if they are OK. I think everyone appreciates a call like that.

While talking about appreciation, it is a great time to think of everything that is going right in our world. While we offer our hearts to those who are suffering, let us also offer our thanks to the heroes amongst us. There are many.

Thank you first to our healthcare workers who are on the front lines caring for the sick. Not only doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and techs of all kinds – who play such a valuable role in our society every single day – but also the people who serve the patients’ food and clean the facilities and drive the ambulances and so many more behind-the-scenes heroes that are too numerous to mention.

We must be thankful to our police officers, firefighters, EMTs and other safety professionals who look out for us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of every year. Thank you to our sanitation workers who help keep our City clean, which is a vital service for our society.

We also need to thank our grocery store workers. It can’t be overstated how important it has been to have a relatively uninterrupted supply of food and provisions. We need to thank the people who plant, harvest and package our food, stock shelves, work the cash registers, bag our groceries and even remove the shopping carts from the parking lot racks to bring them back to the front of the store. A special thanks to my local Lucky store which has had disinfectant hand wipes at the front door for years. Each time I wipe down my shopping cart handle I say a little thank you for the thoughtful gesture. Who knows how many illnesses have been prevented from spreading over the years thanks to that simple but important feature.

I am also thankful to the artists among us who create music, paintings, sculpture, drawings, dance, photography, stories, comedy and much more. To be able to turn on the TV and get the latest news (journalism is an art!) or just to laugh is a tremendous gift. 

While we are on the gratitude theme, let’s show our local businesses how much we appreciate their significant contributions to our rich community life during this time of tremendous struggle for them. There are many small businesses that have temporarily switched to offering food and drinks to go. For these small businesses to survive, we need to support them. Go out of your way to see what you can do to help these neighbors who are fighting for their economic survival. Maybe buy gift cards now – it might save someone’s business and the fabric of our community.

To the small business owners: we have created a new page on our website called “Neighborhood News – Small Business Updates.” Here we will list information about our friends who own small businesses and have had to adjust how they serve their customers. Send an email with updated information to Editor@RichmondSunsetNews.com and we will post your information for free.

While you’re at it, please give some of your business to our loyal advertisers. Look through this paper and see which businesses you can support. It is thanks to them that our paper is free every month. Once the quarantine is lifted, the next time you visit one of our advertisers please, say thanks!

Before I end my first editorial since taking over the papers last January, I want to thank Paul Kozakiewicz, the previous editor, for his terrific support. Paul started the Richmond Review and Sunset Beacon newspapers more than 30 years ago. He has helped me throughout the transition and supports all my efforts to take good care of his “babies.”

Thanks also go to Barry Hermanson, Hans Hare and Gale Ward for your support. 

Finally thank you to all of our writers, photographers and editors as well as Sue Kozakiewicz. I truly appreciate all of their vital contributions.

Now, let’s all stay home, stay healthy, order some local food to be delivered and be thankful for all the goodness in our world. Stay safe!

Michael Durand is the editor and publisher of the Richmond Review and Sunset Beacon newspapers and the RichmondSunsetNews.com website. He can be reached at Editor@RichmondSunsetNews.com.



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