Stuff you need to know, 10.19.23

by William George Norris, Letter to the Editor, Sierra County Sentinel
October 13, 2023

Norris, a far-right Christian fundamentalist who has recently shown up in the opinion pages of the Sierra County Sentinel with letters to the editor denouncing homosexuality, transgenderism and the LBGTQ “grooming” of children, last week aimed his vitriol at a new target: Barbara Pearlman, a retired English and gifted teacher at Hot Springs High School. Dr. Pearlman, whose distinguished and innovative 25-year teaching career with the Truth or Consequences Municipal Schools was perhaps best exemplified by her co-creation of a scholarship program that to date has awarded more than $100,000 to local high school students, is running for re-election this fall to a seat on the T or C board of education.

Click the above link to read Norris’s allegations about Pearlman’s “leftist, godless” values and agenda as an educator in the limited-access Sentinel.

Dr. Pearlman has refused to dignify Norris’s false and hurtful claims with a public response, but others have risen to the defense of the professionalism, integrity and expertise of this longtime educator, who holds a Ph.D in Language, Literacy and Culture from New Mexico State University.

Click here and scroll down to see an ad endorsing Pearlman’s candidacy, signed by 65 members of the community, that will be published in the October 20 print edition of the Sentinel.

UPDATE: Also see below Denise Robles’s comment sharing her recent email correspondence back and forth with Sentinel publisher Frances Luna regarding the publisher’s “irresponsible” decision to publish Norris’s hateful letter to the editor.

by William George Norris, Letter to the Editor, Sierra County Sentinel
June 8, 2023

Norris’s views are so extreme that the Sierra County Republican Party, to which he was elected member at large last January, voted to remove him from office six months later.

Click on the above link to read Norris’s airing of his disagreements the the local Republican Party in the limited-access Sentinel.


Share This Post
Diana Tittle
Diana Tittle

Diana Tittle, a member of the board of Sierra County Public-Interest Journalism Project, was the editor of the Sierra County Sun, the Citizen's precursor. A former resident of Truth or Consequences who now lives part-time in northern New Mexico, she spent her 42-year professional career in Cleveland, Ohio, where she worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and editor, book author and publisher and publishing consultant. She is the recipient of a Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature.

Posts: 215


  1. My email to Frances Luna, October 11, 2023
    It’s come to my attention that you are printing ads paid for by an individual who is making dangerous and inaccurate allegations about a member of our local school board.

    The recent award of almost 800 million dollars to Dominion Voting Machines by Fox News should have been a sufficient warning to you that knowingly printing reckless and inaccurate statements can make you liable and subject to a lawsuit.

    Please do not ignore this warning or take it lightly. I’m sending copies of this ad to members of the local media all across our state, as well as to a few national outlets, as an example of an irresponsible and reckless local press


    Email from Frances Luna, October 12, 2023
    Good morning Denise,

    Thank you for your email and threat of lawsuit.

    I know you are an intelligent individual and familiar with the First Amendment right to free speech. The first amendment is a funny thing, we all want the right to speak what’s on our mind, until what someone else says goes against what we belive in. As you can tell, and is noted, Mr. Norris’ comments are a paid advertisement and not the opinion of the newspaper, its employees or its owners, as we note each week in our disclaimer statement.

    Can you imagine the outcry if we halted his first amendment right to speak his opinion of Ms. Pearlman’s vote or his right to support candidates in an upcoming election? That would be the real crime. Allowing him to take out an advertisement that gives him the opportunity to express his views is not printing reckless statements. It is not dangerous in anyway and I’m sorry you feel that. He is not threatening anyone’s life or encouraging anyone to do anything but vote.

    I do not agree with alot of things that happen in government meetings, are submitted to the paper, for ads, in letters to the editor, and more, but it is my job as a publisher to support the first amendment and give people the right to speak and report what they say. I do not have to agree with what is in the paper to support someone’s right to say it.

    For the record, Ms. Pearlman did vote in support of the curriculum that he finds offensive. That is not an inaccurate statement. Furthermore, I have sent some of Mr. Norris’ submissions back to him because they did not pass the liable test. He has toned them down and resubmitted, agreeing that he did not want to find himself in court either.

    Our reporter, Jim Shiley, did say that Ms. Pearlman had approached him and said she found Mr. Norris’ ad “scary and creepy.” I have invited her, and now you, to submit a letter or an ad in rebuttal to Mr. Norris’ comments and beliefs. Stand up for what you believe in, but please, don’t threaten to sue the one person in Sierra County who defends the most important constitutional right, week after week.

    I look forward to your submission in support of Ms. Pearlman, her vote, and the constitution.

    Happy Thursday

    Frances Luna

    My response to Frances Luna, October 12, 2023
    I reread my letter carefully and failed to find any threat of my personally suing you anywhere. I am sure that attorneys at Fox News had a similar response to Dominion Voting Machines initially.

    My concern is that someone may be seriously harmed as a result of one of these ads, and in that case the negative publicity and any potential lawsuit would not come from me. I believe, and correct me if I’m wrong, that the Republican party has already disassociated itself from this individual. Perhaps you should do the same.


  2. These are very interesting statements by Francis Luna who has refused to publish comments I have presented to her paper on a number of occasions, as has the Sierra County Citizen. Francis has made thousands of dollars promoting our dept of health encouraging people to get the shot after ending the ‘City of Heath” column. I contend that many of the problems in Sierra County are the result of Francis and the Citizen deciding who gets ‘free speech’ and who the platforms disagree with – right or left.
    And now for a 4.x million dollar cop shop . . . .
    When are citizens of this County going get get a pair and take their community back?
    No platform – no dialog!

  3. The editors of all independent publications make judgments about which voices and what topics merit publication. The difference here is that the Citizen does not lend its platform to crackpots, conspiracy theorists, disinformation/misinformation spreaders and bomb throwers; the Sentinel does. Witness William George Norris’s latest diatribe, published today in the letters to the editor section of the online edition of the Sentinel. The headline alone is beneath contempt: “CHRIST-DENYING JEWS HAVE NO RIGHT TO ISRAEL ON RELIGIOUS GROUNDS.” That’s why I am not going to publish a link to the entire letter.

    • I do believe in the power of the free press and local journalism, however I don’t really view either outlet in town as good publications/ representations of that. I gotta agree with Mr. Noel’s assessment.

      as to your assertion about ‘crackpots, conspiracy theorists, dis/misinfo spreaders, etc’, do you understand how offensive those terms are? And the arrogance, gall of the people using them as perjoratives?

      Mr. Yeh refused to publish dozens of my comments concerning covid. the antibody ‘class switch’ is not a conspiracy thoery. Neither is myocarditis. Years ago, when I was bringing these up, both outlets in town refused to let me have a voice. We have multiple jab injured people in town. Both this outlet and the sentinel pushed medicine when there are no qualified medical writers in either outlet. We (the members of this community who have the right to speak about medicine) offered to both outlets our help. Both outlets shut us down.

      I can’t say I agree with what Mr. Norris writes or anything, but as the saying goes ‘those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’. Take a look at your own publications and especially your abysmal political cartoons.

      Also, I looked at the requirements to maintain your tax exempt status. It is quite clear that you can’t promote any political candidate. As you are currently undergoing yet another fundraising drive (i had no idea a blog was so expensive) maybe you all ought to keep that in mind.

    • Sorry, Diana but everything I say is backed up by facts. The fact that you won’t publish a link to the entire letter shows that you are afraid of what the article might say. I would love to engage in the FACTS on whatever issue you may think that I am a crackpot on.

      • One thing I’ve learned the hard way in life is that one cannot combat willful stupidity. Your abuse and misuse of Christianity and Christ’s doctrine of love and forgiveness to support your cruel attacks and diatribes demonstrate your sad hypocrisy. I can’t say I’ve met John the Baptist but I’m pretty sure you’re no John the Baptist.

  4. So, Mr. Norris’ publicly spewing that I, personally, being gay, am a “perversion”, “godless” and against “natural law” and the very mention of my existence to children is so destructive of his version of the freaking American way of education that anyone who dared to suggest that the very mention of me would destroy everything that Western Civilization (not to mention Sierra County Values) stands for is NOT “reckless” or ” inaccurate”, DEEPLY offends me and a significant percentage of that person’s, as well as your, community. We have not fought for recognition that we are equal citizens of this democracy – as are YOU, as a woman – to continue to be ruled ‘lesser’ as ascribed by arcane biblical references from a culture living thousands of years in the past. Would YOU be satisfied to be denied the right to vote based on the values and assumptions prevalent a mere century ago??

  5. I would like to add that last night I tried to respond to that horrid “editorial”/”advertisement” in the on line version of the Sentinel. I wrote an impassioned response, much in the tone my editorial above but, in the first draft, I had used the phrase explaining that ‘no amount of exposure to information regarding the existence of homosexuals would result in straight individuals becoming “raging queers”‘. That statement – I thought – was fairly ‘straight’ forward, forgetting that I use the word “queer” in the same context as a pissed off black man might use “nigger”. The Sentinel’s ever alert robo-alert system sent back a message that my response was not up to “community standards” because I used a “profanity” (this in response to that inflamatory article/editorial). I realized my error and erased the word ‘queer’ and replaced it with ‘homosexual’ which I thought would convey the same message to a wider audience. To this corrected version I received the robo-(I generously hope) was the response – “we think your response looks like spam.” I rightly or wrongly assumed this was NOT a robo- but rather an editorial response, which REALLY pissed me off and demanded that I find SOME way of responding. Hence the above comment.

  6. It used to be a truth universally acknowledged by citizens of democratic nations that freedom of speech was the basis not just of democracy, but of all human rights.

    When a person or group can censor the speech of others, there is – by definition – an imbalance of power. Those exercising the power can decide what information and which opinions are allowed, and which should be suppressed. In order to maintain their power, they will naturally suppress information and views that challenge their position.

    Free speech is the only peaceful way to hold those in power accountable, challenge potentially harmful policies, and expose corruption. Those of us privileged to live in democracies instinctively understand this nearly sacred value of free speech in maintaining our free and open societies.

    Or do we?

    Alarmingly, it seems like many people in what we call democratic nations are losing that understanding. And they seem willing to cede their freedom of speech to governments, organizations, and Big Tech companies who, supposedly, need to control the flow of information to keep everyone “safe.”

    The locus for the disturbing shift away from free speech is the 21st-century’s global public square: the Internet. And the proclaimed reasons for allowing those in power to diminish our free speech on the Internet are: “disinformation” and “hate speech.”

    • One could just as easily argue that speech is never been freer with the advent of the internet. One can reach hundreds, thousands, even millions of people in a few seconds, frequently saying whatever you feel like at the moment. The problem is it’s all too easy to spread lies, threats, and unsubstantiated, malicious gossip with no accountability for the actions of the perpetrators, who feel comfortable saying outrageous things they would never consider saying face to face. And malignant individuals knowingly spreading disgusting garbage fall back on the First Amendment. This includes so-called Christians like WGN who cavalierly ignore the 9th of the ten commandments.

      • i tried to make an earlier publication about the FCC, section 230, and the consolodition of media, but the editor thoiught it was too long so maybe I’ll sun it up an resubmit.

        there is currently a casev going before the supreme court addressing this specific topic. I disagree with Mr. Willards statement about the internet providing more free speech. This is the case going to the supreme court

        • and a quick addendum because the editor felt it necessary to delete my first comment-

          Mr. Willard was discussing how much more access to info the internet provides. I am countering that. My former post made mention of a case going to the supreme court brought on by doctors who were censored on social media. I said one of the censored terms, among others, was ivermectin. This site is apparently really touchy about that term. So I’ll add another case, in which the FDA admitted that it has no right to tell doctors what they can and cannot prescribe for a given ailment. Doctors have the right to prescribe as ‘off-label’ use. So the FDA can’t encourage or discourage doctors from using IVM, or anything else, their role is in approving new drugs to the market.

          This conversation could also apply to the ‘stuff we need to know (?)’ part of this, as the philosophies and ‘medicines’ given to children in regards to ‘sexually affirming care’ are also under the same censorship.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment Fields

Please tell us where you live. *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.