READER: Just a note to let you know that I very much enjoy reading the opinions/commentaries from other newspapers' sports writers that The Californian is now running. I think it's a great new feature.


Phil Beglin


ARTHUR: We agree!


ARTHUR: Readers of our website weather page noticed that the burn/no burn status wasn't being updated. Editor Christine Peterson worked with our weather provider, Weather Underground, to sort out the problem. Recently she reported:

A box now appears where readers can click and get the latest list for all regions straight from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. In a way it's better than before -- it's a regional list, including Kern.

It's one more click, but we think it's worth it to get accurate information.


READER: As a life-long resident of Kern County, The Bakersfield Californian has been a fixture throughout my life. As a child, I remember my father reading the publication each morning before work. I can recall looking over his shoulder, trying to catch the latest story from the sports section or trying to get my hands on the "funnies."

In fact, reading the newspaper played a critical role in developing my comprehension and decoding skills as an adolescent. I value our local newspaper as yet another way for children of all ages to enhance their love for reading.

I read The Californian regularly and have three young children of my own. Much like me, my oldest daughter (2nd grade) enjoys looking over my shoulder as I read your paper. Fortunately, she was in the living room this morning (Dec. 22) when I opened the local section (my favorite) of the paper. To my unfortunate surprise, I saw an atrocious story by Ms. Ijames. The headline read, "Is it time to throw Santa under the bus?"

As a father of three young children, I am especially cautious as I watch television to make certain that nobody inadvertently spoils the magic of the season for my children.

Needless to say, when I saw this disappointing editorial I was furious. How dare Ms. Ijames take it upon herself to potentially ruin the Christmas of any child who catches a glimpse of that piece. What was the purpose of her composition? Was it simply to pontificate about her self-centered approach to gift-giving? Was it to catch some unsuspecting parent and child off guard and ruin Christmas by blowing the secret of Santa?

Whatever her intended purpose might have been I want you to clearly understand that I was both furious and disappointed over this lack of judgement on the part of Ms. Ijames and the staff of your publication.

This article should have never been printed for some innocent child to have the magic of Christmas stripped away.

Jason Hutchison

ARTHUR: Jason: thanks for your kind words about the paper and the tradition of newspaper reading in your family. I, too, came from such a family and I too, once upon a time, had small children growing up in a house full of newspapers. (Or was that a house full of newspapers surrounded by small children?)

However, as much as we want to protect innocent children from the ways of the world, we simply can't edit the paper for kids, as I am sure you would agree.

For my money, Heather Ijames wrote a delightful column about the very real stresses of buying and hiding presents for youngsters. Nothing, including the headline, was insensitive, in our view. I'm sorry it upset you. This feedback forum is designed to give readers a way to voice criticisms

and compliments or ask questions about news coverage. Your questions --

which may be edited for space -- are answered each Sunday by Executive

Editor John Arthur. Sound Off