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Californian Executive Editor John Arthur talks with Scott Cox on "First Look with Scott Cox."

Reader: Has James Burger become the mouthpiece of the Democrat party?

If Burger is going to do an article on the senate candidates, as his headlines said in the May 9 article, then why not include all of them? Interesting that he left out Andy Vidak from his piece except for one sentence.

Also, I was not aware that mail-in ballots were counted and made public before the election as Leticia Perez indicates with her statement "at this point we are ahead. These are better numbers than we could have expected."

I would expect this newspaper to be fair and balanced and challenge any misleading statements by the candidates.

Arthur:Reporter James Burger addresses your comment about mail-in ballots:

"The votes have not been counted but elections departments from all four counties which contain portions of the 16th Senate District have released the number of mail ballots returned so far and the breakdown of those ballots by political party. The Californian obtained that information independently from any campaign."

Burger reveals the trends in an article on page B1 today.

As for the fact that not all candidates were interviewed on the same day:

Our editorial board holds on-the-record meetings with candidates during the process of making endorsements. Sometimes these meetings include all of the candidates for a seat, sometimes candidates are interviewed individually. After the candidates agree to come in, Editorial Page Editor Robert Price schedules them at their convenience.

Because these sessions are on the record, news reporters usually sit in as well.

Burger's Thursday article specifically said that "three of the candidates for California's 16th Senate District seat spoke with The Californian's editorial board ... [Wednesday]."

Others, including Andy Vidak, were interviewed Thursday. That article appeared in Friday's newspaper.

And, if you look on page B10 of today's paper, you will see that the board endorsed Vidak.

Reader: Monday evening (April 29), the CPUC held a hearing in Bakersfield regarding California Water Service Company's requested rate increase. I understand there were less than 30 people in attendance. It seems that Bakersfield residents do not believe their opposition will do any good and CalWater will get their increase.

Tuesday evening (April 30), the CPUC held a similar hearing in Lake Isabella. There were more than 200 people in attendance. I believe this shows that those of us who live in the Kern River Valley have had enough with the continual increases in water rates charged by CalWater. The judge listened intently to our numerous concerns and asked many follow-up questions of the CalWater representatives.

The insult is that The Bakersfield Californian did not cover these meetings, especially the well-attended one in Lake Isabella. I wonder what it takes to get the attention of The Bakersfield Californian. I would think that a requested 44.66% water rate increase would be incentive enough. Guess I am wrong.

-- Karene Williams, Lake Isabella

Arthur:In fact The Californian covered the meeting in Bakersfield, which included plenty of protests about the proposed water rate increases (page 10, April 30). We were unable to cover the meeting in Lake Isabella but frankly, the information in the article would have been similar.

More importantly, columnist Lois Henry wrote a detailed set-up to both meetings in her Sunday column on April 28. She explored all the issues and background --more so than coverage of either of the hearings would have allowed.

Henry revisited the issue last Sunday with another column.

I regret we missed the Lake Isabella hearing but I think we have done a good job explaining the issues to our readers.

The Californian welcomes your comments and suggestions. To offer your input by phone, please call 661-395-7649 and leave your comments in a voice-mail message or send an email to Please include your name and phone number. Phone numbers and addresses won't be published.