Nothing gets readers worked up like a change in the comics, and we heard from a few of you this week:
READER: Once again The Bakersfield Californian has decided to remove the long time comic favorite "Garfield" and put in its place an unknown generic comic. Just like they did with "B.C." and the "Wizard of ID".
I wonder if The Californian would be willing to allow the subscribers of this paper the option to vote on bringing back the above mentioned comics. I believe these comics have more then earned their right to be read by the great subscribers of The Bakersfield Californian.
William Weigel, Bakersfield
READER: So a new comic strip adds an edge. Well "Wumo" certainly doesn't come near the edge our old friend "Garfield" and his creator, Mr. Davis has gifted upon us for years. Dang, let's get the right edge back. After seeing the first three days of "Wumo", I don't care to see anymore.
Come back "Garfield!" Come back! We miss you! I'm sorry, I'm not laughing at the "new" edge or enjoying its twist.
John Henricksen, Tehachapi
A READER left a voice mail in which he implied that replacing Garfield was un-American, inasmuch, he said, as Garfield is a institution and national treasure. The change was "unacceptable," he said, adding that he was probably the only guy who had the "cajones" to call and complain about us "screwing with the funnies."
ARTHUR: We always appreciate it when folks take the time to share their concerns. The comics pose a long-running issue: how to change without offending loyal readers of one strip or another. This is one of those "you can't please everybody" issues.
I think you can say that every comic, even Garfield, is an acquired taste, and we think the new "Wumo" strip is off to a good start.
Some of the factors that went into this decision were the cost of the comic compared to other comics like it, the fact that the creator is no longer involved in day-to-day production of the comic and how it fit into our overall portfolio of strips. We try to offer a selection of beloved classics and fresh, new viewpoints.
As I've written before, everything in our business is subject to change, including the comics. We do work hard to give readers what they want but that doesn't mean the paper in 10 years is going to be exactly like today's paper.
READER: On weekdays, when The Californian is printed in the small page format, certain cities are left off of the weather page listings, such as Pismo, Stockton, Vancouver, and others which appear near the bottom of the page.
These cities appear in the weekend edition and are of interest to us because of friends and family living there.
There appears to be plenty of space at the top of the listings (during the week) to move them up so as to allow space for all of the same cities to be listed all seven days.
In the Sunday edition of January 9 all cities are listed even though the weather page was in a half page format. Please consider this.
Lynn Finch, Bakersfield
ARTHUR: In fact there is less space in the weekday edition for the Weather, so some listings are missing.
However, the readings for Pismo appear on the "Kern and Beyond" maps both weekdays and weekends.
On weekdays we have room to list 27 other cities across California. On weekends we list 36 cities, which is why Stockton is a weekend-only city. On weekdays we list 30 cities around the world and on weekends we have room for 36, which is why you see Vancouver, Canada, only on weekends. Whether we should add Vancouver on weekdays (and take away another world city) is a good question that I will be happy to leave to my successor!
Lifestyles editor JENNIFER SELF got a nice note:
I wanted to thank you for the wonderful article reporting Belinda Carlisle's visit with PFLAG Bakersfield. I know for a fact that it was a direct result of that piece that several people attended.
The article was beautifully written... I talked to Belinda and she was equally impressed. You should be proud.
Thank you again.
ARTHUR: Thanks for your kind note. Jennifer's story was magnificent and was widely read and shared online.
READER: Why was there no mention of Girl's Tennis in the All League Selections Wednesday morning?
Sports Editor TONY LACACVA responds: Girls tennis doesn't have an all-league team that we know of, because there are league championship tournaments that would seem to serve that purpose.
As for any all-league teams that may not have been published Jan. 15, the schools and leagues were contacted several weeks ago and asked to provide their respective all-league teams for publication. The ones who provided their lists got them published; the leagues that did not provide us their all-league teams did not get them published.
To get your all-league team published in the Sports section, simply e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll be glad to publish it. The disclaimer we ran on the bottom right corner of the page said as much.
ARTHUR: This is my last Sound Off column. Robert Price, a longtime member of The Californian editorial staff and most recently the editorial page editor, takes over as Editor next week and will handle this column. Thanks to all who have raised questions over the past 3 1/2 years. I've greatly enjoyed the back-and-forth.
-- John Arthur
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 email@example.com. Please include your name and phone number. Phone numbers and addresses won't be published.