This feedback forum is designed to give readers a way to voice criticisms and compliments or ask questions about The Californian’s news coverage. Your questions may be edited for space and clarity.
Reader: I have read your March 17 editorial, "More evidence that education matters," and the March 17 Community Voices article written by county schools superintendent Mary Barlow, "Education has a new tool for transparency." I find it hard to believe that you are giving a round of applause to these people who just mismanaged and lost $19 million.
The reason Kern County has some of the worst public schools in the nation is because of these irresponsible people. If we continue to whitewash what has happened to our children under Mary's watch, then we deserve the high dropout rates and fewer college graduates.
Unfortunately the Kern County Superintendent of Schools is clearly living in La-La land when she should be out there trying to find out which employee or employees stole $19 million from the children of Kern County.
— William Guerrero
TBC: If those positive commentaries were representative of a hands-off, good-news-only approach to education coverage on our part, you might have a point. But as anyone who's been paying attention well knows, it's not.
We have been aggressively covering Kern County schools for years — graduation and expulsion data, test scores and personnel issues, both the achievements and the challenges. Our James Burger takes a penetrating look at the $19 million theft to which you refer in Sunday's Californian, so don't think for a moment it's escaped our attention.
Barlow wrote about two new programs that will make noteworthy improvements in the way we monitor our children's education. Our editorial re-emphasized education's role in transforming our local economy. No scandal, no cyber-theft, no lawsuit can change any of that.
— Robert Price, senior editor
Reader: In March 6's "Dear Kevin" letters to the editor, I believe The Californian neglected its responsibility to its readers. All of the letters, expressing the full spectrum of political viewpoint, were civil and respectful in their expression of dissent or agreement with others, except one. The letter titled "Dems must work for good of America" used the nonsense pejorative word "Dem-craps" to refer to Democrats.
Gratuitous school-yard name calling brings nothing of substance to her discussion. Maybe the writer would be happy if I referred to her as a "Rethuglican" or "Repugnant." The Californian, as moderator of the letters section, should either refuse to publish or at least remove this childish name calling that accomplishes nothing from submitted letters. If I want to read this vile stupid silliness that is ruining our ability to have a reasoned discussion, I have only to read the comments sections of any number of online sites. I expect more from The Californian.
— Mike Glinzak
TBC: You're completely correct. That abusive silliness has no place in the paper. We broke our own rules about name calling and criticism of a party or ideology without a very specific example. Mea culpa.
TBC: Our March 14 paper included an article about a rather distasteful incident in Kern County Superior Court, "Inmate smeared feces on himself in court Monday, authorities say." Not everyone was delighted to read it. Well, I suppose no one was delighted to read it, but there it was.
Reader: Well, that was important to let the community know about.
— Gary Beard
Reader: Why is this news? Come on! Why can't you report on the crime in communities? The fact that we are short officers to protect and serve the community? Real news.
— Chandra Beaty
TBC: When an inmate/defendant disrupts court proceedings, occupies the time of courtroom bailiffs and throws the court schedule into chaos, it's a story. When the reason is something as, um, unique as this, it's a somewhat bigger story.
I'm sorry the story grossed out so many people, but I will note that it was one of our better-performing online stories. That's not why our Jason Kotowski wrote it, though. Major inconveniences that affect hundreds of people demand attention. Had we not, I might be answering Sound Off complaints asking how we could have possibly missed it.