Reader: I am a 73-year-old, Bakersfield-born-and-raised grandmother. I am not a big reader of the Sports section. I have one grandson at Garces High School and no connection to the state champion Foothill High School boys basketball team. But I want to extend my greatest compliments to The Californian's Trevor Horn for his coverage of the state championship game ("Foothill's long road ends with second state title in program history," March 9).

I believe this is the first time I have ever read a basketball article start to finish. I was completely taken by the depth of the article. It showed the reader, the community, aspiring athletes, and their support team, the road to "the Show." I saw in the photos of those young men, all wearing grand smiles, their love for the game. In other words, I saw the road taken, the obstacles overcome and the hard work given to this endeavor.

Trevor's article reassured me that hard work and humbleness are still alive and well in sports. Congratulations not only to the Foothill team but to Trevor as well for giving life to a community success story.

— Michelle Claxton

Price: All good sports articles are really just about people. Their interactions, their motives, their challenges, their successes and failures. Sure, many sports stories require a certain amount of inside baseball, so to speak: statistics, strategies, etc. But in the end, a good sports story is about human qualities and emotions — passion, focus, cohesiveness and, in the end, dejection or triumph.

Trevor understands this. That's why, when he's on his game, his stories are accessible to even the most casual fan.

By the way: Congratulations to Trevor for his 2019 George F. Gruner award — first place, large newspaper division, for his profile of Independence High School head football coach Tyler Schilhabel ("Living my life: Tyler Schilhabel overcomes disability to excel in life and as a football coach"). One judge, who admitted having shed some tears, called it "amazingly powerful."

Oh, and congratulations to the basketball players he wrote about last week — the Foothill boys and the McFarland girls, who also had a great and memorable season.

Reader: I couldn't help but find myself a little dismayed at the disparate headlines on the state basketball championship games in the March 9 paper. The Foothill boys' Division V results had a great headline ("Kings of the 'Hill"). The McFarland headline was terrible ("McFarland falls short in Division III girls final"). They "fell short?" They came in second in the state in their division, and I believe that should have been reflected in the headline. That was still a great accomplishment!

Wouldn't it have been nice to have that as a headline, so they and their families could have cut out the article to save in a scrapbook (or other keepsake) for the future? Had it been an AP headline, or come off the wire, it might be understandable, but for it to have been written by a local editor is disappointing. They should have been applauded. Since when is being No. 2 failing?

— Bobbie Hulson

Price: Bobbie, your heart is in the right place, but I'm having trouble envisioning what that headline might have said. "McFarland girls complete amazing season" is full of appreciation but it fails in an obvious way. "Sensational season ends with loss" might be more along the lines of what you're thinking, but it's a tad cloying. The fact is, although Oakland's 50-35 victory over McFarland was rather decisive, Trevor Horn's story was more a tribute to McFarland's great season than a recap of the game. And "falls short" doesn't strike me as the least bit demeaning. It's actually pretty gentle.


Reader: When I moved to Bakersfield the summer of 1955, I was 15. Jolly Kone was the place to go for burgers and treats if you lived on the west side. It was also like the end of Bakersfield. Across the street began an area of sagebrush, thistles, horse properties, farms, ranches and dirt roads. It's good to see the sign restored ("Jolly Kone sign has a new reason to be Jolly," March 8).

— Fran Glessner

Price: That was a good read. Another one of those Steven Mayer specials.


Reader: The cover story ("Documents, decades-old memories fill gaps in Bakersfield man's WWII history," March 9) on my old friend's search for his doppelganger uncle — Dennis Franey's story — made me cry. What a great story.

— John O'Connell

Price: Mayer again. He had a good week.


Reader: Great Sunday column, with so many important messages for everyone in our community ("Devastated Sikhs, stunned by baby's killing, demand answers of themselves," March 10). The one thing that sticks out in my mind is the fact the Sikhs took immediate action when they were in crisis — at the time of 9/11 and again when this family tragedy took place. We could all learn from this idea of quick action. Thank you as always for your voice of reason.

— Chere Smith

Price: Great observation, Chere. When some confused Americans blamed Sikhs for the actions of a handful of terrorists professing ties to Islam, U.S. Sikhs worked to elevate their collective image and educate others about their faith and distinct identity. We see that happening again in the wake of this recent local tragedy. This time, though, Sikhs are looking inward, trying to pinpoint aspects of their culture that might have contributed to the whole awful affair — so they can address those things.


Reader: One of the first news reports about this issue ("Fear of family shame drove newborn's killing, reports say," March 1) mentioned that many Sikhs live in the neighborhood of the baby's death. Why would your newspaper describe an area in such a way? Substitute any minority, such as Mexicans, Mormons or Jews, and it seems like prejudice to me.

— Ann Whitney Carey 

Price: About 70 percent of St. George, Utah, is Mormon. Is that a prejudiced observation? Referencing race is not racism and identifying predominant ethnic or religious groups within a geographic area is not evidence of prejudice. It's stating a simple fact.

In this case, the observation came from a Sikh man, quoted by our reporter, who lives in the neighborhood.


Price: I once had a Realtor track dirt onto my carpet while she was showing my house to a prospective buyer. Therefore, I urge you all to bypass Realtors when buying property. 

Nah, not really. A good Realtor is an invaluable asset in any real estate transaction. 

I offer that ridiculous departure from reason, though, as a salute to Jordan Levine, a senior economist with the California Association of Realtors, who spoke in Bakersfield on Wednesday at the Kern Economic Summit, of which TBC Media was a co-sponsor ("Economic summit highlights local strength without overlooking challenges ahead," March 14). Seems Mr. Levine, based in Atascadero, told the audience of 300 leading business and academic professionals about having been quoted in a recent newspaper article. He felt the reporter used his comments in an overblown way to bolster his case.

So, stop subscribing to "the newspaper," he advised the Bakersfield crowd.

Two things. One: We don't know which newspaper irked Mr. Levine, but we know it was not this one. (The column you're reading now will hopefully represent the first time for that.) Two: If everyone suddenly rejected newspapers, the news feed on your laptop or smartphone would mysteriously dry up, too, because the most reliable, in-depth news available online, local or national, is produced by newspapers, print and not, whether they slant left, right or center. Almost everything else out there is commentary, marketing, propaganda, "sponsored content" or fabrication.

Sometimes journalists get things wrong. Sometimes Realtors get things wrong, too — but if it ever happens to me I promise not to diss the entire profession. 

Mr. Levine has been quoted in several newspaper articles and each time seems to have been portrayed as an authoritative observer of the real estate market. Think that has enhanced his stature in the profession? On behalf of newspapers everywhere, you're welcome, sir.


Reader: My friend is afraid to ask, so l'm asking: Why were the two sexual consenting adult partners of Chris Burrous not named in the news article ("LA coroner: Burrous died of meth toxicity," Feb. 23)?

May your day always be blessed!

— Pamela

Price: Two partners? There was just one other person in the room with Burrous, the Los Angeles (and former Bakersfield) television anchor who died in a Glendale hotel room from methamphetamine toxicity under salacious circumstances on Dec. 27. We didn't give the other man's name because the investigating agencies didn't provide it. And the police and coroner's reports, made public Feb. 22, didn't identify him because he apparently did not break any laws. He did not provide Burrous with the drugs, nor did he take any himself. 


Reader: How does it feel to be a perp? What the hell is the matter with you and your ilk?

— Gerald V. Todd

Price: You're citing a Phoenix-area TV reporter's comment, inadvertently broadcast on Facebook Live, as he and another man (probably his cameraman) approached a group of Trump supporters. As Breitbart reports it, the group was staging a small protest outside a high school where the principal had banned students from wearing MAGA gear.

"Let’s say I walk right down the sidewalk next to them — maybe they’ll call me a (racist expletive),” reporter Cameron Ridle can be heard saying, at which point the two men begin laughing.

Yep, Ridle got busted for suggesting that Trump supporters are all of a single mindset.

Which is precisely what you just did, Gerald, with my "ilk."

The Californian’s Robert Price answers your questions and takes your complaints about our news coverage in this weekly feedback forum. Questions may be edited for space and clarity. To offer your input by phone, call 661-395-7649 and leave your comments in a voicemail message or email us at soundoff@bakersfield.com. Include your name and phone number; they won’t be published.

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