Reader: I think you missed or didn’t know a very important incident that happened during the selection of the Cal State Bakersfield location mentioned in your Sunday column about Rio Bravo and the 1966 decision to reject it as a possible site for the new Kern County college campus ("Where We Live: Rio Bravo didn't win the university but it kept the character," Sept. 29).

During the debate as to which location to choose, a very significant weather situation happened. Isabella Dam was full and running over and flooding the Kern River to the brink. It was about to go over the banks where Tenneco had proposed to build what is today CSUB. Tenneco hurriedly brought in an army of bulldozers which worked for days and nights on the south bank of the Kern. Those bulldozers continually pushed up the banks and successfully kept the water from flooding the general Cal State area. They knew this potential flood would eliminate their chances of being the choice.

I might say today it would be impossible to save the Kern from flooding because of all the development that has happened since that time. The development next to the river would not allow an army of bulldozers to operate.

— Jim Neufeld

Price: I was not aware of that historical footnote. 

I couldn't find news reports that mentioned Tenneco's supposed efforts to shore up the riverbank near its proposed campus site. But Kern County did experience devastating flooding in December 1965, which would have been about the time the California State University trustees' selection committee was visiting all or some of the eight proposed locations. The final selection of the Tenneco site, known at the time as the Stockdale proposal, was announced in March 1966.

Heavy seasonal rains drove more than 1,000 people from their homes in towns throughout California during the first week of that December, with the southern San Joaquin Valley hit with 19 inches in a 27-hour period, The Associated Press reported. The flooding of the Kern River isolated a 150-square-mile area around Bakersfield, according to AP, and a concrete bridge in Kernville, where more than 200 people were flooded out of their homes, was swept away.

So I don't doubt that your memory is correct. I imagine George Nickel Jr.'s proposed site in Rio Bravo, near the Kern River, didn't fare a lot better in that dayslong deluge.


Reader: I enjoyed your Sept. 28 column on Rio Bravo and the northeast side of Bakersfield this past weekend and found it right in keeping with what we see from our house's backyard on Raphael Avenue, in the Tuscany development of Rio Bravo. I'm sending you some photos looking toward the Highway 178 approach to the Kern River Canyon. I never get tired of the changes of season!

— Mark Russell

Price: When Rick Kreiser, your neighbor on Raphael Avenue, told me the backyards along his street have the best views in Bakersfield, I had to take his word for it because I visited in the middle of a bright but ordinary early-fall day. But light, shadow and season paint stunning colors across your backyard view, which includes the western face of the Sierra Nevada.


Reader: In her letter to Sound Off regarding the Sept. 27 "Take me to your leader" editorial cartoon, Irene Edmonds stated the Ukrainian prosecutor was investigating Hunter Biden. It is my understanding the investigation didn't involve Biden. Also, I understand the removal of the prosecutor was supported by the EU, as well as other nations, because he was doing nothing to curb the rampant corruption in the country.

Can you provide some clarification?

— Lee Altmar

Price: You're right. The Ukrainian prosecutor was under fire for failing to investigate alleged corruption throughout the country. He wasn't investigating anyone or much of anything, much less singling out Hunter Biden. Joe Biden was among a chorus of world leaders who wanted the guy gone, citing precisely that reason.

I should have caught her misstatement.

I originally included details about the European Union's support for the prosecutor's ouster but last week's Sound Off was getting too long — not an uncommon occurrence for me, as many will agree. Now I wish I'd kept that part. Misinformation about the Biden-Trump-Ukraine affair is abundant, and I didn't help matters.


Reader: In Friday's Californian, an Associated Press report attempted to shore up the phony impeachment of Donald Trump with the following line: “President Donald Trump on Thursday publicly encouraged China to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden, snubbing his nose at an impeachment inquiry into whether a similar, private appeal to another foreign government violated his oath of office.”

This implies Trump violated his oath of office and is trying smear poor Joe and his son Hunter. I’m not upset with the AP. That wire service is very liberal and reflects other liberal newspapers. But I wish you guys were more original or at least, post moderate news sources.

— William Davis

Price: I disagree on both counts. First, the AP report is accurate. (A) Trump without question encouraged China to investigate Biden. (B) An impeachment inquiry is without question underway that is looking into whether Trump sought to encourage Ukraine to investigate Biden, and whether that appeal may have violated his oath of office. (C) Trump's very public appeal to China can reasonably seen as snubbing his nose at the Ukraine inquiry. Or am I missing something?

Second, every credible media bias study I've seen puts the AP at or very near the ideological center. It's not even close to the "very liberal" news service you claim. It's also The Californian's best choice for a primary wire service.

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 Include your name and phone number; they won’t be published.

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Mr. Price, Thank you for the clarifications.

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