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 — which may be edited for space — are answered here each Saturday by Robert Price and The Californian’s editors.
Reader: I'm writing to thank you for the excellent editorial on CLETS ("KHSD misused database but where was state DOJ?," May 28). We've been ringing the alarm bell for quite some time; it's good to know it's not just us.
Reporter Harold Pierce did an amazing job busting the KCHS scandal wide open ("Who did Kern High School District run through sensitive database? Administrator applying for promotions, DUI teacher, student who filed lawsuit, source says," May 28), but everyone agrees that the editorial really captured the failure by California Department of Justice.
— Dave Maass, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Price: Harold's dogged reporting got our editorial writers three-quarters of the way there. The next logical question after "How could the Kern High School District have inappropriately accessed this database for so long?" was "Who allowed this to happen and why?"
The "who?" is the state DOJ, among others. The "why?" remains a mystery.
Reader: The false outrage from The Californian about the use and misuse of this law enforcement database is just that. Over the years many of us have been run through CLETS and other databases for real or imagined crimes. How many times have police officers or sheriff's deputies run checks on young kids just for the profile? They don't have to be guilty of anything except being black or Hispanic.
Now with FBI, Homeland Security, ICE, ATF, CIA, NSA, and others looking for information that fits the profile, outrage by the media seems redundant.
— Panfilo Fuentes
Price: We considered just shrugging and moving on to coverage of the next ribbon-cutting event, but it was a slow week.
Your exasperation is undoubtedly shared by many others. In this surveillance society, the last thing we need is one more set of intrusive eyes boring in on us.
Reader: We have enjoyed The Californian ever since moving here in 1990: I especially enjoy your Sound Off column. I noticed in last week's column, you said you'd be revising the Weather next month. When you do, could you please find space for Birmingham, Ala.?
Alabama is not included at all and I have a daughter living there. Surely I'm not the only reader who does! And, yes, I know I can see it any time on my smartphone but it would be special to have Birmingham represented. Thank you so much for considering this!
— Torri Tauri
Price: Next month is here and we have in fact brought in a new vendor for our weather page. The Weather Company (Weather.com) is out and Accuweather (Accuweather.com) is in.
We're still making some tweaks here and there. One of those tweaks might be adding national and international cities to the daily "Today" and "Yesterday" high and low temperatures. We can't simply add a city, because we'd have to cut one somewhere else, and we're striving to have as many corners of the country covered, geographically speaking, as possible. Birmingham seems like a worthy choice, however. I'll let you know.
Reader: What's happening with the weather page? Are you finally doing something about the weather? It's been shuttling between AccuWeather and the other guys.
Today, I noticed the indicator "c," which I deduced to be cloudy. It ain't on the list. 'W' for Weather is on the list, but I don't know what it would be for. Maybe hurricane, unsettled weather, volcanic eruption? Zombie Apocalypse? Hope you're still having fun with that page.
Personally, I don't like the single letter indicators. If I ran the zoo, I would try very hard to make consistent, three-letter abbreviations.
— Larry Dunn
Price: You'll have to get by with one- and two-letter abbreviations: s-sunny, pc-partly cloudy, sh-showers, t-thunderstorms, r-rain, sf-snow flurries, sn-snow, i-ice.
No, I don't know why w-weather has also been listed. There's some w-weather outside almost every day, I think.
Yes, I know some of the abbreviations have changed in the past few days.
Give us a little time. You wanted a better weather page, Larry, and we're trying to give you one. We've already noticed that some of AccuWeather's temperature forecasts proved closer to reality than our previous provider's same-day forecasts.
Reader: In last week's Sound Off, reader Randy Grigg hit the nail on the head criticizing the “token” conservatives on your editorial page — big time! I will send you a list of pro-Trump columnists for your consideration. If you can have Valerie Schultz speak for the Catholic Church, certainly you might put me on the list of Catholic pro-Trumpers once in a while.
— Jerry Todd
Price: Valerie Schultz has never claimed to speak for the Catholic Church but you're welcome to join our list of Catholic pro-Trumpers — as soon as we decide we need one.
Mr. Grigg repeated the claim that our Opinion section has been "continually trashing Trump via carefully chosen liberal writers and the use of 'Never Trumpers' (Rich Lowry, Charles Krauthammer, George Will)." The columnists he cited are three of the most prominent conservative pundits in the country. We selected them for our pages specifically for that reason. The fact that they're willing to call out Trump now and then makes them, as you write, "token" conservatives? O-kaaaay ...
The rhetorical contortions of some of our readers (like you, I'm afraid, Jerry) must be painful. Barack Obama shouldn't have authorized the Pentagon to coordinate airstrike information with the Russians for the safety of fighter-jet pilots flying in chaotic Syrian airspace — but it's OK for a presidential candidate to communicate with this most untrustworthy of adversaries via a "secure" line? And it's OK for him, as president, to blurt out shared Israeli intelligence? My head hurts.
Reader: Your May 14 front-page story about STDs was most inappropriate! It was Mother's Day, for heavens sake! Gross! Then on May 16, your reading public was “treated” to “Murderer mocks victim’s family” with a picture of the grinning, face-tattooed killer.
Granted these stories are newsworthy but do they have to be front page? Please consider the sensibilities of your subscribers or you might end up not having any!
— Rita Loken
Reader: What is Bakersfield coming to? Whose brilliant idea was it to grace the front page of our May 16 local paper with such filth. To give this “sicko” front-page coverage is despicable!
— Steven Johnson
Reader: I think the picture on the front of the paper on May 16 is absolutely sick and disgusting. What do you think that poor family thought when they opened the paper and saw this fool on the front page? Whoever made this decision has to be absolutely the most inconsiderate sick person I have ever seen! This story is awful! Thank you.
— P.J. Clemo
Price: The story and photo of that "disgusting" man were among the most-viewed things on bakersfield.com in May, but I understand your displeasure. We had a similar debate over the way we presented that photo. For better or worse — mostly worse, I suppose — we are fascinated by evil.
Reader: Saw the front page of today's paper ("Another big day for graduating seniors," June 2) and your photographer is killing it! Gorgeous pic/angle! Great job! =)
— Deena Raval
Price: That was indeed a great front-page photo by Felix Adamo of Centennial High School's crimson-gowned 2017 graduates.
Reader: The Californian needs to bring back the proof reader. I found two glaring errors in your May 17 paper.
First, on Page 5, the article states that McKinley Womack told Talisha Hunter he killed Epps, who is the accused, Not the victim. In the next paragraph the victim is correctly identified.
Second, on Page 10 in the story about new water standards, the statement is made that filtration systems detect contaminants. Wrong! Filtration systems remove contaminants. I assume the article was attempting to say the new standard is set at 5 parts per trillion because that is the detection limit of the analytical instrumentation.
— James D. McMahon
Price: Correct and correct. Thanks.
Reader: What a beautiful article by Steven Mayer ("Gargantuan plane has its rollout," June 1). He is very lucky he got to see that plane. Isn't it beautiful? Thank you! Good article! I loved it. I like airplanes.
— Irene Gorman
Reader: What a joy each time I read Herb Benham's columns. So upbeat, so funny, so non-political. He makes me want to read the paper every day. If it were not for him and the obits I'd cancel my subscription, but thankfully Herb's articles are there to keep me going.
In this crazy world everyone is slamming everything the new POTUS does. I am just sickened by the witch hunt, day after day. Thank you Herb: You made a senior happy again this morning ("Mom and I got lost — and found ourselves," May 28) with the love of your mother and your story!
— Lesley Horton
Price: I'm assuming it was an oversight and you meant to write, "If it were not for Herb, the obits and Sound Off ..."
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