By The Bakersfield Californian
Reader: I am writing on behalf of my husband and myself regarding the articles that were in [last] Sunday's paper.
We have been members of RiverLakes Community Church for over 30 years. We have known Dave Champness and his family for over 25 years and we and our family have grown in our walk with our Lord under his ministry. We were there the day he gave his last message about why he was resigning. He was totally transparent about his weakness and we are supportive with his decision to leave to strengthen his marriage. Our church is praying for all of them.
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We do not feel it was necessary to place these articles in the paper, much less on the front page.
Jim & Nancy Kliewer
Reader: I must respond to the article on the front page about the RiverLakes Church Pastor.
It was in incredibly poor taste to publish this in the paper. This is a private matter within the church and his family which you had no regard for. Is this the only front page news you could come up with? This is what rags like a tabloid would publish. Maybe the paper should be called the Bakersfield Inquirer....
Your paper should be ashamed of itself and you owe that family a apology!!!
Arthur: I think the article was very well done and written with sensitivity. When a pastor of the stature of Dave Champness resigns, for the reasons he did, after such a long tenure, it is newsworthy, plain and simple.
Why is it newsworthy? Because it is an important development in the religious life of the wider community and because it is of high interest. The way he did it -- openly -- was also noteworthy, in a good way, I think.
It was hardly a private matter -- Pastor Champness gave his sermon to a congregation of hundreds, perhaps more than 1,000, congregants and a video of his sermon was posted on the church's Facebook page for more than a month. That's about as public as you can get.
I think it also was telling that all our calls to the church to talk to people were rebuffed, except one: Pastor Champness spoke openly to us.
That was a very classy move and it was easy to understand why his church did not want him to resign.
Reader: A recent letter writer discussed how the president really doesn't support veterans because he wanted to require them to carry health insurance to cover treatment for injuries to military personnel received during their tours on active duty "because they volunteered for the job." There is only one problem with this statement. President Obama never said it and it is not true.
A quick 30 seconds of research demonstrated that the these "quotes" are the product of conservative humorist John Semmens, who posted them originally March 21, 2009. They appeared in Semmens' column, "Semi-News," A Satirical Look at Recent News," at the online publication The Arizona Conservative.
The kernel of truth to which Mr. Semmens wrote his widely quoted satirical column was the fact that President Obama did float an idea to save the federal government $540 million by billing veterans' private health insurance for treatment of their combat injuries and service related health problems. This was quickly dropped after meeting with veterans groups.
The Californian should do a better job of screening / fact checking letters to the editor, prior to publication.
Editorial Page Editor Robert Price responds: Mr. Hanson is correct. We blew it. You wouldn't know it based on this one, but we do routinely screen letters for accuracy, and we reject several each week on that basis. This one simply slipped through. The worst part? We rejected a letter that made the exact same claim based on Semmens' column just a few weeks ago!
Reader: On page A2 in [last Sunday's] paper under Sunday News Shows, the time slot for CBS' Face the Nation is listed as 8:30 a.m. I have learned that many times this is not correct -- you have to check the Eye Street section for the TV programs and today under 8:30 a.m. the show is Horseland and the one prior is Danger Rangers.
If I wouldn't check the Eye Street Section I would miss Face the Nation. Is it so hard to get the times straight?
On Page A2... the Home Delivery prices are still listed for daily delivery: $12.99, for 6 months the price is $91.50, then for 12 months its $155.88. According to my calculations the 6 months price should be $77.94. All other prices seem to be correct. Please give the readers a logical explanation.
Arthur: Thanks much for your note.
The timing of the news shows has been difficult for us to pin down because the TV listings are prepared in advance and the guests on the weekend shows are booked at the last minute. We also get information on when the shows will air but the local network affiliates have their own schedules.
Because of your letter we have put in place new procedures which we hope will provide reliable information about the timing of the weekend shows.
Your concerns about delivery rates are answered here by Nancy Chaffin, The Californian's Vice President, Operations and Administration:
The rates listed are correct. We offer a reduced monthly rate for seven-day subscribers on EZ Pay or those who pay 12 months in advance. The regular rate of $15.25 per month for a seven-day subscription is the monthly amount for any payment term less than 12 months in advance.
Twelve months in advance payment or the EZ Pay plan is $12.99 per month.
We used to offer a six-month-in-advance reduced rate but that option was eliminated last year.
So, the current six month payment is calculated as: 6 x $15.25 = $91.50.
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