Sound Off

Sunday, Jun 02 2013 03:00 AM

SOUND OFF: Catching up: Day of Prayer and other issues

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    By John Harte / The Californian

    Nathan Banks, a Bakersfield High student, prays during the National Day of Prayer event at The Marketplace Thursday night.

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    By John Harte / The Californian

    A nice crowd was on hand for the National Day of Prayer event at The Marketplace Thursday night.

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    By John Harte / The Californian

    Susan Adams dances from the audience with flags during Thursday's National Day of Prayer event at The Marketplace.

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    By John Harte / The Californian

    Worshipers join hands as they pray at the National Day of Prayer event at The Marketplace Thursday evening.

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  5. 5 of 6

    By John Harte / The Californian

    Nathan Banks, a Bakersfield High student, prays during the National Day of Prayer event at The Marketplace Thursday night.

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    By John Harte / The Californian

    Jimmy Fitchhorn worships to one of the music presentations with his daughter, Brooklyn, 2, at the National Day of Prayer event at The Marketplace Thursday night. The man at left declined to provide his name.

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BY JOHN ARTHUR Californian Executive Editor

READER: I was disappointed that a great newspaper missed out on the National Day of Prayer with only a picture and a caption as opposed to what really took place over at the fountain at The Marketplace.

There were several dignitaries there, including the mayor, Shannon Grove, Karen Goh, and others and they spoke and prayed and talked about our country and how much we needed prayer. This is a major event of the year, much bigger than the March on Cancer, which was front page news, and I'm disappointed greatly that the paper so badly missed it and didn't give any good report, just a picture and none of the comments made by our local dignitaries.

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I'd appreciate much better coverage in the future.

Again I do like The Californian, it does seem to be fairly balanced and I do look forward to reading it each and every day. So keep up the good work on the other parts, and I'd like some feedback as to why there wasn't better coverage when we had such a major event, the first of its kind...

Gary Mack


ARTHUR : Gary, thanks for your very kind note. The reason the prayer event did not receive greater coverage was simply due to our manpower levels here in The Californian newsroom. That evening we had no reporters who were available to be sent but we did send a photographer, as you noted.

This type of decision is made every day around here. We just can't send staffers to every event or sports contest so editors have to make often-painful decisions on where to deploy our resources.

If your reference to the March on Cancer was to the Relay for Life event, I think we have to acknowledge that Relay was much bigger. More than 6,000 people registered for this year's Relay for Life and organizers have so far raised more than $1.6 million, with more expected. The Bakersfield Relay for Life is one of the biggest in the U.S.




READER: I wish to correct a factual misstatement in Susan Scaffidi's recent article regarding the departure of Bakersfield Symphony Music Director John Farrar ("A Career of Crescendos" May 3, 2013).

Ms. Scaffidi drew an unwarranted contrast between Mr. Farrar and Fresno Philharmonic Music Director Theodore Kuchar, stating that Mr. Kuchar "cleaned house" when he took over the Fresno podium in 2001 by "replacing many longtime Fresno area musicians with performers from Los Angeles and San Francisco."

In fact, Mr. Kuchar has not dismissed a single player during his tenure with the Fresno Philharmonic and currently a significant percentage of our tenured musicians live in the Fresno area. Personnel in regional orchestras change over time for many reasons and Ms. Scaffidi incorrectly characterized the situation here in Fresno.


Stephen Wilson

Executive Director

Fresno Philharmonic


Susan Scaffidi replies: My inclusion of this item was based on contemporary accounts as well as conversations with individuals during the course of writing the story. While all of my sources are completely credible, I am not excused from doing what I should have, namely, seek corroboration from the Fresno Philharmonic. Without that, I should not have included that element.

In looking at the Fresno Philharmonic's online roster of current musicians, I count 73 chairs, six of them unfilled. Of the 67 musicians listed by name, the website identifies 30 as local.




READER: I wish to publicly commend The Bakersfield Californian for maintaining through these difficult financial times a newsroom staff of such quality that a brilliantly played high school baseball game could be brilliantly documented by reporter Zach Ewing and photographer John Harte.

On Friday, May 17, Stockdale High defeated Bullard High 1-0. Players on both teams performed, from the first pitch to the last, under tremendous pressure with skill far beyond their years.

I could not believe my eyes when, in The Californian the following day, Ewing's report and Harte's photograph so exquisitely captured one of the most exciting contests I have seen played at any level of baseball.

If you were not in attendance, and you would like to experience the game, read Ewing's story. If you want to see the key play of the game and have it explained to you for full appreciation, see Harte's photo and the (caption) below it.

When I see people of genius do what only they can do, I always ask myself the same question, "How do they do that?" After my eyes popped in disbelief seeing Harte's photo; and then gobbling up the Ewing report which so amazingly documented a pressure packed, defensively dominated game, I asked myself that very question.

The only thing I know is The Californian put the right people in the right place at the right time so that a very special moment in Kern County sports history lives forever. Thank you.

John C. Teves


The writer is a spokesman for the Kern High School District.




READER : In the May 19 Sunday paper, in the world section, there was an article called N. Korea fires short-range missiles off its east coast.

It began: "BEIJING--North Korea fired three short- range missiles off its east coast Saturday, following through on months of threats to conduct a missile launch."

(But) the picture you have with that article shows 4 -- count them 4 -- missiles being launched at the same time. Is this the new math? 4=3?

Another thing it said was that and I quote again "The South Korean Defense Ministry reported that it detected two launches in the morning and another in the afternoon." Again we are talking about 3 missiles, well the picture of 4 missiles.

I don't know who this info comes from or who is actually reporting it but you should make sure your pictures match your articles if you want people to believe them....

Pamela Goldman



ARTHUR: Thanks for your note and I can see why you might have been confused, but no photos we made available by the North Korean government of that day's missile launch. To illustrate the wire service story we carried a file photo from March 14 of four missiles being launched.

The caption clearly said the photo was from March 14.

The Californian welcomes your comments and suggestions. To offer your input by phone, please call 661-395-7649 and leave your comments in a voice-mail message or send an email to Please include your name and phone number. Phone numbers and addresses won't be published.

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