Sound Off

Sunday, Dec 23 2012 03:00 AM

SOUND OFF: We edit letters, we make choices. But our math...?

BY JOHN ARTHUR Californian executive editor jarthur@bakersfield.com

READER: The Californian, in its "Just One Breath" series, has published numerous news articles about valley fever. Several of the articles have mentioned the lack of funding for continued research for a vaccine. Yet never in any of the articles has there been a mention of someone coming forward to carry the fight for funding that I can recall -- not even after one article noted how the problem is rising to epidemic proportions.

What are our city, county, state and federal governments doing about this problem? Are we not worth their care, or is everybody too busy playing partisan politics to pay attention to a real problem? Did our "Young Gun" congressman, Kevin McCarthy, run out of bullets? Or maybe they are duds.

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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 soundoff@bakersfield.com. Please include your name and phone number. Phone numbers and addresses won't be published.

David Losa

Bakersfield

ARTHUR: Good question. Today's page 1 story addresses this issue.

***

READER: I am writing to give you and Ms (Rebecca) Kheel a little arithmetic lesson. There is an error in the lead story of last week's (Sunday, Decmber 16 -- check the banner of section for this additional spelling error).

Ms Kheel wrote that the number of permits went from 82 to 355 and "That's an increase of about 433 percent." Actually, 355 is about 433 percent of 82. Therefore, an increase of 433 percent would be 82 + 355 = 437 permits.

I see this type of error frequently among my students. It should be easy to avoid. As I tell them, you just need to remember that when something doubles, you say it increased by 100%. When something triples, it has increased by 200%, etc.

In the case of this article, what Ms Kheel should have calculated was that there was an increase of 355 - 82 = 273 and that 273 is 333% of 82. Thus, the correct statement is that the number of permits increased by about 333 percent.

Otherwise, as usual, I enjoyed reading this issue.

David Gove, Professor

CSUB Mathematics Dept.

ARTHUR: We stand corrected.

***

READER: You guys did it again! As (you did) last year, the Christmas Parade in Oildale got front cover, this year it was in the Local section, but not even the tiniest of photo of the wreaths being placed on the graves at the National Cemetery.

You can't say you did not know about it as your CEO Richard Beene had a notice in his "blog" in the newspaper about a week earlier.

Wasn't it enough time for Mr. (Casey) Christie to attend both functions? One started at 9 a.m. and the other at 10 a.m. If he had been a little late for the parade to start I don't think that would have mattered that much.

If it was too tight of a time schedule, the wreaths would have been at the Cemetery after the Parade was over.

I don't know what your excuse was this year.

Barbro Riffo

Bakersfield

ARTHUR: It's not a matter of excuses, it's a matter of choices.

* We had a story on the front page on Sunday, Dec. 9 about missing Army infantryman Roosevelt Clark, who disappeared in North Korea shortly after graduating from Bakersfield High School.

* We had a story on the local page last Saturday, Dec. 15 about wounded Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Joshua Brubaker.

* We had story on the front page last Sunday, Dec. 16, about wounded Army 1st Lt. Samuel Van Kopp.

* And last Sunday we covered the arrival home of Lance Cpl. Brubaker. That story, with four photographs, appeared Monday, Dec. 17.

For these and other reasons we felt it was fair and logical to assign Casey Christie to cover the Oildale event.

We think Steven Mayer's coverage of the veterans community is second to none. (He was there last Tuesday to cover the big crowd greeting Van Kopp when he arrived at Meadows Field and he has a Clark followup story this weekend.) However we are a general interest newspaper, not Stars and Stripes, so we cover other things as well.

The wreath laying is a wonderful tribute and I know you and your group take great pride in doing it, regardless of the extent of media coverage.

***

READER: This is regarding a recent letter to the editor I submitted of which about half was cut out. I wonder how many other people have had letters chopped up before being printed. That smacks of censorship, but seeing that it's Bakersfield and a very conservative newspaper, it doesn't surprise me. What's the point of submitting a letter at all if it's not going to be printed in its entirety? I'm sure this letter won't get printed at all!

Cheryl Brummett

Bakersfield

Opinion Editor Robert Price responds : Cheryl, your letter was the third of three we published defending Michelle Obama's right to wear sleeveless dresses. It was a topic Froma Harrop indirectly introduced in her Dec. 4 column on the fashion double-standard of network news programs, "Meet the Undressed: Newswomen on TV," and explored further in a Dec. 6 letter, "Add first lady to undressed list."

You covered precisely the same bases the previous two like-minded letter-writers did, but you did something more: You got a little speculative about the intelligence of the Dec. 6 letter-writer. That's entirely unnecessary and unacceptable. Remember, as we've explained many times, we reserve the right to edit for clarity and length. Add respect for the views of others to that list. This feedback forum is designed to give readers a way to voice criticisms

and compliments or ask questions about news coverage. Your questions --

which may be edited for space -- are answered each Sunday by Executive

Editor John Arthur. Follow John Arthur on Twitter @BakoEditor

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