Sound Off

Sunday, Feb 17 2013 04:00 AM

SOUND OFF: Website privacy, honoring heroes, puppy pictures

BY JOHN ARTHUR Californian Executive Editor jarthur@bakersfield.com

READER: Ugh, Californian. I get registering for better access to free articles. I get why you require an address. But DOB? Not your business.

From rom: @trinculo73 on Twitter.

Related Info

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.

LOGAN MOLEN, The Californian's Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, replies:

This is a good question, and I appreciate customers who have concerns about how businesses handle their personal information. We collect a variety of demographic information from our customers, whether they're subscribers or registered users reading a few stories online each month for free. We gather this information not only to fulfill orders but because knowing more about our audience is critical to understanding how to better serve our customers and potential customers.

To answer @trinculo73's question, we ask for date of birth instead of just year of birth in large part to comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which prevents us from knowingly collecting personal information from children under the age of 13. Simply asking for year of birth would not help us in knowing the difference between a 12- and 13-year-old born in the same year.

We understand protecting our customers' privacy is critical, and we take that responsibility extremely seriously. We do not sell personally identifiable customer information to third parties. We do on occasion share aggregate demographic information of our site visitors with advertisers and business partners but that data is general -- such as age groups living within a specific ZIP code -- and cannot be linked to any individuals.

We post these and other details in our online privacy policy at www.bakersfield.com/privacy_policy.

***

READER: Why is it that any time something bad happens in Kern County that involves a correctional officer, or any law enforcement, you people have to blow it up and make a big deal of their occupation?

Yet when I, a correctional officer, busted down the door of a burning house, and went inside and saved the lives of two very elderly men, my occupation was never announced.

And I know for a fact that after my phone was blown up for three days by reporters from TBC, and I finally agreed to an interview, I was asked what my occupation was and I informed the reporter that I was a correctional officer. (That wasn't mentioned in my article)

Just doesn't make since to me. Now I would understand if the officers in the latest stories were on duty, then yes it would be necessary, but they weren't!!

Just curious.

Scott Boardman

ARTHUR: Scott Boardman is right -- we failed to mention his occupation, which wasn't vital to the stories but seems to me would have been an interesting detail to add.

In a news story on Nov. 13, 2011, we first reported on the incident he cites here. Excerpts:

Scott Boardman and his girlfriend moved into their house in Oildale just two weeks ago, but already he'd gotten to know the two older men living next door to him quite well...

On Friday night, Boardman's actions may have saved their lives.

Boardman, whose girlfriend is pregnant and due any day, said he was working in the baby's room at 9:35 p.m. when he heard an alarm going off. He went outside and saw that the neighbors' pickup had caught fire, and flames were spreading from under the fender and starting to catch on the side of the house.

Boardman, 31, said he ran to his neighbors' house ... and pounded on the door. There was no answer.

Fearing for their safety, Boardman kicked the door in.

He met the men just inside the house -- they had been sitting in the living room -- and told them what was happening. The son was able to walk into the yard on his own, and Boardman assisted the father because he said the man uses a walker and was so excited he was having trouble moving.

As they reached the fence at the front of the house, the truck exploded, Boardman said. Flames shot 20 to 30 feet in the air...

Boardman said his house sustained water and smoke damage, and he and [girlfriend Julie] Quezada [moved in with] his parents in Bakersfield with the few personal belongings they were able to save....

Boardman said he was never nervous during the rescue. He said he just acted and didn't think about the danger.

"It's just what you do for your neighbors, " he said.

We wrote another story last March 13 when Boardman and several other folks were recognized by the Kern Chapter of the American Red Cross as "Kern County's Real Heroes." The names are chosen from dozens of nominations.

Again we described his heroism and again we failed to mention his occupation.

Scott Boardman makes a good point.

***

READER: I think that the photo you showed of the employee carrying the puppy that was licking his face, and also with a smile on his face, taking him to be killed is absolutely despicable (Feb. 3).

Your newspaper is nothing but trashy garbage and I will make sure that I never read your rag again. I also know many other people who feel the same way as I and will be boycotting your trash. You should be ashamed of yourselves!!!

Marie Scammon

ARTHUR: I know you are not reading this but let me explain.

Yes, those pictures were difficult to watch. On the other hand, some people think the euthanasia of 20,000 animals a year in Kern County is an outrage and deserves attention. The number of dogs and cats which need to be put down is a major public issue in Kern County. The number hasn't changed much despite years of efforts. We cover issues of importance and try to draw attention to them. Sometimes it's hard when you know what is going on in our community.

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. On the web:

Follow John Arthur on Twitter @BakoEditor

Have something to share? Comment on this story

Bakersfield.com Daily Deal!

Valley Comedy

Daily Deal

50% off Comedy Show Tickets

Value
$10
% Off
50%
You Save
$5
3 Bought
Buy Now! See more deals