The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 10, 2008
Covering CCPOA

We're probably crazy for asking this, but is today's story about California correctional officer pay unfair?

"Please, please, please try writing something positive about us," said an anonymous caller who left a voice mail message this morning.

"These people are ridiculously overpaid," said another caller who didn't leave a name or number. "The Bee should investigate them."

Of course, the caller didn't leave any suggestion about what we should "investigate."

We won't deny that reporters have biases. All of us do. The standard that we aim for at the State Worker is fairness. Did all sides have a chance to weigh in? Where the facts presented accurately? Were the issues placed in context?

As readers, we bring bias to what we read, too. It's especially true when the subject is something we know a lot about, like our work.

Here at the State Worker, we're humbled each week to write about subjects and comment on events that personally impact our readers. Often you know far more about the subject than we do because you're living it.

If we get it wrong, let us know. If you have ideas for different angles we should consider, tell us. If you have insights that would deepen our understanding, share them.

As far as today's piece on wages, let's put it this way: If we go out to dinner with family tonight and meet a correctional officer and his or her family at the same restaurant, we'd be comfortable saying hello and talking about the story.

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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