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Tuesday, August 11, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Please return Prickly City to daily comics

The Spokesman-Review

Comment: Please, please, please, keep Prickly City in the daily comic strips page. It’s hilarious. It would be a shame to lose it. – Anthony Tardiff, Spokane

Reply: Well, we dropped Prickly City from the daily comics more than a month ago, replacing it with Get Fuzzy. We have retained Prickly City on Sundays where it counterbalances Doonesbury. There just wasn’t much support among readers for Prickly City on a daily basis. – Steve Smith, editor

Don’t ‘censor’ Doonesbury

Question: I noticed that the Sunday, April 3, 2005, Doonesbury comic strip is the same as one published in 2004 (The copyright on a side panel confirms it.)

As I know that your paper has omitted previous Doonesbury comic strips in the past, I logged onto Doonesbury’s website, and noticed that your paper omitted the first two panels suggesting that Abu Ghraib prison be “re-purposed” to Chechnya.

My question is why does the editorial staff feel it necessary to censor comics let alone more important articles and topics? Trust the people who have a right to make their own decisions. Stop censoring Doonesbury! – Steve Billeter

Answer: Occasionally, our syndicates will substitute an old comic for a new if an artist is ill or on vacation. Garry Trudeau is out of pocket far more often than any other cartoonist we run. That would explain the re-run.

Our comics printer typically removes the first couple of panels of most Sunday strips. The first couple of panels are built to be discarded, their loss not affecting the rest of the strip. The panels are cut for space reasons, allowing papers to run more strips. Those edits are made at the printer weeks before the strips actually run in our paper. We’re not involved in that editing, we no longer see the strips in advance unless the syndicate issues a content warning, so it’s wrong to suggest political motivation.

We have substituted Doonesbury strips on a couple of occasions since I came here. My recollection is the problem was one of bad taste, not politics. But, in general, I believe strongly that cartoonists should have their voice. That’s why we still run Doonesbury, why we still run Prickly City on Sunday. – Steve Smith, editor

More coverage of Sandifur

Question: Why hasn’t your newspaper done a story on Paul Sandifur, the deposed CEO of Metropolitan Mortgage who caused hundreds of local investors to lose their life savings?

We all know about Bernie Ebbers, Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling and the other corporate crooks. Where is Sandifur? What is his lifestyle these days?

We haven’t heard one word about him in months. It would be an interesting story to accompany the one you will probably be running when Metropolitan has to reach the court deadline for filing the next legal brief in its bankruptcy case.

The Spokane community deserves to know where Sandifur is and what he is doing. – Pat Temple, Spokane

Answer: We’ve done a considerable amount of work on Paul Sandifur, including a major profile just as the Met Mortgage crisis was nearing a climax. To date, no criminal charges have been filed in the case. A federal grand jury is meeting in Portland, but it is uncertain whether any action will be taken. We’ll update readers on Sandifur’s whereabouts (he currently lives in California) as developments warrant. – Steve Smith, editor

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