Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Coming home: Making a list and celebrating all the local kids who chose Bakersfield as home

* ... THOSE WHO CAME HOME: I received a lot of feedback after a recent post about young people who have returned to Bakersfield after graduating from college. So many of our best and brightest leave and never come back, opting for more exciting venues with larger and more diverse peer groups and more professional opportunities. But there are many who do come back, as I was reminded by Kelly Giblin, a former East Rotary president and administrator at the LeBeau Thelen law firm. Working at that firm alone are Nicholas Mears, Bakersfield High graduate who went on to William and Mary; Melissa Brown, Stockdale High and UCLA; Kevin Thelen, Garces Memorial High and UCLA; David Bynum, Garces Memorial and University of San Diego; and Andrew Sheffield, Bakersfield High and Cal State Bakersfield.

 * ... AND A FEW MORE: As the days wore on I received more emails about local kids who chose to come home, including Adam Icardo, a Cal Poly grad working in the family farming business; A.J. Antongiovanni, UCLA and now at Mission Bank; Dan Clifford, a University of Oregon grad working at Clifford and Brown; Ryan Hansen, Pittsburgh and now a manager at Frito-Lay; Vince Fong, a UCLA Bruin running point for Rep. Kevin McCarthy; Brian Grant, a product of Colorado State and now working at Tejon Ranch; Sarah Trichell, a Fresno State Bulldog employed at W.A. Thompson; and Chad Manning, Purdue University sales manager over at Jim Burke Ford. My special thanks to Joe Hay, a proud grad of Notre Dame and now commercial sales manager at Burke Ford, for helping me compile this list.

 * ... A DUKIE CHOOSES BAKO: I also received a nice email from Jerry Matthews of Bakersfield, who reminded me that his son Jason Matthews  graduated from the prestigious (my word, not his) Duke University a couple of years ago and is now working for Colliers Tingey. Jason is a graduate from Stockdale High School. His mother is Sandy Matthews.

 * ... EXPIRED TAGS AT EVERY LIGHT: Bob Stine, CEO of Tejon Ranch, shot me an email wondering about all the folks driving around Bakersfield with expired tags. I've certainly noticed it and like Stine, wondered how all these people get away with it. Stine thought it may be yet another economic indicator of bad times and wondered how much revenue the state was losing when folks simply refuse to register their vehicles. Next time you are at a light, check out the car or truck in front of you.

 * ... FIXING HIGHWAY 46: It was good to see work finally getting under way to widen part of Highway 46, so named "blood alley" for the seemingly never ending string of fatal car crashes. Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter) was on hand Tuesday for the groundbreaking to widen an eight-mile stretch of Highway 46 from just west of Highway 33 to Brown Material Road near Lost Hills. It can be a terrifying ride along that stretch and this is certainly welcome news.


Dana said...

You must know it does my Bakersfield-loving heart proud to see this list! Kudos to these kids who came back to forge their way on home turf! Their ideas and experiences can only serve to strengthen this already great city.

Anonymous said...

"Hey, some kids of other rich people I know decided to stay in Bakersfield and work for their parent's companies."

Richard Beene: Californian CEO or Seven Oaks gossip columnist?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it applicable that one of the first roads you see come West from the Coast into the Central Valley is "Brown Material Road"!

Anonymous said...

How nice to solicit, at last, names of college grads who have "come home" to Bakersfield. One might suggest that those young people who have returned (and their parents, many of whom are wealthy and successful people themselves and probably support your newspaper with their advertising and subscriber dollars) might actually be offended by your
negative "brain drain" label/list on this blog. It is just one more time when you are tone-deaf, seemingly oblivious and unaware that you are condescending to a city and people who have managed to support you pretty comfortably, at least up to recent times. It's as if you hate the place, which one is led to suspect is not far from the truth.

Richard Beene said...

Healthy criticism and introspection do not in themselves equal condescension and hate. The "brain drain" is serious topic for this and many other communities that export some of their best talent to other communities.

Anonymous said...

Again, missing the forest for the trees. You have an elitist and presumptuous view of who are the best and brightest. Just because someone has a degree from a big-name or any out-of-town college, it does not make him or her a genius and a terrible loss to the home town. The disturbing thing about your "brain drain" list is the presumption that they are the people with the "best talent" who matter the most.

You're upside down when you talk about your loss of young people. We want all kinds of people to stay here or come here after college or their technical training. We want competent mechanics, competent air conditioning servicers, electricians, plumbers, teachers and nurses -- and all the people whose unsung, even unknown careers make a city "go." These people are our human resources infrastructure.

The city is not necessarily made up of lawyers and doctors, but the workers who allow the people on top to be rich by buying their services or products. It's great that you have the children of doctors, lawyers and car dealership owners come back to work or run their parents' businesses, but who on earth is going to make the metaphorical trains come on time?

The condescension and Bakersfield loathing show up as a common theme in your blog entries. In recent memory: the "is it just Bakersfield" reference to the pit bull attack caught on camera, the annoying poor kids imported to your wealthy neighborhood for Halloween, the snarky comment about Bakersfield folks who are excited about a new Target. The tone is pervasive and easily detected by even the most casual reader.

Richard Beene said...

Anon: Thank you for the feedback and thank you for reading. This blog is not for everyone and apparently not for you, and I have made no pretense about reflecting every one and every thing. It is after all a blog, not much more, not much less and in no way do I attempt to please everyone. But I do appreciate the feedback you submitted. When can I expect my next session?

Anonymous said...

"I'll be all around in the dark - I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build - I'll be there, too."

Anonymous said...

Chip: [being spanked as part of Omega's initiation] Thank you, sir! May I have another?