Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bako, better than "Toad Suck" Arkansas ...

 * ... BAKO SALARIES RISING: It was nice to see that Bakersfield made the list of cities where salaries are rising the fastest. This comes despite our high unemployment (north of 15 percent by most measures) and lower demographics. The survey by Forbes (read the story here) says our success can be attributed to the oil and gas industry and the need for engineers, of which there are plenty in Bakersfield and Kern County. One excerpt from the piece:

 "In fact, soaring unemployment rates did little to deter leading contenders from the top ranks. The second-best metropolitan area, Bakersfield, Calif., has an unemployment rate of 14.5 percent. However, the lucrative engineering profession has a strong presence there, along with the oil and gas extraction industries. These niches have provided a nice cushion for employees, particularly highly skilled workers and recent college grads with degrees in engineering."

 * ... DOWNTOWN CLEANUP: We take it for granted now, but it's a pleasure to see the clean up and revitalization of parts of central Bakersfield. I've lived here long enough to remember when this part of town was a scary mess, but the area (most of it anyway) is now a tribute to revitalization and renewal. I'm speaking of the zone from Truxtun to California Avenue and from N Street to S Street, including the Rabobank Arena and convention center, the new Maya theaters, the ice rink and McMurtrey Aquatic  Center, the Convention snd Visitors Bureau, Amtrak Station, Marriott Hotel and the one that started it all, the Beale Library.  There are still some pockets to go, but it's a big improvement. Now if the core "downtown" business district area can continue its progress, we'll be in even better shape. Kudos to all involved.

 * ... FRESNO BULLDOG COMES HOME: I heard from the parents of Allison Brandt Oliver,  who graduated from West High and Cal State University Fresno with a degree in construction management, that she returned to Bakersfield to work with her father Bob, building custom homes with Brandt Homes.

 * ... BAKO OR BAKERSFIELD? Reader Caroline O. Reid weighs in on the debate over the use of the  term Bako to describe our city. She doesn't like it, and agrees with contributor Sharon Milton that it's an insult. In her words: "I agree with Sharon. It's a little too 'text messagee' for newsprint. I've also thought it unprofessional and insulting. You asked. You got!"

 On the other hand, Patti Imes wrote to say Bako is "just fine" with Patti and  her girl friends and they have been using it for years. She added: "Just keep in mind that us girls did not actually make up the term Bako. I'm sure we must have picked it up along the way from the good ole' boys, ie. Cousin Herb, Merle Haggard, Buck, etc. as in 'Good ol' Bako'. You might mention that it's better than living in Toad Suck, Arkansas."

 * ... THE BUZZ:  I heard that Keith Erickson, one of the great players for the UCLA championship basketball teams and later the Los Angeles Lakers, will give the keynote address at the annual Bakersfield Prayer Breakfast on January 28 at 6:45 a.m.  Erickson played for the the legendary Bruin coach John Wooden when UCLA won the NCAA title in 1964 and 1965. He is now a motivational speaker.


Anonymous said...

The term "Bako" instead of "Bakersfield" is a reflection on the person(s) who use it, and they probably use terms like "Frisco" and "dude" and "I'm like" quite a bit. I think that it is an ugly term. It is the same as saying a woman is a "babe" as opposed to saying she is an attractive woman.

......and that's my two cents!

Anonymous said...

From a native of the East Coast: Boston has learned to accept "Bean Town." Natives of Maryland much prefer "Balto" to the soubriquet recently given to Baltimore by the NY Times: "Crabcake Corners." And Alabamians were distraught by the name used for their largest city during the violence of the civil rights movement in the 1960s: "Bombingham." Be happy with "Bako;" it could be much worse. Remember Johnny Carson?

Virginia Smith

Anonymous said...

Mr. Beene:

I haved to agree with the ladies who take issue with "BAKO." I have a somewhat unique idea:
How about calling Bakersfield BAKERSFIELD?
BAKO instead of Bakersfield is like using BEAN-O instead of Beene.
Maybe this thing will just die a natural death.
Best regards,

John Strand
Lake Isabella