Friday, November 13, 2009

McCarthy: Obama healthcare reform now moves to the Senate where I will fight it

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) posts his thoughts on the week ended and the week ahead. In his words:
  "It was great to be home this week and join our community in thanking our brave veterans for their service and sacrifice on Veterans Day.  I am grateful for VFW Commander, Frank Pacana and the Patriot Guard Riders who were at Meadows Field to greet and thank the California National Guard's Company A, 1st Battalion, 185th Armored Regiment, returning from a deployment in Kosovo.  Our nation has troops serving and sacrificing in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world, and we should do all we can to support them.

 "Recently, I co-sponsored bipartisan legislation that would extend a tax credit for small businesses that help our soldiers by paying the difference between the salary a service member would have earned
working for his or her current small business employer and the salary he or she receives when called up to active duty.  Our brave military men and women shouldn’t have to wrestle with being hit financially
when they are defending our freedom and many small businesses have worked to address this.  Extending this tax credit is the right thing to do.

 "In case you missed it late last Saturday night, Speaker Pelosi pressured just enough Democrats (219) to pass her misguided health care bill (H.R. 3962) that could lead to a government takeover of healthcare.  I was opposed to this bill and will continue to fight so it doesn’t become law. If you were still watching C-SPAN, the 1,990 page bill barely passed around 11:15 pm D.C. time at the expense of our
local valley families and small businesses. The strongest bipartisan vote was actually a vote against Speaker Pelosi’s bill, as 39 Democrats joined 176 Republicans to oppose final passage of Speaker Pelosi’s bill.  "There is a better way forward and that is why my colleagues and I put forward a bill that could save families $5,000 per year off premiums, when compared to Speaker Pelosi’s health care bill. From a local perspective, over 70% of those who subscribe to my e-mail newsletter list also opposed Speaker Pelosi’s bill and approved the Republican solutions.  This health care vote exemplifies many other votes this Congress has taken to drive up record deficits through bailouts and risky spending programs and leave our children and grandchildren with record debt.

 "Now, the bill will be debated in the Senate, as early as this coming week.  I will continue to fight to ensure any reform helps bring down health care costs, all without raising taxes and spending trillions of taxpayer dollars Tomorrow, I look forward to being there when Evan Morgan opens the front door to his new home that Homes for Troops built for him and his family.  Evan will receive the keys to this new house as a small contribution for the life-altering sacrifice he made in order to protect our freedom.  Please join us if you can tomorrow to say thank you to Evan at 11am at 9710 Fitzgerald Drive.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ray Karpe out at family real estate firm

 Ray Karpe has resigned as president of the family owned Karpe Real Estate Center over off Ming Avenue. Apparently Ray, who has been president for the past five or six years, had a major "difference of opinion" with his father, Bob Karpe, over the direction of the firm. I am told that employees  were stunned by the news. I reached Ray via cell phone but he politely declined to elaborate.
 Bob Karpe is the son of the founder of the 83-year-old family business and a graduate of Cal Berkeley, where he played football. More on this as it develops.

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.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bako bits: a popular physician moves to Memorial, two locals undergo lung transplants and a movie price war?


 * ... POPULAR PEDIATRICIAN MOVES TO  MEMORIAL: I heard the other day that Dr. Madhu Bhogal, a longtime and popular local pediatrician, will be retiring from private practice and moving on to run the county's first pediatric intensive care unit at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. Dr. Bhogal will be leaving her pediatric office, Bhogal Klupsteen and Patel, on San Dimas Street on November 15. Dr. Bhogal has a loyal following and has had a long association with Memorial Hospital, where she will now help found and run the planned "children's hospital within a hospital." Her husband is Dr. Rabinder Bhogal, an equally popular physician specializing in gastroenterology.
* ... FREE POPCORN? MOVIE WARS? Now here's the kind of recessionary pricing we can all celebrate. It looks like the Reading Cinemas over at Valley Plaza is challenging its rivals to a price war, introducing some creative marketing deals that may be hard to resist. Reading has lowered all movie prices ($8.50 for general admission and $5.50 for bargain matinees), a savings of 20-30 percent off the old prices. In addition, every Sunday is now "Family Sunday" where for $4 you can enjoy a family-size tub of popcorn with unlimited refills plus a free Nestle candy bar. And, hot dogs go for $1. They also will have a "Baby Boomer Thursday" where anyone 55 or older can purchase a $5 movie ticket to any show and get a free 46 ounce popcorn.

* ... TWO LUNG TRANSPLANT PATIENTS ON THE MEND: I now know of two young adults from Bakersfield who have undergone double lung transplants down in Los Angeles. The latest, 26-year-old Tiffany Kuehl Fischer, is a 2001 graduate of Stockdale High School and the daughter of Kent Kuehl, a longtime Californian graphic artist. Tiffany, who has cystic fibrosis, underwent the surgery on Friday, October 30, at USC University Hospital. Her dad says she is doing just terrific and her  husband Scott is by her side. Meanwhile there's also good news regarding Curtis Hartman, the 35-year-old local man who underwent a double lung transplant at UCLA Medical Center. He is finally on the mend and should be home for Thanksgiving. (read my previous post here) Curtis is the son of Linda Hartman, executive director of the BARC (Bakersfield Association for  Retarded Citizens) Foundation. Linda's sister, Californian human resources vice president Nancy Chaffin, told me he was "laughing and joking and looks wonderful." This was a touch-and-go operation as any transplant is, and I understand he is anxious to get back home to spend time with his wife Mary and their sons Gavin and Brock. Keep both of these people in your thoughts.

 * .... SHORT TAKES: Hats off to PCL Industrial Services, the employee-owned construction business that is giving $10,000 to the Golden Empire Gleaners this week. Dawn Alexander, marketing manager over at PCL, says the company wants to "make sure nobody goes hungry" during these lean times. Always nice to see local companies stepping up in a time of need. Meanwhile, Bakersfield hosted a cyclocross bicycle race  over at Hart Park this weekend and it was a huge success, drawing 150 riders from across the region. Sam Ames, assistant manager over at Action Sports, puts this race on and each year it grows larger and more successful.