Friday, December 18, 2009

McCarthy: Democrats err is rejecting GOP plans to curtail spending, help local businesses

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) submits his weekly report from  Capitol Hill. In his  words:

 "The House adjourned this week for the year and I am looking forward to spending time with family and friends in Bakersfield for Christmas.  As we celebrate, let’s not forget our brave service members who are away from their families during the holiday season.  I know that local families now have loved ones getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan, and my thoughts and prayers are with them.  Also let us remember those less fortunate, and if you can, volunteer some time to those organizations that help families during the holidays. 

"Unfortunately, this week Democratic leaders left a lump of coal in the stockings of American families and businesses.  First, they voted to increase our national debt limit -currently at $12.1 trillion - by another $290 billion.  Last week, I told you about a new bill that I cosponsored, the “CAP the DEBT Act” to stop Congress from out of control borrowing and spending.  While the Speaker did not allow this bill to the floor, the very introduction helped pressure Democratic leadership to hold an up or down vote on raising the debt limit.  However, there is still a need for a formal transparent procedure to keep Members accountable when raising our country’s credit limit because of our reckless spending.  We cannot continue down this path and as I indicated before, a first step towards a different direction would be to end TARP and pay down our debt. 

 "Hours after increasing the public debt limit so Washington can borrow more money, House Democratic leaders proceeded to pass another huge spending bill.  Democrats rerouted $75 billion in unspent and repaid Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds (from the $700 billion Wall Street bailout in October 2008) in their second attempt to stimulate the economy.  I don’t think America needs a second helping of stimulus after Democrats failed to fulfill their promise that the first stimulus would keep unemployment below 8.5%.  Going into the holiday season, Congress should be providing America with an environment that will create jobs as our communities continue to deal with double-digit unemployment.  Common sense tells us that Washington should not be spending more taxpayer dollars on proposals that Americans oppose and strategies that have failed to work.  Come 2010, I will continue to make our country’s fiscal health a priority, so we do not saddle our children and grandchildren with debt.

 "I also was able to visit with Bakersfield orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steven Shopler and his wife Robin, who happened to be in DC this week.  We talked about the ongoing health care reform debate and the need for lower costs and increased access for American families.  On Capitol Hill, the Senate continues to try to push a proposal that Harry Reid refuses to share with anyone else, which currently lacks the votes to pass.  Rumor has it that the Senate may drop the public option but not the major tax increases.  We will have to wait and see if anything comes out of the Senate this year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Meir Brown on the Stockdale Highway traffic mess and is "Bako" a derogatory term?

* ... WHEN GOVERNMENT RESPONDS: Meir Brown, owner of the Cafe Med restaurant on Stockdale Highway, was one of the retailers who saw his business plummet when the city decided to take Stockdale down to two lanes during the lengthy widening project. Business owners like Meir were "appalled" that the city chose the peak of the holiday season to force drivers to run the gauntlet, scaring away virtually everyone save a precious loyal few, but a little pressure can sometimes do wonders. In Meir's words:

 "I have to say that at the end of the process, as I look at six lanes flowing on Stockdale Highway a full  three weeks ahead of schedule, some level of confidence in one's ability to affect change in the working of local government has been restored in me. The City Councilmen we approached - Dave Couch, Harold Hanson and Sue Benham, as well County Supervisor Mike Maggard - responded swiftly and positively. Although significant damage was inflicted on all the merchants in the Stockdale corridor, it could have been considerably worse. The process was encouraging and educational for me, as I said I did not believe we could make a difference. Also, I hope the process was educational for city officials as well and that unnecessary hardships could be minimized in the future for other businesses like ours."


* ... PACIFIC GRAD COMES HOME: I've been getting a lot of input recently from local kids who went to University of Pacific and came home. The latest is Dr. Dana L. Yeoman who graduated from West High in 1993 and went on to earned her bachelor’s degree in 1997. She was accepted to Loma Linda University School of Dentistry and received her DDS in 2003. Dr. Dana, as her patients call her, returned to Bakersfield and worked with her dad, Dr. Leland R. Yeoman, for a year before deciding to stay in Bakersfield and have her own practice as Second Smile Denture Care.

* ... ANOTHER DENTIST: The parents of Joshua Divelbiss, a Centennial High grad who went on to Brigham Young University,  proudly added Joshua to the list. He went to the University of Southern California Dental School before returning to set up his dental practice here in Bakersfield and  is now associated with Adept Dental Group. As his father Bruce Divelbiss said: "A big shout out to all our young people who bring their training and expertise back home to enrich our community. "

* ... BAKO OR BAKERSFIELD?: I enjoyed some friendly email banter with Sharon Milton who took me to task for frequently referring to Bakersfield as "Bako." I use the term loosely and as a term of endearment, but Sharon sees it as an insult and wonders about its origin. "Why shorten it?" she asked "Are you embarrassed to call our town by it's full name? This is what is disrespectful. Who wants to visit a great town called "Bako?" What is your take? Let me hear from you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Macey Kibbee's recovery and RIP Shirley Ann Fiddler

 * ... MACEY KIBBEE'S RECOVERY: I've been following the slow recovery of Macey Kibbee, one of our local girls who was gravely injured when she was hit by a car while jogging in Long Beach. (read the previous post here). Macey, who graduated from Stockdale High two years ago, is a sophomore at Long Beach State. The accident, which happened around dusk several weeks ago, has left her with brain injuries but the family says there is reason for optimism. To check out her progress, go to the family blogsite here. Since the accident, a steady stream of friends and well wishers have visited her at Long Beach Memorial. The details of exactly what caused the accident are not clear, and the emphasis now is on her recovery. Her long term prognosis remains uncertain, but she is talking and has regained movement of her body since coming out of a drug-induced coma. Keep Macey and the Kibbee family in your thoughts.

 * ... AND THE KIDS COME HOME: The tragedy of Macey is a cautionary reminder for all the families and children on the move this Christmas. College holiday breaks began this week for most schools, and the local kids will be arriving for their annual pilgrimages to Luigi's, Woolgrower's, the 24th Street Cafe, Uricchios and all their  favorite haunts. Hats off to so many of our local retailers who have opened their payrolls to hire some of these kids part-time over the holidays. It keeps them busy, out of trouble and provides them with a few bucks to take back to school. Let's hope this holiday is a safe one for everyone traveling and on the road.

 * ... THE CLARKS OF BAKERSFIELD: Matt Clark, one of the young lawyers at Chainlaw, reminded me that both he and his wife Molly are among the growing list of folks who went away to school and then returned. Matt went to Garces Memorial, graduated from Loyola Marymount and then McGeorge law school. Molly went to Bakersfield High and earned her B.A. from Cal State Bakersfield. They lived in Sacramento before deciding to head home. Michael Clark, Matt's father, was a North High grad who went off to UCLA and Stanford, only to return with his wife, Norleen Clark, who graduated from BHS and then went onto San Diego State. Finally, Matt's sister is Amanda Meszaros (Clark), a BHS Driller who went off to Rutgers and Sacramento State who has since returned to Bakersfield as a special education teacher in the Panama Buena Vista School District. As if that were not enough, Matt added that his "good buddy Jeff Giumarra" went to BHS and then to Claremont McKenna College, returning to work for his family business. Lastly, Matt said another of his friends is Chris Ruppel, a West High graduate who graduated from New Mexico State but is back in town. That's quite a list. My thanks to Matt for submitting it to BakersfieldObserved. 

 * ... RIP SHIRLEY FIDDLER: I was saddened to hear about the death of Shirley Ann Fiddler, a longtime Bakersfield resident and wife of retired oil engineer Claude Fiddler. Shirley was active in the community and a regular guest at the downtown Rotary Club where Claude served as president. (They were married in 1955) I am always impressed by breadth of experience and travel seen in the obituaries of folks in the oil industry, and Shirley's did not disappoint. Working for Chevron, the Fiddlers lived everywhere from Hong Kong to Madagascar, Perth, Australia, Paris and Taft before ending up in Bakersfield where both Shirley and Claude threw themselves into the community. Services will be held Thursday, Dec. 17 at Greenlawn Mortuary. In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations to the local SPCA.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

A rainy night of the arts in Bakersfield brings out the crowds while the list of kids grows longer

 * ... A RAINY NIGHT IN BAKO: There were nothing but rave reviews for the Thursday opening of the new exhibit on homelessness and loss at the Bakersfield Museum of Art. A steady crowd braved the rain to see what may be one of the best shows ever at the local museum, thanks to the stunningly sober photographs of Felix Adamo and  the art of Joe Brubaker. Kudos go to curator Emily Falke and many sponsors (among them George and Marcia Giumarra) for bringing together such a diverse group of artists under a theme "From Hobos to Street People" that seems disturbingly relevant these days. Many in the crowd also took in the Aids Quilt exhibit at the Metro Galleries, another sober and impressive display. These shows always draw a diverse crowd, and among those I spotted were Dr. Javier and Laurie Bustamante, who showed up with their daughter Natalie, a Notre Dame grad now working in labor law at Klein DeNatale Goldner. Also seen were CSUB professor Judith Pratt, former school superintendent Larry Reider and wife Sandy, Sheryl and Lou Barbich, Dr. Chris Hamilton and wife Susan, Bart and Napier Hill, Pat and Terri Collins, Rogers and Esther Brandon, local artist Barbara Reid, Rod and Susan Hersberger, Wendy Wayne and Gene Tackett, MaryLee and Phil Zander and Stan and Ginny Eschner. The exhibit runs through February 21 and  the museum is located at 1931 R Street. Make sure to check it out. (One of the Felix Adamo pictures is below)

 * ... AERA BRINGS ON LOCAL KID: Craig Lincoln, the construction manager over at Jaco Oil Co., dropped me a note to let me know that his son Chase Lincoln is now working in the information technology department at Aera Energy. Chase spent four years at San Jose State University and returned to CSUB to earn a masters in information services. Meanwhile his daughter Stevi, one of the mainstays on the Stockdale High School winning girl's tennis team, is at Bakersfield College and hopes to become a registered nurse.

* ... ADD ANOTHER TO THE LIST: Sandi Souza adds her daughter, Wendi Warren Wanner, to the list of local kids who left and now call Bakersfield home. Wendi graduated from Bakersfield High School, went on to San Jose State University, interned in San Diego and returned to Bako as an occupational therapist. She is currently the director of pediatrics at Terrio Therapy-Fitness, Inc.

 * ... ADD TWO CULHANES TO THE LIST: Finally, Holly Culhane, owner of PAS Associates, said she "couldn't resist" to add her two kids to the list. First there is son Tim, a Stockdale High grad who earned a degree in business from Colorado Christian University and is now working with Fleet Card Fuels. Tim's sister Dana is a history major from Eastern University who is now press secretary for state Rep. Jean Fuller. Proud mom Holly couldn't resist by adding that another benefit of having your kids come home is when they bring a spouse, as Tim did. So welcome Holly's daughter-in-law Lindsay, a Point Loma Nazarene graduate and now a personal banker at Citibank.