Saturday, February 20, 2010

McCarthy: Congress needs to create jobs, work with local businesses

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy spent a few days in the District and is heading back to Washington, D.C. A report in his words ...

"This week the House was in recess, so I was able to enjoy spending time at home meeting with constituents throughout the district.  As the snow melts, I hope the borrowing and partisan mentality melts away as well, because next week the House is back in session, and it is time for Congress to work together on strengthening our economy and to do everything we can to improve our business climate to spur job creation.

  "In the meantime, I have received an overwhelming response for my upcoming Job Resource Expo, and we have over 60 businesses and organizations participating.  If you plan to attend or know someone who would like to attend, the event will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on March 8, 2010, at the Bakersfield Marriott on Truxtun Avenue.  I hope to see you there.

  "I visited California State University, Bakersfield and talked with visiting Chinese exchange students.  During our discussion about their experiences in both China and the U.S., one of students asked me about the debt our nation is accumulating with their country and when would the debt be paid back.  My answer - Congress needs to stop spending
trillions of dollars we don’t have by borrowing from countries like China.  Rather, Congress needs to focus on pro-growth policies that don't add to the debt, that create jobs, and that put Americans back to work.

  "Also, Representative Peter Roskam from Illinois made a visit to Bakersfield Thursday and he joined me in visiting local high school seniors participating in the Ford Dimension Program, a program started by the late Jim Burke to develop the leadership skills in our local youth.  We also went on the Ralph Bailey show where we discussed many issues ranging from the need to reduce our nation's debt and create a business climate that will spur job creation, our dire water situation in the Central Valley, and health care.  Before he left Bakersfield, I made sure that he left with Dewar’s chews and locally grown

  "I just came back from the Antelope Valley Board of Trade Business Outlook Conference and listened to our local business leaders’ ideas and concerns regarding the business climate in the Valley.  I also talked with concerned local realtors in Bakersfield about problems associated with the HVCC (Home Valuation Code of Conduct), which has created a massive problem of inadequate appraisals being done by inexperienced appraisers that continues to dampen our local housing market.  The comments I heard from business owners and employees were clear: stop borrowing, focus on the economy, and reduce the regulatory stranglehold on our small businesses and let them create job

Friday, February 19, 2010

Garces announces 2010 Hall of Honor inductees

 Nice to see some familiar names in this year's lineup of the 2010 Hall of Honor inductees at Garces Memorial High School. Some of our community's most dynamic leaders are products of the Catholic school on the hill, and this year's class is an impressive one. (for the complete list read the Californian story here). Among those to be honored are Judge Gary T. Friedman (pictured), a longtime jurist and a familiar face around the annual Garces Fall barbeque, and Ken Ruettgers, a 12-year veteran of the Green Bay Packers after being an All Pac-10 player at the University of Southern California.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Padre signage goes up downtown

 The newly refurbished Padre Hotel received some new black signage today (Thursday) as it continues to evolve ....

Armanda Bosley, longtime owner of Lou Ella's, dies; UC Santa Barbara alumni looking for reunion

 * ... BRAIN DRAIN: Reader Elaine McNearney wrote to tell me about all the alumni from University of California at Santa Barbara who call Bakersfield home. Apparently there are so many local kids applying to UCSB that Bakersfield is one of the few communities with a full-time UCSB staff person, working primarily at South High but also at Bakersfield High. McNearney said Catalina Mendiola works to help kids through the maze of paperwork required to be admitted to the UC and tries to identify students who qualify for the Research Mentoring Program targeting students from different disciplines. In addition, she said "a group of UCSB alumni are trying to locate other Kern County alumni and plan some social activities. So if this little ditty makes it to print please plug our brand new FaceBook page ...UCSB Alumni of Kern County." Any other Santa Barbara alums out there?

 * ... RIP ARMANDA BOSLEY: If you have lived in Bakersfield any length of time, you will remember the old Baker Street location of Lou Ella's Children's Boutique, which catered to generations of local families. One of the long-time former co-owners was Armanda Bosley, who died of a heart attack last week. She was 95. Reader Greg Cowan wrote to tell me of her passing, calling his aunt "a Bakersfield  institution" who worked alongside her daughter, Brenda, to serve thousands of local families. Bosley's parent's immigrated from France, and her father opened what would become the original Pyrenee's Bakery. After school, a young Armanda would deliver fresh bread to customers on her bicycle. She and Brenda purchased Lou Ella's in the 1960s and it served our community well for over 40 years. (The store later changed hands and moved to the Southwest). If you have memories of Armanda or Lou Ella's on Baker Street, feel free to email me and I will share on this blog.  Keep this special family in your thoughts.

 * .. NO NAME BAND: It's always nice to see local folks getting together for a worthy cause. That's what happened over at B. Ryder's bar and restaurant on White Lane Thursday when the "No-Name Band" was scheduled to play for a crowd to support the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House at Memorial Hospital. The leader of this Baby Boomer band is Dr. John Heidrick, who along with Dr. Raj Patel owns Preferred Family Physicians off Truxtun Extension. You will no doubt recognize some of the "No Name Band" members: Jill Harlander on vocals, Jerry Stewart on guitar and vocals, Tim Montgomery on drums, harmonica flute and guitar, Leslie King on bass, John Brock on drums, Mike Hall on lead guitar, Michael Bell on rhythm guitar and Dr. Heidrick on guitar.

 * ... VALLEY PUBLIC TV: Learned the other day that Esther Brandon, a former local First Five Kern Commissioner, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Valley Public Television. This is yet another indication of how KVPT is reaching out to the south Valley, and Kern County in particular, to gain support through partnerships and collaborative efforts. Brandon is active in Temple Beth El off Panorama Drive, has two boys (one at the University of Colorado and the other a senior at Garces Memorial High School, not to mention a sweet yellow lab named Blue) and is married to Rogers Brandon, president of the American General Media radio group.

 ... * BAKERSFIELDISMS: You know you're from Bakersfield when .... "You no longer associate bridges or rivers with water" and "You swear that just last week there was an orchard where there is now a whole new housing development."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Housing prices still heading south and four from Bakersfield named All-American in skeet shooting

* .. HOUSING BLUES: The long feared "double dip" in housing prices is now taking hold in as many as one in five major housing markets. That's the word from Zillow, the national real estate sales and data provider. Our own market here in Bakersfield remains slow, and local Realtors tell me there isn't a lot of inventory on the market. We are still working through thousands of foreclosures, and there are more to come. Zillow identified the top five cities to find a "bargain" for a house because of depressed prices. They are Naples, Fla., Cape Cod, Mass., Charleston, S.C., Merced, CA. (one house that sold for $337,000 five years ago just sold for $80,000) and Chicago. (read the Zillow and ABC report here) Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal referred to the pending flood of new foreclosures as "shadow inventory" and said there were enough homes expected to hit the market to last about 10 months based on average sales rates. It said the worst hit areas are California (naturally), Arizona, Florida and Nevada.

 * ... TRAVELING HOPWOODS: Reader Dale Hopwood wrote to remind me that Bakersfield was known as "Quakersfield" after the 1952 earthquake that devastated our once historic downtown. But he really wanted to talk about his children, some of whom moved away but came back home to live and work. His son, Ken Hopwood, is a North High graduate who was living in the Southland but moved back to work as a software engineer for Prosoft. Ken 's wife, Becky Coats, is working with the reading class at Endeavour Elementary. Meanwhile daughter Dana Villicano is teaching science at Fruitvale Junior High and another son, George Hopwood, is working at UC Santa Barbara in the special projects office. Finally, the last of the traveling Hopwoods is his daughter Sara Holm, a geologist living in the mountains of northern New Mexico.

 * ... SKEET HONORS: Kudos to four Bakersfield skeet shooters who have been named to the 2010 All-American Teams by the National Skeet Shooting Association. This is really unusual to have so many from one club make the All-American squads, and it's a credit to the programs and facilities at the Kern County Gun Club located near the Lake Buena Vista Recreation Area. Ben Wagoner, the 45-year-old owner of Air Control Services heating and air conditioning, was named to the Rookie First Team while Brian Foley was named to both the Open Honorable Mention team and the Junior First Team. Foley graduated from Ridgeview High and is now a freshman at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo. Also named All-Americans were sisters Emily and Rachel Shuford, a senior and sophomore at Bakersfield High respectively. Rachel made the Sub-Junior First Team and Emily the Junior Honorable Mention Team. 

 (Above picture left to right Emily Shuford, Brian Foley, Brooke Shuford and Rachel Shuford. Lower picture is Ben Wagoner with Brian Foley)

 * ... B-TOWN JUST FINE: Reader Dave Collins, who works at the local collection agency Commercial Trade, dropped me a nice personal note and ended it by saying "... by the way, I think 'Bako' is just fine along with B-town and Bake-in-the-field." Add him to the list who think 'Bako' is not an insult.

* ... BAKERSFIELDISMS: You know you are from Bakersfield when ...  "You know a swamp cooler is not a happy hour drink" and "You know Trouts and we're not talking about the fish."

Monday, February 15, 2010

McCarthy: Snowbound Washington means some time at home in the district

 Another weekly update from Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield. In his words:

 "This week, the weather in Washington brought Congress to a standstill. There were no votes in the House, so on the bright side, Congress couldn’t vote on more spending. With the snow, I was able to spend time back home, and in particular, was very happy I had the opportunity to speak with students at my alma mater - Bakersfield High School. I spoke with Jeremy Adams’ civics and economics classes about the legislative process and current events.
 "Jeremy is the founder of the Earl Warren Cup competition designed to help high school students learn about the U.S. Constitution and U.S. history. Many of the students asked me questions about the state of our country’s economy as well as California’s. I explained the importance of reducing our national debt, something that will affect their generation more than anyone, and I used our current national and state budget problems as examples.  I wanted to focus on the debt because I feel it is vital that students understand the historic level of debt our government is acquiring and the effects it will have on our country’s future, and the need to get immediately get it under control.

 "Although it is hard to believe, this month marks the one year anniversary of President Obama’s stimulus bill.  Today, our local community still faces 15.8% unemployment.  Even worse though is that people are beginning to stop looking for work. Our business climate will not improve if more regulations, taxes, and litigation are levied on our economy. We must get our financial house in order and allow small businesses to do what they do best: create jobs and make high quality products.
 "In less than two months, despite ardent opposition by myself and others, this Congress has increased the debt level by almost $2,000,000,000,000 (that’s 2 trillion for those who don’t want to count the zeros).  And I am sure you are asking yourself, what does that mean to me?  Well, with the new debt limit each American now owes $45,000, a debt larger than most Americans annual salary.  This is unsustainable and the next generation must learn from this generation’s budgeting mistakes.  This record spending and borrowing cannot continue and this is why my colleagues and I are calling for a no-cost stimulus.  Our proposal will keep taxes low and focus on creating more economic certainty, the kind that helps create jobs and grows our economy now.

 "If you are a job seeker, I am hosting a Job Resource Expo on March 8, 2010 at the Bakersfield Marriot from 11am – 2pm.  This event hopes to put job seekers in touch with our local business community. A quick note as this year is a big year for some, the City of Taft and the Boy Scouts of America celebrated their 100th birthdays.  Lastly, this Sunday is Valentines Day; don’t forget your loved ones, I know I won’t!