Saturday, March 6, 2010

McCarthy: America deserves better. Time to create jobs and support businesses

 This week's report from Capitol Hill by Bakersfield Rep. Kevin McCarthy. In his own words:

 "Today our economy – more than a year after the “stimulus” was passed - sits in a hole that’s over three million jobs deep. Last month alone, Americans lost another 36,000 jobs. Washington has neglected to put the nation’s priorities ahead of a progressive ideological driven agenda. As a result, we have seen millions of American jobs lost, hundreds of banks fail, thousands of small businesses collapse, lending tighten,  the deficit grow exponentially, and for the first time our debt turn into a national security issue. Oh, and a government takeover of health care is still looming in Congress.
 "As I continue to say, you cannot reduce our debt with more debt. Growing up, I was always told, when you find yourself digging a hole, stop digging.  I know this is disappointing news, and I am sure you are wondering why, week after week I write this column and highlight these kinds of problems.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  I believe America deserves better.  We need permanent private sector jobs.  We need policies that lower taxation and regulations focused on promoting job growth and small businesses, which create 70% of all jobs in the U.S., controls and reduces annual Federal spending deficits, and gets our national debt (now over $12 trillion) under control.
 "I believe that America is still the greatest country in the world, not because of government, but because of us and our free-enterprise system that focuses on maximizing our freedom to succeed.  Our economic success is based on the entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic of the American people.  This is a critical time in our history, and the American people expect their elected officials to rise to the occasion—you’ve made that message clear.  During these tough economic times, millions of Americans and small businesses are making tough decisions and working even harder to remain successful.  It is time for Congress to do the same.  It is time for Congress to get the spending under control, balance the budget, pay off the debt and stop resorting to the feel-good, easy spending solutions of 2009.
 "Congress was again in session this week and on Wednesday while in Washington I held a tele-town hall.  During the call, I surveyed listeners by asking what they thought Congress should be focusing on
more: creating jobs or health care reform.  Once again, an overwhelming 86% responded that Congress should be working on creating jobs.  It is responses like this that clarify what we have been saying
- fix the economy first!

 "Finally, I just want to remind you about the Jobs ResourceExpo I am hosting on March 8th at the downtown Marriott in Bakersfield from 11am – 2pm.  If you or anyone you know is looking for a job during these hard times, please let them know about the Jobs ResourceExpo and stop by. There is no need to RSVP, but if you need more info, please check my website:

Friday, March 5, 2010

The debate over sexual orientation of a politician and the media's role in questioning it

 If you missed The Californian's coverage of the ongoing drama involving state Sen. Roy Ashburn you can catch up with it here. Desk editor Christine Bedell gave the story a comprehensive look (click here to read it) and columnist Lois Henry added context with a story detailing rumors about the Bakersfield Republican. Ashburn was arrested for a DUI in Sacramento allegedly after leaving a gay night club. Read Lois' piece here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

HuffingtonPost: Anti-Gay Bakersfield legislator got DUI after leaving gay nightclub followed the DUI arrest of state Sen. Roy Ashburn by reporting that he had visited a gay nightclub before being pulled over by police. The website referred to Ashburn as "a fierce opponent of gay rights" but noted he had left a gay nightclub and had a male passenger with him at the time of his arrest. Read the full story here. His booking photo is at right.

Fondly recalling Lou Ella's children's store and Coldwell Banker plans big fund raiser for Relay for Life

 * ... RELAY FOR LIFE: Greg Holland over at Coldwell Banker reminded me that one of the most important fund raisers of the year, the Relay for Life Wine Tasting and Auction, will be held next weekend (March 13) at the Motor City Lexus dealership. This is the second year this event has been held and only 550 tickets will be sold. It's a terrific way to support a good cause and meet your neighbors, all while dining on some of Bakersfield's finest food and enjoying wine from 25 Central Coast wineries. Last year the event raised more than $37,000 for the Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. Holland said tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door and are available all Coldwell Banker offices and at Imbibe Wine Merchants. Remember: it's next Saturday at the Lexus dealership and runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. You can also call 661-747-6208 for tickets. Kudos to the Coldwell Banker team for coordinating this event.
* ... REMEMBERING LOU ELLA'S: Susan Lewis is a former Bakersfield resident who now lives in Scottsdale, Az., who wrote to share her memories of the old Lou Ella's children's store on Baker Street. "My favorite thing there was the stock of Story Book Dolls. Every spring, the new dolls arrived in their polka dot dresses ... stacked along the north wall just behind the window display area. Lou Ella's is a part of my memory of my childhood... a good memory." Susan left Bakersfield in 1958 but often returns and said she always drives down Baker Street.
 Another reader, Kelly Donovan, called Lou Ella's one of our "finest institutions."
 "My grandmother Mrs. Vincent Casper used to take me down and dress me in Lou Ella's finest. It was at Lou Ella's that I learned how to dress, how to appreciate a pulled-together look. Even as a very young girl, the minute we pulled her Thunderbird up into the parking lot I knew I was in for a wonderful treat.. One of the most precious memories I have is of my grandmother taking me down to purchase a layette before my son was born. Armanda and Brenda were there to help me feel special then, just as they always were."

 * ... ONE LEGACY: It looks like the recent golf tournament to raise money for One Legacy and Donate Life was a huge success. Preliminary proceeds from the raffle and auctions alone totals more than $70,000 and the entire event could raise up to $100,000, according to those involved. Former Pittsburgh Steeler and Foothill High School product Joey Porter donated two football jerseys, both bringing in $4,000 a pop. The event was held at Seven Oaks Country Club and put on my Lori Malkin. Lori's son, Jeff Johns, died in a car crash a year ago and on that same day became an organ and tissue donor. His organs saved five lives and his tissue donations healed 50 others. The recipient of a kidney was in attendance. Now that's an inspirational story.

 * ...  FIRST FRIDAY: Only rain will be able to spoil the excitement around Friday Friday in the arts district. Make sure you check out the "Opening Doors to the Arts" exhibit in which downtown streets will have "public art" featuring colorfully painted old doors. Make a night of it downtown, beginning with the multiple arts studios to dinner at one of the many downtown eateries: Uricchios Trattoria, Mama Roomba's, the Padre Hotel and Mexicali just to name a few. The "public art" will be on display only from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Also this weekend is the popular "Cioppino Feed" to fund the Bakersfield West Rotary Foundation, which has helped so many non-profits and charities over the years. This is always a huge event featuring the event's famous seafood cioppino stew and a lively auction. It will be held Saturday night at Leddy Hall on the campus of Garces Memorial High School. Contact Howdy Miller at Ticor Title for tickets, at 661-846-5606.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISMS:  You know you're from Bakersfield when "Everyone always says they're going to leave, but you know that if you try, you will get sucked right back in."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

State Sen. Roy Asburn arrested in Sacramento on suspicion of drunk driving

 Roy Ashburn, the state senator and longtime Bakersfield politician who is terming out of office this year, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Sacramento. Apparently Ashburn was pulled over around 2 a.m. in downtown Sacramento and given a field sobriety test. For the full report in The Californian, click the link here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Public art to be on display for First Friday downtown: "Opening Doors to the Arts"

 Another First Friday is almost upon us and it will feature a very interesting exhibit of public art downtown. Coordinated by Metro Galleries along with BECA (Bakersfield Emerging Contemporary Artists) the show is called "Opening Doors to the Arts" and will be displayed on sidewalks of the downtown arts district on 19 Street, 20th Street, the Wall Street Alley and in front of the Padre Hotel. Local artists took old doors and painted them, reflecting their own unique talents. Some of the doors are seen below, but see them yourself between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday.



Remembering San Joaquin Bank, and UC Santa Barbara alumni speak out


 * ... TIME FLIES: It's amazing to think that it has been almost five months since state and federal regulators closed San Joaquin Bank, one of the premier business banks in our community. It was the afternoon of Oct. 16 when the regulators descended on the bank, locked the doors and announced that Citizens Business Bank was taking over. It's difficult to gauge the impact - both psychological and financial - of the closing of a well connected bank in any community. More than 100 banks were closed across our country in 2009, and some 22 have been shut this year alone, another indication that recovery remains a long way off. On a happier note, March marks the one-year anniversary of the opening of Imbibe Wine and Spirits off Truxtun Extension, one of the success stories in this recession. Opened by spouses Dave and Tami Dobbs, this wine specialty store has been an instant hit and is frequently used by business groups for social gatherings. The downtown Rotary Club held a social there last week, featuring Imbibe's impressive array of specialty cheeses and wines.

 * ... GAUCHO NATION: I received a thoughtful hand-written note from reader Ruth Ann Ullman in response to an earlier post (from Helen and Chester Troudy, read it here) speculating over who is the oldest living UC Santa Barbara grad in Bakersfield. "I am not sure if my husband is older than Chester (Troudy), he is only 85! But he did graduate from UC Santa Barbara in 1948 and we have been married for 63 years." Ullman said her husband taught with the Kern High School District in the Kern Valley and later transferred to North High School. He eventually worked at the newly opened Highland High and became the applied arts chairman. She added: "When John graduated from Santa Barbara, Will Turney and Don Lucas graduated at the same time with degrees in industrial education... they both returned to Bakersfield."

 * .. TWICE GAUCHOS: I ran into local attorney Harley Pinson the other day and he reminded me that both he and his wife Cynthia graduated from UC Santa Barbara. In fact, they are Gauchos twice over, having graduated from El Cerrito High School in the Bay Area where the mascot is the Gauchos. The couple has been married for over 36 years. Harley helped start the UCSB alumni chapter in Kern County about a decade ago and served on the board of the UCSB Alumni Association for seven years. Their son Adam (Stockdale High) is also a UCSB alum while daughter Lisa (also Stockdale High) graduated from Azusa Pacific University. Both kids now live in Bakersfield. Harley is now a partner with the local law firm of Klein, DeNatale, Goldner, Cooper and Kimball after spending 30 years as a legal counsel for Occidental Petroleum.

 * ... MACNEIL RETURNS: Old friend Laura Wolfe shot me an email to tell me that Shafter's native son Robert MacNeil will return to Kern County for a performance with the Bakersfield Symphony/Masterworks Chorale on March 13, to be followed by a benefit concert in Shafter the next day. MacNeil graduated from Shafter High School in 1987, and will perform a benefit concert for the Class of 2010 on March 14 at 3 p.m. in the Shafter Mennonite Bretheren Church. MacNeil is a graduate of Chapman University and USC, where he was a student of the Thornton School of Music. He is an accomplished soloist, having sung with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and performed solos at Carnegie Hall. For more information, email his sister Alanna Henry at

* ... BAKERSFIELDISMS: You know you're  from Bakersfield when "You know where  all the haunted houses are when Halloween rolls around" and "You have offered someone a Dewar's chew."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bakersfield after the spring rains, Rio Bravo view

 I snapped these photos from high on a hill at the Rio Bravo Country Club, reflecting the greenery after our February rains and proving again that Bakersfield is more than just the flats.