Friday, April 2, 2010

McCarthy to appear on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy's weekly update:

 "I wish those of you celebrating Easter and Passover a joyful and wonderful holiday.

  "If you regularly follow my column, you might remember me announcing last month that one of our own local veterans, Evan Morgan, would be joining my Bakersfield office as a fellow in the new “Wounded Warrior Fellowship Program”.  This week, Evan officially started his fellowship and was in Washington this week to meet my D.C. staff and to attend training for his new job.  In Bakersfield Evan will be helping with veteran outreach, and issues related to active military personnel and military organizations while he finishes his degree at Cal State Bakersfield.  I am grateful that a true hero like Evan is onboard and will be working with our local communities.

  "On Tuesday, I was at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley to appear on a special episode of the Sean Hannity show.  During the show, we briefly discussed Washington’s failure to listen to the American people and address their priorities– jobs and the economy, and getting our nation’s debt and unsustainable spending back in order.    I am also working on a new initiative. The Commitment to America is our effort to give the American people a voice in their government again.  Our goal, by using the internet and all tools available to us, is to start a conversation and together, put forward the solutions that will put our nation back on the right track and restore the broken bonds of trust between Americans and Congress.  With your ideas, we will form a governing agenda based on principles of smaller, more accountable government to solve problems and restore the broken trust between Americans and their elected leaders.

  "Also this week, I was able to deliver the Republican weekly address and talk about what is coming next after the government takeover of health care.  Right now, the President and Congressional Democrats are proposing a new job-killing bill that fails to address the root causes of the economic crisis and housing meltdown and would guarantee permanent bailouts for Wall Street.  This bill would further put taxpayers on the hook for more bailouts in the midst of a struggling economy that just got hit with billions of dollars in future new health care charges and is still struggling with 9.7% national unemployment. My colleagues and I have offered a plan that will bring accountability to the financial system to protect taxpayers from permanent bailouts, and end TARP.  This alternative plan is what America needs to get our fiscal house in order and our economy back on track.

  "Also this Sunday, if you have time, I will be on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, you can catch it on Fox-58 at 8am.  Lastly, I am proud to report that the McCarthy dodgeball team led by my son Connor and nephew Zac were victorious in bringing home the "Golden Dodgeball" from the Kern County Boys and Girls Club's dodgeball tournament last

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Inga Barks show is canceled and more moves in the CSUB development office

*  ... CSUB MOVES: There's been more movement over at the Cal State Bakersfield development office following a period of extreme upheaval. This is the chief fund raising office run by Beverly Byl, the person who was brought in by President Horace Mitchell but who has struggled to establish a local constituency over her own. Under the Byl regime, longtime development officer Laura Wolfe was forced out and others, including Sheri Horn Bunk and Kathy Miller, left on their own for greener pastures. Byl's leadership style has a sharp edge but give her credit but trying to bring on people with connections. First she hired former San Joaquin Bank CEO Bart Hill to a new position to oversee major gifts, and now she has hired Rob Meszaros as head of communications. Both Hill and Meszaros are well connected, smart hires. Meszaros is particularly gifted in the marketing arena. I know  this because he is leaving The Californian to join CSUB. Their gain is our loss.

 * ... INGA BARKS: It looks like we've heard the last from Inga Barks' local talk show, at least in terms of her long-running morning gig on KERN 1180 Talk Radio. The show has been canceled but she is still working at the station and will apparently reemerge in some other capacity. Inga is among the gaggle of local talk show hosts who adopted the FOX News model of angry partisan talk. It appears that like so many before her (remember Bill Manders?) that she simply ran out of runway. Starting Monday, the MoneyWise Guys will run from 10 a.m. to noon and morning host Scott Cox will temporarily add an hour to his program until a new full lineup is announced. Stay tuned.

*  ... VEGAS AWARD: It was nice to hear from Marjorie Bell, the talented and popular retired journalism and English teacher over at Bakersfield High School. She noted that one of her former students, Liz Benston, recently won an award for her reporting on financial problems at a resort complex in Las Vegas. Liz is a reporter at the Las Vegas Sun and the daughter of Carol and Dick Benston, retired English professors at Bakersfield College. Liz graduated from Bryn Mawr College outside of Philadelphia and has won a number of awards in her journalism career.

 * ... DRILLER NATION: Jay  Gauthier is an old friend and work colleague who wanted to share that three of his five children are now in college. They include daughter Taylor at Cal State Fullerton, son Jadon at Biola University and son Zach at Cal State Bakersfield. Another daughter Morgan already graduated from CSUB and daughter Spencer is a sophomore at Bakersfield High. In fact, all five are Drillers. This is the week when all college acceptances should be in hand, so if you'd like to share your good news, drop me an email.

 * ... EASTER WEEKEND: This is a weekend to celebrate with family and friends and to embrace our blessings, no matter your religion or if you are spiritual at all. All of our picnic areas, from Beach Park to Hart Park and the Park at RiverWalk, will be filled to capacity wall to wall. So let's try to make it through the weekend safely and without any bad behavior. If you drink, don't drive. If you are on the road, drive carefully. Enjoy the weekend.

 * ... BAKERSFIELD: You know you're from Bakersfield when "you no longer associate bridges with water."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Enjoying a Passover Seder, the generosity of the Gay family and showing really bad form in Bako

 * ... PASSOVER: I enjoyed the company of some dear old friends and a few new ones at a Passover Seder meal at the home of the remarkable Wendy Wayne and her political consultant husband Gene Tackett. The meal focuses on retelling the story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt, but you don't have to be Jewish to join in the inspiring narrative. Wendy prompted each of us to discuss a "plague" in society, and all the usual suspects turned up: disease, loneliness, despair, poverty, illiteracy, ignorance etc. But there was also a long list of things to be thankful for: health, friendship, hope, love, children, faith, even good wine. What is on your list?

 * ... CSUB SIGNAGE: A new digital billboard showcasing Cal State Bakersfield has gone up at the Stockdale Highway entrance, thanks to the generosity of the Dean and Adah Gay family. This is just the latest local institution to benefit from the Gay family. If you haven't seen it, it's worth a look.

 * ... YOUNG GUNS: Was encouraged to hear that three of the folks involved in the mid-course update of the Vision 2020 planning documents are young folks who all graduated from CSUB and chose to stay in town. They include Brooke Antonioni (North High),  Christina Dixon (Highland High), and Alice Huang (South High).  Susan Hersberger, the public affairs director of Aera Energy, told me that "perhaps not so coincidentally, all three are also graduates of Leadership Bakersfield.  Brooke works for TransWest Security;  Christina and Alice are Aera employees. Leading the Vision 2020 update is veteran community leader Kay Pitts (also with Aera) who recruited the trio and other young talent for this project."

 * ... FIRST FRIDAY: Another "First Friday" is upon on and the downtown arts district will be alive once again. At the risk of repeating myself: if you have not been downtown in a while, give it a try. These events are always well attended and all the arts galleries will be spruced up and featuring interesting exhibits. Metro Galleries over on 19th Street will be featuring the work of David Gordon from the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Titled "Frond Frauds" it is a series of local landscape paintings featuring palm trees. It all begins around 6 p.m. and goes as long as you wish.

 * ... SPACEPORT: Millie Hylton, one of the long-time morning regulars at my gym, passed along an interesting tidbit about her grandson Steve Waid. Turns out that Waid is overseeing the construction of a two-mile runway that will represent the first phase of Spaceport America, the world's first facility designed specifically for commercial space travel. The New Mexico Spaceport Authority has already let $90 million in contracts to such clients as Virgin Galactic and Lockheed Martin. Millie's daughter, Patty Waid, passed along a story featuring Steve in a recent edition of the AmericanWay magazine which appears in the seat pockets on the air carrier.

 * ... REALLY BAD FORM: Am I the only one offended by the number of lifted pickup trucks around town sporting a pair of fake bull testicles dangling from the trailer hitch? I never considered myself a prude but this seems like a case of bad taste run amok, another example of legal visual pollution  that I could do without. Didn't your mother teach you better? A quick Google search found some efforts in the Florida and Virginia legislatures to ban such offensive gestures, though it's hard to legislate bad taste. And so it goes.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield when "people break out coats when the temperature drops below 70."

Monday, March 29, 2010

First Friday to feature David Gordon's work

 We have another "First Friday" in the downtown arts district this weekend. Lots going on but thought I'd preview some of David Gordon's art that will be on display at the Metro Galleries. David works at the Bakersfield Museum of Art and his stuff just keeps getting better. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Prepare for massive Bakersfield gridlock and learning to obey police commands

* ... HOUSING SALES: Local appraiser Gary Crabtree brought some perspective to my earlier somewhat downbeat post (read the earlier story here) regarding three straight months of declining home sales. Crabtree is one of Kern County's foremost experts on local housing statistics, and cautioned me "not to make this any worse than it is." He said the Bakersfield market bottomed in April 2009 at $114,000, "then over the peak season increased to a high of $141,250 in November, then entered the off peak season that ended in January at $128,000 (a drop of 9 percent with 5-6 percent being typical)... then started its recovery and as of today has a median price of $141,000 or equal to the price entering the off peak season."
 At the current rate of sales and foreclosures," he said "we should reach REO (real estate owned) liquidation by October 2011. If a second wave of foreclosures does take place, all bets are off."

 * ... JOEY PORTER: I read about Joey Porter's arrest early Sunday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence over off Calloway Drive. The incomprehensible part of the story: he also allegedly resisted arrest and may be charged with battery on a California Highway Patrol officer. Here's some free advice: generally speaking, it's always better to obey the officer's commands.

 * ... GRIDLOCK: Get ready for a couple years of gridlock on our local roads. It's all part of the Westside Parkway project that - at the end of the day - will be a wonderful thing for our community. But getting there is going to be a nightmare. The intersection of Coffee Road and Truxtun (already a mess) will be totally redone and there will be major disruptions on Jewetta, Calloway, Brimhall and Allen roads. If you didn't catch Gretchen Wenner's piece in Sunday's Californian, check it out here. Brace yourself.

* ...  KCUHS REUNION: Ken Shelton, one of my early-bird gym pals, pulled me aside the other day to tell me about the upcoming 70th reunion of the 1940 class of Kern County Union High School. It is set for noon, May 1, at the Petroleum Club. Anyone in the class, or even Drillers from another class, should call Ken at 661-663-9187. By the way, Ken served as 1940 Senior Class President and still seems to be presiding.

 * ... MARK EHLY DIES: Mark Ehly, the California Highway Patrol officer hospitalized after complications from a brain aneurysm, died over the weekend at San Joaquin Hospital. Ehly suffered the aneurysm in December and was sent back to the hospital last week. You might recognize him as the public affairs face of the CHP based in Fort Tejon. He was just 50 years old. Please keep his family in your thoughts.

 * ... PADRE BUZZ: Had a chance to catch up the other day with Brett Miller, one of the owners of the new downtown Padre Hotel. He said the Prairie Fire restaurant and outdoor dining area on the second floor will be open early next month and it is already being booked for weddings. At the same time, all the furniture in the ground floor bar will be swapped out for higher tables and chairs that have been on back order. Business is brisk and the hotel is slowly starting to lure business travelers to its rooms.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISMS: You know when you're from Bakersfield when "the stranger you met the other night turns out to be the aunt of the person you are buying a house from." Big city, small-town flavor.