Saturday, May 1, 2010

McCarthy: it's time to turn on the Delta pumps to provide water for Kern County farmers

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives his weekly report from our nation's capital.
As your Congressman, I am always looking for ways to make it easier for Americans to communicate their ideas to their Representatives. When the House is voting and Representatives are in Washington, an additional way that could work is through Skype, but unfortunately, government is a step behind.  To change this, I recently asked the House leadership to consider allowing members to use Skype and other secure videoconferencing services to communicate with constituents.
  On Tuesday, I was pleased that Speaker Pelosi responded to my request, and announced that the House would begin evaluating the use of new communication tools like Skype.  At a time when many feel their voice is not being heard, Congress should encourage communication to ensure that the best ideas are brought forward.
  Legislatively, the debate continues in the Senate over the direction of financial regulations, and the President’s federal debt commission began its work.  Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke opened with a serious warning that our budget deficit is unsustainable and action is needed soon to avoid dangerous results.  Also two former Congressional Budget Office directors warned that we won’t be able to tax our way out of debt.  Real solutions will require tough choices and it involves addressing the soaring rate of spending.  The problem is spending." While there is no quick fix to our economic challenges, the business sector must also have stability and freedom from burdensome regulations to create private sector jobs.  My hope it that this debt commission is not used as a cover to raise taxes, but to deal with
Washington’s wasteful spending habits.

  One issue important to job creation locally is the need to turn the Delta pumps on.  The Kern County Water Agency and Assembly member Jean Fuller provided staggering statistics on the true cost of low water allocations to our farmers and businesses.  Each year the KCWA pays for 100% of the water supplies it receives from the State Water Project, but in recent years, we have not received our full allocation. We all know that regulations are restricting the flow of water to Kern County – but did you know that this year, the expected loss is 580,000 acre feet (and an acre foot is 326,000 gallons) – that’s 189 billion gallons of water.  And this year, Kern County will pay $51,900,000 for water they will not get from the State Water Project.  Since 2007, the cost to the county has been $134,000,000. It is not acceptable that our community pays for water it does not receive, resulting in hurting farms and fewer jobs.  We need to turn
on the pumps!

  "This weekend, I will be at Relay for Life and the last time I checked there were over 6,000 participants signed up.  Strong community support like this is what makes Bakersfield such a special place to live.  Also, I hope you can make it out for First Friday on May 7,  5:00p.m. at Metro Galleries to meet the winners of the 29th Annual
Congressional Art Competition for high school students.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Saving sports at Cal State Bakersfield, hostile emails and Make a Wish Foundation sends a girl to LA

 * ... SAVING CAL STATE SPORTS: The effort to save wrestling, tennis and golf at Cal State Bakersfield is moving along and - according to supporters - gaining some momentum. One of those involved is local business owner Molly Busacca, who is leading the bid to save the women's tennis program. She told me that a huge fund raiser is planned for May 15 at the Jam Center to support all four of the endangered sports (men and women's golf, women's tennis and wrestling). These four sports are victims of the extreme budget crunch but folks from all walks of life have emerged to save them. Call Tonya Eagle for tickets and details at 661-302-4455. On that same Sunday, the CSUB Division One women 's tennis team will host a pasta feed and exhibition match against local players at Stockdale Country Club. Call Molly Busacca for details and tickets at 661-588-9644.

* ... MAKE A WISH: Was nice to hear that a local 10-year-old girl had a chance to meet pop singer Miley Cyrus as part of the "Make a Wish Foundation," which assists young people suffering from various illnesses. Jenna Richmond, a fourth grader at Olive Drive Elementary, met Cyrus on Wednesday in Los Angeles along with 29 other "Make a Wish" kids. Catherine Anspach is the local director of the Kern  County chapter of "Make a Wish" and said Jenna's wish was granted to "highlight the hope, strength and joy that Make a Wish Foundation brings children with life-threatening medical conditions every day." Jenna, daughter of Michael and  Kellie Richmond, is suffering from a brain tumor.

 * ...  INCOHERENT RANT: You just can't please everybody. At least that's what my mother always told me. So it really came as no surprise when I received a hostile email from perennial letter-to-the-editor writer Panfilo Fuentes taking me to task for highlighting a local bike shop owner (Kerry Ryan of Action Sports) for giving dozens of local kids jobs over the years. Helping kids find their way in the business world wasn't good enough for Panfilo, who apparently smelled racism in my post because - in his words - "this is a great guy whose work undoubtedly is important to keeping the status quo of Bakersfield life and maintaining a dominant presence in a shrinking white population."  Huh? Never mind that Kerry has employed plenty of kids from all backgrounds, as so many will attest, but never let the facts get in the way of a good rant.

 * .. OVERHEARD: Overhead on a beach in south Georgia, one man to another: "Don't be walking behind me, I a spittin'."

 * ... BAKERSFILEDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield when "you remember the missile on top of the Padre Hotel and know why it was there."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One person's ability to influence a life and another Houchin-Giumarra wedding in the works

* ... ACTION SPORTS: If you ever question your ability to influence the direction of a young person, consider the case of Kerry Ryan, owner of Action Sports. Kerry has employed dozens of young people over the years and so many have gone on to successful careers, thanks to getting a real life grounding in business and customer service at Action Sports. This idea came up while I was chatting recently with Buttonwillow farmer and businessman Donald Houchin, who mentioned that his sons Morgan and Clayton had both worked as teenagers at the store, now located at the corner of Brimhall and Calloway roads. Houchin raved about how much his boys had learned under Kerry, and how many opportunities Kerry had given young people over  the years. So I jotted down on a napkin some of the local kids who have worked at Action Sports and gone on to successful careers. Among them are Amanda Wolff and Oscar Baltazar, both now working at CB Richard Ellis, Scott Reynolds at RE/MAX, Melissa Reynolds now at First American Title, Jen Stanhope owns her own painting business, Jordan Lewis works at an investment firm, Lynn Tran is working in inside sales at Roxy, David Wiens is working at an engineering firm and Chad Carpenter at Bright House. This is an abbreviated list and just a few of the kids who have gone on to successful careers after starting at Action Sports.

 * ... HOUCHIN-GIUMARRA: And speaking of the Houchins, I learned the other day that Morgan Houchin and Jillian Giumarra have become engaged. The Houchins and Giumarras are two of the more prominent names in our local farming and agriculture industry, but this union brings an added twist. Morgan's older brother, Clayton, is married to Jillian's sister, Juliana. Clayton and Juliana have twins and chose their siblings to be the god parents. Apparently sparks flew between Morgan and Jillian at St. Francis Church and the rest is history, as they say. Now that's keeping it all in the family. Morgan graduated from Colgate University and Jillian from the University of Arizona. Clayton is a graduate of Colby College (and later USC graduate school) and Juliana from the University of Arizona. Both Houchin boys left Bakersfield to work but returned to their roots. Clayton is sales manager for the family's Buttonwillow Warehouse Co. and Morgan is a director of agriculture real estate development and sales for AgTech Financial. Morgan's parents are Donald and Patti Houchin of Bakersfield.

 * ... ANIMAL CRUELTY: Sometimes you read a story and it just breaks your heart, and you wonder what drives people to such cruelty. That's how I felt when reading The Californian story about the man arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty related to a hog-tied pitbull found near Adobe and Sandrini roads. The picture of the dog was just heart breaking. Arrested was 52-year-old James Worley. How does one explain this? The dog was taken to a  rescue center.

 * ... ART SHERWYN: If you have Thursday evening open, consider heading down to Metro Galleries on 19th Street for "An evening with Art Sherwyn." Sherwyn is the local artist, high school art teacher and former tennis coach who has an engaging personality and the ability to hold an audience. He'll be talking about the process and his perspectives on the creative process. Some of his varied works will be on display. The cost is $30 a person. It runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

  * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield when "you know the order of the set up at Woolgrower's."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A surprise mother-son reunion at the Atlanta airport and two South High kids receive Gates scholarships

 * ... IS THAT YOU MOM? This is such an uplifting story that I had to share. I cannot say it better than reader Kim Goforth. So here it is. Enjoy. "On Easter Sunday evening, I was walking through the Atlanta Airport with my friend Carol Formanek, returning home from a fun trip to Georgia. In the back of my mind, I knew my oldest son, Captain David Goforth, was coming home from Iraq sometime in the near future with his unit, the 923rd Movement Control Team.  I had not talked to him recently. Off to the right, we came upon a group of Army soldiers in their brown/tan fatigues. As we got closer, I said to Carol, 'That soldier on the end looks like my son.' (Was not wearing my glasses) Carol replied that indeed he did look like my son. I zeroed in to make a positive identification. 'David?  Mom?!!   What are you doing here?'  'Coming home from a trip to Georgia.'  Talk about shock and awe!  All the other soldiers had met me before and had received care packages and letters, and were so surprised to see me. I was able to visit with David and the other soldiers for about an hour before they had to board their plane to Ft. Bliss, TX  (El Paso), the last leg of the journey before coming home to Bakersfield about three to four days later.  This is such a supreme coincidence that I will always remember and treasure it as a gift.  I just wanted to share this remarkable story with your readers" Thank you for sharing.
 * ... SOUTH SCHOLARS: Jason George, the assistant principal over at South High  School, wrote to tell me that on May 13 the school will be honoring more than 100 kids going on to four-year colleges. These schools include UC Berkeley, Stanford, Boston University, UCLA, Johns Hopkins and a number of other top schools. In addition, he said two South students have been awarded the Gates Millenium Scholarships. Now that is some accomplishment. Jason said he hopes this event turns into an annual tradition honoring these kids moving on.

* ... ARMANDA BOSLEY: Reader Ruth Jackson wanted to share some moments about the last years in the life of Armanda Bosley, the former owner of Lou Ella's Children's Boutique who died recently. She was a neighbor of Bosley's and recalls how Armanda and her daughter Brenda would ride in their golf cart accompanied by their two dogs. "These two ladies always wore big smiles and lifted the spirits of pet owners and their animals. Some of the pets included Jacque, Mugs, Pebbles, Happy, Peaches, Andy, Bug, Buddy and many others I'm sure. For pets and their owners, we will always remember 'Do' and her daughter Brenda for those welcome day visits."

 * ... AIR FORCE RETIREE: Local residents Nancy and Larry Jamison told me that their son, Jeffrey Jamison, is retiring from the  U.S.  Air Force in May after 22 years.  Jeffrey was raised  in  Bakersfield and became an Eagle Scout. Two weeks after graduating from South High School in 1988, he left for basic training and later was stationed at Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls, MT., and well as Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City, S.D. He served in Desert Storm at an air base in Oman and later served in South Korea. He is now stationed at Randolph AFB in Universal City,  Texas, where he is an air crew life support systems manager.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISMS: You know you're from Bakersfield when "you refer to wearing jeans, a T-shirt and cowboy boots as a Lamont tuxedo."