Saturday, May 8, 2010

McCarthy: America can't tax its way to prosperity

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives his report for the week. In his words:

 "As we provide for our families every day, we all know that every hard-earned dollar is important. This is an easy principle for most Americans to understand, but a hard one for Washington.
  Unfortunately, federal spending is growing faster than federal revenue.  As I often say, Washington does not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.  The CBO predicts that the 2010 federal
deficit could be as high as $1.5 trillion and the federal debt will reach $13.2 trillion.  These numbers are astounding, especially on days like today, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that
national unemployment for the month of April rose to 9.9%.
Clearly all this spending is not creating jobs. On that point, earlier this week, I had lunch with former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney and we
talked about job creation.  However, rather than focusing on policies to foster economic prosperity, several of the President’s economic advisors have floated the idea of imposing a job-killing Value Added
Tax (VAT) on American products and services. 

 To that end, I joined others in sending a letter to the President’s debt commission opposing
adding a VAT to our current tax system.  I don’t believe that our country will ever be able to fix its problems by taxing its way to prosperity.  American success has always been rooted in our entrepreneurs and small business owners—a VAT will only destroy jobs and crush innovation.

  It was great to spend all day Friday working in Bakersfield for a change.  This afternoon, I am honoring twenty of Kern’s best and brightest high school students for their positive achievements with my
office’s Congressional Merit Award.  Earlier this year, high school principals selected one outstanding graduating senior per school to receive this Merit Award. Congratulations are in order for all these
stellar high school students who have demonstrated academic excellence by earning a 3.5 GPA or higher, exemplary school citizenship and leadership, along with community service. 

 On Monday I’ll be in Paso Robles to honor those students from San Luis Obispo County.


  "As a part of First Friday this evening, I am at Metro Galleries downtown for a reception to honor the winners of the 29th Annual Congressional Art Competition for high school students.  Out of the
105 entries from 14 schools that my office received, the overall winner is Sona Shah, who is a junior at Stockdale High School.  Her winning piece, “Playing Art,” which is an excellent pastel and
charcoal, pictures six different children working on art outdoors. Sona will travel to D.C. with her parents, Dr. and Mrs. Nilesh Shah, and attend the Congressional exhibit opening and her artwork will be
displayed in the corridor leading to the U.S. Capitol for one year. Students were also awarded for placing first, second, third along with honorable mention for the following three categories: photography,
computer-generated art, and all other mediums.  All winners have the option of displaying their artwork in my Washington office for a year for visiting constituents to see.

  "Thanks for reading, and remember to do something nice for your Mom!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Making a list of things we should be thankful for in our home town, and welcoming the Tour of California to town

* ... HOME SWEET HOME: When was the last time you jotted down all the things you like about living in Bakersfield? I did so recently on a plane returning from the east coast and trust me, it's a much better experience than listing the things we don't like. In no particular order, here's my view of some of Bako's more endearing qualities: great weather, wonderful people, small town feel, the bike path, Luigi's, Basque food, short commutes, access to the mountains and beaches, the Padre Hotel, locally owned businesses, great neighborhoods, good schools, active and committed non-profits, a high sense of personal accountability in a town where everyone knows each other, acceptance of outsiders, the Kern River and local agriculture. What's on your list?

* ... OLDEST GRADUATE? Heard from retired CSUB math professor Lee Webb wondering if his friend, Esther DeLeon Dougherty, is the oldest graduate of UC Santa Barbara living locally. Esther graduated from Santa Barbara State College (precursor to what became UC Santa Barbara) in 1943 and apparently still substitute teaches. "All of us at the (Kroll) dog park really enjoy her company and her enthusiasm for life. She was the first Hispanic to graduate from college in her family, working her way through college, teaching for a number of years in Bakersfield schools, and she is still adding to the culture of this outstanding city."

 * ... AMGEN TOUR: Remember to put Thursday, May 20, on your calendar. That's the date that some of the world's best cyclists will storm into town for a sprint finish up the Panorama Bluffs in the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race. Trust me, this is an event worth attending and you'll be treated to some spectacular bike racing as well as music, food and vendor booths. Tour de France winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong will be there along with all the big names in professional cycling. There will be a Stage 5 "Lifestyle Festival" in the northeast parking lot on the campus of Bakersfield College from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. the day of the race, and it's free to the public. This is a chance to show off Bakersfield, so don't miss it.

* ... COOL WATER: Ever notice how just the tiniest bit of water in the Kern River makes us all feel better? It's always a surprise to return from a long trip to find real liquid in our river, as crazy as that sounds to outsiders. Wish it were there all the time.(photos courtesy of Don Martin)

 * ... OFF TO KOREA: Kudos to Emily Shapiro, a 2009 graduate of Cal State Bakersfield, who is off to Seoul, South Korea, to teach English. She majored in communications with an emphasis in journalism and public relations.

* ... MEA CULPA: I heard from the mother of Jenna Richmond, the fourth grader who had a chance to see pop singer Miley Cyrus as part of the local "Make a Wish Foundation." I reported that Jenna was suffering from a brain tumor but mother Kellie Richmond happily reported the tumor is in remission. Now that's a mistake I don't mind correcting.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield when "you think beans and salsa go with everything."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Women and Girls Fund addresses violence against women and a reader rants

 * ... GIRLS FUND: Violence against women has long been one of our community's greatest problems, so it was nice to see the Women and Girls Fund handing out some grants to combat it. The Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault and the Kern County Network for Children were each awarded $10,000 during a luncheon at Seven Oaks County Club last week. The Alliance will use the money for education programs for 600 young women in rural Kern County, and the Network's funds will go for circumstances where children witness domestic violence or suicide of a parent or caregiver. The girls fund has an endowment of some $460,000 within the Kern Community Foundation.
* ... PORTUGAL BOUND: Joe and Judy Mullins are two Bakersfield natives who now live in Loveland, Colorado, and wrote to share a story about their son Kevin and his wife Angelina. They both attended high school in Bakersfield and Kevin later graduated from CSUB with a BS in religious studies. After moving to Lubbock, Texas, to attend the Sunset Bible School, they moved  to Dublin, Ireland. They returned to Bakersfield so Angelina could finish her degree at CSUB. They are now planning on moving to Portugal to work with a church planting organization called Kontact Mission. Why Portugal? Turns out Angelina's mother was originally from the Azores Islands, immigrated to the United States as a teenager and became a teacher at Shafter High School. Her name is Maria Sanchez. "Our kids have sold everything except their basic essentials, and those are being freighted to Lisbon as I write this. Kevin will be working as a contractor for his current employer there in Bakersfield, Lightspeed internet, and Angelina will be giving birth to their first child in September. I just wanted you to know of two more Bakersfield natives who grew up there and gone on to truly make a difference in this world."

 * ... READER SOUND OFF: This from reader Barbara Meuleman: "Why do you continue to write notes about the higher-income people who send their children off to schools and then return to Bakersfield, blah, blah, blah, which apparently makes you and them so proud of our town.....but then you follow up with an ending not  about what people call Bakersfield. A touch of Johnny Carson and not needed. Bakersfield is Bakersfield, not Bako, or anything else somebody thinks is cute. I'd hate to see what nickname they give their children, by the way.  I love Bakersfield and am disappointed when it is not built up, but instead given names that reflect we are either stupid, just in off of the farm, or whatever. Who started this, and why is is so important to label a wonderful, compassionate town when there are other ways to use the space?  Let's let the name Bakersfield be important, well thought of and if with a nickname, a great one, not one that pulls it down to the level of "dumb blonde" jokes.  Thanks, beano...whoops Mr. Beene."

 * ...SAN JOSE STATE: Got an interesting email from insurance risk consultant John Pryor, who was remembering some special local folks who graduated from San Jose State. In his words. "In 1954, four Bakersfield residents graduated from San Jose State wearing traditional caps and gowns for the ceremony in Spartan Stadium.  However, underneath this traditional garb, they each wore US Navy officers' uniforms.  Dick Giles, Bob Gorman, John Pryor, and Terry Whitney 'went forward' to receive their degrees.  Then they each removed their cap and gown and - now in their naval officers' uniform - went forward a second time to receive their commission from a senior US Navy officer.  Each immediately reported for active duty with orders to ships or duty stations ranging from Japan to France -- and points in between."  
  For background, John said Dick Giles' career was in sales management for Hopper, Inc. and McCarthy Tank and  Steel, Bob Gorman, who passed away last year, was a local workers' compensation consultant, Whitney was CEO of Welch Grape Company in Buffalo NY (now living in San Francisco), and John was a local insurance broker.

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM : You know you're  from Bakersfield when you know that ordering a "half and half" at Luigi's means half pasta and half beans.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Celebrating the success of local kids and a sound argument for gun rights when predators walk our streets

 * ... WASCO GRAD: Audra Miller wrote to tell me about her son Carl Miller, who graduated from  St. John's Catholic School in Wasco and then Wasco High School. He went on to earn his PhD from UCLA and did post doctorate work at the Harvard Medical School. He  is now working in Seattle as a scientist for Dendreon, a company that recently announced a break through in the treatment of prostate cancer. "There is great hope that this prostate cancer treatment will be a stepping stone for the treatment of many other types of cancers," she said. Well done.

 * ... OFF TO OREGON: Kudos go out to Paul Brumfield, son of Superior Court Judge Lorna Brumfield and local attorney Robert Brumfield,  for getting an academic scholarship to attend the University of Oregon in Eugene. Paul will major in music (with a minor in business) and is coming off participating in the California state honor choir. As his father said, "Go Ducks!"

 * ... GUN RIGHTS: Is there a better argument for the right to bear arms than the brutal killing of grandmother Dorothy Pauline Session? She was beaten to death in her east Bakersfield home by some lost children who apparently just happened on the house intent to steal a few things.  How many of these predators walk our streets on any given day? I can think of few better arguments for the Second Amendment than senseless cases like this. (suspects appear in court in photo below; Dorothy Session below)

 * ... MEA CULPA: In a recent post on the engagement of Morgan Houchin and Jillian Giumarra, I neglected to mention that Jill's parents are John and Pamela Giumarra, and the mother of the Houchin boys is Candus Houchin-Birnbaum. That was bad form on my part and  I apologize. Morgan's brother and Jillian's sister are already married, keeping this one all in the family.

 * ... SAN JOSE STATE: Heard from Mark Powell, a reporter at The Tehachapi News, who wanted  to know how big the community of San Jose State University alumni was locally. Powell noted that he graduated from San Jose State, as did long-time Californian courts reporter Steve Swenson and Jose Gaspar of  KBAK Eyewitness News 29. In addition, former KBAK producer Meg Stewart is a San  Jose State graduate.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield when "you know the Garces circle is not a quiz item on a geometry test."