Friday, May 21, 2010

Rep. McCarthy: town hall meeting set for CSUB at Icardo Center on June 2

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) weighs in with his weekly report from Capitol Hill.

  "Mark your calendars for June 2nd because I will be holding a town hall meeting in Bakersfield as part of a national project that I was asked to head up called America Speaking Out.  Americans are tired of
Washington not listening, and my colleagues and I want to give Americans a voice to establish a new governing agenda for Congress. I  hope you will bring your ideas and solutions.  The town hall will be
from 6:00-7:30p.m at CSUB’s Icardo Center and anyone may attend. 

 "You can RSVP for the event, but are not required to, by calling my office at 327- 3611, or emailing  For more information, check out,, or follow me on twitter @ChiefDeputyWhip.  I look forward to hearing your ideas on changing Washington’s focus and the way it works. ‪

  "One of the most important issues I believe we need to tackle is stopping Washington’s out-of-control spending. At this moment, the national debt is approaching $13 trillion and each taxpayer owes over
$117,000 as part of that debt.  Some believe that by increasing taxes-with proposals like adding a value added tax (VAT)-Washington will be able to solve its spending problems. Yet, common sense leads
me to believe that creating new job killing taxes for an economy already riddled with national unemployment rate of 9.9% is a bad idea, and that is the reason why I cosponsored a resolution opposing the creation of a VAT on top of our current tax system.  ‪

  "Washington needs to introduce ideas based on fiscal discipline, and not ones inspired by increased spending and debt for our children. New taxes, more spending and this majority’s failure to finalize a budget resolution is disastrous policy.  We need to act now, and your input at my town hall will be appreciated.  ‪

  "Another issue that is still fresh in our memories is health care; remember when the reform bills proponents said their proposal would reduce health care costs across the country?  Well that’s not the case
according to a recent report from the non-partisan Medicare Chief Actuary who reported that the new health care law will actually increase costs over the next decade by $311 billion.‪

  "Last week I told you about a new initiative called “YouCut,” that allows Americans to decide each week which one of five federal proposals should be cut to help Washington control its wasteful spending habits.  Last week over 280,000 Americans voted to cut a new $2.5 billion non-reformed welfare program that encourages states to increase their welfare participants without having to look for a new job or getting the training they may need to get back on their feet and off taxpayer funding. Unfortunately on Thursday this cut was voted down, but 7 Democrats did vote with all 168 Republicans to make this commonsense cut.  To let your voice be heard on the next round of wasteful programs visit‪ to
place your vote.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Amgen Tour of California, Stage 5, ends in Bakersfield

 Some random shots as the Tour of California ended in Bakersfield, on the Panorama Bluffs.

Remembering the Indian statue at the Garces Circle and gal pals raise money to fight domestic violence

 * ... MUSEUM MAKEOVER: Jeff Nickell, director of the Kern County Museum, added some details to the new paint job the museum recently received. Said Jeff: "We were able to do the exterior painting due to the generosity of Jim Black Construction who gave us a great deal. If you think that looks good, I invite you to check out the interior. We ripped out the mezzanine, which allowed us to re-install the original windows that had been taken out in the 1950s. We also took out the 'ugly track lighting' and chandeliers have been installed. The interior now has fresh paint matching the original colors as closely as possible just as we did with the exterior."

* ... GIRLS NIGHT: Lili Marsh at the Petroleum Club asked me to spread the news of a fun evening to benefit the Alliance Against Family Violence. Apparently some gal pals were sitting around talking about going to the premiere of the new "Sex and the City 2" movie that opens May 27. That led to an idea about turning it into a event to raise money for the Alliance while having some fun. So for $100, you get reserved tickets to the 7 p.m. movie, drinks and light snacks at Mama Tosca's at the Marketplace and an after hours dessert party at Hourglass. Stilettos required, I am told. Interested? Call 661-378-5646 or pick up tickets at Christines or Lolo's.

 * ... PROUD GRANDMA: Norene Todd wrote to brag about her grandson, 2008 Stockdale High graduate Brent Lomas. He went to USC on an academic scholarship, graduated with honors and is now working at a charter school in Los Angeles. Not being done yet, he went on to UCLA to get his masters and will soon graduate. His dream is to live in New York and Norene expects him to be there before the end of the year. "How proud I am of him," she said. "I'm sure that whatever he sets out to do, he will." Brent is the son of Barbara and Tony Lomas. Thanks for sharing, Norene.

 * ... KEDC EFFORT: Heard from Robin Fleming, who works in business development for the Kern Economic Development Corporation, about a push by the KEDC Foundation to get more women involved in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM courses.) Apparently the Foundation is the umbrella organization for the Alliance of Women in Energy, and the Alliance of Women in Energy Mentoring Initiative.  "The AWE Mentoring Initiative promotes innovation-centered education and increases female students' achievement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses through a year-long mentoring program at the Independence High School Energy and Utility Academy. Currently 44 young ladies obtain one-on-one mentoring with professional women in a cross-section of energy-related businesses and are introduced to real-life career opportunities in the energy sector. What better way to learn about energy than from some of our brightest Kern County women." 

 * ... CHIEF FIRE WATER: Had a couple calls from readers questioning the veracity of an earlier "Bakersfieldism" reporting that there used to be an Indian statue on the Garces circle. This is the response from reader Will Winn:  "Guess you are too young to remember when the huge Indian statue (now at Ethyl's Old Corral Cafe on Alfred Harrel Hwy) was in front of, I think it was a Big 'O' tire shop, on the circle as you headed north on Chester Avenue My oldest son, Jason, wanted to stop there one evening after dark and take a closer look at the big chief.  When I lifted him up he began to scream, 'Let me down, let me down.'  I put him down and as he ran back to our car I looked up and saw that the chief appeared to be looking right down at me with a very angry visage. Scared me, too!"

* ... EAST BAKERSFIELDISM: A new thread comes from an anonymous Bakersfield resident now living in Visalia. "You know you're an East Bakersfield old timer if Ben Stinson Sr. was your letter carrier before the store opened."


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spring at Hart Park in Bakersfield

 Happy to share some pictures that Tehachapi News reporter Mark Powell took recently in Hart Park. The woman in the photo is his girlfriend Bradyn Blower, like Mark a graduate of San Jose State. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Tour of California prepares to sweep into Bakersfield and Big Mike Ariey returns to Garces High School

 * ... AMGEN TOUR: This is your final reminder to get out and watch the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race sweep through Bakersfield and up the Panorama Bluffs Thursday afternoon. This is a world class event featuring some of the world's best pro cyclists, including Lance Armstrong, Mark Cavendish, George Hincapie and so many others. The finish to this Stage 5 event will happen sometime between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. up on Panorama Drive in front of Bakersfield College. If you want to ride your bike to the event, Bike Bakersfield will have free valet parking for bikes up near the corner of Mount Vernon and Panorama. Simply check your bike in, enjoy the race and then pick it up by 4 p.m. A free "lifestyle festival" will get under way around noon and end at the finish of the stage.

 * ... HIGH DRAMA: Lots of drama around town as high school seniors get ready to walk across the stage to enter the next phase of their lives. It's always a stressful and exciting time for these seniors and their parents. I've heard of kids acting up (usually alcohol is involved) and being disciplined in the final weeks of school and others mentally checking out in bad cases of "senioritis." My advice: even good kids make bad decisions and they'll all pull through it. Time to leave high school and move on.

 * ... HERSBERGER KIDS: Good news for local residents Rod and Susan Hersberger, whose two children are both about to complete their MBA degrees. Mark is about to graduate from San Diego State and sister Kate Greenberg will get her advanced degree from UCLA on June 11. Both have undergraduate degrees from UCLA. Mark works in the corporate office of UPS in San Diego and Kate works for Disney Consumer Products in Burbank.  Mom Susan is director of public affairs at Aera Energy and dad Rod is the dean of the University Library at Cal State Bakersfield.

 * ... HARVARD LAD: Heard from local jeweler Gordon Wickersham that his son Greg will receive a master's degree in school policy from Harvard University at the end of this month. Greg graduated from UCLA and has been teaching English as a second language in the Atlanta school system.

 * ... BIG MIKE: Nice to hear that Mike Ariey, "Big Mike" to his friends, is returning to coach the freshman football team at Garces Memorial  High School. A product of Garces High and then San Diego State, Ariey played professional football with the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers and was instrumental in establishing the freshman program at Garces in the late 1990s. "I love working with these kids and I'm thrilled to be going back," he told me. "It's like going home." Ariey owns a barbeque and catering business.

 * ... HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Joyce Hobbs wrote to welcome home grandson Brian Mercado after two tours of duty in Iraq. Brian, his wife Veronica and their three children flew from Germany to LAX and will be home a month before heading to Fort Bliss, Texas. Veronica was also in Iraq on a tour of duty. "Brian was injured more than twice, fighting for our freedom, and I am so proud of him," Hobbs said. "Today is his 29th birthday, and he will be celebrating in Vegas on the 20th, and the 21st. Could you wish him  happy birthday?  Thanks so much- a proud grandmother." Welcome home, soldier.
 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: This from reader Will Winn: "You must be from Bakersfield if you remember when there used to be two monuments at the Circle -- Father Garces and Chief Fire Water."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Nothing like a Bakersfield spring and the Kern County Museum gets a makeover

* ... A BAKERSFIELD SPRING: It's hard to beat the spring weather we've had this year. Cool mornings, wonderful evenings, folks sitting outside on their porches or in their lawn chairs, the parks and bike path filled to capacity, runners out early, water in the river. Everyone is talking about it and why not? But you know summer is around the corner. The surest sign hot weather is coming? My cycling group passed four snakes on the road to Woody this weekend. When the rattlers take to the roads for warmth, you can bet the heat is on its way. (photo courtesy of Don Martin, taken during his Sunday run along the river)

 * ... BAKO BOUND: The job market is tough all over, but Kern County's robust oil and energy sector is a bright spot for all those young engineering graduates. One of them is Roshani Patel, a Bakersfield native who is receiving her bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She is returning home to work for Aera Energy. Patel's father encouraged her to pursue a degree in science or math, but after taking an introductory class in engineering at Bakersfield College, she was hooked. Thousands of graduates around the country are looking for jobs, but STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates find lots of opportunity in Kern County's high tech energy field.

* ... SAN JOSE STATE: Touched base with old friend Mike Stepanovich the other day and he shared the story of how wife Carol ended up at San Jose State. "After graduating from East Bakersfield High School, she attended Bakersfield College for two years where she earned an associate of arts  degree, and planned to transfer to Fresno State. In fact she had been accepted to Fresno State – already had her dorm reservation there  – when her late father, Roy Christensen, who at the time was chief salesman for Golden Bear Refinery, said, 'That’s great! I can pick up your laundry for you on Fridays, have mom do it for you over the weekend, and bring it back to you on Mondays.' Thinking quickly, because she had been looking forward to going away to school and away from the constant gaze of her father, Carol asked, 'How often do you get to San Jose?' Her dad said, 'Oh, I never get to San Jose, that’s not my territory.' We always wondered if he ever made the connection between that revelation and her sudden enrollment at San Jose State. She graduated two years later from SJSU with a double major in speech pathology and elementary education, and returned to Bakersfield where she taught for 34 years. She also earned a master’s degree from CSUB." Mike is executive director of the Bakersfield College Foundation and Carol is now retired.

 * ... NEW PAINT: Drove by the old Kern County Museum Chester Avenue and was pleasantly surprised to see it finally received a much needed makeover. It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint and some landscaping will do. The place is looking sharp. If you haven't visited for a while, you should drop by.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Christina Blaine: you know you're from Bakersfield when "you run into all your friends, family and acquaintances at Trader Joe's."