Friday, June 18, 2010

McCarthy puts spotlight on kids from Stockdale High and Fruitvale Junior High

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives us his view of Capitol. Hill:

 It was winners’ week in Washington D.C.  First up, Sona Shah, a junior at Stockdale High School and winner of the Congressional Art competition for the 22nd district was on Capitol Hill.  Sona was in
town to take part in the opening ceremony for the exhibit where her charcoal and pastels piece, “Playing Art,” will hang for a year.
  Fruitvale Junior High was also here for a visit after they took first place at the National History Day competition.  Their topic was Disturbing the Peace: The Freedom Rides, an Innovation that Changed
the Civil Rights into a National Movement.  Coincidently, while talking with them on the Capitol steps, I was able to introduce them to Congressman John Lewis (D-GA).  Congressman Lewis was a major leader in the Civil Rights Movement and an organizer and keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in 1963.  He gave them a first-hand account of the history they had been studying.


  Looking through the suggestion cards from my America Speaking Out town hall, a common theme was that Californians need jobs.  I could not agree more, last year at this time, state unemployment was 11.3%, and today it is 12.4%.  While some believe the $787 billion spend and borrow stimulus that was signed into law in February of 2009 is working, our national unemployment numbers have yet to support such assertions.  There are better ways to gain jobs without government programs spending billions of dollars we don’t have, and I have supported solutions that would have crated twice the jobs at half the cost of the stimulus, as well as a no-cost jobs bill.  We need more commonsense alternative solutions on how to get our economy going again, and I encourage you to join the discussion at

  Each week I give you an update on how my colleagues and I are trying to rein in Washington spending through YouCut, where you vote to cut wasteful Washington spending initiatives.  This week, we proposed an idea that even the President endorsed the day after we announced it-amend federal law to allow for the accelerated sale of unneeded federal properties which could save taxpayers up to $15 billion.
While several Democrats joined Republicans in supporting this cut the American people voted for, there were not enough of them to make this savings a reality. To vote for next week’s round of cuts, go to:

  My office also welcomed Cassie Reeves from Bakersfield for a summer internship.  She started working in the Bakersfield office this week and will finish out her internship in Washington D.C.  She is a graduate of Bakersfield Christian High School and is a junior English major at Cal Poly SLO.

  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cramming for internet porn in the Bakersfield College library

 An alert student at Bakersfield College caught this man (student? BC employee? interloper?) cruising the internet for pornography in the college library. The screen shot is a bit fuzzy but you get the picture. If the library has porn filters, this guy found a way around them.

Bakersfield gets some blog love and our museum curator heads for Santa Barbara

* ... BLOG LOVE: One of the blogs I regularly follow is "Californiality," an upbeat look at the Golden State written by Los Angeles resident Mark Lorier. He posted a wonderful take on Bakersfield this week, highlighting our work ethic, culture and desire to pull ourselves out of this recession. Said Mark: "Bakersfield's famous work ethic is now bolstered by a renewed optimism and enthusiasm for the future. Counting their blessings, local citizens are starting to look at what's RIGHT with Bakersfield - and capitalize from it... Corporations are relocating to Bakersfield due to local business friendly policies, affordable real estate and tax savings. The city even has the largest ice cream plant in America - so it's officially kid approved." Thanks for the kind words, Mark. Read the entire post here.

 * ... URNER'S: Steve Urner wrote to recall when his grandfather, Phil Urner, worked at the family store with this founding brother, Dave Urner Sr. "I remember around 1953 when Urner's got the first color TV in Bakersfield. They were very expensive. Not even the family could afford one. But we would all gather down at the store on New Year's day to watch the Rose Parade broadcast in color through KTLA. It was fun! And to add to the 'you know you're from Bakersfield' thoughts: you can remember the live alligator kept in a watery pen in the alley next to the backdoor entrance to Snider's Bicycle Shop in East Bakersfield. There ya go!"

 * ... GET A GUN: Loved the advertisement in The Californian this week by Bland Solar and Air offering new customers a gun for their business. It read:  "Reward: Buy Solar. Get a Gun." This is shrewd marketing in an area where hunting and gun sports are so popular and it certainly got my attention. Bland Solar would not actually buy the customer a gun but rather issue a $400 gift certificate to use at "applicable sporting goods" stores. Or, if you already are well stocked in the guns and ammo department, Bland Solar would provide a $400 rebate.

 * ... FALKE EXITS: Emily Falke, the long-time curator at the Bakersfield Museum of Art, is heading for greener pastures in Santa Barbara. Falke landed a job as director of education and exhibits at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Museum Executive Director Bernie Herman said Falke would be assisting in the search for a replacement and would be leaving her post at the end of this month. She has been at the museum for the past 10 years.

 * ... 37 YEARS: Congrats to two couples who celebrated their 37th wedding anniversaries on the same day. That would be Bernie and Joan Herman, both longtime civic boosters and activists, and Susan and Rod Hersberger, who also are deeply involved in our community. Bernie is executive director of the Bakersfield Museum of Art and Joan is a counselor at Foothill High School. Susan Hersberger is director of public affairs at Aera Energy and husband Rod is dean of library services at Cal State Bakersfield. 

 * ... OVERHEARD: Teen angst as overheard by long-time friend Joel Sappell at a Target: "It's hard buying a card for your mom when you're mad at her."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Lee Fox: "You know you're from East Bakersfield is you remember Dudley's on the corner of Mt. Vernon and Quincy Street."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Longtime Californian editor Mike Jenner leaving for academia and watching for fireworks in the Scrivner-Perez runoff

* .. FAREWELL: Mike Jenner, the longtime editor and voice of The Californian in his popular weekly "Sound Off" column, is leaving to become the dean of an endowed chair of journalism at his alma mater, the University of Missouri. Mike is one of our community's true good guys, deeply involved in civic life and committed to making this a better place to live. He came here a single man 17 years ago and is leaving with a wife (Jean), two energetic boys (Joe and Andrew) and wonderful memories of Bakersfield. He is a dear friend and he will be missed. Replacing him is another longtime friend of mine, John Arthur (photo below). John is former executive editor of the Los Angeles Times where he headed coverage for two Pulitzer Prize events, the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the North Hollywood bank shootout. A resident of Santa Monica, John's wife is from Bakersfield so he knows our community well. No doubt he'll soon know it even better.

* ... SCRIVNER-PEREZ: Now that Zack Scrivner has made it into the runoff with Steve Perez for the 2nd District county Supervisor post, you wonder what the unions will do to keep him out of office. The fire fighter's union launched a sharp and expensive campaign against Scrivner, who has led the charge for public pension reform and to make the public employees pick up more of their health care costs. Perez served two terms as a supervisor as well as 26 years in the Kern County Sheriff's Office. This should be a spirited race to watch.

 * ... EAST BAKO: A reader named Kelly submitted these thoughts about growing up in East Bakersfield: "The Big T atop the ThriftyMart grocery store! How about on the Fourth of July when Bakersfield College would shoot out toys attached to parachutes into the surrounding neighborhoods! I cannot talk about the Helms man without getting all misty eyed!"

 * ... DUI CHECKPOINTS: The Bakersfield Police Department will be conducting DUI checkpoints on Saturday, June 19, and the following Friday, June 25. To avoid trouble, simply don't drink and drive or take a cab. No sense asking for trouble. Be careful out there.

 * ... TIME FLIES: Hard to believe it has been over eight months since San Joaquin Bank was seized by state and federal regulators and shut down. For years the bank was a local institution known for supporting non-profits and local businesses. Now it's gone and most of the executives and employees have landed elsewhere. Former bank financial officer Steve Annis is now at Valley Republic Bank, and former CEO Bart Hill is working in fund raising at California State University Bakersfield.

 * ... SMASH 'N GRAB: A friend was the victim of a "smash and grab" recently when she parked and locked her car - for just two minutes - in front of a prominent retailer off Truxtun Extension. Thinking she was safe in broad daylight with the car locked, she left her purse on her seat. She returned just minutes later to a smashed window and stolen purse.A bad economy makes for desperate times.

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Terry Willey: "You know you're from Bakersfield when someone mentions a 'bluff' and you don't think of poker."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The recession drags on in the jobless numbers and the injured Padre Hotel manager begins to heal


* .. JOB LOSSES: This recession won't be over until unemployment eases, both locally and nationally. So it wasn't exactly easy reading when I saw a study saying Bakersfield had lost more than 5,000 private sector jobs from April 2009 to April of this year. That's a loss of about 3 percent of all jobs in the private sector, another indication that we are bumping along the bottom of this recession. Las Vegas suffered the sharpest year over year decline in percentage terms, losing 4.71 percent. Wichita, Kansas, was the next worst at 4.69 percent. Closer to home Fresno fared a tad better than us, losing 2.43 percent of his private sector workforce.

 * ... DAVIS NEWS: Heard from reader Adele Davis who said she too graduated from UC Santa Barbara in one of the first classes to attend the "new" campus in Goleta. She is the wife of Dr. Doug Davis, music professor at CSUB who is from Clinton, Tennessee. Add him to the list of local Tennessee transplants. He is takingn of leave of absence this year to work on some unfinished compositions and perhaps write some new material. She also told me that Matthias Kleinsasser, a merit scholar and graduate of Bakersfield High, just graduated from law school at the University of Texas at Austin. He was a viola player in high school who went to UC Irvine as a music major. His mother is Dr. Jeanne Harrie, chair of the history department at CSUB, and his father is Dr. Jerry Kleinsasser, a recently retired musicologist at CSUB.

 * ... HEALING: Good news from Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas where Padre Hotel general manager Drew Hall is on the mend after a horrific jet ski accident. The 31-year-old was gravely injured last Tuesday when he fell off his jet ski in Lake Havasu and was run over by another ski. He suffered multiple skull fractures and may lose sight in one eye, but friends and colleagues say he is making a miraculous recovery. He is now in a private room, eating, getting out of bed and joking with nurses and his doctors. No word yet what kind of rehabilitation is in store but his co-workers at The Padre are anxious to get him back.

 * ... THIS IS SUMMER? Hard to believe we're in mid June and we continue to have these unseasonably mild weekends. Could not have asked for nicer weather for the annual Wine Fest, which was a huge hit, and all the restaurants around town seemed busy. Mild weather, water in the river, blue skies, not the time to be anywhere else than here.

 * ... PERFECT GIFT: Is there any better birthday gift for an empty nester than calls from your children? Knowing they are well and happy and hearing that familiar lift in their voices is all one needs.

 * ... BAKERSFIEDISM: You know you are from Bakersfield if "you drag raced on Acacia Avenue behind the cemetery."