Saturday, July 31, 2010

Another Saturday, another Bakersfield farmer's market

 There is no reason to post these pictures other than to celebrate fresh fruit and vegetables, much of it organic, available at Bakersfield farmer's markets. This is the Saturday market that runs from morning to noon at the corner of Brimall and Calloway Drive. 

McCarthy: brace yourself for taxes to rise across all income levels

  Our weekly update from Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield.) In his words:

"As the Bull and West fires raged this week, many local families have been forced to evacuate their homes.  To help those in need, County Fire Chief Nick Dunn and the District Ranger for Sequoia National
Forest Rick Larson have updated my office with information for local, state, and federal resources.  I also joined local residents for a town hall in Kernville Friday evening to hear the latest updates and
what we can expect next. 
For more information, check my website:

  "Personally, I am very proud of the hard work our Kern County Red Cross volunteers, local businesses and citizens have put forward to help all those in need. When our neighbors and friends have needed assistance,
our community has always been able to come together and answer their call for help.  As our community has been battling these wildfires, I was saddened to hear of the passing of a great fire fighter and
community leader this week, former Kern County Fire Chief, Robert Williams.  Bob was an avid outdoorsman and a loving father and grandfather dedicated to his family.  I am truly honored to have known
Bob and our community will certainly miss him.

  "In Washington this week, my colleagues and I continued to push for cuts in wasteful spending and interestingly enough, this week’s YouCut choice was put forward by Congressman John Adler, a Democrat from New Jersey.  Rep Adler’s proposal outlined a plan that would terminate the Advanced Earned Income Tax Credit (AEITC), and save taxpayers $1.1billion over the next 10 years.  Unfortunately, in spite of bipartisan support, the bill failed to pass and again this majority proved they are not serious about cutting spending or getting this nation’s fiscal house in order.  Since YouCut’s inception, my colleagues and I have
offered over $120 billion in cuts to wasteful spending, and until our nation’s debt is under control, we will continue to push for commonsense cuts despite the Majority’s opposition.

  "Another fiscal issue that will be on everyone’s mind soon is taxes. In 154 days, the Congressional Majority and the Administration is scheduled to increase taxes on all Americans.  All families and individuals in every tax bracket, as well as small businesses owners, will be affected.  This tax increase would be the largest increase in our nation’s history and could not come at a worse time.  Since the stimulus passed, more than 3 million jobs have been lost and national unemployment is still hovering close to 10%; a tax increase is the last thing Americans and their small businesses need.  More than 60 million individuals are employed by small businesses nationwide, and start-up companies create an average of 3 million jobs annually. A tax increase on these job-creating engines could be catastrophic.  Rather than levying a punitive tax on hard-working Americans and their families, we should focus on creating jobs and getting our national debt under control.

  "Also this week, I was able to meet with a unique visitor who recently has come to call Bakersfield a home away from home.  On Wednesday I met with Jean Baptiste Mugaruar.  Jean is from Rwanda and he and his
wife Julia have been living in Bakersfield since July 2009 as she has been treated for cancer.  Jean wanted to let me know that Bakersfield has been so welcoming and supportive of him and his family and he was
pleased to announce that Julia is cancer free and they will be returning to Rwanda in August.

  "Finally, I wanted to let you know that I taped an interview with C-SPAN this week that will air this Sunday, at 7am or 3pm, if you would like to tune in.  Have a good weekend.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

British retailers and brokers in town touring Pandol Brothers grape fields and the YMCA puts out a plea for help

 * .. KERN GRAPES: Was out the other evening and ran into Beth Brookhart Pandol, who was escorting a delightful group of visitors from the United Kingdom who were in town to tour our local grape fields. They were here to see the vineyards of Pandol Brothers, one of our area's larger grape growers. Turns out these folks have done business with the Pandols for years, primarily importing red seedless table grapes. Two of the visitors - Lisa Buckley-Hoyle and Anna Goodall - work for Tesco, which owns the Fresh and Easy chain of grocery outlets. The other two, Alan Guindi and Karen Cleave, work for Richard Hochfeld Ltd., a British fruit importer, broker and technical service company that deals extensively in grapes. Guindi and Cleave had visited Bakersfield numerous times but this time were staying at the newly renovated Padre Hotel, which Cleave called "a breath of fresh air."

 * ... THE BUZZ: With all  the cutbacks and challenges over at Cal State Bakersfield, is this the best time to have your bathroom remodeled? Apparently that's what is happening at the University Advancement office where the public restroom is undergoing a face lift. And it has some folks over at the Southwest Bakersfield campus chattering, first because money is tight and second the office is run by Beverly Byl, the chief fund raiser who is not wildly popular among her peers. (read a previous post here) If you remember, Byl was brought in by President Horace Mitchell to replace the retiring Mike Chertok but she has struggled to build a constituency either inside the campus or among longtime CSUB supporters. Rob Meszaros, the school's communications director, said the bathroom project was part of scheduled campus deferred maintenance and he dismissed the notion that "our office is getting preferential treatment. Our building was one of the last, if not the last, building to have work done." But that didn't stop the tongues from wagging and triggering a new round of talk at the campus about Byl and the perception that she has favored status with President Mitchell.

 * ... TROUBLE AT THE YMCA: Among the victims of this long recession are our local non-profits, who do so much good in our community. And now I hear that the local YMCA is having a particularly hard time because of a steep drop in donations. Said board member Dave Wilkerson: "YMCA's are the number one child care providers in the country and the biggest employer of teens. What a shame it would be if we were not able to continue to serve the kids of our community through our child care and sports programs. No child is turned away due to an inability to pay and we are most proud of that! How many of us in this community grew up at the Y?" If you want to help, call the local YMCA at 661-837-YMCA (9622). This is one non-profit worth supporting.

 * ... OLD BAKO: It was nice to hear from Lucille Bell, who at 91 has been reading The Californian for 65 years. She had her own remembrances of Bakersfield, specifically when "there were no shopping malls. We shopped 'downtown' but there was a small area on Niles Street called The Hillcrest Shopping Center. Was listed on maps as such. (It's still there)." Thanks for reading Lucille.
* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Dan Giordano: You know you're from Bakersfield if "you remember Don Rodawald's TV show and his parting shot, 'See you tomorrow at three when it's just you and me.'"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Feral cat population at our parks

 Captured this photo of a feral cat who lives in a clump of bushes over at Yokuts Park. There are dozens of these feral cats in our parks, particularly around Beach Park (near the bike path underpass) and out in Hart Park. Cat lovers feed them regularly but there's an argument over what is best for them. This particularl cat lives in the bushes in front of the public restrooms at Yokuts.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More scorn heaped on local litterbugs and a local attorney takes a hard fall on a mountain bike

 * ... BAD FORM: My earlier post about the trashing of our parks triggered a response from readers like Dee Rhodes, who shared her own frustration with this behavior.  "I know . . . I know . . .  It is probably the same woman that pulled up to the stop light at Oswell and Bernard (a photo-enforced intersection), literally opened her car door, physically got out of her vehicle with an arm load of garbage, deposited it on the street, in full view of operating cameras. She did not get out of her car just once, she got out of her car three separate times, each time laden with unimaginable garbage she placed in the street.  Had I have done something so reckless and heinous as to run this red light I would have been ticketed! Hmmmm."

 * ... MORE COACHLIGHT: Received a nice handwritten note (that doesn't happen every often these days) from George and Carol Bracchi. They had fond memories of Bill and Pauline Wright, former owners of the old Coachlight Inn. Apparently they also owned a drive-in on Chester Avenue before buying the Coachlight. The Bracchis also lamented so many changes in east Bakersfield and recalled Mother's Bakery, where they Carol learned that a baker's dozen was actually 13.

 * ... GRIDLOCK: Get ready from some real traffic snarls on one of our busiest streets: Truxtun Avenue. Starting Wednesday (today) traffic will be reduced to one lane on both Truxtun and Mohawk Street for several weeks as work continues to connect Mohawk to Rosedale Highway.  This should prove interesting during the morning and afternoon rush hours. Construction should last several weeks.

 * ... ON THE MEND: Local attorney David Cohn, managing partner of Chain Cohn and Stiles, is on the mend after a nasty fall on his mountain bike this past weekend. Dave was riding the trails near Mammoth, enjoying a weekend out of the Bakersfield heat, when he took a spill that required 32 stitches in his thigh. He's out for a few days recuperating.

 * ... OVERHEARD: A couple who regularly visits Carpinteria is warning others to beware of the local police. Apparently they are on a ticketing rampage, citing minor parking and open container infractions to raise money for the city. "I overheard a cop telling one person that the city manager told them to put the heat on because they needed to raise money," one frequent visitor told me. Another seasonal "Carp" resident said he hadn't witnessed any stepped up enforcement and was thankful that the city and police were working to maintain a "family friendly" environment in the seaside community.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're an east Bakersfield old-timer if "you remember where the original Stinson's Stationers was located. (Kentucky Street just west of Baker.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Our collective shame: the way we trash our city

 Here's  something that will make your blood boil. Take a look at these pictures I took at Yokuts and Beach parks down by the Kern River. What are people thinking?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Celebrating a good samaritan and lamenting the trashing of our parks after a summer weekend


* ... GOOD SAMARITAN: From readers Gene and Shirley Takach, the story of a local good samaritan: "Recently while walking our pug Otto, we were attacked by a loose pit bull in the intersection of Old Farm Road and Palm Drive. A good samaritan stopped in the middle of the intersection, ran over and quickly got the pit bull to stop the attack and to turn tail and leave. Thankfully, due to this stranger's willingness to intercede in a vicious attack where he also could have been severely injured, Otto and I had only minor bites. It is heartwarming to know that there are people in Bakersfield who practice The Golden Rule, 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'  Our good samaritan, Steve, wished to be anonymous but we will be forever grateful for his bravery."
 * ... WHAT WORKS: I spend a lot of time lamenting bureaucracy and unresponsive public agencies, so it's a treat when you run into things that actually do work. And it happened at the California DMV office on F Street downtown. Imagine that. A trip to the DMV is normally akin to undergoing a colonoscopy without anesthesia, but apparently no longer. The DMV now allows you to make an appointment online for a specific time and purpose. Mine was for 9:20 a.m. on Friday for a new driver's license. I arrived at 9:15 a.m. and was called precisely at 9:23 a.m. The process took two minutes and I was out the door at 9:25 a.m. Now that is something to celebrate.

 * ... FIGHT ON: Looks like another local kid is heading to Los Angeles to attend school at the University of Southern California. This according to former Kern High School District trustee Bob Hampton, himself a proud USC alum. His granddaughter, Stockdale High graduate Emily Bernstein, will soon be off to "Figueroa Tech" and four years of chanting "Fight on!" Her parents are Dan and Karen Bernstein.  The Bernsteins own a large engineering firm in town called Processes Unlimited, International. Emily will major in chemical engineering.

 * ... BAD FORM: Would whoever left the two used diapers, the Bud Light cans and the Doritos bag  down by the river at Beach Park please return to discard them?

 * ... OVERHEARD: Lots of buzz among downtown residents that a new grocery store may be headed for the area. There hasn't been a downtown grocery since Fike's closed some years ago, forcing residents of Westchester, Riviera Westchester and Oleander to either head to the Southwest or to the East side of town up Highway 178.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Terry Willey: You know you're from Bakersfield "when you know the Grapevine isn't where you get your wine from."