Saturday, August 14, 2010

McCarthy: Congress must reduce our nation's debt

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives us his weekly report from Capitol Hill. In his words:

 "After returning to Bakersfield to start the August work period back home, Speaker Pelosi unexpectedly called all House Members back into session for a day to pass one more $26 billion state bailout bill.
The question I have is if the stimulus bill was working, why would Congress need to pass another “temporary” bailout?  We need to get the economy back on track and Americans back to work. Unfortunately, this new legislation includes $9.6 billion in new taxes that make U.S. companies less competitive in the global economy.
 "  In addition, it is a false claim this bill is fully offset by reductions in other spending.  However, the spending reductions in this new bailout bill come from repealing spending in the original stimulus bill—spending that was not offset and added directly to the deficit.  Thus, this bill actually adds $12.6 billion to the current deficit.  Just like hardworking Americans are making tough decisions to live within their budgets, so must the federal government and California.  This means setting priorities and reducing spending—not continually raising taxes, which would hurt economic growth and job creation.

 "After getting back from Washington, I traveled to Taft on Wednesday and had a great discussion with members of the Taft Rotary Club about ideas and solutions that could help shape the future direction of our country. We talked about the need to reduce our nation’s debt and the need to start cutting spending.  And most important, they shared with me about the need for more private sector jobs.  Currently, the Taft community is busy planning their Oildorado Celebration as Taft celebrates their 100th birthday, which I look forward to attending Also, I would like to wish the best of luck to Bob Leikam, who owns the local Domino’s Pizza, and is in the process of planning an attempt to break the world record of pizzas baked and sold in a 24 hour period.

 "Also, next week two new interns from the district will begin working in my Washington office. Joining the team will be Aaron Thiele, a graduate of Cabrillo High school and current junior at Cal Poly SLO studying political science, and Krista Azevedo, a 2009 graduate of Cal Poly SLO who also majored in political science. It’s great to have more interns joining the team as they play a significant role in assisting our office staff in serving the 22nd District. As a former intern myself, I know what a valuable experience interning can be and if you or someone you know is interested in working in my office, the application can be found at

 "Thanks for reading, have a great weekend, and if you have time, tune in on Sunday I'll be on CNN's State of the Union.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bakersfield police planning video cameras downtown to fight crime. Your thoughts?

 The most interesting read in The Californian today was its piece detailing how Bakersfield police are planning to install five cameras downtown to help fight crime. I both live and work downtown and don't have a problem with this, particularly given some of the bad elements that roam our central city streets. (read the full story here) One of the cameras will be placed near 19th and Eye streets, a corner that has seen its share of violence in the past. What is your take?

Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorini courting Central Valley voters

 There was an excellent piece in today's Los Angeles Times (read the full piece here) explaining how Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorini are banking on votes from the Central Valley to win their respective races. It certainly explains why we have seen so much of the candidates in Bakersfield lately. There are big time money supporters here and the conservative voice is certain to resonate with these candidates.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Steak dinners for $1.50 at the Bakersfield Inn and the community says farewell to the late judge Joe Noriega

* ... LAW SCHOOL: It was nice to hear from Kerry McGill that his son, Phillip, has decided on attending law school at the University of San Diego. I met Kerry while appearing on the  "Moneywise Guys" radio show (KERN 1180 AM), where he is one of the hosts. Phillip graduated from Stockdale High School and then UC Irvine and ended up with a number of law school scholarship offers (including one from the University of Notre Dame) but decided the lure of staying in California was just too great. Hats off to this high achieving youngster.

 * ... NORIEGA FUNERAL: The community gave a proper send off Thursday to Joseph Noriega, the former judge who died of cancer last week at the age of 81. Monsignor Craig Harrison presided over the Catholic service at St. Francis Church, which drew a large crowd of community leaders. Among those attending were District Attorney candidate Lisa Green and husband Jeff, community activist Sheryl Barbich, Superior Court Judge Gary Freidman, defense attorney H.A. Sala, local businessman and attorney Tony Leggio, John Brock Jr., Watson Realty president Ken Carter, local attorney Steve Clifford, Bruce and Jane Haupt and businessman Ed Shuler and wife Colleen. Noriega served as a judge for five years but is also known for helping found one of our community's premier insurance defense firms, Clifford and Brown.

* ... BAKERSFIELD INN: A reader sent me a menu from the old Bakersfield Inn on Union Avenue, once one of our city's premier restaurants. There's no date on it but it apparently was printed during World War II because it includes a note about many employees being gone serving in the military. The hotel's signature New York sirloin steak went for $2, halibut was 85 cents, salads were around 80 cents and two pork chops (including potatoes and rolls) went for 80 cents. Breakfast? Poached eggs on toast cost 65 cents, bacon or cheese omelette was 50 cents and a cup of coffee was a dime.

 * ... CRIME WATCH: Heard from a Northwest resident fed up with petty crime in her area. "We get hit almost every night - Coffee, Olive, Hageman, Patton - they take everything that's not nailed or glued down in your car and they go through your car like they are on some kind of scavenger hunt ... chap stick, hair scrunchies, cheap sun glasses. Whether you locked your car or not, whether you locked your garage door or not, whether you locked your front or side door or not. Nothing like waking up to hear someone was in your home while you were sleeping. I think the security watch signs should say 'Welcome to our neighborhood. Take all you want. Let's not be strangers. Come back anytime ya hear!'"

 * ... MORE OLD TIMES: Dena (Chase) Duty, born and raised here, wrote to share some special memories of Bakersfield. "As a family we would go to Woody's Toy Circus on Ming Avenue and I remember picking out a set of clackers and my mother bought me my first 'grown up' pair of bell bottom pants from Newbury's when I was around 10 years old. I have lived in other states (Scottsdale, Az., Colorado Springs, Co.) and while I appreciate their beauty and uniqueness, I am so happy to be living back here in Bakersfield, my home. Your (column) ... puts a smile on my face. Thanks for letting me share and keep the 'Bakersfield Memory' chain going. Love it!" And thanks to you, Dena.

 * ... AIR PARK: Earlier this week I mentioned the fact that there was once a small air strip (called La Cresta Air Park) up on the Panorama Bluffs between Bakersfield College and Greenlawn Mortuary and Cemetery. One reader, Gary Denny, emailed to tell me he not only remembers the air park but also recalls that it would occasionally be used for drag races.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're a Bakersfield old timer if you "remember when Kern City was the newest part of town."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sex offenders among us ... Lois Henry's take on all this and more

 If you haven't read today's column by the Californian's Lois Henry, you need to do so. (read the post here) Lois weighs in on a story broken by KGET 17 about a sex offender who simply cuts off his GPS strap and goes missing. It seems like the Department of Corrections didn't think this was news worthy and it was only after KGET broke the story did they choose to inform the public. Really? Wouldn't you want to know if a sex offender is on the loose? Anyway, the offender is German Baeza, and while on the loose he allegedly raped a 15-year-old girl and tried to rape a 14-year-old. Kudos to KGET for breaking this story. By the way, if you want to find out how many offenders live in your neighborhood, go to the Megan's Law website and simply type in your address. You will be amazed how many of these nuts live around you.

Meg Whitman slips into Bakersfield for a meeting

 It was a humorous scene at The Padre Hotel Tuesday afternoon when a scruffy band of about two dozen demonstrators showed up to protest the appearance of Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who was in town for a private meeting with supporters. The protesters, mostly union members carrying signs denouncing the "rich" and "corporate" America, were marching in a circle in front of the main Padre entrance on H Street. The problem: the Padre has two entrances and a white sedan carrying Whitman simply drove up to the 18th Street entrance where she stepped out unmolested-all the while the protestors chanted on the other side of the building.

Recycling Land for Green Energy Ideas

 Interesting read in the New York Times today (read the entire story here) on how thousands of acres of once prime San Joaquin Valley farmland is being converted to a huge solar energy farm. The project is up the Valley near Lemoore. The Times said farmers and the Westlands Water District, a public agency, had agreed to provide the land for what will be one of the world's largest solar energy complexes. (photo courtesy of the New York Times)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Local kid heads to Oregon to work for Republican congressional hopeful and a photography show worth seeing

 * ...MID-TERM ELECTIONS: Looks like Robby McCarthy, one of the young guns in the office of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (not related), is leaving to become the finance director for a Republican running for an important Oregon congressional district. Robby will be on temporary leave to work for Scott Bruun (check out his website here) who is running against one-term incumbent Kurt Schrader in Oregon's 5th Congressional District. This is a big race for the Republicans as they try to exploit the economic malaise and President Obama's weaknesses in the mid-term elections. Robby is the son of Judi McCarthy, head of the Kern Community Foundation, and Rob McCarthy, owner and founder of Lightspeed Systems. He graduated from Garces Memorial High School and then the University of Southern California in 2006. He will return to the Bakersfield Republican congressman's office after the November elections.

 * ... AIR PARK: How many of you knew there used to be a small air strip up on Panorama Drive? Old timers will remember the La Cresta Airpark located between what is now Greenlawn Mortuary and Cemetery and Bakersfield College. The runway was situated almost perpendicular to Panorama Drive, meaning small planes taking off or landing sometimes had to fly over the bluffs. Houses now sit on the old air park land.

 * ... AIR FORCE: Nice to hear that Foothill High graduate Edward Ramirez has graduated from the Air Force Academy and is headed to Arizona for flight school. He is the son of Ruben and Virginia Ramirez. If you remember, Ruben was the long time wrestling coach at Arvin High School who died in 2000 of complications of a 1982 car wreck.  

* ... ART SHOW: If you've got the mid-summer blues, stop by The Padre Hotel to catch a show of some outstanding photography in the hotel's Farmacy Cafe. It's the work of Fred Castillo, a Bakersfield native who left town but returned in 2004 to help care for his ailing father. There will be about 14 prints on display of various sizes, all of them capturing the special mood, flavor and taste of our community. There is a stunning sunset shot of Fox Theatre and some interesting landscapes. The show opens Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and is sponsored by Don Martin's Metro Galleries, which consistently sponsors some of the best art seen in our town for years. (not all of the shots shown below will be on display)

 * ... WHERE'S WESTCHESTER? My earlier post about a burglary on 20th Street in Westchester drew this response from Geraldine Sproul: "As I have stated before many times, Westchester is located north of 24th Street. This area was developed in the late 1940s after World War II. I was living here then and well remember it. I live in Westchester as I am north of 24th Street. I am sorry to say ... 20th Street is not in Westchester."

* ... UNION AVENUE: Reader Donna Garone Calanchini dropped a note to recall "attending children's birthday parties at the old Carnation Ice Cream plan on Union Avenue in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Other fascinations on Union Avenue in those days were, of course, the Bakersfield sign stretching across the highway and the roundness of the Saddle 'n Sirloin building."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Esther Brandon: You know you're from Bakersfield when "a fellow customer at Blockbuster spits on the floor while browsing the slasher flics."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's the summer of burglaries and break ins and more stink over those sweet public pensions

 * ... GO IRISH: Heard from the "Notre Club" of Bakersfield that six local kids are heading to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend this fall. They will join a freshman class of only 2,035 students selected from more than 14,500 applicants. Two graduated from Wasco Union High School-Moises Martinez and Daniel Sanchez. Others include Nicole Madrilejo, Daniel Yi, Eric Andrew Whittington and Brandon West from Garces Memorial High. Thanks to Dean Bears for bringing this to my attention.

* ... CRIME WATCH: The summer of burglaries and break-ins continues. In the past week I've heard of a burglary on 20th Street in Westchester (committed mid morning), two in La Cresta (one of them another mid morning break-in) and two cars broken into, one near Bakersfield Country Club and the other at Beach Park. Be careful and keep those alarms on.
* ... PUBLIC PENSIONS: Few topics have aroused such a spirited response as the debate over public pensions, highlighted by City Fire Chief Ron Fraze's pending retirement. Most of the responses have been highly critical of these sweet public pensions, but not all. Reader Irene Edmonds gives her own spin. "I speak with some knowledge on this issue. My husband was in law enforcement for 37 1/2 years, my oldest son was in law enforcement for 15 years and now owns Interquest Canines of LA and my youngest son was a firefighter in the Air Force before becoming a firefighter with LA County. Twenty five years working for the police department or the fire department in reality is like working double years.. How many years would it add to your job to go to autopsies and watch a body being dissected up so that you could testify in court?  How many years would it add to your job to have to handle a really bloody murder scene, one where the sons killed their parents? ... Each and every firefighter or police officer has lived through experiences that you would not understand. I am the wife and mother of police and firefighters and I know
it angers me to hear these things said."

 * ... ACTION SPORTS: Reader Kim Wiens weighed in on my earlier post (read the full post here) regarding the remarkable number of kids who have worked for Kerry Ryan at Action Sports and gone on to successful professional careers. "Both of my sons, David and Robert Wiens, were lucky enough to work at Action Sports back when it was located in the Town and Country Center. I can't thank Mr. Ryan enough for all that he taught them about hard work, customer service and running a business. That real work experience has served them so well in every job they have had since. David is currently enrolled in the Full Employed MBA program and UCLA and working as an engineer for a steel company. Rob is a bartender at RJs." 

 * ... CSUB GRADS: Nice to hear that two graduates of CSUB's nursing program have been accepted to the University of San Francisco Doctor of Nursing Practice program. They are Cynthia Jane Anderson and Ashley Lorenzo. According to the students, only 10 applicants were accepted into the cohort, with two of them from CSUB nursing.

  * ... EAST BAKO: From reader Larry Miller, recalling old Bakersfield. "Interesting note about Fred Schaffer's Stamp and Coin Shop in east Bakersfield.  He was originally in a tiny store front shop on 20 Street between Chester Avenue and K Streeet across the street and around the corner from 'Painless Parker's' (he wasn't)  second story dental office above a Thrifty Drug Store. Fred also sold model airplane kits that I loved to build. I was in junior high school and  liked to stop in Fred's shop to see what new model kits were available. This was after making deliveries of false teeth and dentures after school on my bicycle to various dentists around town. These dentures were made by S. R. Creasy in the same building as 'ol Painless.'  I earned $5 a week if I got there every day, and half a day on Saturday if I got there on time; but if I was late, then the old tightwad would dock me a dollar. 

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield when "the stranger who stops you for directions is looking for a prison."