Saturday, September 4, 2010

McCarthy: cut taxes, curtail spending and remove burdensome regulations for small businesses

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

 "I traveled to the Central Coast portion of the district on Monday for the re-opening of Flamson Middle School in Paso Robles.  The school was destroyed by the 2003 San Simeon earthquake and unfortunately
Washington’s Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) did not want to provide funding for its rebuilding, but Bill Thomas and I pushed hard to make its reopening a reality.

  "While in San Luis Obispo I spent my time meeting with community leaders and local business owners, and the most common question I was asked was: what will be done to turn around our country and what
Congress should be focusing on.  As the nation’s unemployment stands at 9.6%, I believe our number one priority should be putting Americans back to work.  In 2009, our nation’s federal domestic spending
increased by 16% to $3.2 trillion and the Washington area experienced a net gain in 41,000 jobs and had the lowest unemployment for large metro areas.

  "Put simply, excessive spending + more regulation + higher taxes = fewer jobs for the nation except in Washington.  We need to focus on the basics: cut spending, control our debt, keep taxes low, and start removing burden regulations that harm small businesses.  After I meet with business owners and I hear about their challenges, I always go back to my days starting up Kevin O’s deli and wonder what it would be like to open my old deli in today’s business climate.
 "The underlying factor in putting Americans back to work will be making sure that we keep America competitive.  The CEO of Intel, Paul Otellini warned last week that “unless government policies are
altered…the next big think will not be invented here.  Jobs will not be created here.”  By looking at the past we see that the $814 billion stimulus was unable to keep unemployment below 8%, the new government
run health care system does include tax increases and a financial reform law will expand government agencies and restricts credit necessary for new job growth.

 " What we need now is a change in environment that enables job creation.  One way to do this would be
lower taxes, yet this January Washington plans to do the exact opposite.  We should be making it easier for our companies to expand and increase their research and development to bring about new products that in turn will produce American jobs.

  "High school football is upon us, so I hope to catch some Driller football games this season.  I hope everyone has a safe Labor Day weekend.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's a trip down memory lane as readers recall the old La Cresta air park, the early days of BHS and home delivered donuts

 * ... LA CRESTA: Turns out a lot of folks have a connection with the old La Cresta air park, once located up on the Panorama Bluffs near Bakersfield College. John Bresnahan was the latest to weigh in on a bit of our history. "I learned to fly out of Kern County Airfield in 1945 and received my license in 1946.  Shortly thereafter, I noticed the construction of La Cresta airfield, and upon its completion I moved my PT 19 to La Cresta because I lived in the immediate area. I was 16 at the time and my dad and I flew out of La Cresta into 1949.  I met Jim French, and even flew my Fairchild to Arvin on two occasions to swamp for Steve Straub. My flying buddy at the time was Jim Bowers, and he parked his BT 15 next to me just beyond the Gas Island. I remember the P40 that Monte bought and sold to the Mexican Air Force (I was told)... In 1949 Jim discovered cracks in my Fairchild and that ended that. When I found out that they tore it apart and sold the parts, I was crushed. I would have stored it all of these years just to have it, but I was away at school at the time and only discovered the frame much later in a gully south of the hanger. Thanks for your Blog in the Californian."

 * ... FIRST FIVE: Good to hear that Jamie Henderson has been appointed executive director of the First Five Commission. Henderson spent 12 years as superintendent of the Rosedale Union School District and has impeccable credentials. He'll be a good addition to First Five, which suffered a soiled reputation under former director Steve Ladd's controversial spending practices. The commission doles out tobacco tax money for programs that benefit kids.

 * ... JOE GARONE: Reader Donna Calanchini dropped me a note to recall her father, Joe Garone, who had a lasting impact on our community. While student body president of Bakersfield High in the late 1930s, apparently Joe helped implement the closure of F Street to public traffic through the middle of campus, feeling it was a safety issue. Donna said her father was later a farmer and grocery store owner in Greenfield, helped establish the first Post Office there and later co-founded Greenfield State Bank in 1952. "My sister Judy was born the same year and had saving account #1. Greenfield State Bank later became California Republic Bank which then merged with First Interstate Bank which was eventually acquired by Wells Fargo Bank." Thanks for sharing that bit of our history, Donna.

 * ... YUMMY DONUTS: A random bittersweet comment from reader Margie Prichard: "Reading about Wayne's Dairy reminded me of the Yummy Donuts mom used to treat us girls to through Wayne's home delivery. I can still smell the delicious aroma. My memory was also brought to focus on the day of President Kennedy's assassination. I rode my banana seat bicycle to meet up with my high school sister (sporting a French roll hair do) walking home, crying and crying over the sad event. Thanks for all the walks through memory lane, both happy and sad."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From my regular contributor Riley Parker: You know you're a Bakersfield old-timer if  "you remember when the Bakersfield Inn was a fun place to visit as a kid so that you could walk on the 'Bakersfield sign' overpass."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Latination: Metro Galleries to present second annual exhibit devoted to Latin inspired art

 Check out a few examples of the work you will see at Metro Galleries this Friday for the opening of "Latination," a show devoted to art inspired by all themes Latin. The opening runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Metro Galleries on 19th Street downtown.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Friday features Latination art show at Metro Galleries and some good news about keeping our parks clean

* ... PARK SHOOTING: There appears to be some positive developments regarding the safety of our downtown parks following the shooting death of a 30-year-old man at Jastro Park last weekend. Sue Benham, the city councilwoman whose Ward 2 includes Jastro and some other parks, told me she is looking for both short and long-term solutions. For the immediate term, which includes the long Labor Day weekend, Benham said Police Chief Greg Williamson has promised stepped up patrols at Jastro, Beale, Yokuts and Beach parks. From Friday through Monday there will be four officers assigned to the parks, two in patrol cars and two on bicycles. The two on bicycles will patrol Jastro and the Westchester area exclusively. For the longer term, Benham said she is looking at things like limiting the hours at parks in residential areas (Jastro is an example as opposed to Beach or Yokuts park) and possibly restricting the hours when alcohol permits will be issued. All this comes as residents of the Westchester and downtown area have become alarmed over not only a rash of burglaries in their neighborhoods, but now the shooting.

* ... FIRST FRIDAY: We've got another First Friday celebration this week and this is one you don't want to miss. A terrific art show will open this Friday at Metro Galleries on 19th Street, where proprietor Don Martin will be hosting "Latination." This is the second year of this show and it features a variety of stunning work by local artists, all with a Latino theme. Artists from throughout California were asked to submit their interpretation of what the Latin life experience meant to them. The opening runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. Of course, Metro Galleries is just one of the many downtown businesses and art shops that will be open this Friday, and don't forget to head over to Uricchio's Trattoria (love the fried calamari there) or your favorite downtown eatery for an al fresco dinner. These First Fridays are chances to enjoy the waning days of summer and celebrate some of the great things about our community.

 * ... ADVANCE MUFFLER: Earlier this week reader Patti Bailey wrote to extol the virtues of a local automotive repair shop at 22nd and M streets downtown. The correct name of the shop is Advance Muffler and Automotive owned by Greg Pierucci. Apparently there is a similarly named shop elsewhere in town but it is Advance Muffler that won the praise from Ms. Bailey. 

 * ...  100 YEARS: Hats off to New City Cleaners, the locally owned company that is celebrating 100 years in business this year. Company president Jarrell L. Epp told me a November celebration is being planned for the anniversary. "Many wedding gowns have been cleaned and preserved over the years at New City along with other specialty articles such as formals, designer garments, family table linens and table cloths and draperies."

 * ... SOME GOOD NEWS: Not everyone who visits our local parks leaves them trashed with garbage. Reader Peter Wollesen said he attended the water balloon fight at Yokut's Park to raise money for the Bakersfield High School Band. "While I was there I imaged the depth of trash that would be left behind. However, when I rode my bike past Yokut's on Sunday less than 24 hours later, I was pleasantly surprised to see the park was spotless! Kudos to these students for doing such a great job!"

 * ... LA CRESTA BAKERY: Reader Pamela Mahan took note of the mention of the old Plahn's Bakery the other day.  She asks if anyone remembers the "La Cresta Bake Shop on Alta Vista Drive It was owned by my parents, J.D. and Betty Starr.  They had a thriving business for many years when the city came in and decided to reconstruct the road. They took out the road and the sidewalks. The construction was supposed to take weeks and ended up taking months. So, customers had to park two blocks away and hike on plywood to get to the bakery. At the same time, Smith's opened an outlet at Green Frog Market a few blocks down the road, so my parents' business went kaput!  An interesting note, my dad ended up as manager of Smith's bake shop on Union Ave until his death in 1981."

 * ... HERB KINGS: And one more remembrance, from Dan Imes: "When I was little, my mom and step-dad, Dr. Harry Tyerman (‘doc’ for those who remember him) use to take me to Herb Kings Steakhouse for dinner where a little cup of rainbow sherbet was always served with the steaks.  Back then Herb King’s was on the corner of 18 and Q St. where the downtown Mexicali now sits."

 * ... OVERHEARD: As a young woman tries to get the attention of an employee at a local sports store, the employee jabbers on endlessly with a co-worker about her recent evening doing "shooters" at a local bar.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Gill Pederson: "You know you're a Bakersfield old timer if you remember the band Firehouse 5 Plus 2 playing at the old clock tower at 17th Street and Chester around 1949 or 1950."

Latest developments on the doctor who died in the chimney flue defy logic and description

 The story of the death of Dr. Jacquelyn Kotarac, already tragic on the face of it, just gets stranger. Read reporter Steve Swenson's story on the latest developments on how and why the popular local doctor may have climbed onto the roof of her boyfriend's Southwest Bakersfield home and tried to sneak into the house by slipping down the chimney. She apparently became stuck, and with temperatures well above 110, she remained stuck until she died. What is even more tragic are some of the anonymous blog comments attached to the story. Amazing how cruel people can be when they hide behind anonymity.

Big nurses union targets Meg Whitman with mocking "Queen Meg" campaign

 Interesting to see how the powerful state unions are going after Republican gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman. Apparently the California Nurses Association has produced more than a dozen "Queen Meg" videos that are now being circulated, and a "Queen Meg" look-alike is traveling the state. The state blog Californiality has a good piece on the "Queen Meg" story and notes there is also a "Queen Meg" Facebook page.

Local doctor dies in chimney flue

 The strangest and most tragic story of the day has to be the discovery of the body of a local doctor in the chimney flue of a Southwest Bakersfield home. You can read the entire tragic story in today's Californian here. By all accounts Dr. Jacquelyn Kotarac was a dedicated local doctor but who knows what goes on in our personal lives. She apparently was trying to get into the home of her boyfriend when she became caught in the flue.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Missing eggs? Check out the California eggs ... they're safe

 Nice to see on the Californiality blog a post about how safe our California eggs are. Apparently the sale of California eggs are exploding as brokers and middlemen try to replace the loss of orders from the tainted Iowa producers. So if you're looking for some eggs, make sure they are locally grown on the Golden State.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A shootout at Jastro Park leaves one dead, and Hollywood's obsession with narcissism


* ... BAD BEHAVIOR: Nothing like a half dozen police cars screaming by your house and a helicopter hovering overhead with a floodlight to get your attention. This was downtown, early Saturday evening, and I followed the sirens to Jastro Park where paramedics were busy trying to save the life of a gunshot victim. Turns out a group of African-American families were winding up their picnic when a confrontation ensued with a group of Hispanic men on the other side of the park. "Everything was okay and then someone pulled a gun," one woman told me. "Must have been five or six shots. We had 50 babies here and we just got them out of the way." Police said the Hispanic man was shot twice and later died. Let's hope this isn't a prelude to a bloody Labor Day weekend. Meanwhile, reader Bonnie Farrer sent me a few pictures of Hart Park, totally trashed after weekend picnickers chose to ignore the trash bins and just leave their garbage on the ground. And so it goes.

  * ... LA CRESTA: More reader feedback on the old air field that was located between Bakersfield College and Greenlawn Mortuary and Cemetery in La Cresta. Brian Landis sent me a note saying he researched it at the Beale Library a few years back and recalled it was built during or just after World War I by the Army Signal Corps. "In the early bi-plane days planes had limited range so numerous strips were built up-and-down the west coast. Every single day in the 1920s the Air Corps would go on patrols along the coast. The La Cresta strip was used basically as a safe place to land when needed and to refuel. I do believe, if I remember correctly, even the legendary Hap Arnold flew from La Cresta. Why were bi-planes patrolling the coast daily, especially here in Kern County? The newly created Elk Hills Naval Petroleum Reserve would be a valuable target to an enemy attack potentially crippling the Navy's ability to defend the coastline. If somehow an attack were mounted by a sea-borne dirigible or float plane they could intercept it further away from the enemy's objective. Japan was seen, even then, as a military threat and very imperialistic after recent and unprovoked wars with China in 1895 and Russia in 1904. The La Cresta strip was also the first home of the Bakersfield Smokers holding drag races until encroaching home development led them to an auxiliary strip near Maricopa, then finally to the Famoso strip in 1954."

 * ... OVERHEARD: A middle aged man remarking on the movie 'Eat Pray Love' starring Julia Roberts: "Fifteen million people are out of work and Hollywood produces a narcissistic, self-indulgent movie about a rich woman trying to find herself. They should have made this in 2004."

 * ... QUARRY: More feedback on the old quarry at the Kern River and the 24th Street Bridge. Jerry Sutliff, a member of West Rotary, noted that he too nearly drowned there in 1946 when he was just 10 years old. "My friend, Jimmy Gleason, and I had to extract ourselves while our adult 'supervisors' were sitting across the river drinking beer. Sometimes I get a chill when I cross the 24th Street bridge." Another reader, JOSCO Construction owner Larry Sughrue, said he plastered a lot of sand out of the quarry. "The holes were dredged by Hartman Concrete. That was around 1948-1950."

 * ... PETLAND: I never visited Thompson's Petland downtown but from the amount of feedback I have been getting, it must have been a popular place. Patti Bailey wrote that it was owned by a Mrs. Pierucci. "An interesting note is that her son, Greg Pierucci, owns Advanced Automotive, corner of 22nd Street and M Street downtown, He has been our mechanic for 18 years, long before he owned Advanced Auto, and he is the best. He is honest, generous and knows his business!"

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're a Bakersfield  old-timer if  "you were standing in Elm Grove at BHS when they announced that President Kennedy had been assassinated.