Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11th anniversary brings out the flags across town

Was encouraged to see so many flags flying on this ninth anniversary of September 11. Some random shots around our community.

Friday, September 10, 2010

McCarthy: get ready for stiff tax increases unless the Obama plan is stopped

  On this special day, let's hear from our local Congressman, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) on his view of the issues of the day. In his  words:

"September 11th marks a day in America that we will never forget.  The images from that day will always be on our minds as we remember those who lost their lives and the heroic efforts including those from Kern County that responded to those in need.  We must also keep our troops who are serving in harms way in our thoughts as well.

  "Congress will be back in session next week.  My colleagues and I believe that a simple two point plan can be immediately implemented that will help create an environment to create jobs that Americans
need.  Point one: cut spending to 2008 levels and point two: freeze all tax rates for two years.
  "We must immediately cut federal spending.  In the first 19 months of this Administration, the publicly held federal debt has increased by $2.5260 trillion.  This is compounded by the Administration’s proposal
this week for new stimulus spending in the form of $50 billion for infrastructure projects.  Just like in our everyday lives, when we need to control our debt, we need to find savings and cut spending.
Instead, Congress and the Administration should be working together to cut spending.  To date, my colleagues and I have offered over $120 billion in spending cuts through the YouCut program, but all have been voted down in the House.  Freezing all tax rates for two years may be one major initiative that Congress can get done this year.  Right now, if Washington fails to act, on January 1, 2011 taxes will rise by $3.9
trillion, affecting all tax paying Americans.  Specifically, an\ average middle class family in California currently pays about $3,570 in federal income taxes.  If Congress does not act to prevent automatic tax increases, this will increase to $5,196 in 2011.  Small businesses will also be impacted if nothing is done.  One local small
business I visited this week was Kern Steel Fabrication.  Raising taxes on businesses like this will only compound our unemployment problem. What they need now is certainty so companies like Kern Steel Fabrication can plan for the future and so they can become prosperous.

  "T he Federal Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission led by formeCongressman Bill Thomas, the Commission Vice Chairman, got out of Washington and held a hearing in Bakersfield this week.  I wanted the
Commission to see that every part of our community has been harmed bythe economic downturn: housing, agriculture, energy and small businesses.  I hope their findings in Bakersfield will help develop a
final report, that lays out common-sense guidance to create a climate – both in California and in the nation – that will allow small businesses to prosper and access capital to expand and create additional jobs.

  "Also next Friday, September 17, my Bakersfield office will be distributing pocket Constitutions for Constitution day. Please stop by if you would like one. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and
enjoy the NFL games that will be on this Sunday!

Almost 400 arrested in Kern County on DUI charges ...

 Here's an amazing statistic that turned up on one of The Californian's blogs (read the entire thing here): 381 people were arrested on DUI charges during a sweep against drunk drivers between August 20 and September 6. That's an amazing statistic by any measure and shows the extent of the problem in our community.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Will Fessler be the new Athletic Director at CSUB? And noting the stream of paroled state prisoners walking our streets

* ... CAL STATE: There is a lot of speculation over who will replace the retiring Rudy Carvajal as athletic director at Cal State Bakersfield. This will be one of the bigger decisions made by President Horace Mitchell, who successfully pushed through the effort to bring CSUB sports up to the Division 1 level. Insiders tell me the only real inside candidate appears to be Roger Fessler, the former general manager of American General Media who joined CSUB as associate athletic director last year. Fessler's passion is college sports, and he has previous experience as athletic director at St. Francis University in Pennsylvania. But Mitchell could always choose to look outside the campus to bring in his own personal pick. A search committee has been formed, but anyone with any experience with university politics know this is the president's call at the end of the day. This is not an all inclusive list but among those on the search committee are assistant athletic director Gloria Friedman, Foundation athletic committee chair Greg Bynum, Roadrunner Club president Alan Wade, coaches Alan Collatz and Tim La Kose, associate vice president of enrollment Jackie Mimms, faculty athletic representative Jackie Kegley and John Holtzman, vice president of student affairs. (Rudy Carvajal with President Mitchell pictured below, followed by Roger Fessler)

 * ... HARVEY HONOR: Mayor Harvey Hall was honored with Cal State's John Brock award Thursday night at a dinner and reception at Seven Oaks Country Club. Organizers were thrilled the event sold out, particularly considering it was up against a number of other events: the opening of a new show at the Bakersfield Museum of Art, a private dinner and fundraiser for Meg Whitman at Barbara Grimm's estate, and the big NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings.

 * ... SPOTTED: A group of eight to 10 newly released state prisoners, all in matching white T-shirts, khaki slacks and black canvas prison slippers, walking west from the Greyhound Bus station into the heart of Westchester Wednesday morning. Ever get the feeling that these parolees are just being dumped into our community by the overburdened state prison system?

 * ... MAHAN OUT: Heard the bad news that Will Mahan, a Bakersfield High School and Bakersfield College alum, tore his ACL in practice and is out for the year at the University of Washington. Mahan is the starting punter on the Husky football team and will apparently take this year off and return next season.

* ... BAKERSFIELD INN: Reader Denise Irvin wrote to talk about her high school years when she would visit the old Bakersfield Inn and enjoy its pool. "There wasn't a swimming pool in every backyard then, but we 'younger ladies' soon discovered that we were welcome at the Bakersfield Inn for an impromptu swim party. We could order a lime Coke from the bar and spend the entire Saturday afternoon sunning and swimming at the Inn's pool, and if we got lucky there might even a bunch of cadets from Minter Field there to flirt with. Ah! Those were the days!"

 * ... LA CRESTA: Reader Gene Buchanan is another who recalls the old La Cresta Air Park off Panorama Drive. "It was my understanding that La Cresta was closed to private aircraft until Meadows was cleared by the Air Force. Until then we were flying off a dirt strip about 10 miles east between Breckenridge and Kern Canyon Road just east of Hillcrest Memorial park. It was August 1945 and I was a student pilot. When Meadows opened we moved there. Got word that La Cresta was going to have a small air show and Batman was going to jump from a plane. He went up in a J3 to about 6,000 feet and jumped. He had wings sewn to his sleeves and between his legs. You could hear the wings flapping, sounding like machine guns. He opened his parachute and his feet swung forward and then when they swung back he hit the ground. I was 16 at the time and was very impressed. And by the way, you know you're from Bakersfield if you remember the hamburgers served with a special sauce at Bloomfield's drive-in on Niles Street."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM:  You know you're from Bakersfield "if you consider 10 percent seasonal unemployment the norm."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

McCarthy, Cantor and Ryan set out GOP agenda in new book "Young Guns" while readers reminisce on the good old days

* ... YOUNG GUNS: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) has teamed with two other up and coming Republicans in the House of Representatives to author "Young Guns," a book that sets out a new path for the Republican Party. The trio (McCarthy, Virginia's Eric Cantor and Wisconsin's Paul Ryan) earned the nickname 'Young Guns' from the Weekly Standard which described these three as a new generation of conservative leaders. If the Republicans take control of Congress in November, these three will be in key positions to move their agenda forward. McCarthy would be in line to be majority whip. The book will be released to the public next week. (Read the Weekly Standard review here)

* ... THOMPSON'S: Many readers have sounded off on the old Thompson's pet store, now closed, and it prompted this response from Mike Thompson. "I certainly know the whereabouts of the old Thompson's Pet Land owner, as he is my dad.  My parents, Warren and Rhoda Thompson, purchased the old Clyde's Pet Shop way back when. It was located across the railroad tracks from the old Haberfelde Ford dealership on Chester Avenue. When the Chester Avenue underpass displaced them, they moved the business to the old Greyhound Bus Station on 19th Street, where they operated the store for many years.  My parents were well known in the community. Both were accomplished pilots, my mom a lady air racer and my dad active in the Sheriff's Aero Squadron. Warren Thompson now lives in Campbell River, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island's northeast coast. He published his first novel,  'EARTHQUAKE,' in 1990, and is working on its sequel. He also recently published a historical book for the town's Maritime Heritage Museum. My dad is still independent, drives, and has been an avid Rotarian for many years, earning the 'Rotarian Of the Year' award Many times.  He will turn 96 this November.

 * ... OLD DOWNTOWN: Reader Charles Conner wrote to tell me about the bustling downtown of the early 1960s, when retaurants like Tiny's at 18th and Chester Avenue served up specialities like the Chubby Steak, chef's salad and home-made pie. "I believe this was the Tiny Ward who was well known for his pies. Tiny's served great tasting food. Downtown Bakersfield was an exciting and wonderful place to live and work during those years."

 * ... GLENDALE COLLEGE: Hats off to Andrea Hashim, a local girl who is the new administrative director and head of the dance department at Glendale Community College in Arizona. Andrea went to Our Lady of Perpetual Help and later Bakersfield High School, class of 2000. She later attended Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., and earned her master's in dance from the University of Arizona. Her parents are Chuck and Valerie Hashim.

* ... SPOTTED: In the parking lot of a local grocery store a woman pulls up in a battered old Honda sedan. A small dog sits on her lap and the woman is smoking a cigarette, seemingly oblivious to the toddler crying in the passenger seat, with his seat belt unbuckled.

 * ... CHEAP GAS: One of the best deals in town for cheap gas continues to be at the Fastrip in Shafter, where it was being sold for $2.67 a gallon, according to local sleuth Bob Smith.

* ... MOUSEKETEERS: And then there is this from regular contributor Don Kurtz: "Another fond remembrance of La Cresta. In 1955 Annette Funicello and other Mouseketeers were are the Green Frog Market to sign autographs. A bunch of us local kids could not wait and after going through the line four or five times, they asked us to leave! We followed her upstairs and got about half way up when the owner, Charles Everett, escorted us back down the stairs. Oh what a day ...  "

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield if  you describe traffic on Coffee Road  "as a NASCAR event."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Rubio holds a fund raiser and more Mayor Mary Kay Shell shares her memories of La Cresta air park

 * ... RUBIO FUNDRAISER: Today's political climate is rife with partisanship, so it was nice to hear of a recent fundraiser for State Senate candidate Michael Rubio that seemed to bring folks from all political leanings together. It was last Thursday, at the Bakersfield Country Club, and the evening was hosted by prominent farmer Joe Campbell and well known local defense counsel H.A. Sala. The crowd was seeded with loads of distinguished Democrats and Republicans who listened to Rubio's well tuned message of finding practical solutions for budget gridlock, water regulation, and sustained job growth.  Supporters from both sides of the aisle seemed to appreciate Rubio's dedication to work through these divisive issues. Among those attending were Castle and Cooke president Bruce Freeman, farmer Richard Sandrini, local attorney Barry Goldner, Supervisor Mike Maggard, former First Five chairman Wendy Wayne and attorneys Karen Gaul and David Cohn.

 * ... MORE LA CRESTA:  Former supervisor and Mayor Mary Kay Shell added a little romantic twist to the stories of the old La Cresta airfield.  "The La Cresta Airfield is becoming a saga!  Your column today jogged my memory further. I well remember Johnnie Bresnahan and his PT 19 and Jim Bowers and Hal Reed and their BT-13. What I didn't mention to you before was when I was working there I first met my future husband, Joe. We were married 38 happy years until he passed away in 2008. This was about 1947 when he frequently came in flying his navy blue SNJ (AT-6 in the Air Corps) to check his oil wells. He was an independent wildcatter. He never stayed long because someone he had buzzed picked him up right away. I recall he was a tall blond fellow with the name of Shell. We sold Shell gas at La Cresta and I was young and dumb and thought he might own that company (rather than the Dutch corporation it was).
After we married some 23 years later he used to love telling people I washed his windshield at La Cresta as I climbed all over his plane when he wasn't around. Not true, except I did climb on his plane because it was so nice!"
* ... MORE THOMPSON'S: Reader Don Enebo adds this memory about the old Thompson's Petland store. "When I moved to Bakersfield in 1958 a man named Thompson owned the pet shop. Oddly he was from my hometown of Stevensville, Montana, where he had owned a little country grocery store south of town. That store was previously owned by my uncle, Floyd Millikan. He ran the pet store for several years but I don't know when he sold it, nor what happened to him. Yes, everyone with children went in to look at the animals. Sort of like an early petting zoo."

 * ... FOX BIRTHDAY: The majestic Fox Theater is about to celebrate an important birthday: its 80th. The theater Foundation is planning to celebrate the birthday with a showing of the musical "Maggie" on November, 12, 13 and 14. Tickets are $25 and on sale by Vallitix (661-322-5200).

 * ... MONTGOMERY WARD: Received a nice hand written note from Sal Cruz, a 73-year-old Delano resident who remembers buying shoes in Bakersfield at the old Montgomery Ward stores and "having my feet X-Rayed to assure a good fit."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Jenifer Pitcher is but 24 years old and working on her master's at CSUB, but she has her own memory of "old" Bakersfield.. "You know you're from Bakersfield if you remember the Big Green Monster water slide at the water park (I think it was on White Lane, but I was really young so I can't quite remember.)"