Saturday, October 30, 2010

McCarthy: Business friendly laws and taxes push Texas ahead of California in luring industry

  Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) provides us with his weekly update from Capitol Hill. In his words:

 "It was great to be in Taft last weekend and help Bob Leikam, the owner of Taft’s Domino’s Pizza, break the Guinness Book of World Records for the most medium pepperoni pizzas sold in 24 hours – final tally:
6,838.  I also spent time out in Atascadero this week and was able to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the restoration of City Hall. As you remember, it was damaged during the 2003 San Simeon earthquake,
but now it will reclaim its place as an historic icon on the Central Coast and reopen in time for Atascadero’s bicentennial.

  "Last week, we discussed the new $12 fee on vehicle registrations in the Central Valley that will be leveled on hard working families as a result of the Clean Air Act, which is enforced by the EPA.  This $29
million fine is being imposed even though the Valley has made significant improvement in cleaning up its air quality over the past few years.  My office has contacted the EPA and is examining the penalty.  While I certainly support breathing clean air and continuing to improve air quality, I believe there are unique factors beyond our control such as the pollution that blows in from the north, the Valley’s geography which prevents air circulation, and the traffic that utilizes the 99 and the 5, California’s two strategic north-south
transportation corridors.  What is needed is an assessment of the fairness of this penalty and whether it will make our air significantly cleaner so we meet compliance or whether it’s an outdated fine that will be charged to us annually regardless of any legitimate changes we make to clean the air.

  "Reading an editorial in the Wall Street Journal this week, I was struck by the claim that Texas is the new California.  Part of the evidence that was listed is that Texas’ major cities have now become
attractive places for investment and entrepreneurship and have brought in industries like aeronautics, venture capital, high tech, and even industrial manufacturing.  Further evidence of this was when Texas
added 153,000 jobs while California lost 43,700 last year.  Reasons behind this trend are an out-of-control state budget and an unfriendly tax environment, coupled with the facts that Texas is a right to work
state and there is no income tax translating into a 10% “cost advantage” over our state.  Personally, I do not want California to lose its economic edge and competitiveness.  Let’s work together to restore California to its place of economic leadership and entrepreneurship.

  Quick reminder – my office will host an Academy Forum next Saturday, November 6th for those students interested in attending one of our nation’s U.S. Service Academies.  RSVP by emailing: or call my office: 327-3611.  The forum will be from 10 to 11am at the Kern County Board of Supervisors’ Chambers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New poll shows Costa trailing Vidak in 20th Congressional District and Cal State looks at security


* ... COSTA POLL: Read with interest a new poll that has Rep. Jim Costa trailing Republican challenger Andy Vidak by a healthy 10 points. The poll was conducted by SurveyUSA for a Fresno ABC affiliate and reflects a sharp move to Vidak in the last several weeks. Costa challenged the poll and said it didn't reflect his strength in the valley, but in this election season, almost anything goes. Several farmers who have supported Costa in the past have contacted me to say they are now supporting Vidak, upset with Costa's support of what they see as extreme leftist Democratic policies and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Costa's 20th Congressional District includes parts of Kern and Fresno counties and all of Kings County.

 * ... CSUB: Cal State Bakersfield is doing the right thing in reviewing its security procedures following the shooting death of 18-year-old Bianca Jackson at a late-night party. But one hopes President Horace Mitchell and his team are able to look beyond the fact that the campus has been relatively safe over the years and get aggressive about dealing with security. Some have questioned whether there are enough campus security officers, but the real question is not the number of officers the school has on the payroll, but rather how and when they are deployed. If the university is going to allow parties of 100 more young people on its campus late at night (and let's not be surprised if alcohol is present), seems to me you need more than one sworn officer on duty in case things get out of hand. Either that, or face the inevitable lawsuit that always seems to accompany these tragedies.

 * ... THE BUZZ: Looks like the retailer Home Goods may be coming to Bakersfield after all. The rumor has been all over town and now it appears they will open an outlet on Stockdale Highway, possibly in the old Long's Drug Store building, in 2011. At least that is what a manager of the Valencia outlet told a reader, who passed it along to me. Home Goods is owned by the parent company of TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

 * ... ANOTHER AIRSTRIP: Reader Les Cofer wrote in with his own Bakersfieldism, recalling Joe Gottlieb's air strip at the northeast corner of Nord Road and Amy Avenue "and him taking off in his plane and landing behind his house to the dismay of his neighbors... Incidentally, the air strip is still there and still on aviation maps listed as an air strip."

 * ... MOVING UP: Heard the other day that two long-time Bakersfield supporters and Rabobank executives are moving into new positions with the bank. Vice president Dana Fabbri is moving into human resource training and Michele McClure is moving to Napa to work in a bank recently acquired by Rabobank. Best of luck to these two.

 * ... RED CROSS: Lots of positive energy at the local chapter of the Red Cross, which does so much good in our community. The Kern chapter held its "Tee for Charity" golf tournament at Seven Oaks Country Club recently and raised more than $18,000, not bad in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Red Cross CEO Holly Arnold singled out Dr. Vipul Dev, named a Red Cross Real Hero, and his wife Jodi who she said were "so instrumental since the inception of the event."
 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Linda L. Welch: "You know you're from Oildale if you remember the River Theater. Cost five cents to get in. Good old Roy and Gene every Saturday morning."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

North High's Colby Lewis to lead Texas in the World Series and Kevin McCarthy's rise to a GOP leadership position

 * ... CSUB: Charlie Powell, a retired division manager for State Farm Insurance and one of the coordinators behind the company's move to Bakersfield, wrote with an interesting perspective on the recent shooting death of a teenager by suspected gang members at Cal State Bakersfield. "I enjoy your blog, especially when you cut to the chase on things like the shooting at CSUB. I suspect that many of the commuter universities in California (Los Angeles, Long Beach, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton) have much bigger security forces than CSUB. We're not a sleepy college town. (CSUB President) Horace Mitchell needs to address this with a sense of urgency. Items like this are not a boon to recruiting, or the community."

 * ... GOP SWEEP: If the Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives as expected, California's GOP delegation will be well positioned in the halls of power. According to The Los Angeles Times, among those lined up for key positions is Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), who is expected to be appointed Whip. Others in line for leadership positions include Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista, to chair of the top investigative committee, Rep. David Dreier of San Dimas, head of the Rules Committee, and Rep. Jerry Lewis of Redlands, chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

* ... COLBY: All eyes will be on North High graduate Colby Lewis when he gets the starting nod for the Texas Rangers against the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. Jennifer Rose-Kavanaugh, a former Bakersfield resident now living outside of Dallas with her husband Bryan, attended Game 6 of the Rangers-Yankees series and left me this note. "My husband and his brother both attended North High School with Colby and remain friends with him to this day. We attended Game 6 and witnessed first hand Colby's commanding performance. It actually brought tears to my eyes when 51,040 fans chanted "Colby, Colby, Colby!"

 * ... TAFT COLLEGE: I am always impressed by the personal generosity of so many people in our community. Which is why it's worth noting a $200,000 gift the Taft College Foundation received from the Rowe Family Trust. Herbert John (Jack) Rowe and Evelyn (Beck) Rowe both went to high school and community college in Taft. Jack is now deceased but Evelyn is 95 years old. The gift will be used to upgrade the Taft High School soccer field which is used by both the college and the high school. Sheri Horn Bunk, director of the Taft College Foundation, said the gift "changed me as much as it might change the soccer field. Philanthropy does that. It gives me hope and I guess that is why I do what I do."

 * ... SPORTSMAN: It was nice to see Gene Thome honored as "Sportsman of the Year" in Kern County. Thome is the engaging and popular owner of Bear Mountain Sports on Weedpatch Highway and has done a lot over the years to promote gun safety and the outdoor shooting sports. (He's also a gifted country singer and has a killer imitation of Merle Haggard) He was honored at a banquet Tuesday night at the Kern County Fairgrounds. Thome is active in the Kern Sports Foundation, the 4-H, the Kern County Gun Club, Friends of the NRA among other organizations.

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're a Bakersfield old-timer if you remember "the name of one of Bakersfield's first fast-food hamburger joint, where it was located and who owned it. (Warren's, at 4th and Chester, owned by Warren Yackey)"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Musing over the death of Bianca Jackson and worrying about our state's jobless rate

 * ... SHOOTING: The shooting death of 18-year-old Bianca Jackson on the campus of Cal State Bakersfield is tragic beyond words, and it certainly raises a lot of questions about how, and why, it happened. Bianca was not a student at CSUB and neither are the two suspects in the shooting. And why was there a late night party at the campus anyway? One answer is that - unlike the larger public universities - CSUB is largely a commuter school. There are only a handful of dormitories and the area surrounding the campus - Seven Oaks, Haggin Oaks, Stockdale Estates - are not conducive to student rentals. In addition, there are no fraternity or sorority houses so parties like the Young Black Stars end up on campus, which at least to me is odd. One thing is for sure: if CSUB is going to continue to allow late night partying on campus, it better beef up its security.

 * ... FAREWELL: Stopped by the home of Wendy Wayne and Gene Tackett the other day to say goodbye to Jan Bans, the ATT marketing specialist who is being transferred to Oregon for a six-month stint. She'll be living in Portland and dealing with statewide issues and spending a lot of time in Salem. Among the big crowd to wish her well were Beth Pandol of the Bakersfield Museum of Art, City Councilwoman and Memorial Hospital's Sue Benham, Les Clark of the Independent Petroleum Association, Don Martin of the Metro Galleries, Jeff Green of Grimmway Farms,  Superior Court Judge Lorna Brumfield and attorney husband Bob, Sheri Horn Bunk of the Taft College Foundation, Donna Hylton of the Kern Adult Literacy Council, Diego Wilkinson of KBAK TV,  Lois Henry of The Californian, local arborist Dana Karcher and Robin Noble, owner of The Noble Plan home delivered meal business.

 * ... SPOOK: It's amazing how quickly our weather turns from early to late October. Local attorney George Martin, famous for the Bakersfield Business Conference, must have consulted the Farmer's Almanac by always hosting the conference in early October, taking advantage of the wonderful fall weather. Folks at the Kern Wheelmen bicycle club should take a hint from George. The Wheelmen held its annual Spooktacular bicycle ride this weekend and once again the riders were met with freezing rain and horrible conditions while riding over Breckenridge Mountain and Lion's Trail. At least three riders tumbled on the descent but luckily were only scraped up. This is a wonderful event but it perplexes me why they don't just host it a few weeks earlier in October.

 * ... JOBLESS: Our once Golden State comes out a bit tarnished in the latest unemployment figures. California now has the third highest jobless rate among all states, following only Nevada and Michigan. We come in at 12.4 percent while locally here in Kern County, we're hovering around 15 percent. The lowest jobless rate in the country is in North Dakota at 3.7 percent.

 * ... NEW OFFICE: Local attorney Robert Brumfield III is leaving the firm of Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann and Girard to strike out on his own. His new offices will be located at 1601 F Street. Brumfield, who is married to Superior Court Judge Lorna Brumfield, specializes in business law and is a long-time litigator. A native of New Orleans, he grew up in Roanoke, VA., earned his B.A. degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and his law degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

 * ... SPOTTED: Posted on the door of Coconut Joe's restaurant: "Conveniently located in the once-thriving heart of Bakersfield."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From Ken Barnes: "You know you're from Oildale if you remember where Mud Lake was."