Friday, November 5, 2010

McCarthy: Fed move buying $600 billion in government bonds is a risky move, could trigger inflation

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, gives us his weekly report from Capitol Hill, the first since the GOP sweep in the mid-term elections.

"This week, our community was saddened to hear of the loss of local BHS graduate and Army Corporal Brett Land, who died on Saturday after an IED attack in Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province.  Corporal Land was a member of the elite 101st Airborne Division based out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.  Land gave his life to protect our freedom and way of life, and words cannot express our gratitude for his service.  My
thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this extremely difficult time.‬‪

  "Tuesday, November 2, the American people spoke and Congress heard.  I believe that on Tuesday, Americans rejected the policies of Pelosi and this Administration.  While Republicans have now been cautiously entrusted with the responsibility of re-charting the direction of our nation, we are humbled to be charged with fulfilling the Pledge to America.  Our conservative principles will be the foundation of a new
governing agenda that will focus on moving forward job-creating policies, cutting spending, and reforming the way Washington works. I’ll be outlining more specifics of this in next week’s column.

  "Wednesday, in another controversial move, the Federal Reserve announced that it will be buying $600 billion more government bonds by mid 2011 to, according to Fed Reserve officials, help shore up the
economy.  Some critics are calling this a risky move-basically the Fed is now printing money to finance federal deficit spending.  Why is this bad?  Potential sky-rocketing inflation as a result of a weakened dollar which could then lead to higher prices for everyday goods and services consumers buy. This move has even brought concern from other countries, and is yet another reason why we must get our deficit spending under control.‬‪‬‪

  "Saturday morning from 10-11am, I’ll be at the Kern County Board of Supervisors’ Chambers to meet with students who are interested in attending one of the U.S. Service Academies.  Saturday afternoon, I’ll
be in Atascadero and will hold another Academy Forum for those students from San Luis Obispo County from 3-4pm at the Atascadero Unified School District Board Chambers.‬‪‬‪

  "Local honors and milestones: Taft College President, Willy Duncan, was awarded Administrator of the Year by the California Association of Post Secondary Educators of the Disabled.  Aerospace Designer Burt
Rutan announced this week that he will retire from Scaled Composites next year.  Rutan is a legend, both locally and nationally, who has received numerous awards in his distinguished career, most recently
with his designs of SpaceShipOne and Two.  And our historic landmark the Fox Theatre turns 80 next week.  Thanks for reading, have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A little post-election analysis, a First Friday and more reports of bad manners over Halloween

* .. ELECTION NOTES: Ever wonder what good could have come if Meg Whitman had used that $140 million she spent on her failed campaign for governor to instead fund charities? ... Now that Michael Rubio is heading to Sacramento and the State Senate, all eyes will be on who Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will appoint to fill Rubio's county supervisor seat. Former assemblywoman Nicole Parra is in the mix, as is Garden Pathways director Karen Goh. And a source told me not to rule out Wendy Wayne, the former First Five Commission chairwoman who would be a popular pick. ... The race between Rep. Jim Costa and Republican challenger Andy Vidak in the 20th Congressional district is too close to call, but it's curious how many  farmers turned on Costa so vehemently this year. Several told me it wasn't about water - Costa has long fought for valley water rights - but rather the perception that Costa had sold out to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Obama agenda.

 * ... OLD BAKERSFIELD: Received a thoughtful note from reader Gene Bonas who recalled growing up in a Bakersfield that was a much more simple place years ago. "I was born and raised in Bakersfield and, with the exception of the six years I spent serving our country in the United States Navy, I've lived here all my life. At that time it was an exciting excursion to shop downtown at Brock's, Vest Drugs, Kress, or Sears Roebuck and Company. To eat at the counter in Woolworth's or the 'elegant' dining on the second floor of Brock's was pure heaven. Sometimes, if we chose not to walk, we rode the bus to attend The Californian or Nile Theatres. Most of the time, though, we spent our 16 cents to watch the Saturday matinee at the Granada Theatre. This was at a time when east Bakersfield was a thriving community. What made it such a treat was going into Mother's Bakery and buying a dozen glazed donuts (George always gave me a baker's dozen), buying a milkshake at Hall's Drive-In, having lunch at the Knotty Pine Cafe and playing the juke box from your table, or Snider's to see and drool over the latest in bicycles. Saba's was and continues to be the place for quality clothing.  I honestly believe I grew up in the best of times."

 * ... FIRST FRIDAY: Time for another First Friday and it looks like the weather will cooperate. A lot of downtown businesses will remain open through the early evening, including Ellie Jay's Children's Boutique, Kuka's Folk Art, Dagny's Coffee, Art Express, the Bakersfield Art Association Art Center, the Spotlight Cafe and of course the Fox Theater. Over at Metro Galleries on 19th Street,  former Disney animator Mike Tracy's intriguing work (the show is called Monsters and Gods) continues to be displayed. At the Padre Hotel you can take in hand painted pottery by local artists and celebrities.And don't forget our downtown eateries that always need our support: Uricchio's Trattoria, Mexicali and Mama Roomba, among others.

* ... ADULT LITERACY: Another example of the generosity of our community comes from Donna Hylton, head of the Kern Adult Literacy Council. She reported that the Read to Succeed Brunch raised over $20,000 for the council. "It really is a miracle in this economy," she said. "All proceeds go to the 3,500 students at 56 sites around Kern County. If everyone gives a little bit it really makes a big difference."

 * ... BAD FORM: More reports of bad form on Halloween. This comes from Evan Jones: "A group of pre-teen boys came to my door Halloween night and got a little rowdy. I heard 'BAM, BAM, BAM! DING-DONG! DING-DONG! GIVE US YOUR CANDY!' Whatever happened to 'trick or treat?"

 * ... TASTE OF HOME: Never too early to get tickets to the annual "Taste of Home" cooking show that will be held Tuesday, November 16, at Rabobank Theater. This is a popular event that sold out last year. Tickets are $13 each and doors open at 3 p.m. Call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield if "you grew up in a family that dined at a Basque restaurant every Saturday during your childhood."


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A garage ripoff in the middle of a house renovation and Halloween revelers leave diapers littering our streets

* ... BURGLARIES: The rash of break-ins and burglaries across our community continues unabated, but I've heard of few problems like the one encountered by a friend of mine who lives in the Bakersfield Country Club area. This friend (he asked to remain anonymous) and his wife were doing a major remodel on a home in the area - new floors and windows, new appliances, paint - and had stored the appliances in the attached garage. One morning, while workers were in the house, the garage door was left open and "a neighbor observed two men who appeared to be scouting the area and paid particular attention to the house with the open garage door. The strangers then apparently planned and prepared for a return visit. Later that night or early the next morning the thieves returned. They compromised the electric garage door, loaded up and made off with everything in the garage, including a new refrigerator, six new ceiling fans, a washer and dryer, tools and six large boxes containing non-replaceable and priceless personal property." His advice: "Should anyone find themselves in a like situation: store your property elsewhere. The thieves will not bother with an empty garage. If possible activate the alarm system. Alert your neighbors of your situation, and finally, close the damn garage door. If I were a burglary detective I would extend a great effort to identify these unconscionable animals."

 * ... SECOND MARRIAGE: One of most insightful political pundits on the national scene is the New York Times' David Brooks, one of the more conservative voices on its opinion pages. His take on the expected GOP sweep in the mid-term elections? "Overall, if it is won, a Republican House majority will be like a second marriage. Less ecstasy, more realism. The party could have used a few more years to develop plans about the big things, like tax and entitlement reform. But if a party is going to do well in an election, it should at least be a party that has developed a sense of modesty."

* ... TOLAND KUDOS: A few weeks ago I wrote about the athletic accomplishments of Mike Toland, a long-time Bakersfield resident who works as a geologist for the state Department of Conservation. Scott Sindelar, who works for Occidental Petroleum, wanted us to know more about Toland. "Bakersfield has the fortune of having such a great man like Mr. Toland as a resident. He is one of the most humble, gracious and engaging conservationists I have ever been around. Many of us have been destroyed by him in athletic events around town, but to talk to Mr. Toland you would think we were the stars. I've never heard him boast or brag about himself. He brushes off his accomplishments like it was a trip to grocery store. He sets an example as a human being for all of us to follow."

 * ... BAD FORM: There are few things sweeter than the youngsters who come to your door on Halloween, all gussied up in their costumes as their parents wait on the sidewalk with their infant siblings. But do the parents have to leave diapers in the street along with the candy wrappers? As reader Stephen Montgomery noted: "Why can't they be taught to put them back in their own goody bag for disposal when they go through the loot when they get home? I picked up a bag from the nearby Taco Bell and ... you guessed it. A used diaper! This was about 15 feet from a brown toter someone had left on the street. Sheesh!"

  * ... OVERHEARD: A resident of Seven Oaks the day after Halloween: "I gave out over 400 pieces of candy and what do I get? Someone left a diaper in the gutter in front of my house."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From local Realtor Patsy Sadler: You know you're from Bakersfield "if you remember when El Sombrero was on the Circle and the lunch special was a taco, enchilada, rice and beans and iced tea for $1.25. That was around 1969. Those were the days!"

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Preparing for an historic election and more takes on the CSUB shooting

  * ... ELECTION DAY: If you are like me you've grown weary of the mud slinging and political attack ads that have come to be the norm in a political season. Instead of a sober examination of the issues, character assassination seems to be the preferred method of framing one's campaign. Still, every vote is important and this promises to be an historic election. So get out an vote on Tuesday.

 * ... MORE CSUB: Received a note from reader V. Kretsinger who chastised me for allegedly blaming campus security for the death of 18-year-old Bianca Jackson on the campus of Cal State Bakersfield. For the record, I never blamed campus security but rather questioned the wisdom of having a policy that allows late night parties at the campus. Regardless, here is Kretsinger's take. He said "the blame lies with the 75 students who invited all their friends who shouldn't have been invited and they invited their friends." Good point, but certainly the administration should realize that's how these things work, and they shouldn't be surprised if large crowds show up when parties are hosted on campus.

 * ... FATAL CRASH: A Sonoma County judge has upheld a 13-year prison sentence on a woman who was involved in a drunken driving crash that claimed the life of former Bakersfield resident Kathy O'Daniel. The 54-year-old O'Daniel was killed in September of 2009 when a car driven  by Judy Shafer slammed into her Honda Civic on a rural road. Kathy, her husband Chuck and their five children lived in Bakersfield for years before moving to Northern California. Chuck O'Daniel was the manager of the old Harris Department Store at East Hills Mall and later served as advertising director for The Californian.

 * ... COLLARDS: Hard to beat the spectacular weather on Sunday. Clear and crisp and the best of a Bakersfield fall. On Saturday I stopped by the downtown farmer's market off F Street and it was bustling with folks buying fresh winter greens. There were collards, kale, turnips, green and yellow squash, spinach, cauliflower, apples, nuts, honey, beautiful fresh flowers and of course pumpkins. All this abundance while an acoustic folk country band provided a soothing backdrop to a wonderful fall morning.

 * ... WREATH LAYING: If you haven't been out to the relatively new Bakersfield National Veteran's Cemetery, it's worth the trip. Located off Highway 58, it's on land donated by the Tejon Ranch Co. and now is home to 780 veterans. Recently I heard from Adoree Roberson that Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary is participating in the "Wreaths Across America" event in which wreaths are placed on all veterans' graves across our country. This year it falls on December 11. If you'd like to buy a wreath in honor of a veteran, living or dead, go the website

 * ... OVERHEARD: A local Realtor telling a friend that her daughter was turned down for a loan even after offering to put $100,000 cash down on a $350,000 home. "They've made it almost impossible to make a sale," she said.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Jo Lynn Moralez:  "You know you're from Bakersfield if you remember, in the 1960s, bomb shelters being sold at the corner of Baker and Niles streets."