Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kegley Institute's anti-Israeli rant sparks a furor and the Bakersfield Racquet Club struggles to survive

 * ... LEBEC HOTEL: More background on the old Lebec Hotel comes from Jim Clifford, who just happens to live in a beautifully restored home on 19th Street that was once owned by the Lebec's builder and owner, Thomas O'Brien. Clifford said O'Brien came to Bakersfield via Needles and Kingman around 1900 and owned a number of properties, including a saloon called the Louvre located at 19th and K streets. He also had an interest in the Del Monte Saloon and Bakersfield's first theater, the Empire. In 1905 he brought Al Jolson to the Empire Theater and met an opera singer who would become his wife and help him in running the Lebec Hotel. "I became interested in O'Brien when I remodeled my 19th Street home and discovered he was the original owner," Clifford said. "With a little luck I was able to ferret out much of this information from local archives and books." Clifford said the Lebec Hotel was never a cash cow and his partnership with Cliff Durant and the debt he incurred plagued him until the end.

 * ... CHUTZPAH: The anti-Israeli lecture by Palestinian-American Susan Abulhawa at Cal State's Kegley Institute of Ethics last week has lots of folks up in arms, and rightly so. As Howard Silver wrote in The Californian, Abulhawa "hurled classic anti-Jewish blood lies... unrestrained by reason, facts, evidence or decency." Abulhawa showed her true colors when, while taking a question, she wouldn't answer if the state of Israel had a right to exist. And  later I learned that - talk about chutzpah - the Kegley Institute actually approached a local Jewish congregation weeks before her speech and requested money to sponsor the program.  (file photo of Susan Abulhawa) 

* ... OVERHEARD: Shopping at a local Costco a middle aged woman turns to her husband and says: "If you don't leave me alone I won't buy you that casket you want."

 * ... RACQUET CLUB: Interesting story in Sunday's Californian about turmoil over at The Bakersfield Racquet Club, one of our community's long standing institutions. The club faces an uncertain future. It has lost roughly half its membership, including some people who have been members for years, and tennis is not exactly a growing sport. The turmoil - triggered by the board's decision to replace Jeff Hedberg as manager - led to the entire Board of Directors either resigning or being voted out. One thing seems certain: if the status quo isn't working, something has to change. Here's hoping the old place survives.

 * ... CAL RADIO: Make sure you tune into Californian Radio (KERN 1180) Monday morning when I will be chatting with local attorney Phil Ganong about the fight over medical marijuana, particularly in light of the California Medical Association's recommendation that pot be legalized. I'll also be talking to CSUB Athletic Director Jeff Konya on what's happening on the Southwest campus. The show runs from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You may be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember "Sally the Shopper" at the old Brock's department store. Said Kitty Jo Nelson: "What a help she was, especially to those of us who live 50 miles from town. Dial and talk free number, tell her what you need and it's taken care of at no extra charge. Mailed and delivered."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really surprised that Bakersfield's Christian Community didn't come out in force for this lecture; they needed to hear Abulhawa's demonization of Israel.