Saturday, January 29, 2011

McCarthy: over regulation and taxation are killing jobs

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives us his weekly report. In his words:

 "The snow in DC made headlines across the country, but I was lucky enough to make it back home to attend Downtown Bakersfield Rotary on Thursday.  ‪I discussed our country's long-term fiscal future and the immediate steps that are needed to revitalize our economy.

 "It was a busy week in Washington, with the President delivering the State of the Union. There is no question he is talented at giving a speech, but I was disappointed he didn’t seem to focus on issues that will help to create jobs and get government spending under control.  His speech also highlighted a stark choice that will face the American people in deciding what path to take on our future. Should we allow more government interference in our lives or empower people to make their own decisions?  As a former small business owner, the clear path to me is to get government out of the way of job creation and a renewed economy.‪

 "First, we cannot continue to spend more money than we take in.  On Wednesday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report that projects that if current policies are left in place, the federal government will run a shocking $1.5 trillion deficit in 2011.  Not really the news I wanted to get on my birthday.  It’s clear we have to make tough decisions today, rather than kicking the can down the road and jeopardizing the future. ‪That’s why Republicans have started fulfilling our Pledge to America by voting to cut our own budget by 5% to save taxpayers millions, passing legislation to eliminate the costly and unnecessary printing of Congressional bills, and voting to repeal the government takeover of health care, which could cost more than $2.6 trillion once implemented.  We also passed a resolution directing the House Budget and Appropriations Committees to reduce spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, which will save billions of dollars. ‪

 "Second, we need to allow individuals and entrepreneurs to succeed. Over regulation and taxation are killing jobs in California and across the country. Just this week, the Californian’s editorial board ran a piece referencing a Small Business Administration report that found “federal regulations cost companies with 20 or fewer workers $10,500 per employee.”  That’s why I support the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which would stop harmful regulations from being put in place by requiring new major rules proposed by the Executive branch to be approved by Congress before it can be implemented.‪  This is just common sense legislation that will help create jobs.

 "Looking forward to seeing you soon, and I hope the fog will lift, though my kids are hoping for more fog delays.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tennis great Dennis Ralston sends his thoughts to Bakersfield, and remembering the 1952 earthquake

 * ...TENNIS GREAT: You don't have to be from Bakersfield to remember Dennis Ralston, arguably one of the greatest American tennis players of all time. He graduated from Bakersfield High in 1960 and went on to play at USC, rising to the top of his game in the 1960s. You may also know that he recently had his foot amputated and is now recuperating in Houston, Texas. It turns out the men's and women's tennis teams at Bakersfield College sent Ralston a thoughtful get well poster late last year, proclaiming that "Bakersfield remembers you and always will." Gene Lundquist, BCs women's tennis coach, told me he received a thank you card from Ralston the other day. "He said he was doing better and had a new foot designed for golf and tennis. He said he hoped to get back to Bakersfield and added that he needed a Dewar's fix," Lundquist said.

 * ... TRAIN RIDE: Heard from several readers about the tragic end to the Bakersfield to Buttonwillow train ride that featured a fake robbery staged by a local Lion's Club. Al Sandrini, who works at Sundale Country Club, remembers the last ride in 1959 when the actors rode their horses along the train, shooting blanks into the air and eventually stopping the train. But this is where things went wrong because others (not the Lion's Club actors) started shooting live 22 rounds at the train. "My father was standing in one of the parlor cars with some friends and a young man was struck in the head. My father attempted to stem the flow of blood with his handkerchief while others assisted. The young man died, and so did the Buttonwillow train ride."

 * ... McGILL: Reader Nancy Fieber wrote to recall being in the McGill brownstone apartment building during the 1952 earthquake that leveled much of Bakersfield. "As a newlywed, we were living at the McGill. We were routed out of our bed and had to grab the nearest articles of clothing. We had to rent an apartment elsewhere as the McGill had to have extensive repairs." Located at 19th and B streets downtown, the 12-unit McGill brownstone was built in 1917 and remains a popular destination for those who prefer the downtown lifestyle.

  * ... IVY BOUND: Nice to hear that James Nguyen, a senior at North High School, was accepted through early decision to Cornell University and will be headed there this Fall. He will be a double major in foreign economics and Japanese linguistics. Thanks to teacher Nicole Cerotsky for passing this along.

 * ... SPOTTED: From reader Wayne Marshall: On the southeast corner of Coffee Road and Rosedale Highway, a man in camouflage with a bed roll holding a sign reading, "Traveling, need help." When he flipped it over it said, "Need money for Guns and Ammo." 

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Linda Welch wrote to say that "you know you're from Bakersfield if you remember the revolving doors on the old Bank of America at the corner of 20th and Chester. It was on the 20th Street side across from a Long's Drug Store."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A valentine to the flowing Kern River and a well deserved honor for Disney's Richard Cook

 * ... THE RIVER: Funny how having water in our river changes our view of things. Jerry Kirkland composed this valentine to the great Kern River following a morning walk. "I walked to the center of the river bridge on Calloway and, gazing to the east, was awestruck by the beauty - the rare beauty - of the Kern River in its approach and then as it passed swiftly beneath me. To see it running from bank to bank, behaving just as nature intended, served to elevate my spirits. Had the sun been out, it surely would have found my heart. Odd, isn't it, that such experiences make it seem that, for the moment at least, all is right with the world - even the sign that warns, 'No diving from the bridge.'"

 * ... OLD BANK: Longtime local businessman John Brock Jr. wrote to clear up an earlier post about the Kern Valley Bank, which was destroyed in the great fire of 1889. Brock said the bank was organized in late 1873 and opened for business the next year. "Business was so good that they erected a single-story wood building at the southwest corner of Chester Avenue and 18th Street and moved into it in 1874. They remained in this building until deciding to erect a two-story brick building on the same corner in 1888.... they either opened just before or were scheduled to open in the new building when the fire of July 7, 1889, destroyed the building and most of the town."

 * ... HUMANITARIAN: Richard "Dick" Cook, the North High and USC graduate who went on to become chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, has been named 2011 Pioneer of the Year by the Will Rogers Motion Pictures Foundation. This is quite the honor, and he joins a distinguished group of past honorees that include the likes of Cecil B. DeMille, Jack Warner, Jack Valenti, Darryl F. Zanuck and Sumner Redstone. His sister, Joy Tolladay, told me her brother was being honored as a humanitarian, philanthropist and entertainment industry legend. Said Joy: "He is in pretty good company for a guy born and raised in Bakersfield that began his career as a ride operator at Disneyland."

 * ... DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that at the end of World War II, there were some 425,000 German and Italian prisoners of war at some 500 camps across the United States? Reader Fred McCaa wrote that he remembers hauling potatoes near Arvin and the field workers who loaded his truck were German war prisoners.

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield if "you remember the old Buttonwillow train ride, circa 1958-59. It went from Bakersfield to Buttonwillow and I believe they even staged a fake train robbery." Thanks to reader Timothy J. Sill who contributed this. He wonders if anyone knows why the ride ended.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

McCarthy gets some bodyguards and Bako buzzes with social events over the weekend

 * ... WEEKEND: Out and about over the weekend and so nice to see so many restaurants and retailers doing a brisk business. Over Imbibe Wine and Spirits on Truxtun Extension, it was a sellout crowd of 150 people Saturday afternoon for a "top 100" wine tasting. Owner Dave Dobbs said he had a waiting list of almost 30 people and couldn't be happier with the turnout. Also had a chance to catch up with Joe Munoz, patriarch of popular Casa Munoz Mexican restaurant on Union Avenue which enjoyed a full  house on Saturday night.  Joe took the time to brag about the two big bucks he and his grandson shot on a deer hunting trip to Colorado last year. Make certain you add this family-run restaurant to your list of favorite local eateries.

 * ... CRABFEST: I was among those lucky enough to score a ticket to the St. Francis Parish "Crabfest" fund  raiser at the Kern County Fairgrounds Friday. This event annually raises more than $200,000 for the school and has evolved  into one of our community's most popular fund raisers. Tickets sold out within a week and even Monsignor Craig Harrison didn't have enough for all of his children. Huge piles of fresh crab, delicious salty ribs and wine were served, followed by the live auction of an adorable eight-week old puppy.

 * ... MCCARTHY: Making the rounds at Crabfest was Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), who rose to Majority Whip when the Republicans gained control of the House. McCarthy comes back to the district almost every week, and now that he's Majority Whip, he's accompanied by three members of the U.S.  Capitol Police who are charged with protecting members of Congress. The plainclothes bodyguards were inconspicuous in the crowd but are now part of McCarthy's entourage.

 * ... HOMELESS SHELTER: Finally, I also shared a few moments with Louis Gill, director of the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter, who was enjoying Crabfest. With unemployment now well  north of 16 percent, Gill said the shelter is near capacity and he doesn't see things changing any time soon. The bad news: corporate donations have slid 20 percent in this recession, but the good news is that checks written by individuals have held steady. "I understand businesses have to cut back, but it's gratifying that so many individuals still support us. It's great to work in such a supportive community like Bakersfield."

 * ... TILER PECK: Bakersfield native Tiler Peck is the toast of the New York ballet world. She was once again featured in the Sunday New York Times with a glowing story on her work with noted choreographer and director Susan Stroman. Peck, who was offered an apprenticeship with City Ballet at 15, is now a principal with the New York City Ballet where she continues to dazzle audiences. The story noted "she is not just irrepressibly dimpled, bouncy and game for anything (she recently appeared on 'Dancing with the Stars'). She is also - at the advanced age of 22 - and old business hand."  (photo courtesy of The New York Times)

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield if "you remember the High Fever Follies put on by the Bakersfield Memorial Hospital Auxiliary in 1959. The question was: would anyone pay $8 for a ticket? The first Follies raised $13,5000 which was the most anyone had raised at that time." Thanks to Phyllis Adams for this nugget.