Saturday, February 12, 2011

McCarthy: what a difference a year makes as the House moves to cut spending and avoid tax increases

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

 "This week was a very sad week for our local community. We lost our beloved former Bakersfield Mayor Bob Price.  He was a great leader and friend, and I will miss him tremendously.  Also, I was saddened to hear that we lost long time educator Paul White who inspired countless numbers of children in our community.  These men were amazing role models and they will be sorely missed.
 "In Washington, the focus was on creating jobs by removing barriers to job growth. This was also a topic of discussion during a lunch I had with the President on Wednesday, we talked about cutting federal spending, reducing over-regulation, and fostering an environment where small business can thrive.
What a difference a year makes as the question is no longer whether we should cut spending, but how much spending can we cut. This was major point of discussion when I appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this week and I even had to break out some charts to illustrate our current fiscal situation. So far we have cut mandatory spending by $541 billion, cut authorized spending by $115 billion, and cut taxes by $770 billion.  To date, not one bill increasing spending or taxes has passed the House.  In contrast, in the first four weeks of the 111th Congress, the Democrat-led House had already passed $682 billion of new spending.  Next week, the House will bring a Continuing Resolution (CR) to floor for a vote to obligate the necessary funds so the government can continue to operate the rest of the fiscal year.  Today, my colleagues and I took another took another step in getting our financial house in order by announcing our plan to cut at least $100 billion of government spending.  All these cuts are an important first step towards improving our economy.  Cutting spending will help create jobs and grow the economy in the short and long term.  The more the government borrows, spends and regulates the harder it is for business to access capitol, grow and create jobs.
 "Clearly, unemployment is still too high, and when talking to local small business owners, they constantly tell me burdensome regulations are preventing them from expanding. According to the Small Business Administration, total regulatory costs amount to $1.75 trillion annually, nearly twice as much as all individual income taxes collected last year, and the average small business with less than 20 employees faces a cost of $10,585 per worker in federal regulations each year. This week, the House directed committees to inventory and review government regulations that may have an onerous effect on jobs and economic growth.  Let’s have a real adult conversation on how we can improve our economy, and we must look at the barriers that are preventing our economy from growing.  
 "When we struggle with our finances in our lives, we look for savings and look for additional work to earn more money.  Now, government must do the same, we must cut spending and grow our economy.
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Taggers hit the Assistance League building and remembering educator Paul White

 * ... GRAFFITI: Is there anything worse than waking up to see your home or business tagged with graffiti? It's a senseless and mindless act perpetrated by lost souls who could not care less about the impact of their behavior. Which is why the folks over at the Assistance League are so upset that their Q Street office was tagged this past Friday by someone who hit all four sides of the building. The Assistance League, of course, is an all volunteer group that provides clothing to needy school children. They work for free because they believe in their community and believe in helping those who cannot help themselves. Mike Stepanovich, whose wife Carol is a volunteer, summed it up by adding it was "sad that these ladies, who give so much back to our community and who are such an integral part of the local fabric, be treated so disrespectfully. Then again, there is nothing respectable about taggers."

 * ... SMALL WORLD: Reader Glen Worrell read with interest my earlier post about tennis great Dennis Ralston, who is recovering from surgery to amputate his left food. "His mom was my health teacher at Washington Jr. High in 1944 when it was located on Baker Street. Later she was my 'next door neighbor' when we were both teaching at Emerson Jr. High. And ... your faithful reader Gene Bonas also taught seventh grade for me at Sunset School (Vineland School District)."

 * ... PAUL WHITE  : If you ever doubt your ability to influence others, you may want to consider the life of Paul White, who died Tuesday of a massive heart attack while riding his bike on Round Mountain Road. White was just 64 years old but was a positive influence on thousands of lives during his long career at the Panama Buena Vista Union School District. The outpouring of love for this man has been impressive, with dozens of former students (he was a principal at Sandrini Elementary) expressing their loss on social networking sites like Facebook. Others, like Loretta Pedroza, contacted me with similar sentiments. "I have known Paul for 27 years. I was parent club president at Sandrini Schoool when he was principal and he later hired me to work as a Title 1 Aide for the district at Sandrini, where I still work. He was a great man and he was always there to help you when you needed it. He did a great job at everything he did. He will be greatly missed by all." A memorial service will be held Friday at 4 p.m. at St. Francis Church.

 * ... PADRE: Ran into Brett Miller, owner of The Padre Hotel, the other day. The Brimstone bar room was full, the Belvedere restaurant was busy and best of all: the hotel was sold out. Turns out the World AgDay Expo in Tulare was a big draw for the local hotel all week, and I suspect other Bakersfield inns also benefited from the annual agriculture exposition.

 * ... STEVIE WONDER: Reader Judi Anderson Gahagan, a 1963 graduate of North High, wrote to say she remembered the dances at the Armory where she saw "a young, skinny Stevie Wonder (March Meets dance) at the Lake Ming dances that were such fun time. We also had dances at the Veteran's Hall on Norris Road. I am wondering if any kids from the late 1940s or early 1950s remember the carnival by the river, close to where the Heart Hospital is now? Fun times. I enjoy your column."

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Larry Miller: You know you're a Bakersfield old timer "if you remember the comic strip Rick O'Shay starring the gunfighter Hipshot Percussion and his cat Belle Starr. Lord, I miss him!"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

RIP Paul White: Bakersfield educator, fitness buff

 Was saddened to hear of the death of Paul White Tuesday morning. Apparently Paul was doing what he loved - riding bikes with a group of friends over Round Mountain outside of Bakersfield - when he suffered a massive, fatal heart attack around 11 a.m.. Paul was slim and trim but had a history of heart ailments. He retired from the Panama Buena Vista School District where he served as principal at Sandrini Elementary and as head of personnel for the district. Keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. Paul was 64.

New dorms at CSUB push out the Relay for Life and mourning over the loss of a member of the Greatest Generation

 * ... RELAY FOR LIFE: It's too bad that Relay for Life has been forced to leave Cal State Bakersfield for a less desirable site in Southwest Bakersfield. This annual fund raiser to fight cancer is hugely successful, drawing thousands to the campus in a win-win for both the university and the fight for a cure. So what prompted the move? Rob Meszaros, director of public affairs over at CSUB, said the soccer fields used by Relay for Life have long been designated to house student residence halls. Until recently, he said it looked like the dorms would be open in the fall 2013 term but that has been pushed back a year. Either way, the school hopes to break ground about a year from now and open the new dormitories in the fall of 2014. When it does happen, the complex will consist of 500 beds in "semi suites" - two bedrooms connected to a bath. Each bedroom would have one, two or three students. Meanwhile, the Relay for Life event will be held April 30-May 1 at the Old River Sod facility at 11800 Old River Road.

 * ... RIP WALTER: We lost another member of the Greatest Generation the other day. Walter Truax passed away on February 2 at the age of 91. He served in the Army from 1941 to 1945 and spent most of his time in Germany, serving as a squad leader sergeant. He won both the Silver Star and Bronze Star. Two years ago, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) presented Truax nine medals he earned during the war that he never thought to collect. Truax was married to his wife for 52 years until her death a few years ago. After the war he opened his own business, Truax Optical, in Bakersfield and was a member of the Bakersfield Lion's Club for more than 40 years.A funeral service is set for 1 p.m. Friday at Hillcrest Memorial Chapel and graveside services will follow. (Californian photo by Casey Christie)

 * ... BUDGET CUTS: California's budget mess will mean sacrifices all around, but it was particularly distressing to read about the cuts facing our university and state college systems. University of California President Mark Yudof said the UC campuses are prepared to accept another 30,000 to 40,000 students but can't because of the lack of finances. All this is bad news for our state and particularly areas like Kern County that already suffers from one of the lowest educational rates in the state.

 * ... OVERHEARD: A local Realtor, thrilled with four, near full price offers on a downtown bungalow within days of it going on the market, expressing hope things may be finally turning around for our beleaguered housing market. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that buyers around the U.S. are "snapping up homes in all cash deals, betting that prices are at or near bottom and breathing life into some of the nation's most battered housing markets." Last year, 42 percent of all deals in Phoenix were all cash, and in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, fully half of all sales were for cash.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Reader Maxine Baker remembers when a drive-in diner called Bloomfields was located at the corner of Niles and Baker streets. "My mom was a car-hop there. It has been many things since but is now a parking lot for BCSD. This had to be in the late 1930s or early 1940s."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Special birthday wishes to a remarkable man and yet more remembrances of Jack and Elaine Lalanne.

 * ... BIRTHDAY: Special birthday wishes go out to a man who doesn't know the meaning of slowing down. Check out this resume Louis Kerker, who will turn 100 on February 12th, was born in Peoria, Illinois, and ended up in Bakersfield in 1936 working for Superior Oil. During World War II he became a Seabee and was attached to the 1st Marine Division. He later returned to Superior Oil and worked another 37 years before retiring in 1976. He became a school crossing guard for 10 years and in 1990 organized a volunteer Citizen Service unit at the Kern County Sheriff's Department. The Bakersfield BPOE #266 is sponsoring a lunch for Louis at the Elk's Club at 11:30  a.m. on his birthday.

 * ... JACK LALANNE: Everyone seems to have a story about the late and great fitness guru Jack Lalanne, but there are few like the one told to me by local resident Herb Loken. "Back in the 1940s," he said, "I was dating a pretty gal in Minneapolis. One day she boasted she had won an award for doing 10 men's pushups. Being a gymnast myself I had to make her prove her feat, which she did! To my surprise in later years Elaine became the wife of Jack Lalanne."

 * ... FUND RAISER: The Bakersfield Police Activities League (BPAL) does an awful lot of good work with some of our community's underprivileged youth: tutoring, community service, boxing, soccer and other special programs. Of course all that takes money and organizers have now set a major fund raiser for Saturday, February 12, at the Kern County Gun Club. They are looking for major sponsors and teams to participate in a round of sporting clays. If interested, call Lili Marsh at (661) 324-6561 or Kristi Spitzer at (661) 378-7751. 

 * ... SPOTTED: Outside the downtown Starbucks on 24th Street a clean-shaven middle-aged man, wearing nice slacks and a tie, with a sign reading "Help an American." He was holding a plastic donation cup but didn't seem to be picking up much action.

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Linda Welch: "You know you're from Oildale if you remember the brick building at the corner of Wilson and North Chester across from Standard School was the original Kern County Library."