Saturday, March 5, 2011

McCarthy: House Republicans busy cutting spending, setting new priorities to reduce government

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and House Majority Whip, submits his weekly view from Capitol Hill.
 "This week the House focused on removing barriers to job creation and rooting out wasteful spending. 
 "The House passed a bill that I cosponsored to repeal the 1099 requirement under the new health care law, to make it easier to create jobs.  The new health care law expanded tax reporting requirements that burden small businesses, requiring them to file a 1099 tax form for any purchases made of $600 or more.  Thinking back to my days as a deli owner, I would not have been able to afford an accountant to meet this mandate had this requirement been in place.  Countless local small businesses shared powerful stories of how disastrous this regulation would be to their future.  Thursday, 76 House Democrats joined my colleagues and I to repeal this measure so small businesses can devote resources to job creation, not tax filings.
 "In our Pledge to America, we promised we would end the spending abuse, and that’s what we’ve been hard at work to achieve.  An independent, non-partisan agency, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), released a report revealing clear examples of waste and duplication that can be eliminated to save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.  The American people know that our government cannot keep spending and expanding at the current rate, so we will continue working toward a government that is efficient and effective. 
 "Over the last two weeks, the House has taken action by producing two budget measures that trim back spending.  Families and businesses around our community have tightened their belts lately – the government should be no different.  Although Senate Democrats have not produced a plan to cut spending, the House isn’t waiting.  Just this week, my colleagues and I took the lead and passed a second short-term budget measure that cuts $4 billion spending in the next two weeks and keeps the federal government running.   More borrowing and more spending continues to create economic uncertainty and stifles small business investment, which is needed to create jobs.  The Senate passed this short-term extension and it was signed by the President.  In the long term, we cannot continue to ignore our bloated federal budget and more spending cuts are on the way.  We were elected to address the tough challenges facing our nation, I’m hopeful President Obama and Senate Democrats will join us in making the difficult decisions necessary to get our country back on track.
 "I also joined my colleagues in cosponsoring legislation (H.R. 869) to allow excess water storage at Lake McClure, which would increase water supply up to 70,000 acre-feet in a wet year to supply water needs for 160,000 households and generate 10,000 megawatt hours of electricity for the Central Valley. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

How about naming a school after "Mr. Education" Larry Reider? And don't forget about First Friday

 * ... REIDER: The Bakersfield City School District is accepting suggestions for naming two schools that will open in 2013. One name that comes to mind is Larry Reider, the wildly popular superintendent of Kern County Schools who retired in 2009 after a 40-year career in education. Reider spent the last 10 years as county superintendent, succeeding Kelly Blanton and guiding the department through a perilous economic period. Blanton had gone on an expansion spree, and it was left to Reider to refocus on the core mission when the recession hit. His long, dedicated career and the fact that he has been (and continues to be) involved in about every community non-profit there is, should qualify him for this honor. The naming involves a future elementary and middle school set to open in 2013 near the former Mesa Marin Raceway. If anyone deserves this honor, it's "Mr. Education" Larry Reider.

 * ... BLOOMFIELD'S: A recent post on Bloomfield's Drive-in triggered an email from Greg Harrison, the grandson of the couple that owned the diner, Gene and Marie Bloomfield. "My mom (Margorie) met my father at Bloomfield's. He had just arrived from Oklahoma and within hours went to Bloomfield's for a meal, saw my mom and said to his friend that he was going to marry that girl. The next thing she knows, they eloped to Las Vegas and were married for 57 years. Both are deceased now."  Harrison said his grandfather, an engineer for Southern Pacific Railroad, was the person who discovered the body of  former Chief Justice Earl Warren's father behind the drive-in. That murder remains unsolved to this day. He said there was a second location for Bloomfield's in the late 1930s and early 1940s on Monterey Street that later became a Sparkle Cleaners. The original Bloomfield's Drive-in was at the northeast corner of Niles and Baker streets.

 * ... MORE DINERS: Speaking of Bloomfield's, several readers have written to say that I am mistaken and that it was a drive-in called Hall's that was at that exact same corner. In fact reader Ann Neville told me it was her father, Howard Fifield, who was a co-owner of Hall's at the northeast corner of Baker and Niles streets. Perhaps, she said, Bloomfield's occupied the building before it was Hall's. Anybody remember? Either way, she said Hall's was "a hangout for the teenagers until Stan's opened on Union Avenue. Unfortunately the kids flocked to the new place. I spent many hours tray hopping at 75 cents an hour for my dad. Great memories!"

* ... SMALL MIRACLES: So nice to hear that more than $212,000 was raised recently for two deserving groups: Angioma Alliance and the Small Miracles Foundation. The alliance focuses on an illness called cavernous angiomas and the foundation helps families whose children are suffering from cancer. Local resident Liz Newman wrote to say that cavernous angiomas is characterized by lesions that grow and bleed in the brain. Her own son Jake had brain surgery at age 2 and her other son Sam has had four brain surgeries to remove hemorrhaging cavernous angiomas. The Small Miracles Foundation was started in memory of Lauren Small, who died of cancer in 2005 at the age of 11. "What I want you to know about this evening Mr. Beene," she wrote, "is that it stands as a true testament to the generosity of the people of Bakersfield. The auction raised $205,000 with only 22 auction items offer. Simply amazing." The event was held at Bakersfield Country Club and featured Madorom Vineyards of Napa Valley, which holds a release party of its current vintage each year in Bakersfield.

 * ... FIRST FRIDAY: It promises to be a good weekend to head downtown for First Friday. The stunning photography of Peter Fay will be on display at Metro Galleries on 19th Street. Enjoy the photographs while listening to Kama Ruby and munching on snacks provided by Mama Roomba. Meanwhile, the Bakersfield Art Association will have an exhibit called "Shoes/Zapatos" featuring paintings and one sculpture by 24 adult artists and five younger artists. Music and refreshments will be served from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Art Center is located at 1817 Eye Street. (photograph by Peter Fay below)

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield if you remember the Blackboard bar and the chicken wire that was put up to keep customers from throwing beer bottles at the band.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cash deals make up 31 percent of all home sales in California, and remembering Railroad Avenue School

 * ... CASH DEALS: Not that it's entirely surprising, but now comes word that cash transactions are accounting for an increasing number of home sales. The reason? Tight credit has made it difficult for even the most qualified buyers to get loans. And, it may also be a sign that wealthy investors believe prices are at or near the bottom. This is all according to a story in the Los Angeles Times which says a record 30.9 percent of all the homes sold in California in January were cash deals. Local Realtors tell me they are seeing the same trend here as investors start to grab up property now going at near all-time low prices.

 * ... BIRTHDAY: Sending out special birthday wishes to Evelyn Johnson, the beloved office manager for the Rotary Club of Bakersfield (the downtown club ). When Evelyn started with the club back in 1955 the office was in the old El Tejon Hotel, which stood where the downtown Bank of America tower is today. "The Rotary office later moved to the lobby of the old hotel, and that was fun," she said.  "We faced 17th Street and were next door to the barber shop." Evelyn is the "heart" of the downtown club and has worked closely with every president over the past 56 years. Here's to you, E.

 * ... HOT SHOTS: There's a big skeet tournament this weekend out at the Kern County Gun Club, but the real attraction will be some of the best young shooters in the nation. Lindenwood University, a small liberal arts school in St. Charles, Missouri, fields perhaps the best collegiate skeet squad in the nation. And two of those Lindenwood shooters hail from Bakersfield: Dominic Buoni and Elizabeth Keys. Dominic graduated from Bakersfield Christian High School and is a freshman at Lindenwood while Elizabeth, a Ridgeview High graduate, is a sophomore. These kids earned college scholarships through skeet shooting and are walking ambassadors for the shotgun sports and the Second Amendment. The tournament runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (Elizabeth Key shown shooting below)

 * ... BLOOMFIELD'S: Gary Crabtree is a local appraiser and one of the leading experts on the Bakersfield housing market. And he also knows enough about Bakersfield history to correct an earlier post on the location of Bloomfield's drive in. "It was at the northeast corner of Niles and Baker across from Washington Jr. High. How do I know? I asked my mom who is 93. She was living with my great aunt on Niles Street (two doors down from where Chief Justice Earl Warren lived) and she would walk to Bloomfield's for sodas and milkshakes. She met my dad at Bloomfield's one evening where he was soda jerking at the time and they were married a short time later. I was born in 1938 so I think this was circa 1936 or so."
 * ... JERRY'S WORLD: Local resident Jerry Kirkland shared  his memories of growing up as a "park rat" around Beale Park in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He's written a fascinating history of this time period and has allowed me to periodically use excerpts. Today, he talks about Emerson Junior High, which opened its doors in 1876. "It was called Railroad Avenue School because it faced Railroad Avenue which later would be renamed Truxtun Avenue. The first Railroad Avenue School was a wood frame structure that was burned to the ground by arsonists shortly after it opened. A $12,000 refurbishing program was begun in 1901, this time using brick for the construction of 12 new classrooms. It was renamed Emerson School in 1904 and was, at that time, an elementary school. Later it became a junior high school and would remain in service until 1952 when it was damaged beyond repair by the earthquake."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're a "dalian" (from Oildale) if you "remember as a fourth grader walking to Beardsley School, picking grass along Robert's Lane and feeding it to the cows through the fence at the Teakwood Dairy. Those were the days." Thanks to Vicki Kyker-Jameson for this little jewel.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Storms usher in a day of beauty in Bakersfield and CASA celebration a huge hit

 * ... CLEAR DAY: I can't remember a day that broke as bright, clear and crisp as Sunday, a Chamber of Commerce advertisement for the beauty of our valley after a storm moves through. Yet another reason to feel good about our community and where we live.

 * ... REMEMBERING DOMINIC: Dominic Cornejo had just graduated from high school when he lost his battle with cancer, one of the thousands of local victims of this dreaded disease. His parents, Irma and Gerry Cornejo, have now formed a Relay for Life team in his memory. The team is called Dominic's Dugout in a nod to his love to the LA Dodgers. "He will always be special in every way," his mother told me. "You could always count on Dominic having a smile on his face."  Dominic graduated from Our Lady of Perpetual Help and later Garces Memorial High School before losing his battle with cancer on September 12, 2010. If you'd like to support the Relay team, checks should be payable to American Cancer Society/Dominic's Dugout and sent to American Cancer Society/Dominic's Dugout, ATTN relay for Life, 1523 California Avenue, 93304.

 * ... CASA KICKOFF: Had a chance to stop by the big kick off fund raiser for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) this weekend. It was held at the huge Loyd's Aviation hangar at Meadows Field, compliments of Steve and Pat Loyd. CASA has always enjoyed a loyal following in town and director Colleen McGaulley said more than 340 tickets were sold. Among those attending were former residents Dave and Danielle Kilpatrick, Bank of Sierra executive Michael Olague, local podiatrist Mark Miller and wife Karen, Realtor Mary Christensen, attorneys Karen Gaul and Michael Young, Dona Chertok of the Assistance League, water district manager Harry Starkey and Terri Richards Russell, Rick Peace, Marty and  Lela Mayfohrt of Fresno, Peggy Darling, former fire chief Ron Fraze and wife Shelly, Joe and Jan Drew, Barry and Michelle Zoeller, Geoff and Lisa King, Matt and Molly Clark and Dave and Debby Cohn. Tracy Walker-Kiser, owner of H. Walker's men clothing and one of the coordinators, got stuck in Los Angeles because of the snow and was unable to attend.

 * ... WOMAN HONOR: Hats off to Nancy Chaffin, one of my colleagues here at The Californian who was honored at the Susan B. Anthony 2011 "woman of Distinction" by the Kern chapter of California Women Lead.  Chaffin's fulltime job is vice president of administration and operations but I can tell you she is deeply involved in so many aspects of our community. Among other things, she created Life Interrupted, an educational program to expose teens to the dangers of driving under the influence. (Her own son was killed in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver.) A CSUB graduate, she was also instrumental in the success of the CSU Bakersfield Alumni Hall of Fame Dinner. She joins an impressive group of local women to have won this award, including Sheryl Barbich, Pauline Lawrood, Barbara Patrick, Dayna Nichols, Wendy Wayne and Mary K. Shell.

 * ... LOOKING BACK: Remember Bloomfield's drive in east Bakersfield? Reader Geraldine Sproul does and says it was located where the old Sparkle Cleaners plant stood, not at the corner of Niles and Baker streets. "The drive in was run by Gene Bloomfield and his wife (can't remember her name). She ran it while Gene worked with the Southern Pacific Railroad. The drive-in at Niles and Baker streets was Hall's and there was some connection with the Hall's and the Michner's. Marriage? Further down Baker going south toward the Southern Pacific depot was Saba's. Mike Saba was always wonderful to visit with. I can remember going in there for my mother to purchase things for my dad. It is now Saba's Uniform Store and I believe run by the grandchildren."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're a Bakersfield old timer if "you remember listening to Bakersfield City Council meeting on KAFY (550) on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m., followed by Lucky Lager Dance Time." Thanks to reader John Strand for that one.