Friday, March 25, 2011

McCarthy: greatest threat to small business is overregulation b y government

 House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) submits his weekly report from Capitol Hill. In his words:

 "This past week has been truly encouraging. Not only did I have the opportunity to spend time with a number of community heroes, I was able to celebrate the official opening of a new business in our community.

  "At the Red Cross Real Heroes ceremony, I was honored to unveil this year’s awardees. In addition to a number of other worthy recipients, we recognized Jamin Moore, who has recovered from injuries sustained
in Iraq, and remembered the lives of three fallen heroes, Army Corporal Brett Land, Lance Corporal Joseph Lopez and Sergeant Brian Pedro. I will be forever grateful for the selfless service of all our men and women in uniform.
 "Particularly inspiring was eight-year-old Braylin Camp who, motivated by the desire to give another the coat off her back, spearheaded an incredibly successful coat drive to help others. The ability of our young people to clearly see a need and not hesitate to take action to remedy it never ceases to inspire me.

  "Equally inspiring is the persistent sense of hope and entrepreneurship in our community. On Monday, I had a conversation with members of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce about encouraging job growth, and was on hand for the ribbon cutting and official opening of Juicy Burger. I was excited they made me part of their secret menu with the “McCarthy Burger.”

  "It reminded me of when I operated Kevin O's Deli, where I experienced one of the greatest challenges to running a small business: overregulation by government. Today, overregulation is even more prevalent and destructive. As a firm believer that it is individual innovation and ingenuity that dictates success, not government, I am continuing to fight for smaller government.

  "This week also marked the one-year anniversary of Obamacare, a law that would impose overwhelming burdens on our community’s small businesses. But there is good news. House Republicans have passed a
full repeal of Obamacare and the job-destroying 1099 reporting requirements, as well as funding restrictions to severely limit the President’s ability to implement the law. Americans remain as opposed to this law now as they were one year ago, and early Obamacare supporter Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said this week that the law will impose ‘too great’ a pressure on small businesses. I agree, which is why I will not stop fighting until Obamacare is fully repealed and defunded. Instead, we will put in place common sense solutions to make
health care more affordable without increasing taxes or adding to our debt.

  "America’s debt is another issue standing in the way of job creation and economic growth, and next month, my colleagues and I will unveil a budget that will take significant steps to reduce it and put our country back on a path to prosperity. Republicans in the House are committed to taking on big government and getting Washington’s fiscal house in order. The coming weeks and months will be full of action, and I will keep you updated on our progress.

BC nursing students put on "senior prom" at assisted living home in Southwest Bakersfield

 Thanks to Sandra Serrano, chancellor for Kern Community College District, who passed along this video from KBAK TV.

 After the $14 million donation to Bakersfield College,  BC nursing students took over last night, putting on a wonderful event at Hallmark of Bakersfield Assisted Living Home in Southwest Bakersfield. As part of their Community Service Requirement, several 4th-semester Registered Nursing students worked diligently organizing and collecting donations over the past month to host a Senior Prom.

BakersfieldLife magazine puts spotlight on CASA fund raiser

 The latest edition of BakersfieldLife magazine comes out Saturday (March 26) and focuses on an upcoming fund raiser for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). This "Wine, Women and Shoes" event will be held in early May and should be a well attended event. Wonderful cover shot by photographer Holly Carlyle.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

CSUB holds firm on its "no senior discount" for baseball games while an anonymous donor steps forward to donate his season tickets

 * ... RUNNER BASEBALL: A few days ago I wrote about 77-year-old Jean Sherwood, who wondered why there wasn't a senior discount to attend the Cal State Roadrunner baseball games. Unlike other schools that do (Fresno State, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State and Stanford among many others) school spokesman Rob Meszaros called the $7 ticket a fair price and reiterated the "no senior discount" policy of the school. But Jean Sherwood and her 80-year-old husband can take heart, because an anonymous donor contacted me and offered the Sherwoods his own season tickets, on behalf of the team. "Wow!" Jean told me. "I am overwhelmed! People are so giving and my husband and I are very thankful."  The donor told me he was concerned the CSUB administration was out of touch with the community and what it takes to compete on the Division 1 level. "There is a sense of superiority as well," he said. "I sometimes think that university administrators believe that the lack of relationship between the community and the school is a result of the community lacking sophistication rather than the school's lack of effort and engagement.... That's why Ms. Sherwood was treated the way she was." I would only add this: No university can afford to squander the goodwill of people in the community who want to support it, and that's the position the CSUB administration finds itself in. That's called biting the hand that feeds you.

 * ... LEVAN'S GIFT: In contrast to the CSUB's position, you might want to consider what happened Thursday up at Bakersfield College. Yes, it may only be a two-year school but that doesn't seem to matter to Dr. Norman Levan, the local dermatologist who is donating $14 million to BC for scholarships and other initiatives. This is one of the largest gifts from a private citizen to a community college ever in the United States. BC is known for its rabidly loyal alumni, and you have to wonder what the school has done over the years to engender such goodwill. One thing it does do is to reach out to seniors. When the BC Foundation holds its annual barbecue to raise money for BC athletics, it offers a senior discount.

 * ... WAR BIRDS: Don't be surprised if you look into the sky on Monday and spot a couple of old war birds flying low overhead. A lovingly restored B-17 "Flying Fortress" bomber and a rare Curtiss P-40 Warhawk will take to the skies Monday afternoon. It's all part of the Liberty Foundation's "Salute to Veterans" tour to remind people of the sacrifices made to protect our freedoms. On April 2, the public will be invited to view the planes at Meadows Field.

 * ... DUTCH HOLLOWAY: Reader Jim Barton wrote that he was pleased to read about the old Dutch Holloway air field that sat where the Green Frog Market on Bernard Street now stands. "My mother, Beatrice Barton, recalls on her ninth birthday, May 7, 1920, Dutch somehow learned she was a birthday girl and gave her a free celebratory ride. The family was living on Pacific Street back then and of course when the kids heard his aircraft they would all run down to the landing strip. The birthday girl will be celebrating number 100 in a few weeks."

 * ... WAYNE'S: And speaking of the drive-in of the past, reader Dave Parker asks "has anyone mentioned the one that used to be on the southwest corner of Chester Avenue and Fifth Street?  I think it was Wayne's. It was within walking distance of Bakersfield High School  (known as Kern County  Union High School at the time.)"

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're a Bakersfield old timer if you remember the old Frontier Days parade downtown. Regular contributor Glenn Worrell was six years old in 1938 when he sat in the window sill on the second floor of the Hay Building (between Eye and H streets) and watched the parade coming down 19th street. "It was celebrated for several years but never came back after World War II. The ladies wore long dresses and bonnets and the men wore western."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CSUB says no to senior discounts at baseball games while valley farmers deal with thefts of copper and other metals

 * ... COPPER THEFT: Valley farmers and many in the oil industry are being hit hard by copper thieves who are working under the cover of darkness in our vast rural areas. Attracted by the rising value of copper and other metals, thieves are hitting irrigation systems and oil facilities almost nightly, leaving farmers and oil producers facing high replacement costs. And, it's very difficult to provide security for large farms and oil production rigs in remote areas. The losses to the farmers and oil companies is said to run well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 * ... MORE THEFT: The bad economy has also put homeowners across town on edge as burglaries continue to hit almost every neighborhood. Several homes in the La Cresta area up near Garces Memorial High School were burglarized this week of flat screen televisions, jewelry, computers and other items. And to make it worse, the criminals came back to the same houses later that night to steal the cars. Turns out they had stolen the spare cars keys and simply returned for the vehicles. But score this one for the good guys: Bakersfield police arrested an 18-year-old man and two juveniles in the La Cresta cases and recovered the cars.

 * ... NO DISCOUNT: Cal State Bakersfield would love to have more fans out at Hardt Field to root for the Runners baseball team when Ohio State comes to town later this week, but they're not willing to budge on the ticket price to draw a bigger crowd. That's what university spokesman Rob Meszaros told me after I passed along a complaint from 77-year-old Jean Sherwood, who wondered why there wasn't a senior discount. "My husband and I are 77 and 80 years old and we would love to go to all the home Roadrunner baseball games and cheer them on," she said. "But we live on a fixed income and $7 a ticket is too much. I called Cal State and they do not have a senior rate for baseball games. We are missing out and so are they." I personally think a senior rate would be a nice gesture to get a few more fans in the seats (it's painful how few folks attend these games) but Meszaros said it was a non starter. But guess what? The university does have discounts for youths 17 and younger. So go figure. A quick Google search found that both Fresno State and Cal State Fullerton, two of the perennial Division 1 powerhouses in college baseball, offer both senior and youth discounts. And if a seat is empty, why not provide an incentive to fill it? The university needs to take a few lessons in Marketing 101 (or better yet, just call the Bakersfield Condors to learn how to draw a crowd) instead of turning a deaf ear to its potential audience.

 * ... MORE RUNNERS: Another Cal State baseball fan wrote to complain that the program gets little support from the administration. "The bleachers have limited capacity requiring spectators to stand or bring chairs, they are hard with no backs and are dangerous to walk up," he said. "The rest room facilities consist of outhouses (porta potties) that smell of you know what. They have had three years to put these things in place. The administration really does not care." Given the budget problems facing all public colleges, I'm not sure this criticism is entirely warranted but it certainly reflects a growing frustration among the school's potential customer base.

 * ... WEST HIGH: The West High School class of 1976 is building a new legacy at the school with a $3,750 donation for a college scholarship. The 35th reunion of the class was held this past weekend, and it was attended by about 10 of the teachers who were so important to the students. "This is only a small token of their appreciation for the strong foundation going to West gave them," said alum Lamar Kerley.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Reader Joe Foster Thomas says you might be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember "going to Booth's Music Store to purchase 45 and 78 RPM records." Located across from the Fox Theater in the 1940s and 1950s, the store had a glassed-in room to listen to the records before buying them.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A judge recalls the back story of moving the jail lions to Reno and Dave Price faces a difficult recovery

 * .... RUNNER BASEBALL: One of the best kept secrets in town may be the Cal State Bakersfield baseball team. In only its third season, the Runners are one of the nation's hot teams but seem to draw few fans out at Hardt Field. Since going Division 1, the  Runners have defeated the likes of Arizona State, Kansas, Air Force, Northern Illinois and even defending national champion South Carolina. I suspect the low turnout for home games is largely due to CSUB's status as a commuter school, but certainly this team deserves better home town support. This week, The Ohio State University comes to town for a three-game series Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It would be good to see a big home crowd to greet the Buckeyes.

 * ... FARMER'S MARKET: And speaking of secrets, I continue to be impressed with the downtown Saturday morning farmer's market in the old Montgomery Ward parking lot. This week there was a large variety of oranges and tangerines (the Cara Cara orange from the organic Cliff McFarland farm near Visalia is my favorite) as well as broccoli, potatoes, herbs, scallions, home made breads, fresh flowers, nuts and frozen grass feed meats.

* ... JAIL LIONS: More on those huge old lions that once stood at the county jail until the 1952 earthquake. This comes from Superior Court Judge William Palmer, who apparently was one of those who helped move the lions to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house at the University of Nevada at Reno.  "The lions are currently in Evans Park, on the front porch of the SAE house, which is across the street from the southeast corner of the campus. By way of history, after several telephone calls between Bakersfield and Reno, on a Bakersfield City Council meeting evening, the successful bid for the lions was the fraternity’s. Over the Christmas holidays that year, several of my fraternity brothers met me here in Bakersfield, and with the aid of a very skilled hydro crane operator, after 'separating' the terracotta statues at the original seam points, the lions were loaded into the back of a rental truck. The lions arrived in Reno in separate pieces, but not damaged; and thereafter were reassembled and painted, and painted, and painted several more times, both by rival fraternities and restored to their white by the SAEs. One amusing aside, after loading the lions into the rental truck, we went to my parents’ new abode in Kern City where the truck was backed into the driveway. The neighbors were a bit concerned with a group of young men and a truck since my parents were still with my sister for Christmas. However I was able to convince them that our intentions were honorable."         

* ... REMEMBER BAXTER'S? I've been overwhelmed with reader responses on all the old drive-in restaurants that were once so popular in our community, and I love every one of them. Now comes Jerry Karr, talking about Baxter's Drive-In on Union Avenue at Kentucky Street. "The carhops did serve people on roller skates. Mrs. Baxter, whose name was Veda, was in charge of the carhops (who) wore roller skates and dressed in red and white. Mr. Baxter’s hair was a stunning white color, and yes, it had a lot to do with his wartime experiences in World War I. Mr. Baxter was 89 when he passed away in approximately 1986. The reason I know some details about these folks was because we were neighbors for several years. They were two wonderful people.  Mr. Baxter was often referred to as 'Bax' by his friends and family. At the end of his working career, he was considered Gene Winer’s top Cadillac person. He looked like a Cadillac. They are both laid to rest in the Baxter family plot at the Live Oak Cemetery in Monrovia."

* ... SICK BAY: David Price, the retired head of the county Resource Management Agency, is having a difficult recovery following a tricky surgery a few weeks back. Price, who retired to Tennessee last year, underwent an operation at the University of Virginia to treat numbness related to calcification in an area of his upper neck vertebrae. It's been a tough period for his friends and family and wife Liz is asking for your thoughts and prayers.

 * ... DID YOU KNOW:  Legend has it that Bakersfield is where the world’s first motel was created. It was built on Union Avenue at California Avenue and was named “The Motel” – a contraction of “Motor Hotel.” Once this name became generic, the motel changed its name to the “Bakersfield Inn.”