Friday, April 15, 2011

McCarthy: President's repackaged budget speech was a flop. He needs to get real

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

"On Wednesday, President Obama gave a much-anticipated speech to the nation on deficit reduction. In an attempt to provide an alternative to Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s widely acclaimed budget, the
President attempted to repackage his first budget as a successful sequel. It flopped. The President once again called to raise taxes on hard-working Americans by trillions of dollars. With tax day approaching, I know many of you are contemplating your tax burden. This year, the average American will work 102 days out of the year just to pay taxes before you start taking money home. Now President Obama wants you to pay more.

  "Washington does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. Over the past two years, President Obama and the Democrat majority added more than $3.5 trillion to the national debt. Our national debt now stands at over $14 trillion; the Treasury Department just reported that the U.S. deficit increased 15.7 percent in the first half of this fiscal year; and our critical health and retirement security programs are going broke. This cannot continue. Instead of working with House Republicans to tighten Washington’s belt just like every family and business has been forced to do, the President is asking us to give up more of our hard-earned paycheck.

  "As a former small business owner, I know firsthand that the higher the taxes, the less money there is to hire more employees and invest in our economy. The best way to grow our economy is to let people keep
more of their money. Higher taxes serve only to discourage entrepreneurship, innovation and investment. That is why my colleagues and I this week passed a responsible, fact-based budget, The Path to Prosperity. Our budget, introduced by Chairman Ryan last week, would lower the tax burden to encourage entrepreneurship and create new jobs. In fact, the House Budget Committee projects that the Path to Prosperity would create one million private sector jobs over the next year, increase economic output and average family income, as well as decrease the unemployment rate to 4 percent by 2015.

  "The Path to Prosperity puts the budget on the path to balance and pays off the debt. In fact, our budget cuts $6.2 trillion in government spending and reduces deficits by $4.4 trillion over the next decade
compared to the President’s budget. Getting our nation’s fiscal house in order means less of a threat of new taxes on your family and businesses now and in the future.

  "Also this week, we funded government through the end of the fiscal year, cutting nearly $40 billion this year and $315 billion over the next decade, but that’s just the beginning. With The Path to Prosperity, we’re taking the conversation from billions of dollars in spending cuts to trillions, and tackling the big issues that will
fundamentally move our nation toward a balanced budget.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Michael Turnipseed fights for the Valley in Sacramento while Fisher Communications faces hostile takeover

 * ... TURNIPSEED: Hats off to Michael Turnipseed, the head of KernTax who is leading the fight to bring more equitable utility rates to the San Joaquin Valley. Turnipseed was on SmartTalk1230 with Californian columnist Lois Henry Wednesday, explaining in the clearest terms how Valley residents are being hosed (my words, not his) through a Pacific Gas and Electric rate structure that penalizes ratepayers who live in harsher climates. This is fight worth following and we should all be thankful that a pitbull like Turnipseed is in Sacramento representing our interests.

 * ... KBAK: It looks like Fisher Communications, the parent company of KBAK-TV, is in a nasty fight to fend off a hostile takeover bid from a hedge fund company. Fisher owns some 20 stations in the West, including the Bakersfield franchise. Not sure what this might mean for KBAK if the hedge fund succeeds, but they are not known for progressive management.

 * ... NURSERY: Here's something I bet you didn't know: According to reader Rob Ferree, there is a popular plum tree in town named for Carl Krauter, who ran a local nursery in town for years. Ferree said he and his wife met Krauter in 1977 "and he proudly introduced us to a plum tree called the Krauter Vesuvius which is distinguished by a dark purple leaf and pink blossoms. Apparently Carl Krauter named the variety that can be seen all over town and is quite popular elsewhere as well."

 * ... MEMORIES: Al B. Gonzales was in the first class at Garces Memorial High School and wrote to remember when "East Bako was booming. The five and dimes by the Granada Theater were Ben Franklin and Cornet, J.C. Penney's, Snider's, McMahans, Kirby Shoes, Casa Moore, Saba's and don't forget Mother's Bakery. Our dad worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad and had credit at Saba's. I bought a red flowered silk shirt with a mandarin collar. It was the style in the 1950s."

 * ... TAR HEEL: Among our community's unsung exports are our outstanding students who set out across the country attending first rate universities. One of those students is Julianne Toler, who attended Norris School and graduated from Bakersfield Christian High School in 2003. She went on to graduate Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in athletic training from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. She then attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and in 2009 she received a masters in Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. She is still attending UNC in the doctorate program and should complete that in 2013 or 2014. Her father is Larry Toler, a retired battalion chief with the city fire department, and her mother Marilyn is a retired teacher with the Norris School. Proud father Larry told me Julianne will be getting married in July to Dave Schmidt, whom she met at Chapel Hill.

 * ... WILDCAT: Another youngster headed to the dorm life is Adam Karpe, who will be a freshman at the University of Arizona in the fall. Adam's older brother, Robert, will be a sophomore at the University of South Carolina. Both Karpe boys graduated from Garces Memorial High School. Adam's father is Ray Karpe, also a graduate of Garces who went on to earn a degree from CSUB. His mother, Lisa, went to Highland High School, Bakersfield College and Fresno City College.

 * ... WHO KNEW? The Rolling Stones, longtime country music fans, sang about Bakersfield in 1978 in their song “Far Away Eyes” on the album “Some Girls.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gas heads to $5 a gallon and Bakersfield leads the way, and noting the 150th anniversary of the Civil War

 * ... GAS PRICES: The average price for a gallon of gas across our nation is now $3.76 and may hit $5 by the summer. That's what some experts are warning, even as the long recession drags on and areas like the San Joaquin Valley continue to experience unemployment levels north of 16 percent. In one survey, broadcast by ABC this week, Bakersfield had the distinction of having the highest gas prices in the nation. 

 * ... COLLEGE BOUND: High school seniors across town are making their choices for where they will attend college and I'm always happy to put a spotlight on some of these high achieving kids. Over at Garces Memorial High, senior Gina Bell will be attending The George Washington University in Washington D.C. in the fall on an academic scholarship. Gina was accepted at Fordham, Seton Hall, Wheaton and Providence colleges but chose George Washington because of her love for American history and politics. Gina's proud parents are Kevin and Pam Bell: Kevin is a graduate of Highland High and Cal State Bakersfield and Pam is a graduate of Garces Memorial and Fresno State University. Kevin is employed at ATT and Pam is employed at Saint Francis Parish School in Bakersfield.

* ... PROSPECT: Keep your eye on Cruise Adams, a sophomore at Garces Memorial High School who played quarterback and kicker on the JV football team. ESPN recently singled him out as a hot college prospect for the 2013 recruiting class, noting that he had kicked a 50-yard field goal in a kicking camp. 

* ... REMEMBRANCE: This is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, a topic that all Americans should be respectful of and well versed in. Was surprised to learn there is a chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy here (Mary Boykin Chesnut chapter 2634) and it is planning a moment of remembrance on Thursday, April 21, at Union Cemetery. The organization was started by the grieving mothers, wives, daughters and sisters of fallen Confederate soldiers who tended to their graves. They soon began tending to the graves of Union soldiers as well in a tribute to all the fallen men and women. Diane Allen is the local president of the UDC chapter and told me the ceremony is planned for 10:30 a.m. Everyone is invited.

  * ... SPOTTED: A young man riding his bike down Gosford Road in the bike lane, balancing
while he uses both hands for texting on his cell phone. Incidentally, the Legislature is now considering a bill to make this illegal.

 * ... CALIFORNIAN RADIO: If you get a chance, tune in to SmartTalk1230 (AM-1230) on Friday when I will be interviewing new CSUB Athletic Director Jeff Konya on the challenges facing the school's entry into Division 1 sports. If you have a Google (Android) phone or iPhone, download the free application Tunein and you can listen on your cell phone. Should be an interesting hour starting at 10 a.m. Konya recently hired a new basketball coach and has the daunting task of finding a conference that will accept CSUB.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Linda L. Welch wrote that you may be a Bakersfield old timer if you worked at the old J.C. Penney building downtown and knew the top floor was a brothel in the early 1900s and the basement was a bomb shelter.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Farm subsidies under attack and an ode to Bakersfield's nurseries in an excellent Spring

 * ... FARM SUBSIDIES: It appears farm subsidies are being targeted by congressional leaders trying to find ways to curtail spending. According to the Wall Street Journal, Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's blueprint for fiscal 2012 "puts agriculture subsidies in the cross hairs, seeking to cut $30 billion over a decade - starting when the next farm bill is passed in 2012 - out of a total of some $150 billion is total expected spending on farm subsidies." Expect a backlash from Valley farmers, who no doubt will be putting the pressure of Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Jim Costa for relief.

 * ... NURSERIES: My earlier post on local nurseries brought responses from some folks who felt I slighted other local nurseries like Robby's and Reimer's Wholesale Nursery. Robby's, located on Hageman Road, is one of our town's old standbys where the service is always prompt and the selection excellent. I haven't been to Reimers (9305 Norris Road) but Steven Ashby invited me to stop by. "The Reimers have been growing annual color flats for 25 years here in Bakersfield," he said. "My grandfather Carl Krauter had a nursery here in Bakersfield for over 60 years. I am a fourth generation nurseryman and I truly believe Reimer's Nursery is the best in town for high quality locally strong plants and service.".

 * ... SUBARU: Picked  up a new car at the local Sangera Subaru dealership recently and was happy to make the purchase from a local dealership. I also had the pleasure of dealing with a terrific salesman, Eric Leathers,  who made the process painless and comfortable. Turns out Eric's son Justin is a senior at Foothill High School and is headed to Lewis and Clark College outside of Portland, Oregon, on an academic scholarship. Congrats to this young man and  his parents, Eric and Esther Leathers.

 * ... COLLEGE BOUND: Speaking of college bound seniors, I heard that Rachel Goldner will be attending Fordham University in the Bronx this fall. She is graduating from Garces Memorial High School and is the daughter of county counsel Teri Goldner and Barry Goldner, a principal at Klein DeNatale Goldner law firm.

 * ... PEACOCK DAIRY: Jean Morgan wrote in to say she remembers both the old Peacock Dairy and the Teakwood  Dairy in Oildale as well. "Our family enjoyed home delivery from both. The bottle caps on each jug of milk carried a picture of either a peacock or an elephant. My older brothers thought that the milk came from those respective animals!  I am happy to say that they are older and wiser now!"

 * ... SPOTTED: Middle aged woman at a local Smart and Final uses her Food Stamps electronic debit card to buy three packs of sugar cookies, two vitamin drinks and a large pack of Dorito snack packs. (State Sen. Michael Rubio has introduced a bill which would prohibit the use of Food Stamps to buy "junk food.")

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From Jack Bell: You know you're from Bakersfield  "if you used  to make snowmen out of tumbleweeds instead of snow!"