Friday, May 20, 2011

McCarthy: bill would bring much needed water to our region while cutting federal overregulation

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

 "This week, I was home in the district spending time with many of you in our community. On Tuesday, I traveled to Lancaster to present Merit Awards to students from East Kern and Los Angeles Counties. This year, I’ve presented these awards to a total of 38 high-school students in California’s 22nd Congressional District to honor their hard work, dedication to academics and commitment to their communities.

  "These students, as well as those who were recently awarded admission into U.S. Service Academies, continue to prove that our communities produce some of the best and brightest young people in the nation. For example, sixteen-year-old Heidi Yi is graduating with honors from Burroughs High School and is a recent graduate of Cerro Coso Community College. She maintained a 4.0 GPA and received a nearly perfect score on her SATs while still finding time to be a tutor and volunteer at the library. Another stand-out student is Mathew Prasser from Highland High School, who not only was a merit award recipient but also
organized and developed the now-annual ‘Turkey Trot’ to benefit the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter. I’m proud to have these students in our communities.

  "On Wednesday, I had the chance to participate in an assembly at Centennial Elementary School in Bakersfield where I talked with students in the 3rd-6th grades about government, the importance of
civic participation and how they can help shape our community, nation and world. Each time I visit a school, I’m reminded of how important it is to reinvigorate our economy so these kids can have more opportunities than we did.

  "That’s why I am co-sponsoring legislation with Congressmen Devin Nunes and Jeff Denham to get water flowing in our communities again. Our region has suffered for too long from California’s man-made drought. The lack of water due to government overregulation has contributed to the double-digit unemployment and lackluster economic recovery in our region. This legislation would bring tens of thousands of acre-feet of water to Kern County, has the potential to create up to 30,000 jobs in our region and could save taxpayers close to $1 billion. This is common sense action that we need now.

  "Another barrier to job creation is government overspending, and that’s something my colleagues and I are continuing to tackle back in Washington. The United States hit its debt ceiling this week, meaning
we’ve essentially maxed out our credit card. Now, the President is asking us to raise the debt limit without spending reforms, and I’ll tell you right now that won’t happen. We borrow 40 cents of every dollar, predominately from China, and it is simply unsustainable. We have to change the way Washington does business. We must take serious action to address our spending addiction and put real caps and reforms
in place that will put us on the path to fiscal prosperity.

  "My colleagues and I in the House are committed to this and we’ll continue to fight for common sense Washington spending policies.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

UC, CSU systems threatening huge tuition hikes as they grapple with budget cuts

 * ... TUITION: Chilling news out of the office of the University of California president Mark Yudoff. Calling it a "nasty scenario," Yudoff is warning that UC students may face a 32 percent mid year hike in tuition if Gov. Jerry Brown's plan for tax extensions is not approved. And that would come on top of the 8 percent tuition hike set for this fall. UC tuition is expected to go to about $11,000 in the fall and if the 32 percent hike goes into effect, it will rise to $14,800. The CSU system is facing similar challenges and is warning of waiting lists, cuts in course offerings and even enrollment caps. None of this is good news in the midst of high unemployment, tight credit and a struggling economy.

 * ... SHERWYN RETIRING: It looks like this is the final year of teaching for Art Sherwyn, the long-time educator, artist and tennis coach. Sherwyn is one of the staples on the local art scene and his work has been shown across town, from the Bakersfield Museum of Art to Metro Galleries on 19th Street. But he is also well known for his long career in the classroom, most recently at Stockdale High School where he taught art as well as coached the successful Stockdale girls tennis team. He may be out of the classroom, but he will be around town. If you haven't checked out his website, you can do so here.

 * ... SPORTS MONDAY: You'll see some changes in the daily Bakersfield Californian starting Monday with the debut of "Sports Monday." We will be featuring expanded sports coverage and on most days the front page will be devoted to sports as well. We will continue to offer all our regular news and features but with an expanded emphasis on sports. Let us know what you think.

 * ... NEW EATERY: It looks like there is a another new restaurant opening downtown, yet another positive sign in the resurgence of our arts district. I am told that two local doctors - Mark Hamilton and Lee Marek - are renovating the 19th Street space once occupied by Goose Loonie's and the ill fated Victor  Victoria's. Called "The Mark," the new restaurant will open in the fall and the style will be in the tradition of the old Maison Jassaud's.

 * ... EAST ROTARY: The East Rotary Club has left the old Veteran's Hall building on the east side for a new venue, the Star's Theater downtown. The East Club had met on the east side for 52 years but apparently a more central location was more attractive to some of the club members.

 * ... MEMORY: Reader Jean Burdette to wrote to recall when her family would cross town "to get an ice cold Reed and Bell root beer - the best! - a little mug free for the children. I still have one of the mugs somewhere."

 * ... CAL RADIO: Join me Friday at 10 a.m. on SmartTalk 1230 Californian radio when I will be chatting with Gene Thome about gun rights and what is hot in the shooting sports. Gene owns Bear Mountain Sports and is active in the sporting community. If you can't get to a radio, Google "Radio Time" and listen to the program via your computer.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: And loyal reader Linda Welch added this one: You might be a Bakersfield old-timer if you remember "when Zody's Department Store opened and Buck Owens was there along with the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders."

How the LA Times broke the Arnold love child story

 Here's a nice background on how The Los Angeles Times broke the story on former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's love child. Interestingly, the paper has yet to identity the mother out of deference to their son.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Media frenzy descends on quiet Bakersfield cul-de-sac, home of Schwarzenegger's former mistress

 It's been a media frenzy on Native Dancer street in Northwest Bakersfield where the woman believed to be the mistress of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger resides. The governor's son by that liaison, who has not been  identified but apparently goes to a local middle school, also lives at the home. Scores of reporters have camped out outside the house. This report comes from The New York Times. (photo courtesy of The New York Times)

Patty Baena's Myspace pages titled "my sexy self"

 Mildred Patricia "Patty" Baena, identified as the mistress of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, posted these pictures on her MySpace pages under the title "my sexy self." You can visit her MySpace page by clicking on this link.

Schwarzenegger's mistress and love child believed to live in northwest Bakersfield

 Reporters are swarming over a house in northwest Bakersfield where Mildred Patricia Baena, the mistress of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is believed to live. The former governor's love child, now believed to be about 14, apparently lives there as well. (Click on the above link for one version of this story)
 The story that stunned the nation broke this week and just today it was revealed that Baena apparently lives in a quiet northwest Bakersfield neighborhood. More as this story develops.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bakersfield gets some love from a visitor and - ouch - local home prices take another dive

 * ... HOMETOWN PRIDE: Bakersfield has always had a bit of an inferiority complex (thank you Johnny Carson) so it's always nice to hear how an outsider really views us. Which is why I was thrilled that Cheryl Scott passed along a letter from Dane Rauschenberg, an extreme athlete who visited us recently to run in the Inaugural Fit for Business run put on by the Kern Economic Development Corp. I will let his letter speak for itself: "Did it have the history of the Boston Marathon? Obviously not. What it did have in spades were wonderful volunteers, organizers and runners sprinting down one of Bakersfield's newest running attractions, the Kern River Parkway Bike trail... I have had the opportunity to see every corner of this country in every race distance imaginable. I will never forget how wonderful this race was executed from top to bottom. Take a second to pat yourself on the back, Bakersfield."

 * ... HOME VALUES: The real estate website estimates that Bakersfield home values sank 1.6 percent in February and were down 13.9 percent from a year ago. Realtors will tell you that Zillow only computes averages and doesn't take into account upgrades and other intangibles, but it does generally reflect trends. As for my own home, purchased a year ago? Zilllow says it has lost 17 percent of its value. Ouch. Meanwhile, perhaps a more accurate view of the local market comes from appraiser Gary Crabtree, who said the median price for a home in Kern County was $115,500, up from $111,000 in March but still a drop of 11.3 percent from April of last year. Crabtree added: "My Bakersfield ONLY numbers are the median price home was $126,000 in April, down from $128,000 in March and down 7.2% from the same period last year. "

* ... CSUB TENNIS: I stopped by a fund raiser for Cal State women's tennis last weekend and left even more impressed with the level of support for the program. Held at Stockdale Country Club on the grass courts, the Noodles and Nets event was just the latest in a long list of fund raisers to save both the women's tennis and wrestling programs. CSUB Athletic Director Jeff Konya was there, along with predecessor Rudy Carvajal, and many other supporters including Bruce and Molly Busacca, Vernon and Janis Varner, Kryssy Jamieson, Jenny Vaughn, Michael and Chris Olague, P.K. Zander, Garrett Ming, Bryan Lynn and many others. 

 * ... MOVER: Kudos to Chris Lowe, who has been hired as a vice president/small business banker at Bank of America downtown. Lowe comes from Westamerica Bank, where he spent the last six and a half years. Lowe is a product of Taft College and recently joined the board of directors of the North of the River Chamber of Commerce.

 * ... COLLEGE BOUND: Congrats to Jennifer Lynn Parish, a Highland High grad who is headed off to San Diego State University. She is graduating with a 4.33 GPA and is the daughter of Leo and Lori Cox.

 * ... SPOTTED: Young mother in older green Toyota Camry, texting away on her cell phone after  picking up her son at Juliet Thorner School, nearly runs down four other boys in the street as she glides through a stop sign ignoring the school crossing guard.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield if you ate the six-egg omelette at the old Friendly Cafe in Oildale.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Colby Lewis gets criticized for paternity leave and a splendid weekend in Bako

 * ... COLBY: Today's bad taste award goes to Richie Whitt, a Dallas Observer columnist who recently criticized Bakersfield native Colby Lewis for taking paternity leave after his second child was born. That's right, a Texas sportswriter trying to dictate ethics to the a right-handed ace for the Texas Rangers. Said Whitt: "Colby Lewis is scheduled to start after missing his last regular turn in the rotation because -- I'm not making this up -- his wife, Jenny, was giving birth in California. To the couple's second child. Don't have kids of my own but I raised a step-son for eight years. I know all about sacrifice and love and how great children are. But a pitcher missing one of maybe 30 starts? And it's all kosher because of Major League Baseball's new paternity leave rule?"  Huh? With comments like that, I think it's wise that Whitt didn't have children of his won.

 * ... WEEKEND: Splendid weekend around our town. The river was flowing  bank to bank and virtually every greenbelt - Beach Park, Hart Park, Mill Creek, Riverwalk - was teeming with people. I stopped by the Saturday downtown farmer's market and picked up enough organic greens to make a salad topped with strips of steak from the Green Frog butcher shop on Bernard Street.

* ... HIGH ACHIEVER: Two years ago Christopher Anderson graduated from Bakersfield College, which in itself is not remarkable, unless you knew he was just 14 years old at the time. And now comes word that Christopher will be graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor's degree in history. Now that's a high achiever.

 * ... OCCIDENTAL: I also heard that Sally Palmer, daughter of Melissa Palmer, is carrying on a long family tradition by deciding to enroll at Occidental College this fall. Not only did her mother graduate from Occidental, but Sally's great grand father (Oran Palmer) also went there. He was Kern County's first county counsel. Oran's sister, Ethelmae, was in the Oxy class of 1925. Melissa graduated from Highland High School in 1984 and Oxy in 1988, missing President Obama by a few years. "We recently attended a reception for admitted students, and although 23 years have passed since I wandered around on campus, it still felt like home," Melissa said. "lo triumphe!" Sally is a senior at Stockdale High School.

 * ... BAD BEHAVIOR: Received an invitation to the Garces Memorial High School's graduation ceremony for the son of a good friend. And there, written on the invitation, were the words "no jeans, shorts or tank tops." How sad that our schools have to remind folks to leave their sandals and wife beater tank tops at home.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Reader Bob Petker says you know you're from Bakersfield if you know that the old Kern County Land Company's Calloway Ranch was located on the site of a shopping center at Calloway and Hageman roads.