Friday, June 17, 2011

McCarthy: a year after the Obama 'recovery summer' are things really any better?

 Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy presents his weekly view form Capitol Hill. In his words:

 "This Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the Obama Administration’s ‘Recovery Summer,’ but as we have seen, this ‘recovery’ hasn’t manifested itself in our local communities. We have gone 28 months with unemployment above eight percent – the level that was promised we would never reach if we passed the trillion-dollar stimulus. Small business start-ups are at their lowest point in over a decade and the National Federation of Independent Business reported this week that more small businesses have plans to shrink their
payroll than expand it.

 "Like you, I am frustrated by this. The families and small businesses in our communities are right to expect their lawmakers to promote policies that will help spur job creation, not stymie it. Right now, the National Labor Relations Board is trying to tell Boeing – one of America’s biggest exporters and job creators – where they can and cannot put a new facility. Boeing wants to invest in the U.S. and create thousands of new job opportunities, but government bureaucrats are trying to stand in the way. 
 "We should be encouraging companies to invest in the U.S., not punishing them. That’s exactly what my
colleagues and I are fighting for. We’re working for tax reform, less regulation and less red tape. We’ve voted to do away with the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules and the FCC’s net neutrality proposal that would have hurt small businesses, and are currently working on legislation in the House to incentivize U.S. multinational corporations to bring money back from overseas to reinvest in American jobs. This and other actions to reform our tax code contained in our Plan for America’s Job Creators will help boost our economy.

 "In Washington, we began the process of passing appropriations bills in the House. Historically, there are 12 such bills that set funding for most Federal agencies, departments and programs. We passed two this
week and will take up others over the course of the summer. In the Pledge to America, we committed to bring spending down to pre-bailout, pre-stimulus levels, and collectively, our bills meet this goal.
However, much more work remains to be done.

 "On Thursday, Robin Mangarin made her last newscast for KGET. I know I join many in our community in thanking her for being a fixture on our television sets for the past 15 years. I also had the pleasure of
seeing local families and students in Washington this week. I spent time with the Chandler, Balfanz, Clark and Jamieson families, as well as the Fruitvale Junior High History Day Team Students.

 "Finally, I want to wish all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day. Being a dad is one of the great joys in the world, and I am so proud of my kids, Connor and Meghan. My father Owen would have turned 70
this month, and as countless fathers have done for their sons, he taught me how to be a good dad, and I will continue to strive to live up to his example.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More turmoil at CSUB over VP Beverly Byl as the campus struggles with a very tough budget situation

 * ... CSUB TURMOIL: As if Cal State Bakersfield didn't have enough to worry about with a shrinking budget and layoffs, President Horace Mitchell is dealing with more complaints from alumni and supporters about Beverly Byl, the vice president for advancement. Byl joined the campus some three years ago to head the office in charge of fund raising and community development, but her dictatorial style has never set well with some of the more prominent members of the community or her staff. Last week, it all came to a head when the outgoing chair of the CSUB Foundation, Geoff King, called for Byl to be replaced. I am told that King, who is a partner in the accounting firm of Barbich, Hooper and King and himself a CSUB alum, spared no words in telling the Foundation board (President Mitchell and Byl were in attendance) that a change was "sorely needed" in University Advancement. King prefaced his remarks praising so many other positive things going on at the university, but he reflected a widespread view that Byl has squandered her time here failing to successfully build strong bridges with the community to raise money. This should come as no surprise to anyone close to the university, including Mitchell, who has heard all this before from a series of prominent Foundation members. And while Mitchell himself remains popular, many wonder why he has turned a deaf ear to these complaints and Byl's divisive attitude that has alienated her own co-workers and members of the community. Mitchell told me he respected King's opinion "but it's his opinion."

 * ... MORE CSUB: There's no doubt campuses like CSUB are in a squeeze, and President Mitchell is having to make some tough calls to balance the budget. Four ranking administrators were laid off this week, and other positions have gone unfilled. But what about the compensation of Mitchell, Byl and others at the top? In the private sector it's not unusual for presidents and ranking executives to take pay cuts themselves - full disclosure here: at The Californian all senior executives, including me, have taken multiple pay cuts and watched their bonuses be eliminated - so I posed that question to Mitchell. He said that's a decision that can only be made by the CSU system level, and CSUB spokesman Rob Meszaros noted that while no one has taken a pay cut at CSUB, there also haven't been raises since 2007. But with other folks losing their jobs, it seems to me like this might be something to consider.

 * ... OLD GLORY: Is your American flag starting to wear and tear? If so, you may want to drop by Goin Postal over off Brimhall Road where owners Joel and Gary Young are once again giving away new flags in exchange for your old flag. This generous offer will run through July 4th. The retail package shipping office recently presented 150 flags to blood donors at Houchin Blood Bank during its salute to the military. Goin Postal is located at 11000 Brimhall Road, Suite E.

  * ... SICK BAY: There was a nasty crash involving seven bicyclists Thursday morning on Granite Road when a pickup truck attempted to pass on a curve and brushed one of the riders when he faced an oncoming car. Greg Walker, a construction project manager, was taken to Kern Medical Center where he was treated for major road rash but no broken bones. There were about 15 cyclists in the group when the truck apparently brushed Walker, forcing him to fall and trigging the massive pileup on the road. Among the other riders who crashed were physical therapist David Rous, Stockdale Elementary principal M.T. Merickel, pharmaceutical reps Curt Pierce and Adam Hensley, State Farm employee Richard Picarelli and Bike Bakersfield's Zach Griffin. Please remember to share the road with cyclists.

* ...RETIREMENT:  Fortune magazine came out with its top four retirement communities. In the category of  "lifelong learner" the winner was Athens, Ga., home of the University of Georgia. Runner ups were San Luis Obispo and Madison, Wis., also college towns. For the "urbanite" who likes big cities, Seattle came out on top followed by Portland, Ore., and New York. For the nature lover, Fortune liked St. George, Utah, followed by Whitefish, Mont., and Maggie Valley, N.C.. For "the intrepid world traveler" the magazine liked San Rafael, Argentina, followed by Boquete, Panama, and Ambergris Caye, Belize. (photo of Athens courtesy of Athens Downtown Development Authority.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Schwarzenegger's mistress breaks her silence, poses with their son for British magazine

 Mildred Baena, the housekeeper who fathered former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's out of wedlock son, has broken her silence in an interview with a British magazine. She told the Hello! magazine that the boy knows that Schwarzenegger is his father and is "excited" about it. She also said she knows Schwarzenegger is in love with wife Maria and hope they work things out. (Photo courtesy of David Schumacher, from the magazine website)

Some advice for our young folk and a local businessman comes down with Valley Fever

  * ...  SOUND ADVICE: Pete Wonderly is a thoughtful and articulate friend, and he agreed to share his response to a new report noting that if the San Joaquin Valley were a state, it would vie for last place on a human condition index with West Virginia. His suggestion to some of our young people?
 * "Stop having unprotected premarital sex and inflicting upon society the inevitable unwanted children, one after the other.
 *  "Stop indulging in controlled substances and thereby killing your brain cells, which you can ill-afford.
  * "Start actually taking your studies in school seriously and stop acting as though you have a million dollar inheritance just waiting for you to turn 18 years-old.
  * "Get a part-time job so you'll have money to buy your own luxuries and to limit the amount of unsupervised free time at your disposal.
  * "Get used to following rules – it’s the glue that holds society together, and if you become one of those individuals whom just can’t get the hang of it, you’ll wind up in prison where there are – wait for it…even MORE rules.

 * ... URNER'S: The folks over at Urner's Appliance Center never seem to shy away from pitching in for a good cause. And they will be doing it again Wednesday when they will be donating about $25,000 of new furniture for the new transition dormitory at Teen Challenge. This will happen at the women’s campus on E. Roberts Lane. In April, Urner's donated 135 Tempur Pedic mattresses and bedding items to Teen Challenge at a value of more than $200,000. Yet another reason to support these located businesses who do so much for our community.

 * .... SPOTTED: Flipping through Fortune magazine the other day and ran across a picture of Steve Ruggenberg, the former head of Golden Empire Transit who left town more than a decade ago to pursue his love of cooking. Ruggenberg is now teaching at the Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley. His picture, in full chef regalia, accompanied a story on the popularity of cooking schools  across the country.

 * ... SICK BAY: Learned the other day that Jeff Simpson, one of the owners of the popular deli Sequoia Sandwich Co., has been diagnosed with Valley Fever.  Jeff also told me he had a brief bout with whooping cough but that is now under control. A fitness buff and avid cyclist, Jeff said he hopes to be back on his bike in a matter of weeks. Sequoia is one of those locally owned companies that is always generous to charities and other good causes.

* ... OILDALE: One of my steady correspondents is Geraldine "Geri" Sproul, who wrote to share some of her memories of Oildale back in the day. "The block north of Sudd's Hardware Store (corner of North Chester and Washington Avenue) was Red's Cigar Store and service station. My uncle was running the station at that time and came by one day to bring me something special: Bubble Gum!... Across the street and half block south was the Alma Mae dress shop. Frances Sullivan bought it and what a wonderful shop it was. Women from all over the area came to shop there. Oh what memories we have!"

 * ... ACHIEVER: Jeff Miller is 17 years old, carries a 4.16 GPA at Centennial High School and is one of 150 youngsters attending the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Children's Congress in Washington, D.C. Turns out Jeff's Centennial High team was the leading school fund raiser in Bakersfield's 2010 JDRF Walk. According to proud dad Bill Miller, Jeff hopes to become and endocrinologist, a position where he can help others with Type 1 diabetes.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New study reflects the depth of poverty in the San Joaquin Valley, and more tributes for Hans Einstein

  * ... VALLEY RATING: Had a nice chat the other day with Della Hodson, head of the local chapter of the United Way, about issues facing Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley. She directed me to a new report that established the American Human Development index, which measures communities using a broad number of factors including health, education, poverty, housing, salaries and other key factors. It turns out the San Joaquin Valley scored a low 3.8 on a scale of one to ten (ten being the best), a reflection of our lower demographics, high illiteracy rate and high number of first generation immigrants. If the Valley were a state, it would vie for last place on the index with West Virginia. Yet another reason why supporting the United Way and other local charities is so important.

 * ... HANS EINSTEIN: There's little doubt that Dr. Hans Einstein, one of the nation's leading experts on Valley Fever, has touched a lot of lives during his long and distinguished career in Kern County. After I posted a piece on Memorial Hospital naming its new front entrance pavilion after Einstein, I received a nice note from Pamela Mahan who recalled a moment 50 years ago when the doctor showed her son such kindness. "My son was in the hospital and his roommate's doctor was Dr. Einstein. Whenever he came to visit, he always made a little time to talk with my son. It was a lovely gesture. I met Dr. Einstein at a funeral a couple of years ago and told him how much his kindness meant to us. He replied that keeping in touch with people is what life is all about. He is an absolutely lovely man."

 * ... MORE HANS: I stopped by the ground breaking for the Einstein Pavilion over at Memorial Hospital and it was a nice tribute to this special man. Hospital President Jon Van Boening always puts on a good party (champagne, wine and shrimp were in abundance) and a host of local business people showed up to lend their support. Spotted in the crowd were attorneys Rob Noriega and Barry Goldner, Tracy Walker-Kiser, Brad Hannick, David and Catherine Gay, Greg Gallion, Harry Starkey, Mayor Harvey Hall, Supervisor Karen Goh, Dr. Tommy Lee, Dr. Madan Mukhopadhyay, Russell Judd, Gregg Gunner, Barry Zoeller and Don and Donna James.
 * ... GO IRISH: Heard that Nicole Madrilejo, a 2010 Garces Memorial High graduate who just finished her freshman year at the University of Notre Dame, has been selected as a cheerleader  when she returns for her sophomore year. She will help lead cheers for football and various other sports  for Notre Dame through next school year. Nicole is the daughter of Dr. Nelson & Mae Madrilejo of Bakersfield.

 * ... DISCOVERY SHOP: The Discovery Shop, a retail resale shop that supports the American Cancer Society, is looking for volunteers to help staff the store. Hal Wygant, a retried manager of a finance office, said the shop is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, mostly seniors, and many of whom are cancer survivors. "These gracious ladies are responsible for accepting donations, sorting the items, sometimes repairing and make the items presentable in the retail store." Even if you have only a few hours a week to volunteer, they could use your help. The store is located at 5420 California Avenue. Call (661) 324-1359 if you are interested.

 * ... WHO KNEW? Did you know that the Bakersfield area boasts three of the top ten highest oil producing areas in the nation?