Friday, July 8, 2011

McCarthy: end ban on off shore drilling, give small businesses a break and deal with the debt

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield and House Majority Whip, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:

"Like many parents, I’m worried about the future opportunities of kids in America. Are we laying a foundation for them to succeed? I know we can, but we must change course. Over the past two and a half years, spending has skyrocketed and we have accumulated an additional $3.2 trillion in debt. Still, our economy remains sluggish. In June, we added a paltry 18,000 jobs. This is unacceptable. We should be adding hundreds of thousands of jobs every month. Big spending and big government have clearly failed. I’m fighting every day to change the culture of spending in Washington. There has been progress, but we can do more, especially in the following three areas:

•       Cutting Spending: Since January, we have cut an historic amount of pending, voted to repeal Obamacare, aggressively attacked the law’ slush funds and passed a budget that brings spending to the 2008
levels we promised in our Pledge to America. Now we’re fighting for trillions more in spending cuts and pushing a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA). Back in 1995, the BBA failed to pass Congress by just
one vote. 16 years later, we’re $14 trillion in debt. But we have another chance to get it right. This month, we will bring a new BBA to the Floor and I will vote for its passage. This week I released a video on the BBA, which you can watch on my YouTube channel:

•       Growing small businesses: Small businesses employ over half the private-sector workforce. If we look at the end of the last recession from 2001 to 2007, small businesses – those with 500 employees or less
– added more than 7 million jobs. We’re clearly not seeing the same comeback now. In fact, 70 percent of small businesses said they don’t plan to hire over the next 12 months in a recent U.S. Bancorp survey,
primarily because of economic uncertainty. We must boost private-sector confidence. That means not raising taxes, as some in Washington are proposing. Taxing job creators is not the way to grow our economy and I will not stand for any proposal that increases taxes on families and small businesses.

•       Increasing energy production: Tapping our own abundant natural resources will drive down energy costs, create jobs and increase our ation’s energy security. My colleagues and I have recently passed
legislation to move forward on oil and natural gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Virginia, put an end to the Obama Administration’s de facto moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and lift the President’s ban on new offshore drilling. These three pieces of legislation could help create an estimated 1.2 million jobs long-term, according to Louisiana State University Economist Dr. Joseph Mason. In addition, we passed legislation to allow oil extraction in the Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf to move forward in a timely and safe manner, which could create tens of thousands of jobs annually. The Senate must act on this legislation.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A tribute to a career teacher who touched so many lives and dealing with a traffic nightmare on Truxtun

 * ... TRIBUTE: Jamie Henderson, who retired as superintendent of the Rosedale Union School District, dropped me this wonderful tribute to career educator  Lloyd Palmer, who died recently. Palmer spent 30 years as a social studies teacher at Curran Junior High, where Henderson found himself as one of Palmer's students in the early 1960s. "Kennedy was president, we had just come through the Cuban missile crisis and John Glenn had circled the earth.... It was a good time to be studying U.S. history and the Constitution." Henderson said Palmer knew every student by name and was always upbeat and positive. Years later, when as Rosedale superintendent Henderson was dealing with a difficult challenge, Palmer called and offered his support. "Forty years after I had been in his classroom he still checked on his students and offered them encouragement. Mr. Palmer, I realize having you as a teacher was a true blessing from God. May God continue to comfort and bless you and your family." (Californian photo of Henderson below)

 * .... TRAFFIC: The opening of the new Mohawk bridge connecting Truxtun Avenue with Rosedale Highway is proving to be a nightmare for morning commuters headed from the Southwest into town. Apparently so many drivers are using it to get off Rosedale Highway and onto Truxtun that it is backing up east-bound traffic on Truxtun almost all the way to Coffee Road. It seems particularly bad between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. when traffic it at its worst.

* ... CSUB: I will be chatting with Jeff Konya, the new CSUB Athletic Director, Friday (July 8) at 10 a.m. on SmartTalk 1230 AM on Californian Radio. Konya will lay out the strategic direction of the athletic department and answer any questions from callers. We will also discuss the embattled wrestling and women's tennis programs and the fund raising efforts to save them.

* ... SPAY, NEUTER: Did you know that one intact female dog, plus her offspring and their offspring, can product 67,000 dogs in just six years? That's the word from Ha Adolfo, founder of the Basic Needs Foundation. And that's why her group is hosting two free mobile spay-neuter clinics for low income pet owners of Lake Isabella, Wofford Heights, Onyx, Bodfish, South Lake, Mountain Mesa and Kernville. These clinics will take place on Saturday, August 20, and Saturday, October 22, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot of the Lake Isabella Vons. To schedule an appointment call 1-800-404-SPAY (7729).

* ... STREET CARS: John Pryor says you are an old timer if you remember the city's electric street cars that traveled on tracks back and forth between the Southern Pacific Railroad station on Baker Street, down 19th Street to the Santa Fe Railroad station on F Street at 15th Street, just north of Bakersfield High School. "On the very last day of the street cars operation, sometime in the 1930s, my father took me for a ride from Baker Street to F Street and back. He knew it was the end of an era for Bakersfield, and gave me an experience I still remember 70 plus years later!"

  * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From reader Kyle Estle: "You know it’s summertime in Bakersfield when the internal temperature on your outdoor grill is above 150 degrees BEFORE you light it!"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

UC Regents look for another 10 percent rise in tuition and the Grimm and Anderson families come to the aid of the YMCA

 * ... TUITION HIKE: Not that it's a surprise, but it looks like we're in for yet another tuition hike for the budget challenged University of California system. The UC Regents say they will seek another 10 percent tuition hike, on top of an 8 percent increase already set for this fall. It's hard to keep up with the rising tuition costs but this will bring undergraduate tuition to $12,200, almost a $2,000 increase from where it is now. And remember, this is just tuition. Room and board can easily add another $10,000 a year and by the time you throw in books, food and incidentals, the average student is looking at $25,000 or more a year. Lastly, all this comes on top of news that the more selective campuses like Berkeley, UCLA and San Diego are admitting record numbers of nonresidents simply because they pay a much higher out of state tuition.  

* ... YMCA: Steve Anderson and his wife, Kari Grimm Anderson, have stepped in to help the Kern County YMCA expand its programs to Delano and Arvin. Grimmway Farms is sponsoring programs in Arvin and S.C. Anderson is doing the same in Delano and possibly McFarland. Steve Anderson also dropped a personal $5,000 donation check to the Y, which is struggling to rebuild its program base.

* ... MORE YMCA: Janelle Webb is another longtime supporter of the "Y" and wrote to urge everyone to support our local Kern County chapter. She said her 6-year-old daughter Karalee attends the Y's summer day care and is participating in a drama program, a Disney Musical Revue. "The YMCA drama production is superb with the children receiving individual attention and nurturing for their skills with the finished performance something that could be recommended for any stage."

 * ... SPOTTED: Nice to see so many folks swimming and kayaking the Kern River through town on a steamy holiday weekend. The area from Beach Park down to the Park at River Walk was busy and it's all relatively safe and shallow, at least compared to the raging Kern up the canyon. We will all miss these days when the river returns to a dusty shadow of its former self.

 * ... NEWCOMERS: Ran into Neil Walker and his wife Pam the other day. Neil is with Kern Oil and Refining and a former president of Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary and they were escorting around town Pam's sister, Tish, and her husband Mike Burnett. The Burnetts live in La Canada Flintridge but are moving to Bakersfield to retire. They were touring town when the temperature was well north of 100 but in good spirits nonetheless. These are the kind of newcomers who will undoubtedly enrich our community.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM:  Rosalee (Gelb) Pogue solved the mystery of the old downtown bowling alley which she identified as the Bakersfield Bowling Academy, located across from the Rice Bowl. "What a flash from the past it was to see the 'Bakersfieldism' in the paper this morning.  I use to go bowling with my father when I was young (in the mid 1950s). The bowling alley in question was The Bakersfield Bowling Academy across from the Rice Bowl. There was the other alley on East 19th (or 18th, I still get those confused) just east of Union called San Joaquin Bowling. Thanks also to readers Tony Bernal, Dave Wilkerson, Craig Holland, and Vicki Philips for also identifying these two old bowling centers.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Top UC schools move to admit more out of state students and Bryan Goodman joins the CSUB basketball squad

 * ... COLLEGE REPORT: It looks like it is going to get even harder for local students to get into the more selective state universities like UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego. Strapped for cash, the schools are now admitting record numbers of out of state students simply because they pay twice the tuition as California residents. According to the Los Angeles Times, 30 percent of the incoming freshman class at Berkeley will be from out of state, up from 23 percent last year. At UCLA, nonresidents will make up 18 percent of the freshman class, up from 15 percent. And at San Diego, the nonresident freshman class doubled from 9 percent to 18 percent.

 * ... CRIME ALERT: A resident of La Cresta passed along the story of a 14-year-old who stole her car and smashed it into a fire hydrant after the Highway Patrol gave chase. The car was stolen sometime between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. out of her driveway. Apparently her husband, who had moved the car earlier in the day, left the keys in his own car and left that car unlocked. Police say summer is the time when crimes of opportunity spike, and thieves are walking through neighborhoods pulling on door handles trying to find one open. In the La Cresta case, the owners were told that local gangs recruit minors to steal cars because they do so little time after they are caught.

 * ... OVERHEARD: A young women is overheard telling her companion about a trip to Valley Plaza. "In 30 minutes I saw a mother slap her child, a guy shoplift a rice krispy treat from a kiosk and another man talking on his cell phone with his other hand down his pants."

 * ... GOODMAN: Had a chance over the weekend to meet Bryan Goodman, the new CSUB assistant baseketball coach. Coach Rod Barnes recruited Goodman from the University of Oklahoma where he served in a similar position. Before that, the 39-year-old Goodman served at Bucknell University. He and his wife have 5-year-old triplets and she hopes to join him here later this summer.

 * ... MOHAWK BRIDGE: Only in Bakersfield do we get excited about the opening of a new bridge that shortens our commute. How many of you have taken the trip over the new Mohawk bridge just to see it?

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Reader Linda Welch is asking if anyone remembers the downtown bowling alley that was located on 18th Street east of Chester Avenue back in the 1940s. She said her brothers were pin setters there but we can't recall the exact location.