Friday, August 26, 2011

McCarthy: Congess but give up its 'tax, spend and regulate' mentality

 House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In His words:
 "Economic uncertainty continues to plague our community and nation, and I know that the warning of continued economic challenges from the Congressional Budget Office this week was not new news to Bakersfield. But I refuse to accept that our economy is just going to limp along for the foreseeable future. I've continued to listen to our local small business owners, including Tim Terrio, Steve Loyd and Skip Slayton. I’ve talked to our local cattlemen and cattlewomen, including long-time ranching families such as the Twisselmans, Sneddens, Rankins and Hafenfelds, as well as innovators in Mojave like XCOR and Masten Space. What I continue to hear is that Washington’s fiscal mismanagement, overregulation and the threat of tax increases are generating an uncertainty in our local economy that is holding back job creation. I assured them, like I want to assure each member of our community that I will keep fighting for policies that foster private enterprise and create an environment that makes it more affordable for small businesses to operate and expand.

 "There is no question that America is struggling, but I believe we will rise to the occasion. The American people are resilient. We are home to men like Robert “Ted” Sutherland, who I was honored to recognize in Mojave on Friday for his service in World War II. Ted is the son of a carpenter who served our nation in the South Pacific and came home to become a vital part of California City’s economic development. Ted is both a father and grandfather, and like me, I know he is invested in the future of our young people.

 "I honestly believe we can leave our kids a better America, but to do that we must move away from the tax-spend-and-regulate mentality that has ruled Washington recently. From January 2009 to March of this year, 75 major new regulations have been imposed with annual costs of $38 billion, according to the Heritage Foundation. For businesses to expand, hire that extra employee or even invest in a new piece of equipment, they need to know they will not be saddled with new and unforeseen costs. That’s why my colleagues and I are going to take an aggressive stand on burdensome and duplicative regulations in the coming weeks.

 "I have written before about the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which would require Congress to approve all new major regulations before they can be imposed. This legislation is imperative to increase certainty, and I will be fighting for its passage. We will also be fighting to repeal EPA regulations – from limits on dust to ozone to cement manufacturing – that could crush farmers, ranchers and small business owners in nearly every facet of the economy.

 "I believe in America and will always believe that we can win; taking on the regulatory overreach of the Federal government is one surefire way to help ensure we will.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good news for car makers as sales rebound and thousands return to work; meanwhile the Escalade is the country's top stolen car

 * ... CAR SALES: There's good news for our nation's car makers who are experiencing a strong rebound after taxpayer bailouts and bankruptcies. According to The Los Angeles Times a "leaner, more aggressive auto industry is making a comback, hiring workers and ramping up manufacturing plans." The "big three" of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler alone have added 90,000 jobs since the lowest point two years ago. In fact, growth has been so strong that even in distressed Michigan, hiring has shaved the unemploymenet rate to 10.9 percent, lower than California's of 12 percent. Over at Jim Burke Ford, owner Dan Hay told me business had clearly picked up, thanks in large part to our region's healthy agriculture and energy industries. "We are fortunate to live in Bakersfield," he said. "Our customers seem to feel much more up beat than a few years ago." Ford, of course, never went through bankruptcy and never requested nor received a taxpayer bailout.

 * ... STOLEN CARS: And speaking of cars, it turns out the Cadillac Escalade is the most stolen vehicle in the country. The Insurance for Highway Safety said the luxury sport utility vehicle is more than six times as likely as the average vehicle to be stolen. Also making the "most stolen" list were the Ford F-250 crew 4WD, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew, the Ford F-450 crew 4WD, the GMC Sierra 1500, the Chrysler 300 and the Ford F-350.

 * ... NEW ANCHOR: KGET has found a new anchor to replace Robin Scott Mangarin. Rachelle Murcia, traffic reporter for KOMO in Seattle, is joining the KGET team to anchor the nightly news broadcasts along with Jim Scott. She joined KOMO in 2005 and has spent the last six years handling traffic.

 * ... SCHOLARSHIP: Proud grand parents Chester and Helen Troudy passed along this good news regarding grand daughter Stephanie Anthony Santa, a 2004 graduate of North High School. Stephanie is one of five national recipients to receive a $5,000 scholarship to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. where she will complete her final semester of nurses training. She is a student at Marymount University in Alexandria , Va , and will graduate in May 2012 with a BS/RN degree. Her parents are Sue and Paul Anthony.

 * ... RADIO TIME: Tune in to Californian Radio on SmartTalk 1230 AM Friday when iIwill be chatting with Congressman Kevin McCarthy on the crisis in Libya and the debt showdown, and later in the hour with state Sen. Michael Rubio who may be making a congressional run himself. (file photos of McCarthy, Rubio)

* ... PARKINSON'S: Mary Meaders dropped me a note to spread the word about support group for folks with Parkinson's Disease. With more than 200 folks in our community suffering from Parkinson's, there is clearly a need for a group like this. The group meets the second Tuesday of every month at the First Presbyterian Church downtown, located at 1705 17th Street. Meetings start at 2 p.m.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You may be from Bakersfield if you "remember picking pumpkins out at Al Bussell's ranch."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Local oil producers prepare to wage war on new state regulations and Bonnie's Best opens a second location

 * ... OIL PATCH: Local oil producers are up in arms over what they see as state regulations that are putting a lid on new oil drilling in Kern County. As reported earlier by Californian energy reporter John Cox, the producers are fuming that the regulations - some of which are caused by environmental concerns - are slowing production at the very time that it should be increasing. Dave Kilpatrick, a longtime oil executive and former head of the local independent petroleum association, was in town Tuesday for a meeting with both independent producers and representatives from the big oil companies to raise awareness of the issue. "We have fields with 10,000 wells where we can't drill a new well," he said. "It's absurd." In the cross hairs of the producers is Elena Miller, a lawyer who is supervisor of the state division of oil and gas, who they accuse of "overkill" in implementing new regulations. This is an issue that is not going away and comes at a time when producers argue that domestic oil production should be increasing, not decreasing. Stay tuned.

* ... BONNIE'S BEST: I stopped in the new, second location of Bonnie's Best the other day and had a nice chat with co-ower Katie Watson. Located at 19th and O streets, the new Bonnie's is a lovely little deli with indoor seating, an outdoor patio and a lively and friendly decor, not to mention an impressive lineup of sandwiches. Katie's partner is mother Laurie Watson, owner of the original Bonnie's Best at F and 21st streets, and the two hope the revival of downtown and the Mill Creek area will afford the new location the success of the original shop. You have to admire these entrepreneurs who put their own capital on the line, in a bad economy, when so many others are holdling back.

 * ... HOARDERS: I have enough problems with one gray tabby cat, so the idea of animal hording is not something that has ever appealed to me. But it's out there, and now comes word that a local psychologist, Dr. Corey Gonzeles, will be appearing on the cable TV show "Confessions: Animal Hording" to provide some advice. The Animal Planet show airs Wednesday evenings and portrays the human condition that affects people and their animals. Apparently this is the third season in which Dr. Gonzales has appeared on the show. For all you hoarders, tune in for some free advice.

 * ... CLASS CRUNCH: School is back in session and for many teachers, it will be a much more difficult year in the classroom. Why? Budget cuts eliminated hundreds of teacher aide positions that provided valuable backup in classes that typically have 30 or more students. Teachers rely on these aides to help maintain order in the classroom as well as to give equal attention to the slow learners, as well as the stars. But they were the first to go in districts that have been forced to make drastic cuts in the face of budget shortfalls.

 * ... MEA CULPA: I misspelled the name Arnold Johansen in a recent blog about his collection of classic Gar-Wood boats. Johansen is CEO of Holloway Gypsum Mining Co.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Geraldine Sproul is a product of Standard School in the early 1950s and remembers the old Bertha P. Elliot Hall. A number of women's clubs met there, including the North of the River Women's Club and - if she recalls correctly - it hosted the first meeting of St. Mark's Methodist Church before its new building was constructed on Oildale Drive. "I don't know what name is on the building now, but it is the building on the south side of the brick building at the corner of North Chester and Woodrow Avenue. This is where the underpass from Standard School comes up. Wish I had a nickel for every time I went through the underpass!"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Will Rubio and Florez square off in the 21st Congressional District? Stay tuned.

 * ... RUBIO'S MOVE: Keep your eye on the newly created 21st Congressional District where we may be treated to a clash between state Sen. Michael Rubio and his friend and mentor, former state Sen. Dean Florez. Rubio is a rising star with an uncanny ability to raise money and work both sides of the aisle. A Democrat, he casts himself as a politician who puts problem solving and real issues over party loyalty, and likes to note he was the lone Democrat on the Board of Supervisors but thrived nonetheless. Florez, of course, is a veteran politico (also a Democrat) who was termed out in the state Legislature. Rubio is in the race. Florez is interested, but has yet to announce. (file photos of Rubio (top) and Florez)

 * ... VALENTINE: Barbara Teach is originially from Virginia but moved to Bakersfield when her husband landed a job with the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center. They had planned to be here just a couple of years, but like many of us, now call Bakersfield home. Here's her valentine to Kern County: "I am writing because 'you know you are IN Bakersfield' when the people around you are so genuine. My husband, Randy, passed away suddenly four months ago from a heart attack, and this community is still asking, praying, cooking, calling, texting, mailing cards and offering so much support for my kids and me. Even people who didn't know him, or us. Bako friends just checking in on us. So although we are not 'from' Bakersfield, friends here have carried the hospitality torch in true Bakersfield style and touched our lives as if we were one of their own. I am truly grateful and blessed to be here."

 * ... MIKE ELLISON: Charles Conner, retired manager Kern County Office of Emergency Services, wrote to remember James "Mike" Ellison, who died recently.  Conner worked with Ellison when he lived in Kern County and described him as "straightforward, untied (literally), upfront, transparent; what you saw is what you got. Unfortunately, this did not serve him well during his brief tenure as County Animal Control Manager. The last time I spoke with Mike he was Public Safety Director of San Miguel , California . He was an exceptional breed and truly an overall great guy."

* ... SUGAR ANGELS: A group of young girls out at Seven Oaks have spent the summer earning a valuable lesson in giving back. Sisters Katherine, Julianna and Caroline Morton, joined by friends Annie Stone and Kylie Minor, have been selling cookies and baked goods in their neighborhood to benefit the St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter. Last week they raised $807.95. Hats off to these girls, who have branded themselves the "Sugar Coated Angels."

 * ... WOOD BOATS: Most people know Arnie Johnson as president and CEO of Holloway Gypsum Mining Co., but his real passion is restoring classic wooden boats. For the past 25 years, he has been restoring the magnificent mahogany runabouts built by the likes of Chris-Craft and Gar-Wood. (In fact he owns a 1932 and 1936 Gar-Wood) In the recent Lake Tahoe Concours d'Elegance, he took first place in his 1936 18-foot runabout.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Riley Parker writes that you may be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember when "Lakeview Avenue (now Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.) was a dirt road south of Virginia Street to Cottonwood Road."