Friday, November 4, 2011

McCarthy: House moves to empower small business while the Senate fiddles

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield and House Majority Whip, gives us his view from Capitol Hill.
"The President has been traveling around the country saying that we ‘can’t wait’ to take action on job creation. I agree. That’s why the House has passed 22 separate bills to promote job creation. We’ve dubbed these bills the “Forgotten Fifteen” because the Senate has yet to vote on them. Included in the bills being blocked by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is legislation I introduced to open a new door for small businesses to obtain capital to create jobs.  

 "The Access to Capital for Job Creators Act (H.R. 2930) really hit home for me as a former small business owner. I started Kevin O’s Deli when I was 20 years old. I had an idea to expand and open more stores around Bakersfield, all I needed was the capital. If I had wanted to obtain that money from investors I didn't know, I would have had to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission – a costly and drawn-out process – because of an arcane depression-era regulation. This roadblock is something many small business owners have had to face, but on Thursday, the House repealed it. 

"Empowering small businesses is one of the most effective ways to spur our economy. Small businesses generated almost two-thirds of the net new jobs in America over the past 15 years and employ over half of all private sector employees. I know my bill is only one step, but combined with the 21 other House-passed jobs bills, it could go a long way in helping small businesses grow and get people back to work. Below is a full list of the House-passed jobs bills the Senate has yet to act on:

1.      The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (H.R 872)
2.      The Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910)
3.      A Resolution of Disapproval Regarding FCC’s Regulation (H.J. Res. 37)
4.      Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (H.R 1230)
5.      Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (H.R. 1229).
6.      Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (H.R 1231)
7.      The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act H.R 2021)
8.      The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act (H.R 2018)
9.      The Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act (H.R. 1315)
10.  The North American-Made Energy Security Act (H.R. 1938)
11.  The Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act (H.R. 2587)
12.  The Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts (TRAIN) Act (H.R. 2401)
13.  The Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 2681)
14.  The EPA Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 2250)
15.  The Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2273)
16.  Veterans Opportunity to Work Act (H.R. 2433)
17.  The Repeal of the 3% Withholding Rule (H.R. 674)
18.  The Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act (H.R. 1904)
19.  The Small Company Capital Formation Act (H.R. 1070)
20.  The Community Bank Resource Improvement Act (H.R. 1965)
21.  Access to Capital for Job Creators Act (H.R. 2940)
22.  Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act (H.R. 2930)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Amgen Tour of California returns to Bakersfield and country fire chief leaves under cloud

 * ... FIRE CHIEF: Kudos to my colleague Lois Henry for digging into the "retirement" of Kern County Fire Chief Nick Dunn, who is leaving under questionable circumstances. Dunn appeared at a press conference wearing Bermuda shorts and a knee brace and referred to his "battered body," but it's now clear there is much more to the story. (He was under scrutiny for allegedly using public property for personal gain) Either way, he walks away with a lifetime pension of around $175,000 a year, which we will all be paying for years to come. Legal, yes. But also distasteful.

* ... GARCES TRIBUTE: Jim Doty read my earlier post about Garces Memorial High School and submitted this tribute to a Catholic school education. "We were living in England in the late 1960s (or early 1970s) and our son was the equivalent of a high-school sophomore. One day he told my wife and me that he would like to go back to the U.S. to go to school. My wife and I decided it was a reasonable request so we talked to a friend who had been in a similar situation when he was that age. He recommended his old school, a Jesuit boarding school, in southwest Arkansas. With his help, our son was accepted. We sent them a mighty fine boy; we got back an exceptional young man. He is now a senior executive for a major corporation, and has made us proud as punch, job-wise, but more important-son, man, person, everything-wise. That Garces turns out good students, and cares for them, does not surprise me. I am not Catholic, but I feel indebted to their educational system in every way. "

 * ... BIKE RACE: Terrific news that the Amgen Tour of California bike race is coming back to Bakersfield in May. If you missed this race two years ago, make sure you catch it this time. This is spectacular show - it will be a time trial here - and you don't have to be a bike racing fanatic to enjoy the extravaganza. So mark May 17 on your calendars to see some of the world's best athletes in action. (photo courtesy of Velonews)

* ... SALLY THE SHOPPER: John Brock Jr., whose family ran the famous Brock's department store for years, weighed in with the final word on the store's Sally the Shopper program. "It actually originated at our store in the spring of 1952. The first person appointed to the position lasted about a month and then Pat Esposito (now Mrs. Lloyd Plank) took over and really became the first Sally. She had been in the position for about three months when the earthquakes of July and August hit Bakersfield, forcing Brock’s to move from its downtown location into a circus tent which was erected on a parking lot in the Westchester area, just south of today’s Westchester Bowl. The personal shopping service became quite popular during the circus tent period with Pat on the job. She continued to be Sally until about 1955, and the service continued under others until Brock’s was acquired by Gottschalk’s in 1987 (and possibly after that)."

 * ... BROCK'S: And speaking of Brock's, reader Cheryl Bomar said her mother was a "Sally Shopper" and she worked in the gift wrapping department while in high school. "I made more in tips from the gentlemen shopping than I did in wages," she said. "It was during that time that I met Troy Donahue in the 'operator run' elevator. He said hello but I was too frozen to say anything."

 * ... LA CRESTA: Janice Huston Montoya spotted her brother's comments about growing up in La Cresta and added this: "I can't believe my little brother, Mike Huston, didn't remember one of our favorite places on Alta Vista Drive, the La Cresta Sundry. They had the best hamburgers in town!"

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From Jerry Beckwith: "You might be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember going on a picnic with your grandmother Ethel and brother Mike, a bindle over your shoulder, to the Hillcrest sign north of Niles Street. There was nothing but foothills north of Niles and east of Horace Mann School.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

KERO parts ways with weather girl Melissa Dignan and Make a Wish holds a fund raiser

* ... MAKE A WISH: I'm told there wasn't a dry eye in the house when Mike and Cathi Stier hosted an event last week for the Make a Wish Foundation. The guest speaker was John Crowley, who shared his family's journey to save his children from a devastating neuromuscular disorder called Pompe disease. Harrison Ford has done a movie based on their family's story called "Extraordinary Measures." Said one participant: "Mike and Cathi went to extraordinary measures to share the Make a Wish dream and the national director came to the event and pledged up to $25,000 in matching donations. The money will stay in Bakersfield since we have 38 children locally waiting for a wish."

* ... KERO: It looks like KERO TV 23 has decided to part ways with popular weather girl Melissa Dignan. The station's top brass told Melissa they would not renew her contract and she would be off the air by the end of this year. Melissa told me she was surprised and saddened by the news and that she has grown to love Kern County and wanted to stay. "This is my home, this is where I met my husband," she said referring to Brian Dignan, former assistant men's basketball coach out at CSUB. Melissa joined KERO in January of 2008 and is known for her perky, upbeat forecasts and for supporting the adoptions of homeless dogs and cats. Here's wishing her the best.

* ... UCLA: Another local kid is about to graduate from college, and this one is the son of Debbie Moreno, president of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce. "My son Marcus, a former East High student who is set to graduate from UCLA in another month with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, just had quite an experience to remember these college years by. While on a final quarter field and marine biology study on a tiny island off the coast of Belize, they had to cut the month long program short by a week and evacuate off the island in a hurry as Hurricane Rina approached. After almost a full day and night of travel I got a text in the middle of the night that they arrived safely back in Los Angeles."

* ... TOW SACK ANNIE: Yet another reader, Charly Price, wrote to recall Tow Sack Annie, a woman who walked up and down Edison Highway and Bear Mountain Road, hurling insults to those who dared yell her name. In the 1950s, Charly was just a teenager and on a whim he and some pals tracked Annie down to her trailer where they had planned to knock on her door. "But being brave macho boys we all chickened out and threw pine cones on her roof. Well, it wasn't long before she came out screaming and cussing. I will tell you that she scared the heck out of all of us and we never thought about bothering her again!"

* ... LA CRESTA MEMORY: Mike Huston was reared on La Cresta Drive and wrote to share a few memories of the old Alta Vista area. "Last week I drove down Alta Vista Drive between Columbus and Bernard. I was left with the memory of three food markets that were so close in proximity, yet separately thrived in the late 1960s. On the corner of Alta Vista and Columbus was a small convenience type store, named Sears Market. Traveling south on Alta Vista at Water Street you found a 'super' market named Spic ‘N Span. My grandmother lived across the street and frequented the store for all of her groceries. Spic ‘N Span had black and white checkerboard flooring, its own butcher shop along with an aging white haired butcher named Van. If I’m not mistaken, the Reimer family owned the store. Further south on Alta Vista at Bernard, you found Green Frog Market, where of course it still stands today. Other than the Spray Rite Car Wash and the Tam O’ Shanter, there were a host of other business in this stretch, which have faded from my recollection. Perhaps some readers will help."

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Terry Gaiser writes that you may be from Bakersfield "if you took your car to Three-Way Chevrolet on Chester Ave downtown for service and had lunch at Dave's Deli. You probably listened to the 'new' rock and roll music on KBIS, KAFY or KWAC!"

Monday, October 31, 2011

Another tribute to the late Jerry Warren and the Padre gets a new general manager

* ... RIP JERRY: My post last week on the death of longtime Bakersfield businessman Jerry Warren drew this response from his neighbor, Mary Richard. "Jerry and Jennie have been our next door neighbors for almost 18 years. As Herb Benham would say, he was our go to guy! When my step son was killed in a car accident it was Jerry who drove me out to Rio Bravo Golf course to tell my husband his son had been killed. He and Jennie were there for us then and many times since. The last time I saw Jerry was when we were having heavy rains just before Christmas last year. He thought we were out of town so he went in our backyard to make sure it wasn't flooding. He was dead a few days later. I miss hearing him singing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah from over the fence and him talking about 'my girl,' lovingly referring to Jennie. We miss him terribly and it is comforting to know that others knew how special he was.

* ... CHP: There's a special luncheon set for this Wednesday to support a fund that supports the widows and children of California Highway Patrol officers. "Tips for Chips" will be held from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Outback Steakhouse. Tickets are $25 at the door.

* .... WAYNE'S DAIRY: Reader Charlie Duran worked 20 years for Wayne Peacock at the dairy as a driver and salesman delivering milk to homes in Bakersfield. "I often see articles in the paper giving the dairy's location as North Chester Avenue. If my memory is correct the address was always 4050 Chester Avenue, not North Chester. Remember folks, North Chester begins on the north end of the Kern River bridge. We also sold hundreds of pounds of the best chocolate candy made anywhere! This was a great company to work for."

* ... JUNIOR LEAGUE: The Junior League of Bakersfield is accepting grant applications from non-profit groups for projects that will improve the welfare of women and children throughout Kern County. Applications are available at the League's 19th Street offices or at its website, The deadline for submitting applications is Thursday, December 1.

* ... SALLY SHOPPER: More on "Sally the Shopper," the service provided at the old Brock's department store downtown. Bertha Mullen said one of the shoppers was Patty Esposito, and about 1954 "she married a local businessman, Lloyd Plank. They raised a family and still live in Bakersfield. Sally, a lot of us still wish we had you to do our shopping."

* ... KUDOS: Johnny Stephens, one of the original group of San Diego-based managers who moved to Bakersfield to open the newly refurbished Padre Hotel, has been named interim general manager. The 31-year-old Stephens worked at the company's San Diego hotel (Tower 21) before moving to Bakersfield. He is now plans to purchase a home and stay in our community.

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: From my friend Al Gutierrez: "You may be a Bakersfield old-timer if you can recall the existence of 'houses of ill repute' at several east Bakersfield locations. The Sad Sack Hotel and The Tacoma Rooms operations were located on Edison Highway. A third house, known as The Green Doors, was situated on Morning Drive, across the street from where Foothill High School now stands. Sheriff Leroy Galyen, a gentleman who attended church every Sunday, shut them all down during the late 1950s."