Friday, December 9, 2011

McCarthy: President Obama's over regulation a burden to business, and now comes the farm dust ruling

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives us his view from Capitol Hill. In his words"

 "Did you know that the Obama Administration has 4,257 new regulations in the works, 219 of which will each cost over $100 million annually? When a rule or regulation tops the $100 million mark, it’s considered a ‘major rule’ – and there have been a lot of them proposed under the current Administration. Federal regulations cost our economy an estimated $1.75 trillion every year, and the worst part is all of them come from unelected federal bureaucrats. I have heard countless stories from local job creators about the massive costs of complying with regulations – and my colleagues and I have been listening.

"This week, Republicans and Democrats in the House passed the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which requires a congressional up-or-down vote on any ‘major rule.' Voters across the nation have loaned Congress the power to make laws, and with this legislation, the people you elected will decide whether or not major regulations get implemented.

 "One rule that could be considered ‘major’ and would particularly impact Kern County is an EPA proposed regulation on farm dust. Earlier this week, the House passed the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, which prohibits EPA from implementing tighter standards on dust for one year and bans the agency from regulating dust that is kicked up in general rural activities (nuisance dust) if it is already regulated by a state or local entity. EPA already regulates farm dust under the Clean Air Act, and our farmers and ranchers are in compliance with the current standard.  But complying with the current rules already costs money. One Arizona cattle operation paid $400,000 in 2009 just to comply with the current standard. As one of the state’s top producers of agricultural commodities, Kern businesses, farmers and ranchers would be significantly impacted by stricter standards.

"President Obama has said that where ‘we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them.’ We’re giving the President an opportunity to do just that, and I hope he takes it.

 "This week, I had the great pleasure to spend time with “Cooks from the Valley,” founded by local attorney Tom Anton and includes a group of dedicated Kern County residents who volunteer both their time and resources to cook steak dinners at military installations here at home and across the world. They came to Washington, D.C. this week to cook a steak dinner for midshipmen and cadets before the Army-Navy Football Game, serving over 10,500 people in Annapolis and West Point. These selfless men and women epitomize what the holiday season is all about.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A CSUB fraternity pitches it to help a non-profit and a big weekend for hometown sports

* ... KAPPA SIG: The Assistance League of Bakersfield held its annual Chez Noel home tour last week and volunteer Dona Chertok said it was another success. Dona also wanted to thank members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at CSUB for lending their brawn to help set up the group's chapter room to accommodate vendors. "Some of these young men also staffed as docents at the homes on the tour and the ladies loved them!" she said. Fraternities are not often portrayed so well in the press, so I am happy to share Dona's note. And being a Kappa Sig myself from another university in the South, it makes me proud to see these young men doing well.

* ... FOOTBALL: This is a big week for high school football with Ridgeview, Garces and Bakersfield High all going for Valley Championships on their home fields. BHS plays Bullard, Garces goes up against Clovis North and Ridgeview takes on Kingsburg. As reader Susan Chaidez  reminded me: "We have hundreds of local boys aiming for the top spot with countless hours of dedication on the field and in the classroom; blood, sweat and tears being poured into this amazing show of athletic ability and coaches who do this for the love of the game and the development of the kids!"

 * ... SCHNAUZERS: Gil Nolasco read my blog post about the small dog sipping out of its owner's Starbucks cup and recalled the time with his own mini Schnauzer did the same thing. "Too young to know about hot items that humans drink he slams his face into the cup to lap up the pungent liquid  ... (and) he immediately jerks up and shakes his now coffee covered beard to spray coffee all over me and the floor. Needless to say he learned his lesson!"

 * ... BROCK'S: Twilla Klassen was in Santa Barbara recently and dropped by a consignment store on State Street. "And what did I see but a fur coat with a Brock's label and it looked really good too!"

 * ... SABA'S: Larry Tiller wrote to send kudos to one of our community's great local businesses. "Mr. Beene, you have listed some very fine men's stores but leave off a truly great one.  Saba's Men Store was opened at 916 Baker St. in 1934 and remained at the same location until closing in 2008.  Saba's was run entirely by the Saba family during this time. As a lifetime customer of Saba's I was made to feel like family when entering the store. With their own tailor shop in the store, Saba's was a throwback to a time when customer service was a priority. We will never see the likes of this great men's store again."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Regular contributor Patsy Sadler says you might be from Bakersfield "if you remember watching the five o'clock news with Burleigh Smith, Marge Stiles and Hazel Allen advertising her face cream stating it's so pure you can eat it, swallowing a spoonful.  Was probably just mayonnaise!"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One woman's testimony to the Christmas spirit and more bad form involving cell phones at the Post Office

 * ... CHRISTMAS SPIRIT: Many thanks to reader Alice Brown for dropping me a note that brightened my day. She returned home last Sunday to find a plate of cookies left at her house with a note attached. "It said I had been RACK’ed," she said. "The card also said, this Christmas season, we are counting down the 25 days of Christmas by performing 'Random Acts of Kindness' each day. So often we get caught up in the shopping and forget the real reason for Christmas.  I just want to say thank you to the wonderful and caring person who shared this with me and I will be sure and continue this 'random act of Christmas kindness.'  Merry Christmas to everyone!"

 * ... STINSON'S: I stopped by the annual Customer Appreciation Party over at Stinson's Stationers to touch base with owner Ben Stinson. Every year he opens his warehouse to 800 customers, treating them to a barbecue lunch and drawings for dozens of prizes, including flat screen televisions. Ben takes to a microphone like a Southern minister at a tent revival, regaling the crowd with stories while promoting his business. Stinson's is just another example of a locally owned, family business that has weathered the downturn well.

* ... BAD FORM: This from former local TV anchor and now manners columnist Lisa Kimble Edmonston. She pulled up behind the downtown Post Office to mail a letter and sat there until she realized the woman parked in front of her was on her cell phone. "I got out of my car, walked my letter to the mailbox, tapped on her window to alert her that she had a line of six cars deep behind her ... and she was totally unfazed!"

* ... WHO KNEW? Did you know that the television  series “Pan Am” co-stars Bakersfield native Kelli Garner? She’s also had a number of film roles with actors like Drew Barrymore and Leonardo DiCaprio.

 * ... CROSS COUNTRY: East Bakersfield High School cross country teams of the 1960s will be honored at the "Run for the Dream" indoor track and field invitational meet, January 21, 2012.  Bob Farley, former cross country and track coach at Fresno State, researched and found East Bakersfield High School was the most successful cross country program in the valley through the 1960s. The guest speaker will be Billy Mills, Olympic gold medalist of the 1964 Olympics (documented in the movie "Running Brave"). The meet will be held at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, starting time 1:30 p.m. Thanks to  Richard Villalovos for sharing this.

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Dennis Horack writes that you may be from Bakersfield if "you remember all the great men's stores we had when shopping for a sport coat or suit: Coffees, Caspers, Harris and Franks, Richmond Brothers, Seilers and Robert Hall. Back when dressing up for church or the office was the norm, my closet was full of sport coats and suits from the above retailers. I say out with today's casual manner of dress and back to the dress-up mode. My opinion is probably in the minority, but I am old school."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bakersfield listed among the top unhappy cities in America, but here's a dissenting view

* ... SAY WHAT? Men's Health, the magazine that loves to compile "best" and "worst" lists, is at it again. This time it rates the top 20 "Frown Towns" across the country, places where folks are just plain unhappy about everything from unemployment to foreclosures. And sure enough, Bakersfield made the list along with Sacramento.  Florida cities led the list (no doubt because of the housing crisis) with St. Petersburg, Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville and Orlando near the top. Pardon me, but my view is Bakersfield has shown real resilience in this long recession. Memo to Men's Health: personal happiness is not determined by one's Zip Code.

 * ... OUR TOWN: To that point, here's a valentine to our fair city. Twilla Klassen wrote that she was in a grocery store when she and another shopper allowed a man with one item to cut in line. "He paid and left but when we checked out he had purchased a holly plant for each of us. What a great way to start the Christmas season. Blessings on him and his family."

 * ... TV ANTENNA: Bill Deaver wrote with this nugget about the old television antennas. "The item about the woman turning the TV antenna reminded me of a time back on the 1960s when my wife and I moved to a home on Mojave's west side. By the time we were moved in it was raining cats and coyotes (desert weather!). So I hooked the TV lead to a pair of metal pants-stretchers (remember them?), and we got a great signal until I could get up on the roof and install an antenna. It helped that the LA TV antennas were on top of Mt. Wilson which was visible from Mojave!"

 * ... SPOTTED: Woman driving a black Mercedes SUV pulls through a Starbucks drive through lane with coffee in hand, but offers her dog the first sip before moving on.

 * ... AIDS QUILT: Eight panels of the national AIDS quilt will be on display Tuesday at The Metro Galleries on 19th Street. The public is invited to view the exhibit from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. At 6 p.m. there will be a fund raising reception - hors d'oeuvres, no host bar and live music - to benefit Bakersfield's AIDS Project and Ricky's Retreat. The cost is $20 a person.

 * ... BOYS AND GIRLS: Another worthy fund raiser will be held Tuesday, December 5, at the Stockdale Boys and Girls Club behind Sam's Club on Gosford Road. It's the club's Bunco Night to benefit children living in homeless shelters. The cost is $35 per ticket and the fun gets under way at 6 p.m. For more information call Carole Cohen at (661) 496-4882.

 * ... WHO KNEW?: Did you know that the Fox Theater opened downtown on Christmas day in 1930, when movies were still called “talkies?” Other cities with Fox Theaters include Atlanta, Brooklyn and Detroit.