Friday, December 23, 2011

McCarthy: Small business is the engine of growth, and we need to free it from regulations

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, gives us his view from Capitol Hill.

 "Christmas is just two days away and the New Year is right around the corner. I know many of us are gathering with our families and loved ones to celebrate the holiday season, to reflect on the past year and
to look forward to the hope of a new one. This Wednesday, I had the honor to meet with Elmer Wielenga and his family to present him with a long overdue award that he deserves: a Purple Heart for his valor
during the Korean War. We are truly grateful to have heroes like him in our community.
 Members of our community don’t have to be reminded that 2011 has had its challenges, but we have fought throughout this year to fundamentally change the culture of Washington and make it more responsive and transparent to the American public. We have taken action to cut spending and reduce our debt and to repeal onerous regulations so small businesses can create jobs for people looking to get back to work.

 "Right now, there are more than 25 House-passed bills that would have a significant impact on job creation and economic growth that are stalled in the Senate. These bills, among other things, would boost America’s energy security and foster job creation, put EPA regulations in check to ensure industries would not be crippled by overzealous rules, and open new doors for small business owners and entrepreneurs to access the funding they need to expand, innovate and hire. It is also important to note that every single one of these bills passed the House with bipartisan support. Getting them passed was the first step and compelling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring them to the Senate floor will continue to be a top priority in the new year.

 "I have often said that it is the private sector – the innovators, the risk-takers and the small business owners – that will bring our country and economy back stronger than ever. That remains the case. We all saw that the government spending nearly $1 trillion on a stimulus did not result in the employment changes that were promised. That’s because the government doesn’t create jobs, the private sector does.
That is why empowering the private sector to start investing and hiring by increasing certainty that new taxes and unnecessary regulations won’t be waiting around every corner is more important than ever. My colleagues and I have taken real action to try and do just that, and in 2012, I will continue to fight to get our nation on the road to prosperity.
 "I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bakersfield Observed sends out a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all

 * ... MERRY CHRISTMAS: In this special time of the year, make sure you reach out to all those folks who are struggling with emotional, family or physical issues. There is no better present than the gift of friendship and a soft place to land.

 * ... KIND WORDS: My thanks to Superior Court Judge David Lampe, who dropped me an encouraging note the other day. "The First Amendment is the most profound embodiment of rights we enjoy as citizens. News organizations are absolutely essential to a good society. They are the little angel on our shoulder. I remember the first day on the job as a judge I thought about jaywalking across L Street to the Metro Courthouse. I stopped and went to the light. It will help all of us in our public lives if we stop and think for one minute-- how would this look printed in The Bakersfield Californian?"

* ... BAKERSFIELD OPTICAL: Hats off to Jack and Sharon McGee, owners of Bakersfield Optical who are celebrating 30 years in business. Locally owned family businesses are the backbone of our local economy, and Bakersfield Optical specializes in intimate customer service and value. The store is located at the corner of Oak and 19th streets. And speaking of Jack, he still has the picture, circa 1956, of him sitting on Santa's lap along with twin brother John at Brock's Department store.

 * ... HICKORY FARMS: It's never too late to say 'thank you,' as Vicki Utt reminded me. "At Christmastime in 1969 my husband was a combat infantryman serving in Vietnam and I was waiting at home with our newborn son (Dennis shipped out when our first-born was 2 1/2 weeks old), and Hickory Farms was in Valley Plaza. There was scant public support for our troops at that time, but lots of war protestors. I'll always have a soft place in my heart for Hickory Farms as they had a promotion that the first 100 people who provided an APO address for a soldier in a combat zone would get a free Hickory Farms gift pack shipped directly to the loved one free of charge. I was No. 5 in line early that morning. These days the troops are receiving the respect they so greatly deserve, and the Vietnam veterans are beginning to get their just due as well - but Hickory Farms was the ONLY merchant who reached out in 1969."

 * ... THE DOORS: Charlie Wilmot wrote to correct an earlier post on when the rock band The Doors visited Bakersfield. "Just reading your blog in the Californian this morning, as I religiously do, and the reference to The Doors in 1968 is incorrect.  The correct date was August 21, 1970.  I was back from Vietnam and enrolled at Bakersfield College at the time.  It was a GREAT show. Also of note, you know you are from Bakersfield if you saw The Rolling Stones at the Civic Auditorium July 24, 1966. They performed two shows, a matinee and evening. Totally awesome!"

* ... SEQUOIA: If you're one of the thousands of college students home for the holidays, chances are you are broke, hungry or both. If that's the case, head over to your closest Sequoia Sandwich shop for a free fountain drink and cookie, courtesy of the owners. With so many kids home, the manager of the southwest store on Ming Avenue, Valerie Damron, had the idea to treat the students to a drink and cookie if they wear their college sweatshirts and shirts. Hats off to Sequoia for the nice gesture. The offer is good for Friday, December 23, only.

 * ... DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that the original Cal State Bakersfield offices were located in a state-owned building on Kentucky Street?


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Former county Fire Chief Nick Dunn holds a retirement party at $55 a head and more blowback on the 'smoke police'

 * ... NICK DUNN: Kern County Fire Chief Nick Dunn, who abruptly resigned following a criminal investigation that turned up no wrongdoing, is having a retirement party at Seven Oaks Country Club. Nothing wrong with that, except it will cost you $55 a head to join in the celebration. And this from a retiree who could earn a public pension as much about $175,000 a year for the rest of his life. The invitation promises a lot of "eating, laughing, reminiscing and dancing" and no host cocktails. I wonder if also includes parking? By the way, if you can't make it, the invitation allows you the option to write a check to "contribute to the gift for Chief Dunn."

 * ... OVERHEARD: This comes from Chuck Wall, founder of the "random act of kindness" movement. "My wife was standing in line at the mailing center at the Country Club Liquor Store.  A lady came up behind her carrying a beautifully wrapped gift with a large red bow on top. My wife asked her how she was going to mail her beautiful gift without wrapping. She replied, I'm not mailing this package, I'm just carrying it with me because if I left it in my car it would be stolen!"

 * ... SMOKE POLICE: reader J.R. Lewis shared my dismay over the "smoke police," those employees of the Valley Air Pollution Control District who drive around neighborhoods trying to find those who dare have a fire on a no burn day. "I share your dismay over the smoke police, but also have to shake my head at the thought of individuals driving around handing tickets out the front while spewing exhaust out the back. Or did the state also pony the money for electric cars? Do they actually curb enough fireplace pollution to mitigate their own carbon footprint?"

 * ... RIP: Mary Anne M. Beesley wrote to note the passing of Jeri Schwocho, a perennial club champion at Stockdale Country Club. "She loved golf. She didn't care to what handicap you played, she just wanted a game. She will be missed by her many friends and by the golfing community. She leaves her husband Kenneth, her son Eric and her two daughters Lisa and Jill, as well as grandchildren Whitney, Maria and Jarrod and too many friends to count."

 * ... FAN CLUB: An anonymous reader wrote to criticize this column as "a waste of ink and newsprint. The tidbits regarding 'you know you're from Bakersfield' border on the ridiculous. An example is: you know you are from Bakersfield if you saw The Doors in 1968. Huh?" Note to anonymous: The Doors were a rock 'n roll band featuring the late Jim Morrison. You missed a good show.

 * ... MEMORY: Kathy Scott wanted to share some of the businesses that her husband’s grandfather, Ralph (Raphael) Parenti, owned after he moved her from Italy when he was just 13. "In the late teens or early 1920s he owned the Country Fair Market located on the corner of K and19th streets (where the old Sears and Roebuck’s was later on). Then in the early 1920s he owned the Parenti Atlantic Richfield gas station on Wible and Stockdale. In the 1930s he owned the Parenti Bar on Wible and Stockdale that later became Tommie and Joe’s when he sold it to them. From 1952 until 1962 he owned the property (a poultry shop) on Wible Road. In 1962 the new freeway (99) purchased the vast land that Ralph owned and along with the business on that property they got three homes on the Wible Road plus three other properties on Parenti Lane which now is an off  ramp!"


Sunday, December 18, 2011

A daughter of Bakersfield pens a valentine to our sometimes quirky hometown

* ... HOME SWEET HOME: A beautiful tribute to Bakersfield showed up on the online forum Zocalo Public Square, written by Bakersfield High graduate Paige Hill, who now lives and works in Washington, D.C. A graduate of the University of North Carolina and the daughter of Bart and Napier Hill, Paige penned a moving valentine to our sometimes quirky and always endearing community. In her words: "The fog is something I can try to describe in a series of corny colloquialisms, but I ultimately fail to capture it. Bakersfield is like that, too. It's a city where in the same breath its residents will knowingly laugh and admit it is no cultural rival of San Francisco - and then fiercely defend it for what it is. It is ours."

 * ... SMOKE POLICE: Call me cranky, but was anyone else appalled at the story in Sunday's Californian about people from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District driving around town looking for people using their fireplaces on no burn days? Say what? California is broke, the educational system is in crisis, Sacramento is a dysfunctional mess and yet somehow we can still afford to have people on the public payroll driving around town  looking for people enjoying a warming fire. Sheesh.

* ... CAL STATE: The California state university system just seems to suffer blow after the blow, the latest coming last week when Gov. Jerry Brown announced it would absorb another $100 million in cuts. And that's on top of the $650 million in cuts the system lost earlier. CSUB President Horace Mitchell will join me Monday at 9 a.m. on KERN 1180 to talk about the effect on our local campus, and what we can expect in the future.  Tune it to learn how all this mess will affect our Cal State Bakersfield.

  * ... PADRE: Robert Bunker has returned to Bakersfield to become one of the general managers of the Padre Hotel downtown. Bunker worked at Seven Oaks Country Club as assistant clubhouse manager, left a few years ago and was recruited to return to our community to help run the Padre. He joins Jon Stephens who is the hotel's general manager for food and beverage service.

 * ... HICKORY FARMS: Bev Hayden wrote that she also remembers the Hickory Farms Store in the Valley Plaza.  "In the 1970s my husband Rod and his friend and partner George Thornburgh were constructing pre-fab housing on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru. The native food wasn't exactly what they were used to so we would buy beef stick and crackers from Hickory Farms and ship it to them in cargo containers along with adult beverages. These packages were gratefully received."

 * ... FIELD OF DREAMS: Here's a fund raiser that is worthy of your attention: it's the League of Dreams gala that will raise money to to build playing fields for physically and emotionally challenged children. It's all part of physical therapist Tim Terrio's Field of Dreams project to give these youngsters the same opportunities as others. The event is set for Friday, January 20, at Monsignor Leddy Hall at Garces Memorial High School. Tickets are $125 per person or $200 a couple. Contact Nathan Gutierrez at (661) 377-1700.