Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Bakersfield College president pushes for passage of Proposition 30, which continues to sink in the polls, and City Councilman Russell Johnson faces a firestorm of criticism

 * ... CHRISTIAN: Dr. Sonya Christian will take over as the 10th president of Bakersfield College in January, but she is already at work tackling some of the college's deepest problems. Though still living in Eugene, Oregon, she is out front pushing for the passage of Prop 30, which would impose a quarter cent sales tax as well as impose new taxes on high wage earners. Tracking polls, however, show Prop 30 losing public support in the days before the election, in part because of cynicism among voters that the money will really spent on education. If it loses, Bakersfield College will be facing yet another round of budget cuts.

* ... THE BUZZ: Local political observers are closely following a dust up and possible conflict of interest involving City Councilman Russell Johnson. Thanks to reporting by columnist Lois Henry, we now know that Johnson is a paid consultant to the North of the River Municipal Water District at the same time he serves on the city water resources board, a position that certainly passes the smell test of a potential conflict. Russell apparently doesn't think it's a big deal, but insiders predict this issue is not going away. Follow this one closely.

* ... BIG HEART: Cameron Caneta is only 12 years old but he has already learned the joy of giving. A member of the St. Francis Church Parish, Cameron got the idea to surprise Monsignor Craig Harrison by leading a drive to collect canned goods for the needy. In just four days he collected more than 400 cans and is well beyond that now. His mother, Mary Caneta, said it all started when her son asked, 'Mom, why is the church pantry always empty?' Turns out it was Monsignor Craig's birthday when the youngster told him of his food drive. Hard to think of a better birthday present.

 * ... HALLOWEEN: One of the hottest costumes for Halloween is expected to feature folks dressing up like pro cyclist Lance Armstrong wearing syringes taped to their arms. Not not ago the now disgraced Tour de France champion was a source of inspiration; today, he's an object of ridicule following revelations he was part of the doping culture on the Tour. (photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal)

 * ... TRASH: Stephen Montgomery is one of those good citizens who actually picks up trash while he takes his daily walk. (Wouldn't it be nice if we all did this?) While out walking recently, he will drop the trash in someone's trash can to help keep the neighborhood clean. "The other day I dropped some street trash, a very small amount of fast food and tobacco trash, in a toter I use regularly because it's always in the front yard. But this time the owner saw me. He scowled at me and now I notice he keeps his brown toter behind a gate although he still leaves his seldom used green toter in the front yard. You can never figure out what offends some people."

 * ... THANKSGIVING: Did you know that the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest time of year for plumbers? According to Food Network magazine, plumbers view the day as "Black Friday" because of the sheer volume of calls for backed up sinks and stalled disposals.

* ... PETS: Don't forget the blanket drive for abandoned dogs and cats that will be held Saturday at the downtown Bakersfield Racquet Club. It is being sponsored by Operation Blankets for Love and will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All towels and blankets collected will go to local shelters.

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