Friday, March 2, 2012

McCarthy: put people before fish to end California's severe water crisis

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, (R-Bakersfield) and House Majority Whip, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:

 "Our community knows first-hand the impacts of California’s man-made water crisis. For the past few years, we have witnessed the land that has gone fallow and the joblessless that has resulted from restrictions on water pumping in the Delta. That all changed on Wednesday when the U.S. House of Representatives took the first step to resolve this by voting to put families before a tiny fish and end California’s man-made drought. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act passed with both Democratic and Republican support and would get water flowing in our community again.

 "In this bill, we return pumping operations in the Delta to the bipartisan 1994 Bay Delta Accord. The Accord was hailed as an end to California’s water wars and was praised by the Clinton Administration and other prominent Democrats such as Rep. George Miller and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, along with Republican Governor Pete Wilson, environmentalists and water users all across our state. The bill we passed on Wednesday continues the bipartisan spirit of the Accord to address California’s man-made drought.

 "In addition to getting our priorities right by putting our families and communities before a fish, this legislation will have a real impact on our local economy. It would increase water supplies to the Central Valley and Southern California by approximately 1.4 million acre-feet annually. Instead of that additional water getting lost to the ocean, we could irrigate almost 460,000 acres of farmland and potentially create up to 30,000 jobs. I went to the House Floor on Wednesday to talk about the merits of this legislation.

 "Passing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act wasn’t the only action taken this week to get people back to work. On Tuesday, I joined my colleagues in unveiling the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, a package of bills that will empower small businesses by increasing their access to capital to grow and thrive. In fact, this Act includes legislation I introduced last year to modernize current regulations so entrepreneurs have more opportunities to access capital to grow their business and hire new employees. In his State of the Union Address, the President asked Congress to send him a bill that empowered entrepreneurs. This package of bills does just that, and already enjoys broad bipartisan support.

 "Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They generate over 60 percent of the new jobs in America, and startups alone have created 40 million jobs since 1980. It is the risk-takers in the private sector that will get people back to work and keep America’s economy first for years to come, but government policies can either be a help or a hindrance. The JOBS Act makes government a partner in job creation, and that’s what I came to Washington to do. I will continue to fight for policies that will put our communities first and get people back to work.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Boat and RV show is a big hit; a signal of better economic times? And a random act of kindness is offset by bad form

 * ... RV SHOW: Apparently the big boat and RV sportsman show out at the Kern County Fairgrounds this past weekend was a huge hit, drawing near record crowds and giving local businessmen a reason to smile. Is this an indication that things are getting better? Are folks feeling more confident about making big-ticket purchases? Let's hope so.

 * ... KINDNESS: Marian McBride passes along this random act of kindness. "A few days ago I went to der Wienerschnitzel on Ming Avenue. When I reached the drive-up window the owner was waiting with a big smile.  I thought he was happy to see his most vocal fan of Street Dogs (hot dogs wrapped in bacon and including grilled onions).  Instead, he told me that the customer in front of me had paid for my order.  I asked why and he said she just did a kind thing.  She was driving away (white car), which I didn’t recognize. Perhaps she had seen in her mirror that I am an old lady in an old pickup. Perhaps she heard my old-school ways of thanking people for everything. Those two Street Dogs tasted better than any others ever did. Thank you, unknown lady, for a very sweet, very kind act.

 * ... SPOTTED: Meanwhile, not everyone displays such good form in public. Take this example of bad behavior witnessed by Jolie Brouttier: A woman in the Rite Aid parking lot off Gosford Road leans over the driver's seat, opens the passenger door and tosses out a large to-go box, leaving her lit cigarette on top of the trash. "Seeing me catch her in the act and give her a disgusting stare-down, she proceeds to back up and flip ME off, not paying attention to the other cars behind her, nearly causing a collision. From litter bug to unsafe driver, this woman has a lot of class. NOT!"

* ... ASHBURN: I had a chance the other day to catch up with Roy Ashburn, the former supervisor and state senator who had a very public fall from grace two years ago when he was ticketed with a DUI in Sacramento and later revealed he was gay. Ashburn is now running for his old seat as a First District supervisor, along with several other candidates, and no matter what you think of his politics, it was good seeing him emotionally healthy and happy. This is not an endorsement of his candidacy, but rather an endorsement of the concepts of forgiveness and redemption. Ashburn called his arrest and subsequent "coming out" a blessing in that is allowed him to reorder his life. He has been sober for two years.

* ... AUTHOR: Niko and Sally Livingston dropped me a note about their son, who has just penned his first children's book. The new author is 26-year-old Stuart Livingston, a graduate of Bakersfield High, Bakersfield College, and Cal State Northridge. He co-authored, and co-illustrated a book that’s received the Kirkus Star for remarkable merit from Kirkus Reviews. It’s a children’s graphic novel titled Explorer:  The Mystery Boxes and features Stuart’s story 'The Soldier’s Daughter.'  Writing and illustrating are sideline projects to his full-time job creating storyboards for the cartoon 'Futurama.'" Congrats to this young man.

 * ... OUR HISTORY: In 1896 a Los Angeles company placed regular advertisements in The Californian announcing a cure for "Cancer and Tumors.... No knife or pain. No pay till cured!"

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A few examples of really bad behavior in our community and examining the demographics of a changing America

  * ... BAD FORM: Sometimes you just can't avoid the stupidity of your fellow man. As in when Warren Rooney was cycling on Round Mountain Road about four miles east of Gordon's Ferry when he experienced an incident that could have left him in the hospital, or worse. "It was a Saturday afternoon when a vehicle came up behind me going 45-50 mph and the passenger slugged me in the back. I could tell that the vehicle was coming close by the sound and so I was inches from the edge of the pavement and they came up next to me within a foot or so. It was an older American made SUV, possibly a late 1980s or early 1990s Chevy Blazer or Suburban. It had an old red-orange paint job that looked like it might have been done at home. The rear license plate was inside the rear window and had reflective plastic between the license plate and window making it difficult to read." This guy should be easy enough to notice around town.

 * ... SINGLES: There has been a rash of stories recently on our nation's changing demographics, including statistics that show that fully half of all adults are unmarried and most of them are living alone. And now comes a website devoted to the single life called "QuirkyAlone." The website says it is devoted to people who "enjoy being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and prefer being single to dating for the sake of dating. It’s a mindset. Quirkyalone is not anti-love. It is pro-love. It is not anti-dating. It is anti-compulsory dating."

* ... DRIVERS: Nancy Barnett read my earlier post about an unlicensed driver, who had no insurance, caused an accident and then just drove off before police arrived. She added this:  "At the checkpoints the Bakersfield Police Department hold, if you are driving without a license but you can call someone to come get your car and drive you home, they let you go.  Do the police actually think that person won't get behind the wheel and do this again? It's even more amazing how many people don't keep the registration up to date on their cars!  If it was you or me and our tags were 6 months out of date, we'd be pulled over in a heartbeat and ticketed!"

 * ... HEALTH FACTS: Researchers now believe that adopting a diet of fish and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids will help your memory as you age. In fact, The Wall Street Journal says some doctors are recommending we eat fish three times a week. And there is this: other research shows that men who are at least six feet tall have a much lower risk of developing heart failure than shorter men. So count yourself lucky if you're tall and enjoy that tilapia a few times a week.

* ... WEILL: One of my favorite and worth-while nonprofit fund raisers is coming up next month when The Weill Child Guidance Foundation will hold its annual wine tasting at the historic Guild House Friday, March 23, from 5:30 p.m. 8 p.m. This is always an interesting evening and a chance to taste some good wines and munch on hors d'oeuvres while touring the beautiful Guild House. The cost is $75 per person. Call Toni Ross at (661) 322-1021, ext. 186 for reservations. Proceeds benefit the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic, which has provided mental health services for Kern County children and families for 66 years.

 * ... OUR HISTORY: Did you know that John Philip Sousa and his "Sousa's Peerless Band" performed in Bakersfield's Armory Hall on February 26, 1896? The cost for reserved seats? Just $1.

Dewar's attracts protesters, and supporters. Not the counter protester on the left

 The "shame on" union protesters are out in front of the new Dewar's ice cream shop. This photo, apparently taken by an unknown photographer and posted on Facebook and subsequently widely distributed, catches the action. Note the counter protester and his sign to the left.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dreaming of water in the Kern River this summer and taking stock of the supervisor races

* ... SUMMER DREAMS: Remember last summer when a good snow pack helped keep the Kern River flowing through town? There were paddle boarders, kayakers and canoeists up and down the river from Beach Park to the Park at RiverWalk. But don't expect the same thing this year, particularly if we don't get more rain and snow in the mountains. One friend in the water business predicted "we'll have periods of water in the river but it won't be deep enough to paddle board." Keep your fingers crossed for some rain and snow.

* ... SUPERVISOR: Leticia Perez, the former staffer for state Sen. Michael Rubio, has just turned in 3,132 signatures to the Kern County Election's office to get on the ballot for the Fifth District Supervisor race. Rubio told me last week Perez is busy walking the district and he predicted she would defeat her primary rival, Supervisor Karen Goh, who is running for a full term. Perez supporter Linda Fiddler said the signatures "were all collected by friends, relatives and neighbors who have turned out every Saturday and some Sundays since the beginning of the year to visit voters at their doors. Those volunteers rock!"

 * .... ASHBURN: Speaking of county supervisors, former supervisor and state senator Roy Ashburn is back running for his old First District seat after a drunk driving incident that could have ruined his career. Ashburn will be my guest Monday on Californian Radio on Kern 1180 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tune it to hear Ashburn lay out his priorities and thoughts, including how forgiving he thinks voters will be after his  DUI arrest and revelation that he is gay.

* ... TRASH: From my inbox comes this story on how one man deals with bags of trash dumped on his property. "A friend that has property in the country has trash left along side his road.. When that happens he looks in the bags and usually finds a discarded envelope with an address on it. He then writes a nice note telling the owner that they must have lost this bag and delivers it to their house along with all the trash.  A good way to get it back to the rightful owners!"

 * ... MORE TRASH: Yet another reader, Gerhard Schmidt, wonders why whoever dumped the mattress simply didn't look in the telephone book for a number to call (661-326-3114) to have large items hauled away free. "Details are  in the green pages of the phone book. Of course the people who do those things might not be able to read your blog or the phone book."

 * ... AIRLINES: The Dutch airline KLM is experimenting with a system that allows passengers to pick their seats by viewing the backgrounds of other passengers using the social networking websites Facebook and LinkedIn. Here's how it works: you can voluntarily link your seat assignment to your Facebook page so other passengers can view your background in case they might want to sit next to you. Sounds a little much to me but let's see if it works.