Friday, March 16, 2012

McCarthy: focus on small business as we struggle to right our troubled economy

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives us his weekly update from Capitol Hill:

 "Small businesses are the engine of our economy, and I continue to be focused on helping small businesses prosper and create the jobs we need.  Last week, the House passed legislation (the JOBS Act) with specific reforms that repeal outdated regulations and increase the ability of businesses to access capital, expand and start hiring. This past week, I was pleased to organize and host the Small Business & Innovation Conference at CSU Bakersfield to try to give local small business owners and entrepreneurs knowledge and resources that will help them grow and succeed.

 "The conference was well-attended and included presentations from representatives from various Federal agencies, who met with attendees and provided information on contracting opportunities.  Having successful local small business owners share their experiences was impactful, and I appreciate Monique Rogers (ARRC Technology), Tim Terrio (Terrio Physical Therapy and Fitness), Chad Hathaway (Payzone Directional Services), and Steve Illingworth (Urner’s) for their leadership and presentations.  I hope the conference provided our small business owners the opportunity to make contacts, the potential resources available to them, and the best recommendations to make their own businesses more competitive and successful.

 "Speaking of resources for small businesses, I was pleased to stop by Google’s free training seminar held for local small business owners to build and promote creating small business websites.  While 97% of Americans look online for local products and services, only 38% of California’s small businesses have a website.  These tools will help our local businesses meet consumer needs, and in turn grow revenues and create more jobs here in the Valley.

 "To grow our economy in the short-term and long-term, we must continue providing help and resources to small businesses, as well as fight unnecessary regulations and tax-spend-and-borrow government policies.  We can do this in part by ensuring scarce taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. Thursday, I participated in the High Speed Rail Town Hall at CSU Bakersfield because I believe this project, which doubled in cost since voters approved it to $100 billion, is part of the problem. The California High Speed Rail Authority claimed private money would partially fund this, but no private sector dollars have been committed. The questionable business plan even led a review group appointed by the State Legislature to advise delaying construction.  I’m also concerned about ongoing subsidies for the project if it were built since ridership estimates appear very optimistic, with advocates predicting twice as many riders as all of Amtrak today. More accountability should be applied to high-speed rail before California taxpayers are left on the hook for a bad investment.

 "I agreed entirely with our Small Business & Innovation Conference keynote speaker Andy Puzder when he said the key to boosting our economy is removing the factors contributing to economic uncertainty. Over the next few weeks, I will continue fighting to improve our economy, control wasteful spending, and address the uncertainty – including soaring gas prices and costly provisions in the President’s healthcare law – that are hurting families and weighing down our economy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

New York writer revels in the eccentricities of Bakersfield and looking back at the 1952 great earthquake

* ...  COUNTRY MUSIC: If you missed it, The New York Times ran a nice feature on Bakersfield and the famous "Bakersfield Sound" recently, highlighting the late Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and of course our Basque eateries. The writer stayed in The Padre Hotel, ate at the Arizona Cafe, went to Trout's and the Crystal Palace and stopped by Ethel's Old Corral Cafe. His other recommendations: Noriega's, Los Tacos de Huicho and the Kern County Museum. Writer Ethan Hauser noted "the Bakersfield sound grew out of a reaction to the polished and lifeless tunes coming out of Nashville. Thus the country music born here in the 50s and 60s, wafting from the honky-tonks and recording studios, was more stripped down, a little louder, abetted by the punch of electric guitars, the lurch and sway of rockabilly."

* ... REUNION: Coldwell Banker Realtor Dutch Toews dropped me a note to tell me about the 50 year reunion of the Delano High School class of 1962. It is set for Saturday, October 13 and will feature "the same band that played for us in 1962, Al Garcia and The Rhythm Kings. Three of the original seven members are still playing." It will also celebrate the school's 100-yeark anniversary and all classes from 1959 through 1965 are invited. It will be held at the DoubleTree in Bakersfield and the cost is $50 per person. Contact Dutch at (661) 616-3424 or Tom and Donna Roberts at (661) 821-4226.

* ... EARTHQUAKE: In 1952, Bakersfield and Tehachapi were hit by a series of earthquakes and aftershocks that changed the face of those cities forever. In the 60th anniversary year, Kern County Library will present an historical retrospective with photo displays, archival materials, and documents.  On May 5 the Beale Library will offer a program showcasing the earthquakes visual and written history.  However, one more element is needed at the program - the oral histories and human stories. If you want to add your voice to the May 5 program, call Andie Apple, head of Public Services, at (661) 868-0723. (photos courtesy of the Kern County Museum,)

 * ... TRAINS: Correspondent Bill Deaver weighed in on the miniature train that used to ferry children around Hart Park. Said Bill: "I was born at Mercy Hospital in 1935, and my maternal grandfather, Henry Mack, was a Santa Fe official in Bakersfield. One of the highlights of growing up in those days was riding that little train in Hart Park. That, and riding trains between Bakersfield and Madera where we lived during the war sparked a life-long love of trains that eventually led to an appointment as a special assistant to the Federal Railroad Administrator in Washington during the early days of the Reagan Administration, which led to other jobs in that fascinating city during the Reagan and George Bush administration."

 * ... NEW BUSINESS: It's always good to hear of a new business opening locally, and the latest is Music Together, a downtown-based center that will offer early childhood music and movement programs during a 10-week semester. Pyper Von Normann, who used to be a massage therapist, is the new director of the Yellow House Music Together program. The classes involve both children and parents in singing, chanting, moving, listening and other activities. The "yellow house" is at 1905 17th Street. Call Pyper with questions at (661) 979-0157.

 * ... THEATER: The Bakersfield Music Theater will hold its second annual wine tasting fundraiser at the Stars Theatre Restaurant on Chester Avenue. The event is set for March 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The cost is $60 per person or $120 a couple. Call (661) 325-6100 for tickets.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fourth District supervisor candidates Pinson and Couch line up support and remembering the old Canaday Nursery and its monkeys

 * ... CANADAY: Earlier this week I wrote about the monkeys who used to live at the old Canaday Nursery in Pumpkin Center, including one who was fond of hurling fecal matter at visitors. That brought a response from Jane Canaday, who remembers it well. "I was happy to see our old family business, Canaday Nursery, mentioned in Monday's column. I lived at the nursery until I was about 13. I had forgotten about Larry's 'proclivity.' I do remember that even though my father discouraged it, visitors would sometimes give the monkeys lit cigarettes. The monkeys would finish smoking them (and) then eat the butts."

 * ... SMART DOGS: Longtime animal lover and former KERO TV weather forecaster Melissa Dignan turned me onto a webiste featuring the smartest dog breeds. The smartest dog? The Border Collie, which the story described as extremely bright but in need of an energetic owner. Rounding on the list were the Poodle, the German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Shetland Sheepdog, Labrador Retriever, Papilion, Rottweiler and the Australian Cattle Dog.

 * ... PINSON: One of the hottest and closely followed local political races this year is the 4th District Kern County supervisor campaign where lawyer Harley Pinson is squaring off against City Councilman David Couch. Pinson is holding a fund raiser May 15 at the home of Bryan and Marie Batey. Among the supporters expected to attend are state Sen. Jean Fuller, Ray and Joan Dezember, Gene and Linda Voiland, Bob and Betty Stine, Jay Rosenlieb, Sam and Linda Monroe and John and Beverly Allen.

 * ... COUCH: Couch meanwhile announced his campaign co-chairs. Among them are George and Linda Martin, Keith and Jennifer Gardiner, Paul and Karen Sturgeon, Bob and Judy Hampton, Stan and Bonnie Ellis, Lou and Sheryl Barbich, Mayor Harvey Hall and wife Lavonne, former Sheriff Carl Sparks and former 4th District Supervisor Trice Harvey.  Couch also picked up the endorsement of former city councilman and local political observer Mark Salvaggio. (file photos of Pinson, Couch)

* .. SPOTTED: And speaking of Trice Harvey, he was spotted at the Guild House downtown volunteering. Thanks to Julia Alsup for this submission.

*  ... OUR WORLD: From Californian editor John Arthur's Twitter feed: "In effort to boost oil change recycling, the state notes that 'Kern [is] the state’s fourth-largest DIY (do it yourself) oil change market.'" Who knew?

* ... MEMORIES: Hart Park is beautiful this time of year, and LaVone and Bill Walker remember when it was truly a bustling place. "Families spent summer weekends at the park. There was a zoo to enjoy, as well as a swimming pool filled with dark river water, bumper cars, rings to swing on and a snack bar. Across the street from the snack bar was a small narrow gauge train that adults would ride on with their children; it ran by the rustic waterwheel mill," she said.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Dean Lemaster told me you might be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember when  the circus came to town in the 1940s and set up on Kentucky Street just off Baker Street.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bako Bits: rudeness is in the eye of the beholder and Randy Martin will appear on Californian Radio to discuss Convenant Community Services

 * ... BAD FORM: On Friday I passed along a reader's complaint about a middle aged woman who interrupted a speech at the opening of the Southwest Baseball season because her car was blocked. The woman in question came forward, asked for anonymity and submitted this retort: "I'm the woman who interrupted the speeches at the Southwest Little League opening ceremonies March 5 to ask that the person who had blocked me in kindly move his/her vehicle. I had already called the number listed on the back window of the Chevy Silverado, left messages and waited to no avail. I knew I'd have no hope of getting an announcement to the crowd once the ball games started. I apologized and asked the emcee for help. I did not interrupt multiple times. I thanked him, apologized again and left. The entire episode lasted less than one minute — tops.  My patience, or lack thereof, isn't the issue here. The true discourtesy and bad form was on the part of the many, many parents who chose to park blocking other cars without even leaving a note including their cell number. What if someone had had an emergency? And whatever happened to 'do unto others?' Rude!"

 * ... TREES: Had a chance to stop by the Friday night fund raiser for the Tree Foundation of Kern and it proved to be a huge success. Among those I spotted at the gala, held at The Metro Galleries, were supervisor candidate Harley Pinson and wife Cindy, artist Art Sherwyn and wife Cheryl, John and Ginger Moorhouse, Melissa Iger, Rick Peace and West Rotary president Ricki Foster, Ward 2 city council candidate Ron Fraze and wife Shelly, Clinica Sierra Vista CEO Steve Schilling, former Kern School superintendent Larry Reider and wife  Sandy, water district manager and former Tree Foundation president Harry Starkey and many others.

 * ... HELMETS: It was a wonderful weekend to get outside and the bike trails and parks were full of families and recreational cyclists. That said, I am always amazed by the number of families - and their children - who ride bikes without a helmet. As a paramedic once told me: "You know what we call people who ride without helmets? Organ donors."

* ... COVENANT: Randy Martin is the chief "inspiration officer" for Covenant Community Services, a local nonprofit that is devoted to helping former and current foster children transition to adulthood. The organization fills an important void in our community by counseling and providing training and jobs for these youth. Martin will be my guest Monday on Californian Radio KERN 1180 starting at 9 a.m. Tune in to hear about this important work.

* ... PETROLEUM WIVES: The Association of Petroleum Wives is an active group in our community, and each year they raise thousands of dollars for a local charity. This year, according to Kacie Hathaway, the group is raising money for the Brain Injury Association of America with its annual charity bunco night at Stockdale Country Club on March 22. Any woman whose husband works in the petroleum industry who wants to join should email the group's membership char, Deb Carrieri, at

 * ... REBUTTAL: Frank Hamon wrote to respond to my earlier post about a woman at a Christian school being rude after a fifth grade girls basketball game. "My wife teaches at a Christian school and also happens to coach our daughters fifth grade basketball team.  I also have taught at this Christian school and want your readers to know that not all families that attend Christian schools are Christians themselves.  I know that we have a great basketball team and I hope that none of our parents would do such a thing.  This includes me."

 * ... SPOTTED: Two young men in an older model pickup truck, headed west on Stockdale Highway near Chipotle and Cafe Med,  sharing a bong at a traffic light.

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: John Strand from Lake Isabella says you may be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember "the monkeys in the large cage at Canady's Nursery in Pumpkin Center. One monkey in particular, Bruce, had a powerful pitching arm." Unfortunately, sometimes he was pitching fecal matter at innocent bystanders.