Friday, December 14, 2012

McCarthy: Regulatory climate stifles innovation and hinders opportunity; business startup are at the lowest level in 17 years

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

"This week, we remember a historic milestone that occurred right here in Kern County. On December 14, 1986, a special plane named Voyager began its successful journey around the world nonstop without refueling; the first trip of its kind.  Nine days later, a record was broken and history was made.  What began as a dream and a drawing on a small piece of paper grew into a tremendous community effort that resulted in the construction of a plane designed by Burt Rutan and piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager. Today, Voyager greets everyone who enters the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

 "This effort, driven by a group of risk takers seeking to achieve the unthinkable, marks the very spirit of the entrepreneur.  They dared to do the impossible and they succeeded. And if we are going to foster job growth in America, we must reinvigorate our nation’s entrepreneurial spirit and American innovation. We are at the lowest level of business startups in seventeen years.  Labor participation is at a 30 year low with an additional 350,000 Americans giving up looking for work.  Prosperity does not occur by accident nor is created by government; it is created by the hard work of the people in our community, throughout California, and across America.
 "With more regulations, more litigation, and more burdens on the everyday small business owners, we must ask ourselves: are we stifling our entrepreneurial spirit?

 "Our regulatory climate hinders opportunity, increases costs, and stifles innovation. More red tape and more regulations discourage our local job creators and hurt our economy. From 2009 to 2011, over 100 major regulations have been issued, costing our economy more than $46 billion annually.  And earlier this year, a Small Business Administration study found regulations cost small businesses 36% more than their larger counterparts.  I continue to ask local small business owners to share with me what they face on a daily basis, and time after time, they say they are tired of new and ever-changing regulatory burdens, increased paperwork burdens, and the constant threat of litigation or other legal burdens that impact them every day.

 "The groundbreaking achievement made 26 years ago by the Voyager flight no doubt inspired a generation of pilots, engineers, and aerospace leaders.  While many of us may not build the next spaceship, I believe it inspired a new generation of entrepreneurs.  And that daring spirit is exactly what we need to continue championing today.  Throughout Kern County, there are countless stories of individuals who took a risk, started a business, and are working to keep it afloat.  In fact, seven out of every ten new jobs are created by these very individuals. As we continue to debate the need to simplify our tax code, reduce regulations, and end our borrowing, these actions are critical to ensure that we revitalize entrepreneurship and startups in America.  Our economy needs this to happen to spur new employment, innovation, and growth. "

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The owners of The Padre Hotel win a contract to renovate and restore Belmont Park in Mission Beach and there is turmoil in our local arts organizations

* ... PADRE: The owners of The Padre Hotel have been chosen to renovate one of San Diego's most historic areas, Belmont Park in Mission Beach. Brett Miller, CEO of Eat.Drink.Sleep, the company that brought The Padre back to life three years ago, said he looks forward to working with architects and engineers to return Belmont to a premier entertainment venue.The company also owns the Tower23 hotel and restaurant in Pacific Beach and the boutique hotel Heat in Lake Havasu.

 * ... LOST DOG: If you have a dog or cat, have you bothered to have them "chipped" so they can be returned if they get lost? Susan Ferguson wishes she had done so with her 15-year-old Bichon who escaped from her Westchester home recently. "Please urge your readers to get their animals chipped," "She had just been brushed and her collar was off.  Someone said they saw her near Jim Burke Ford but wasn't able to get her." As a side note, she posted a note on her lost dog on Craigslist, which is notorious for its scam artists. And now people are calling her from boiler rooms offering to find her dog for a hefty price.

 * ... LOCAL ARTS: There is a lot of turmoil in the local arts community with the top jobs of two important organizations- the Bakersfield Museum of Art and the Arts Council of Kern - in limbo. At the museum, a search committee is interviewing finalists for the director's job being vacated by retiring director Bernie Herman. Meanwhile the director of the Arts Council, Michael Millar, is on leave for an unspecified illness. Miller has been on the job since last summer but is largely unknown in the community (never helpful when trying to raise money), and during his absence the board has had to resort to layoffs because of dire financial conditions. Stay tuned. (file photo of Bernie Herman)

* ... SCHAEFER: Kim Schaefer, who worked for Congressman Jim Costa for more than two years, has joined the staff of incoming Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez. A native of Bar Harbor, Maine, Schaefer transferred to Stockdale High School in her junior year and later went on to study at both Bakersfield College and Cal State Bakersfield. She was a campaign coordinator for Costa and is now a communications director for Perez. She is 32.

 * ... SOUTHWEST BASEBALL: One of the better run, and more generous, organizations in town in the Southwest Baseball League. This weekend the leagaue will be hosting its Toys for Toys tournament with more than 60 teams involved. Each player will donate an unwrapped toy and the league will donate another couple thousand dollars to the Jamieson Center. In November, the league held a Turkey Trot Tournament that allowed it to donate 60 turkeys and $2,000 to local shelters. Now that's setting a good example for these kids.

 * ... RENEGADES: The victory by the Bakersfield College Renegades before 16,000 fans like week continues to resonate among fans. Said Ben Ansolabehere: "I think the best words I can use, as Jerry Collis used to say, is 'Good Old Kern County Pride.' Pride in the players, never quitting, determined to achieve their goals, and doing their jobs to the best of their abilities while knowing their teammates are doing the same... Finally to the people and fans of Kern County and BC in particular. They transported many of us old players and alumni of BC back, in my case 45 years, to the time when BC football was this very same experience every Saturday home game."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Local cycling phenom Tyler Williams is named to a major racing team, looking for sad Christmas songs and remembering Officer Val at Bakersfield High School

 * ... OFFICER VAL: My story on the late Bakersfield police officer Val Torres last week brought another memory from former Bakersfield High student Riley Parker. "Like David Gay, I also had a flood of memories when I saw Val Torres’ (obituary) photo last week. Probably the best was the day that he stopped four of us returning to school from an off campus trip to a local pool hall. Val’s solution was to escort us to the old BPD building that sat on the north side of Truxtun Avenue between ‘H’ and Eye Streets. Val marched us in and sat us all down in the ‘squad room’ where he instructed us to read various sections of the Penal Code addressing our absence from classes and the possible ramifications of our conduct. After a brief education in the law, Val sent us back to BHS to meet with Mr. Martin. That experience ended our short lived career in the fine art of cutting classes."

 * ... CYCLIST: Congratulations to Tyler Williams, an 18-year-old former Centennial High School student who will be joining the BMC professional cycling team. Only four of the 14 riders on the elite BMC development team are Americans. The team will give these incredible young athletes a chance to race at a higher level in Europe and the United States. Tyler only started riding bikes a few years ago and has risen quickly to the highest levels of the sport. Last year he spent time in Europe riding for the U.S. Junior cycling team.

 * ... CRIME: The amount of petty thefts across town this Christmas season is truly astounding. Bikes are stolen out of garages and even Christmas decorations are disappearing from yards. This past weekend, a young woman was locked out of a house and was sleeping in her car in La Cresta (waiting for others to return) when she was awakened by a man who used a rock to smash the window to steal her purse.

* ... LOST CAT: The folks over at the SPCA on Gibson Street provide an important service in scanning stray cats to determine if they are "chipped" so they can be returned to their owner. I took a stray over there the other day and sure enough she was chipped and registered to a Karen Smith of Ridgecrest. The phone number was disconnected and the address was no longer relevant, but if you are reading this, Karen, contact me to be reunited with your pet.

 * ... COVENANT: Covenant Community Services, the group devoted to helping current and former foster children get on their feet, is hosting a unique fund raiser beginning this Thursday. It's called "The Party No One Came To" and is a way to bid on auction items online. There are tickets to San Francisco 49er games, a NASCAR racing experience and much more. Simply go to to register and bid.

 * ... BUCK: Longtime music critic and writer Randy Lewis of the Los Angeles Times has released a list of "some of the saddest yuletide songs ever recorded." Among those making the list were "It's Christmas Time for Everyone but Me" by Buck Owens and "If We Make it Through December" by Merle Haggard.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dr. Ravi Patel to appear on Californian Radio on Monday to discuss the state of cancer care in Kern County

* ... RAVI PATEL: Dr. Ravi Patel is perhaps the most prominent oncologist in town, and he made news last week when it was announced that his Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center would team with Memorial and Mercy hospitals to provide cancer care. Patel will be my guest on Californian Radio KERN 1180 Monday at 9 a.m. to talk about the state of cancer care and some of the advances in treating this dreaded disease.

 * ... MCCARTHY: Rep. Kevin McCarthy represented the House Republican leadership when he squared off against Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) on the Sunday edition of "Meet the Press." McCarthy, speaking as House Majority Whip, told moderator David Gregory that the country has a spending problem that cannot be dealt with by simply raising taxes.

* ... OFFICER VAL: The death of Val Torres, a former Bakersfield police motorcycle officer, prompted this response from local Realtor David Gay. "I had a bittersweet moment as a photograph in yesterday’s obituary jumped out at me. Motorcycle officer Val Torres’ picture brought back wonderful memories, as he was the patrol officer assigned to the BHS campus in the 1960s. During those years, a student parking permit was required to park our cars, on the city streets around campus, and it was 'Officer Val’s' responsibility to inspect each car at the start of the school year. With 4,000 students at that time, I know he must have heard every story in the book, as he measured the clearance of the 'rake' cars, or discovered steel wool trying to substitute for a muffler. Through it all, Officer Val was always a great role model for all of us, as one of Bakersfield’s 'finest.'"

 * ... HOMELESS: Natalie Page Horvat helped put a face on the homeless with this note. "I helped an incredible homeless man today. He was fishing through our dumpster at work and at the same time he was picking up all of the trash that was scattered on the ground from the littering and inconsiderate business neighbors that we have . A homeless man cleaning the mess of privileged people. It angered me to see this man cleaning up after these people while he was desperately searching for items to survive on. We recycle at work, so I retrieved two huge bags of aluminum cans and plastic bottles. I went out there with a Smuckers Uncrustable sandwich and the recycling. I felt that he deserved something for the selfless act that he was committing because, in reality he was beautifying my work environment. He started to cry almost immediately and told me that it was a gift from God and that God was rewarding him for trying to change his path in life. He reached out to shake my hand and I shook it even though it was incredibly filthy. I've never experienced such sincere gratitude. He got on his knees in front of me and said a prayer thanking God. Wow, it was a crazy and incredibly humbling experience for the both of us. It doesn't take much to do something small, but significant for people."

* ... CHICKENS: Michele Magyar lives up in the city area of La Cresta and noted that the Animal Control officers cited her two chihuahuas for not having a purple tag identifying licensing. But, she wonders, what about all those chickens in her neighborhood? "I am wondering if the people next door to me with at least 12 chickens received any kind of citation..   Some mornings while driving to work, west of Alta Vista Drive, I have to stop the car to let the chickens cross the road and this is three blocks from where I live.  I realize that some change is good however... maybe chickens in the city is not such a good idea."