Friday, January 4, 2013

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy: rising public debt is a threat to the next generation while federal policies are a headwind to economic development

 Fresh off the fiscal cliff vote in an embattled Congress, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:

 "This past week, we rang in the New Year and the 113th Congress was sworn in. I am honored to continue to have the opportunity to serve the residents of California’s 23rd congressional district.

 "Across the Central Valley to the Indian Wells Valley and down to the Antelope Valley, families and small business owners endure the burden of regulations, taxes and litigation. We face a sluggish economy, budget deficits and a national debt of over $16 trillion that threatens our country’s fiscal security. All the while, we also endure the burden of interest payments and uncertainty as well.

"To overcome our obstacles, we must have an economy that thrives on freedom and individual opportunity. Rising public debt burdens future generations and hinders private investment. Economic prosperity requires innovative ideas that spark new small businesses led by hardworking individuals that are willing to take risks.  That requires a business climate that reinvigorates our nation’s entrepreneurial spirits and that remains our goal for the New Year.

 "Unfortunately, policies coming out of Washington are a headwind to economic development. We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem, and that is why I am committed to cutting spending to reduce the deficit so we can begin to pay down the national debt, creating certainty in the marketplace to help foster for long-term business planning and investment.  With over $16 trillion in national debt and massive state deficits, we must get our fiscal house in order so that we may spare our children and grandchildren from the burden of our debt.

 "Now is the time for the new Congress to step up and find meaningful, commonsense solutions for spending reductions and tax and entitlement reform to help grow our economy and create jobs.  As Majority Whip, I will continue to fight for Kern County and the Central Valley, from water for our farmers to lower taxes for our small business owners to regulatory reform to unleash responsible American energy development right here in our communities.  There is no reason that we can’t work to reduce unemployment, increase small business start-ups, and spur American innovation.

 "Despite the challenges we face, I am optimistic about our future because of the work ethic, resiliency and entrepreneurial spirit of American families and small businesses. The path to American prosperity is a framework that simplifies our tax code, cuts federal spending, and reforms our entitlement programs, and that is what I will continue to fight for. The next Congress will play a critical role in reviving our economy, creating jobs, ending the tax and regulatory war on American job creators, and solving our nation’s spending-driven debt crisis which menaces our children and grandchildren. As Majority Whip in the House, I will continue to fight so that every American has the opportunity to pursue and achieve their hopes and dreams and I welcome your input and ideas."

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Rep. Kevin McCarthy votes against the fiscal cliff compromise and celebrating the success of two local businesses in our downtown area

* ... MCCARTHY: Interesting to note that our own Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Whip in charge of herding votes for House Speaker John Boehner, voted against the fiscal cliff compromise that Boehner supported. Did McCarthy vote against the measure only once he was sure he had the votes to pass it? Or was he simply casting a vote in tune with his conservative district? Also voting against the measure was Rep. Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader. Former GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan supported it.  McCarthy told me this about his vote: “There were good reasons to vote for it, and good reasons to vote against it. I believed that any legislation considered by the House had to seriously address the root of our debt crisis: Washington’s out-of-control spending.”

 * ... SERVICE: Harry Starkey, general manager of the West Kern Water District, gave this shout out to  good service in the city of Taft. "I went to a local framing shop here in Taft (KC Photography and Framing owned by Robert and Karen Mitchell) to have a few things matted and framed for a small job in my office. I was trying to describe the colors I wanted matched when the owners offered to come by my office to match the colors directly. Now that’s service!"

 * ... YOGA: It's good to see two locally owned yoga businesses doing so well. Both Inner Bodyworks and Yoga Space have moved to freshly renovated buildings in the downtown area, and both seem to be enjoying brisk business. Yoga Space is located on F Street and Inner Bodyworks is near the Fox Theater on H Street. (photo of staff at Inner Bodyworks)

 * ... OLYMPIAN: There are reports that five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode, the most successful female shooter in Olympic history, may be coming to Bakersfield in April for the Ken Barnes Open Skeet Championship. Rhode most recently won a gold medal in last year's Olympic skeet shooting competition. If her schedule permits, I am told she will shoot the 12 gauge in the April 12-14 tournament to be held at the Kern County Gun Club. The tournament is named after local Realtor Ken Barnes, the first person to ever shoot a perfect 400 X 400 in tournament skeet.

* ... FIRST FRIDAY: Downtown's popular monthly event returns for the first Friday of 2013. Metro Galleries continues to show Christine McKee's "On the Homefront" exhibit, a stunning show devoted to military families and those who serve. Next door at The Foundryit  is opening night for "It's Not Easy Being Green." This show features works created by Foundry members using green as the predominant color. First Friday organizer Don Martin tells me there are lots of new events planned for 2013 including a free monthly concert starting in March.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Bako Bits: Welcoming in the New Year with black eyed peas and cornbread and gratitude for what we have

* ... GRATEFUL: It's that time of year to make resolutions for the new year, but it is also time to be grateful for what we all have. I am thankful for family and friends and the absolute and compete kindness of so many people who call Bakersfield home.
 * .... PROP 13: There are yet more indications that the Democratic "super majority" in Sacramento is taking a serious pass at reforming Proposition 13, the landmark 1978 law that capped property tax increases until a property is sold. According to a story in the San Jose Mercury News, Democrats believe now be the time to take on the long sacred Prop 13 in California. "It is time for a fix, because Proposition 13 is broken," said Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, who plans to introduce a bill next year aimed at forcing businesses to pay higher property taxes. The 1978 measure rolled back property taxes and capped yearly increases until a property is sold, but critics say one of its unintended consequences was shifting more of California's property tax burden from businesses to homeowners. Stay tuned.

 * ... GIVING BACK: Hats off to the folks over at the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center and the Ravi and Naina Patel Foundation for spending New Year's Day feeding the homeless. The annual event, now in its 10th year, features doctors and staff members of the cancer center providing a holiday meal for some 500 people from two local homeless shelters. They also provide the homeless with hooded sweatshirts, hygiene kids, gloves and blankets.

 * ... PEAS: Is there a better New Year's Day tradition than Southern cornbread smothered in black eyed peas and ham hocks? Two local supermarkets were completely sold out of the beans on New Year's Eve.

 * ... SPOTTED: On Facebook a friend left this post on New Year's Day: "I have this weird feeling that I had a lot of fun last night. If I saw any of you please let me know, exactly how much."

* ... TRASH: Nice to see our litter-happy population doesn't stop for the holidays. Spotted Sunday on the Gosford Road sidewalk, a block south of Stockdale Highway: a full Christmas tree, carefully placed there by someone who couldn't make the effort to dispose of it properly.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Making and keeping those New Year's resolutions, more good deeds by Twilight Rotary and Mark Salvaggio joins the staff of Supervisor David Couch

* ... NEW YEAR: Local wealth advisor Bradley Barnes has his own "to do" list for 2013, and it is worth sharing.  "For me, true happiness comes from helping others. That’s what I’ll be spending my time doing," he said. "Here’s my list of New Year’s resolutions: Do something every day to help someone who needs it. Give more than I take. Create a great legacy for those who come after me." Hard to top that.

* ... MY LIST: Some of my wishes for the new year: a healthier local housing market, more jobs and lower unemployment, less news about Lindsay Lohan and the Khardasians, political courage in Washington to compromise and get the job done and a more civil dialogue among those who disagree.

 * ... ROTARY: More good news from our local service clubs, in this case Twilight Rotary, which is just three years old. Said Barry Rosenfeld: "Over the past two weekends we have provided more than 100 toys to needy children transitioning from homelessness with their parents as clients of Flood Ministries. We also assisted Covenant Community Services with their toy drive (more toys!) as well as providing former foster children with gently used clothing."

 * ... SALVAGGIO: Former city councilman Mark Salvaggio is joining the staff of new Kern County Supervisor David Couch. Salvaggio never really left political life when he retired from the council, and has the heart of a civil servant even if you don't agree with all his views. "This will be my second tour of duty with the County of Kern.  I will approach every constituent issue and circumstance with the same dogged commitment that I exercised during my five years of service with former Supervisor Michael J. Rubio in the 5th District.  No problem will be too small and people from all stations of life will be served."

* ... LITTER: A reader who will remain nameless dropped me a note that, despite my rants about litter, even The Californian is occasionally guilty. "This morning I went out to pick up my newspaper just as the Bakersfield Californian deliveryman drove up and threw it from his window. Not seeing me, he reached back into his car, threw a second item out the window, and then drove off.  I picked up the paper, and then saw that the second item was some trash (cardboard that is used to hold the plastic bags the newspapers are placed in).  It isn’t a big deal, and I of course picked it up, but considering your commendable efforts to call attention to the amount of litter in our community, I thought it ironic that a Bakersfield Californian employee was willfully spreading trash on his morning rounds. I suspect that this was not my regular delivery person, as the paper came two hours later than normal, but I thought you would be interested." I apologize for that and thank you for writing.

 * ... BELMONT PARK: Carol Black dropped me a note about the news that the same group that owns The Padre Hotel will be restoring Belmont Park in San Diego.  "As a teenager, back in the 1950s I hung out at Mission Beach every summer. When we had a quarter, we would ride the roller coaster at Belmont Park and we paid 10 or 15 cents to swim at the Plunge.  However, the ocean was free, so that's where we spent the majority of our days.  Oh, the memories!  My husband and I go to San Diego at least once a year and we always spend a few hours walking around Belmont Park.  Can't go down there without my Mission Beach fix!"