Thursday, August 8, 2013

The city of Fresno pops up on a list of 20 cities that may be headed to bankruptcy due to unfunded pensions, and the evolving and utterly weird story of the PGE implosion gets odder by the day

 * ... FINANCIAL WOES: The city of Fresno has popped up on a list of cities that could be headed for bankruptcy. According to the website Newsmax, Fresno ranked No. 3 on a list of 20 cities with
serious financial problems due to unfunded pension liabilities. Said Newsmax: "Fresno had the ratings of its lease-revenue bonds downgraded to junk-level by Moody's, which also downgraded its convention center and pension obligation bonds due to the city's 'exceedingly weak financial position.' The other cities in the top five were Compton, East Greenbush, N.Y., Gulf County, Fla., and Harrisburg, Pa.

 * ... EXPLOSION: Can this story about the disastrous implosion of the PGE plant on Rosedale Highway get any weirder? Californian reporter John Cox is now reporting that one of the subcontractors was not legally licensed, and it seems no one can figure out just who - if anyone - reviewed the plans to implode the twin plant towers. Build a wheelchair ramp on your house and you need a permit, but blow up a power plant and no one seems to know exactly who needs to review the plans.

 * ... SAN FRAN: Kern County Auditor and Controller Mary B. Bedard dropped me a note about a previous blog post noting that an astounding one in 28 residents of San Francisco are on the public payroll. She noted: "While not defending San Francisco, I would like to point out that the staffing levels at the city of Bakersfield and San Francisco are not comparable because San Francisco is organized as both a city and county in a single governmental entity. Therefore, San Francisco is providing services such as libraries, public health, district attorney, public defender, aging and adult services, child support services, and many other services that are provided to the residents of Bakersfield by the County of Kern."

 * ... BOOMERS: Did you know that this week (August 6, actually) marked the 68th anniversary of the last submarine lost in World War II? Gene Bonas, a friend who served on two different 'boomers,' told me the last sub lost was the USS Bullhead SS 332 with the loss of 84 men. "The month of August saw the loss of four subs and 241 men. One sub, the USS S-39, ran aground on a reef with all crew rescued. Another sub, the USS Cochino SS-345, was lost in 1949 due to a battery explosion and fire.  One Cochino submariner was lost and six men assisting from the USS Tusk SS 426 were lost."

 * ... JINGLE: Matt Koelzer wrote to settle the riddle on the old radio jingle advertising a business on Wible Road. He said it was the Bakersfield Swap Meet, located on the site where 3 Way Chevrolet now sits.

* ... MEMORIES: From reader Mike Stewart: "I thoroughly enjoy your column, as it brings back memories of old Bakersfield. I have a question for you and fellow readers. Does anyone remember a little neighborhood market called Gus's? It was on E Street, off Palm? I remember swimming at the Beale Park pool and then going to the small store for candy afterwards."

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