Friday, February 22, 2013

The Californian enters a partnership with the leading news talk radio group in Kern County for a full daily three-hour simulcast broadcast in high definition video, a first of its kind venture

 "When people ask me about the future of newspapers, and they get that gloomy look in their eyes, I remind them it’s all about the content. If people are engaged, and care about their community and the government that serves them, then what we do is vitally important to the community we call home.
What is not vitally important is how that content is delivered. Our work now appears in print, in multiple digital forms, on iPads and Nooks, in video story-tellings packages, in text news alerts and on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
 The idea that this newspaper is a on- size fits all printed product is little more than a nostalgic Rockwellian image of the past.
 "The Bakersfield Californian has always prided itself about being on the cutting edge of technology (our website was launched back in 1995) and we are keenly aware that readers and advertisers are finding new ways to obtain content and reach their advertisers. That why change is part of our company culture, and serving our readers and advertisers on mulitple platforms is something we talk about every day. And today, we are taking the next step.
 "Our latest venture involves a partnership between the Californian and locally owned American General Media, the leading radio group serving Bakersfield and Kern County. Effective in early March, we will be creating a three-hour daily news show, simulcast on radio and streamed lived in high definition video on It is basically a radio and TV show all in one smart package, leveraging the expertise of some of the most talent editors and reporters in town inside The Californian.
The venture is believed to be one of the first of its kind in the nation, pairing the leading newspaper with the market leader in news talk radio. A television studio has been built in the heart of The Californian newsroom where the show will run daily from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
 "The daily program will be titled “First Look with Scott Cox” and will feature news, weather, entertainment, interviews with newsmakers and The Californian’s stable of popular columnists. Cox is an employee of American General Media, owner of KERN 1180 where the show willl air, and will serve as moderator of a panel of three or four newsmakers.
 "The Californian constructed a studio in the middle of the third floor newsroom and will stream high-definition video. AGM will provide producers, a news reader and Cox, while The Californian will draw on its award winning editors and reporters to help provide content, insight, investigative journalism and news commentary.
 "Other newspapers are doing live video and news shows from their newsrooms, but to my knowledge no one else is doing it in partnership with the leading radio news talk leader.
 "First Look will be part Meet the Press, part The Dan Patrick Show and part Imus in the Morning. It will be newsy, witty and fast paced. You’ll be able to hear it on the radio or watch it in high definition live on
 "So yes, newspapers are alive and well, changing and evolving. Join us in March for First Look. And watch us grow."

Conservative talk show host Ralph Bailey will join rival radio station KERN 1180

 Ralph Bailey, the conservative Bakersfield radio talk show host, is jumping to crosstown rival KERN 1180. Bailey left his longtime home of KNZR yesterday, and today it was revealed he had joined American General Media's KERN 1180.
 Bailey will be on the air in early March in his familiar 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. time slot. The show will retain the familiar "The Ralph Bailey Show" label.
 Bailey replaces KERN host Scott Cox, who is moving to the mornings in a joint venture with The Californian newsroom. That 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. show will be called First Look with Scott Cox.

State Sen. Michael Rubio resigns from the State Senate, citing a need to spend more time with his family

 State Sen. Michael Rubio, a Bakersfield Democrat and one of the rising stars in the California Legislature, abruptly announced his resignation from the State Senate this morning, citing a need to spend more time with his family.
 Rubio's announcement was unexpected and it will leave Senate District 16 vacant for the time being. Rubio told me he will be joining Chevron Corp. as manager of Californian governmental affairs, based in Sacramento.
 "My wife and I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters, from whom we have learned a great deal," he said. "Our youngest child, who has special needs, has given me great perspective as to life's priorities and our eldest has reminded me that the most critical decisions are made at home and not under the Capitol dome."
 I spoke with Rubio this morning, and he told me "I have simply missed too many parts of my girls' lives. I am just not around my girls enough."
 Last year Rubio toyed with the idea of running for Congress, but dropped out of that race after the birth of his second daughter, who has special needs. He was generally regarded as the odds on favorite to win the Congressional race.
 Rubio built a reputation in Sacramento for reaching across the aisles and for his work on trying to reform the California Environmental Quality Act.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

More businesses move to Bakersfield's growing downtown arts district, and a new survey shows underage drinkers prefer beer, Budweiser to be specific

 * ... ARTS DISTRICT: The downtown arts district is in the midst of another growth surge. Among the businesses relocating downtown are the Ice House Framing and Gallery, which is moving over near The Metro Galleries on 19th Street, and Tasha's, a new clothing and gift boutique. Meanwhile,  Metro Galleries is adding another 1,100 square feet on the Eye Street side of the building. The folks at 1612 Eye Street (the old Hay Building) tell me they expect to sign another new tenant, a bakery, within the next few days. By the way, the first residents of 1612 City Lofts should be moving in within the next 30 days.

 * ... WEGIS: Local farmer Greg Wegis was quoted in a Los Angeles Times story about the lack of immigration reform, saying he is having trouble finding enough migrant workers to help harvest his crops of cherries, tomatoes, pistachios and almonds. Wegis, a fifth generation farmer, told the Times' George Skelton that he had to cancel a cherry pick last year because of a shortage of workers. "Migrant workers," he said, "are moving to other states that are friendlier and where there's less likelihood of getting harassed or deported."

 * ... YOUNG DRINKERS: A national survey by Boston University has found that beer, and specifically Budweiser, is the favorite alcoholic beverage of underage drinkers. Among its other findings: almost 70 percent of those surveyed had drunk either beer or hard liquor, and about 50 percent had consumed flavored drinks. "For flavored alcoholic beverages, the respondents preferred Smirnoff malt beverages (Smirnoff Ice, and others, in many flavors.... Smirnoff vodkas were the number one choice for hard liquor, followed by Jack Daniel's bourbons," according to a New York Times piece on the study. (Getty Images picture courtesy of The New York Times)

 * ... ROMANCE: My recent blog post on Bakersfield being deemed one of the nation's least romantic cities (based on the rentals of romantic movies) drew this smart rebuttal from local Realtor J.R. Lewis: "It seems to me that Redbox is drawing the wrong conclusion from its data. Using Redbox's logic the most athletic city would be the city where more people sat on their couch and watched sports on TV.
Real romance doesn't involve renting movies; real romance is about living, sharing, loving and caring. I'm lucky to be living out a grand romance with my wife, Kim, and we haven't rented a movie in years."

 * ... DREAM BUILDERS: There will be an interesting exhibit this Saturday at the downtown Kern Superintendent of Schools building on 17th Street. It's an art show showcasing and celebrating the artistic talents of children with learning and emotional disabilities, an exhibition being put on by eight high school students who comprise the Dream Builders, part of the Jim Burke Education Foundation and Ford Dimension. The show runs from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and is worth checking out.

 * ... MEMORIES: Charles Duran wrote to tell me that his aunt and uncle, Stella and Chon, owned a small restaurant just off the southwest corner of East 19th and Baker Street that was named La Estrellita. They and their two daughters made enough money off the restaurant to move back to El Paso, Texas, where they bought a cotton farm. Anyone remember La Estrellita?

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You would have to be a real Bakersfield old timer if you remember this high school cheer submitted by Sheryl Stuhr: "Ma He, Ma Ha, Ma Hoe, Rominickle, Dominickle, Nip Fat, Soap, Rag, Kern County Union High School, Rah! Rah! Rah! ... By the way the football team that year won the state championship!"

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Former San Joaquin Bank president Bart Hill returns to the banking industry with United Security Bank, and Bako makes a list of the "least romantic" cities

 * ... NEW JOB: Bart Hill, the last president and chief executive officer at the old San Joaquin Bank, has returned to banking with a new job. Hill is now vice president and regional manager for United Security Bank, a Fresno-based financial institution with two locations in Kern County. USB is
 a 25-year-old full service community bank with offices up and down the San Joaquin Valley that puts an emphasis on commercial lending. Previous to this, Hill worked in the development offices at Cal State Bakersfield. He said he is "excited to return to banking and will be helping USB perform the traditional role of a community bank, which is simply working to make Kern County a better place to live. I look forward to continuing my community involvement and encouraging the participation of USB employees."

 * ... LITTER: The problem with litter in our community seems almost intractable, but reader David Losa suggested something different from his experience living in Utah: a vacuum truck on the road to pick up trash. "It was no different from a trash and garbage collector truck. But instead of forks to empty dumpsters and big clamps to empty trash cans, the trucks had vacuum and suction hoses controlled by the operator to pick up litter. If our city could procure this equipment that would mitigate the safety issues related to directly exposing personnel to vehicular traffic, risk of contacting valley fever from working outdoors and speed up the operation."

* ... LEAST ROMANTIC: Bakersfield has made another list, this time ranking as one of the "least romantic" cities in the nation. That is according to the movie rental company Redbox, which compiled its list based on the total number of "romance related" movie rentals last year. The most romantic cities were Marquette, Mich., Greenville, N.C., La Crosse, Wis., Ames, Iowa and Greensboro, N.C.  The least romantic list included Laredo, and Midland, Texas, El Centro, Ca.,  the Texas cities of Victoria,  Odessa, McAllen and Houston, Bakersfield, Fresno, and finally Beaumont, Texas.

 * ... CRIME WATCH: This idea comes from a reader who asked to remain anonymous. Leaving your garbage bins on the street all day advertises to would be burglars that no one is at home. On garbage pickup day, designate someone on your block to make sure all the containers are removed quickly after the the trucks make their rounds.

* ... BANDUCCI'S: Inez Coronado was mentioned in this column as someone who worked at the old Banducci's Corner. She reached out to me to share her story: "I started to work there when I was 20 years old. My mother, Kathy Lewis, was working there at the time. I have some wonderful memories about customers and co-workers. Julie Banducci and Lee Stanley were some tough bosses, but were some of the best.  One of my most favorite memories is having my daughter tell me, as an adult, that she loved having me come through the door after getting off work at Bnaducci’s because I always smelled of spaghetti. Some co-workers from Banducci’s still get together at Christmas time. I met the most wonderful people I will always remember. Some of these folks now frequent Doubletree where I have worked since shortly after Banducci’s closed its doors  I could write two books, one for Banducci’s and one for Doubletree. What a wonderful way to spend your career, to meet wonderful caring people every day of your life."

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Does the government really need to know if we have trouble bathing? The Census Bureau believes it does, and if you don't answer the question, prepare for a $5,000 fine.

* ... CENSUS SURVEY: I just recently learned of something called the American Community Survey, a controversial statistical survey of 250,000 Americans funded by the U.S. Census Bureau. The survey asks a series of extremely personal questions ranging from your precise income to how you spend each day at the office, even down to what time you leave your home. "It also asks whether, 'because of a physical, mental or emotional condition,' you have difficulty 'concentrating, remembering or making decisions ... walking or climbing stairs.. doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor's office or shopping... or dressing or bathing," according to the New York Post. Really? And, if you refuse to complete it, you may be subject to a $5,000 fine. It is little wonder that so many people find the 21-page questionnaire a tad intrusive.

 * ... CRIME: I took a week off to attend a wedding on the east coast, and twice while I was gone I learned of homes in the downtown area and La Cresta being burglarized. In the case downtown, the intruders busted in the door (a common form of entry) and made off with jewelry, a TV, computers, cameras and cash. Molly Busacca, one of the owners of Secure (alarm) Systems, told me that wireless key fob panic buttons have become very popular and can be added to most systems. "We have seen a large number of break-ins through master bedroom windows," she said."If the system does not have a glass break detector the alarm will not send a signal." And of course, she recommends an active neighborhood watch program where everyone looks out for each other. Sound advice.

* ... KIA COMMERCIAL: Do you remember the "Where do babies come from?" Super Bowl commercial featuring a pair of adorable toddlers in a forest? It turns out one of them has a Bakersfield connection. According to reader Christine Nichols, the curly headed toddler in the diaper is her great grandson, 1-year-old Blake Moore. His father, Brandon Moore, is a 1997 graduate of West High School and later Cal State Northridge. He and his wife Ginger now live in Long Beach. The commercial was promoting KIA cars.

  * ... HOMELESS: Susan Castro wrote about a homeless man who lives our near Snow Road. "He parks in different locations, and it is not easy for him to take charity.  But by definition charity is benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity; generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy; public provision for the relief of the needy; and lenient judgement of others... It is a privilege to be in a position to help those in need."

 * ... PANHELLENIC: There is a big meeting coming up for the Kern County Panhellenic group, an organization devoted to bringing women who belonged to sororities together. It is set for Monday, March 4, at 11:30 a.m. at The Petroleum Club. Carolyn Pandol and Marianne Keathley are organizing the event to celebrate "International Badge Day," an annual event "during which sorority women everywhere honor their Greek affiliations." The cost is $30 a ticket. Make checks payable to Kern County Panhellenic, in care of Estrella Sistual, 9904 Kearney Hills Drive, Bakersfield, Ca. 93312.

 * ... DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that Wilma Jeanne Cooper, better known as Jeanne Cooper of the long running soap opera Young and the Restless, is a 1946 graduate of East High School? She is the winner of 10 daytime Emmys and also has a star on the walk of fame in Hollywood. Her son is Corbin Bernsen, a movie star in his own right. Jeanne was born in Taft in 1928. Thanks to Rick Van Horne for this tidbit.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy to President Obama: the old stale ideas, more of the same, is not the solution

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:

"Last week, the President gave his State of the Union Address.  The only proposals offered in the State of the Union address seem to be the same old stale ideas that will only lead to more taxes and more borrowing.  The President’s claim, that none of his proposals 'should increase our deficit by a single dime,' is hardly believable.  Especially since, under this Administration, the national debt has increased by 58.6 trillion dimes.  Let’s look at the facts since the President was first inaugurated in 2009:

·         The number of long-term unemployed Americans swelled from 2.7 million Americans to 4.8 million;

·         89.5 million people are no longer in the labor force;

·         The national debt has risen from $10.6 trillion to $16.4 trillion;

·         Gas prices have skyrocketed from an average of $1.85 per gallon to $3.60 at the pump;

·         Oil production on Federal lands and waters has declined by 14% since last year;

·         27% of student loan borrowers have past due balances.

 "What our country needs is a responsible budget that addresses deficit reduction by cutting spending and strengthening the long-term outlook of our nation’s entitlement programs.  The President and the Senate should join the House in submitting a responsible budget so that Congress can pass a budget that will balance and pay down our debt. Washington has a spending problem, and our growing debt burden is threatening to crush the opportunities of future generations.

 "We must also reinvigorate our free enterprise economy.  Families in our community are facing high gas prices, small businesses are struggling with the costs of regulations and complicated rules, and individuals are working more and more hours just to pay their bills. Let’s simplify the tax code so that hardworking Americans keep more of what they earn.  Let’s have small business owners spend their time innovating and creating, not filling out unnecessary paperwork.  Let’s expand domestic energy production by focusing on producing American energy from America in an environmentally respectful way, and in the process creating new jobs for Americans that need them.

 "Mr. President, we have an opportunity to tackle the challenges that face our nation.  More of the same is not the solution.  The time is now to outline real spending cuts which will reduce the debt burden on our children and grandchildren, rein in the regulatory burdens on our local small businesses, and simplify the tax code so that our economy can grow.  Growing up on the east side of Bakersfield, I saw my dad work hard to provide for our family and he even helped me start a small business which helped me pay for college and get a quality education.  These are the opportunities I want to provide to our future generations and the time is now to make that happen.