Thursday, February 28, 2013

Oil executive helps former state Sen. Michael Rubio buy and sell two homes and radio talk show host Jaz McKay has a hissy fit after his colleague leaves for another station

 * ... RUBIO: Should we be surprised about the revelation that an oil executive helped former state Sen. Michael Rubio with the purchase and sales of two homes while Rubio was serving in the state Legislature? Rubio, a Shafter Democrat, says it was all on the up and up but the whole scenario hardly passes the smell test, especially given Rubio's squeaky clean image. Rubio described the oil executive, Majid Mojibi, as a close personal friend who just happened to help him with two deals, including one a $681,000 four-bedroom, five-bath home in El Dorado Hills. Don't we all wish we had friends like this? All this, of course, happened while Rubio was a rising star in the state Senate who later held hearings on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Rubio has since resigned and moved over to Chevron as head of governmental affairs. And they wonder why the public is so cynical. (file photo of Michael Rubio, wife Dora, and their two children)

 * ... BAILEY: Local radio talk show host Ralph Bailey moves his afternoon program to KERN 1180 on Monday, a fact that seems to irritate to no end his former colleague Jaz McKay. McKay, who appears on KNZR, used Facebook to hurl some racist comments at Bailey, not to mention calling him a "a misogynist pig" who "hates women." Truly bad form, but hardly unexpected. Bailey will be my guest on Californian Radio KERN 1180 Monday at 9 a.m. to address the brouhaha over his departure and to kick off his new show. (file photos of Ralph Bailey and Jaz McKay)

 * ... JACK SMITH: I mentioned the late Los Angeles Times columnist Jack Smith the other day, prompting reader Marie Schroepfer to share these fond memories of her mother. "Jack Smith was her favorite columnist and his column was the first thing she read when it appeared in the paper.  Jack Smith, paired with breakfast, her favorite meal of the day, would make her day," she said. "Periodically I would return home to spend a few days with her. Always, when I sat down for breakfast the first morning of my stay, there would be a stack of Jack Smith’s articles that she had 'saved' for my next visit.  There was no getting around reading them during my stay as she would periodically inquire as to my progress.  She particularly enjoyed his description of the antics, and perhaps misbehaving, of his Airedale dog."

  * ... PLANK: I am always happy to report when one of our local foundations opens its wallet to help others. This time is is the Plank Foundation, which wrote a check for $10,000 to the Friends of Mercy Foundation/Florence R. Wheeler Cancer Center. It was the 12th annual donation from Plank in that amount, and it was presented at a meeting of the Bakersfield East Rotary. The Plank Foundation ( was started in 1985 and supports locally the fight against cancer, hospice efforts and provides donations for immediate community needs.

  * ... MEA CULPA: I erred in reporting earlier that the fine dining restaurant Valentien would have a daily prix fixe lunch menu. The restaurant's new hours mean it will only be open for lunch on Fridays, when a prix fixe meal will be available for $16. A prix fixe meal will also be offered at dinner.

 * ... ACHIEVER: Hats off to Stephen Samples, who has been promoted to vice president of regional neurosciences at the Neurological Institute of the Cleveland Clinic. He is the son of Lora and Frank Samples, a local attorney. Stephen went to school at Trinity University in San Antonio and at the University of Texas Medical School.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Will Leticia Perez run for the state Senate after serving just three months as a Kern County Supervisor? And a stink is brewing in the Southwest over a proposed apartment complex

 * ... REVOLVING DOOR: Is 5th District Supervisor Leticia Perez really considering a run for the State Senate after being in office only three months? That appears to be the case and it has many folks shaking their heads about the revolving door of local politics. First there was Rudy Salas, who served two years on the City Council only to jump to the state Assembly, and now comes (possibly) Leticia Perez. Perez said she would consult with her inner circle before deciding to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Michael Rubio, prompting one supporter to write a letter to the Californian. "She should think less of her political future and more of the needs of those who enthusiastically supported her," wrote Raymond Gonzales.

 * ... ABLIN HOME: If you ever wanted to tour the magnificent Ablin home, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed masterpiece in the Bakersfield Country Club area, here is your chance. Covenant Community Services, the group that supports current and former foster youth, is holding a breakfast fund raiser this Saturday that includes a tour of the property. The cost is just $45 and it goes to a good cause. Call Scott Gray at Covenant at (661) 302-3137 to reserve your seat. The breakfast and tour run from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

* ... ZONING: There is a stink brewing over a proposed new apartment project in the Seven Oaks area. Residents of River Run and Grand Island are now meeting to actively oppose the construction of apartments on a 10-acre piece of property at the corner of River Run and Ming Avenue across from Grand Island. The land was previously owned by the Panama Buena Vista Unified School District, but was sold to a company that is now applying to change the zoning to allow for apartments. Stay tuned.

 * ... VALENTIEN: Hard to believe it has been 10 years since the fine dining restaurant Valentien opened at the corner of Oak Street and Truxtun.  Among the changes planned this year is a nightly prix fixe menu that will be offered for just $25. Lunch, Friday only, will also feature a prix fixe for $16.

* ... SPOTTED: Kudos to the small, fit woman on the Panorama Bluffs picking up trash that others so selfishly dumped along the walking trail. The curb along Panorama at the park seems to be a favorite spot to dump your fast food wrappers and soda cups.

* ... JACK SMITH: The movie rental company Redbox may think Bakersfield is not a romantic city, but former Los Angeles Times columnist Jack Smith sure did. His nephew, Mike O'Neill, remembers his uncle describing Bakersfield as "the most romantic city in America.  I am sure this was his feeling based on the fact he met and married my aunt in Bakersfield during the late 1930s. They had a long and wonderful marriage. His family even placed a large brick at the Centennial Gardens plaza commemorating his thoughts: 'Bakersfield, the Most Romantic City in America.'"

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Mark Smith wrote to pass along a note from his mother, Marian Harman Smith, a 1929 graduate of Kern County Union High School. In her words, here is the school cheer in its complete form:

 MaHee, MaHa, Maho

 Romminickel, Bomminickel

 Nip Cap, Nap Cap, Soap Fat, Rags

 Hobble Gobble Ricker Racker

 Hobble Gobble Fire Cracker

 Hobble Gobble Razoo

 Johnny Blow Your Bazoo

 Zis Boom Bah

 Kern County Union High School

 Rah! Rah! Rah!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Local radio host Jaz McKay issue below the belt comments about former colleague Ralph Bailey, and the sad rise and fall of former NBA player Robert Swift

* ... THE BUZZ: The decision by local radio talk show host Ralph Bailey to leave KNZR for cross-town rival KERN 1180 triggered a harsh response from Bailey's former colleague, Jaz McKay. McKay posted a lengthy, vitriolic message attacking Bailey on his Facebook page after Bailey made his announcement. The message immediately made the rounds on social networking, being forwarded and reposted until it was apparently deleted. Among the below-the-belt comments were, "Farewell to the man with the biggest ego known in history... Farewell to the man who couldn't keep his story straight on his political beliefs... Farewell to the man who although as much as he tried could not get past the fact that he is black." Ouch. Bailey's new show will run on KERN 1180 weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (stock photos of Jaz McKay and Ralph Bailey)

 * ... RUBIO: Another stunner last week was the sudden resignation of state Sen. Michael Rubio (D-Shafter) from the state Senate. Rubio took a job with Chevron Corp. to be its director of governmental affairs in Sacramento. That's a fancy title for lobbyist, and it doesn't hurt that Rubio was holding hearings on reforming the California Environmental Quality Act and is taking to Chevron a pocket full of contacts and inside knowledge. Rubio said he was leaving to spend more time with his wife, Dora, and his two daughters, the youngest of whom was born with Down syndrome. (family photo provided by Michael Rubio)

 * ... BAD FORM:  It's sad to watch the ongoing story of the rise and fall of Robert Swift, the onetime Garces High school basketball standout who went on to the Naitonal Basketball Association before injuries forced him out of the game. His $1 million home in Seattle is in foreclosure, and he is refusing to leave. According to a story on AOL: "The home's new owner has gone to court to have Swift removed from the property, and court records show that he is now past a grace period to leave. He has a final deadline to vacate the premises by the end of the month -- and after that, he could be forcibly removed, KOMO News reported. "He will have to respond to the sheriff, I'm sure," the new owner said. "This is a pretty sad case of an ex-NBA star who once held such promise but now has found himself in trouble."

* ... LIONS: Hats off to the Bakersfield Breakfast Lions Club and Tim Delcid who donated $12,700 to the local chapter of the Honor Flight, the group that takes aging veterans to Washington, D.C. to view the war memorials. Local organizer Lili Marsh said it costs $1,500 to send one veteran, so the Lions Club donation allows nine to go on the Spring flight. "The looks on the faces and the tears in the eyes of these humble vets, when they see that they have not been forgotten ... really brings home the significance of this of this simple gesture to the generation that saved the world! Breakfast Lions rock!"

 * ... RICHARDSON: Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will be the keynote speaker during the annual Kern County Economic Summit, set for Wednesday, March 20, at the DoubleTree Hotel. The cost is $100 per ticket and you can register online at or

 * ... RECIPE: Steve Agerton asked for help in tracking down a garlic butter recipe made by the owners of the old Joe's National Market on East 18th Street. "We used to get gallons of this garlic butter for the Oil Man's barbecues every year. It has since closed down and out of business. I know this might be a crazy request but we wanted to try anyway." Can anyone help Steve?

McCarthy: Herman Lippert Jr. represents the greatest generation, a hero of World War II who answered the call of duty

 Our weekly update from Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Whip from Bakersfield:

 "Last week I had the honor of presenting Army Private First Class Herman Lippert, Jr., with six medals he earned in World War II.  Born in Fellows, California in 1923 and raised in Taft, Herman attended Midway Grammar school, Taft High School, and Taft College.  He was drafted and served in the U.S. Army from March 2, 1943 to December 3, 1945 where he served as a Combat Engineer with the 97th Infantry Division stationed in France, Germany, and Austria.  He showed me photos and maps of where he supported the infantry through the front lines in intense battle, yet made it through the war without a scratch.  And to meet his wife Peggy and his children and grandchildren, I saw a man of character and humility.

 "This war hero fought on the front lines of the Battle of the Bulge and is a reflection of the great Americans that did so much on our behalf.  I was honored to present him with the Army Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Triple Bronze Star Attachment, the Honorable Service Lapel Pin, the Expert Badge and Rifle Bar, and the World War II Victory Medal.  As I presented Herman with each medal, I could not help but be inspired by the life that Herman has lived and the love that surrounds him.  In fact, I was going to present these medals to Herman last Christmas Eve, but he unexpectedly went into the hospital, and Herman insisted that he wanted to get stronger before we presented these medals to him.
 "Herman answered the call so that we would be able to have a future of freedom and opportunity.  Today, our nation faces tremendous challenges and the most pressing challenge is the growing debt burdens that weigh on our future generations.

 "In the coming months, our country will have to make the necessary decisions to confront the looming debt crisis and address the issue of government spending.  Our current spending levels are unsustainable, will weaken Social Security and Medicare, and lead our country on a path towards insolvency.  The longer we ignore the problem, the more the debt burden crushes the next generation of Americans. The next generation is not mere words; they are our high school and college seniors that will be graduating this summer. These are my children and your children. We have a responsibility to leave them a better future than we inherited, and I want them to have every opportunity to achieve their hopes and dreams with hard work and perseverance.  But the longer we ignore the fiscal reality that is before us, the more we deny opportunities to the next generation because the level of debt will stifle our long-term economic prosperity.  Every generation has risen to the occasion to tackle the challenges of their time with resolve, courage, and conviction, and I will continue to fight to ensure that we leave our children with a future of endless possibilities.