Saturday, March 9, 2013

McCarthy: President resorts to fear-based rhetoric, shows audacity by canceling White House tours instead of dealing with the real issues

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip and a Bakersfield Republican, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his own words"

 "The past few weeks, Americans endured continuous fear-based rhetoric where the White House tried to scare Americans instead of cutting wasteful Washington spending. Doubling down on this rhetoric, this week the President cancelled all self-guided tours of the White House.  It is astonishing that he would deny Americans who are visiting their capital the chance to see our historic building rather than focus on rooting out unnecessary spending in other parts of our Federal government. Unfortunately, we continue to see an Administration that governs with tactics of fear instead of finding ways to unite us as Americans and tackling the problems our country faces in a responsible and adult manner.  Washington has a spending problem and it must be addressed, not with gimmicks, but with real solutions.

 "The current federal debt today is $16.4 trillion, which is larger than the entire U.S. economy.  Wasteful government spending must be identified and cut to get our growing deficit and debt under control. As I've mentioned before, here are a few examples of spending that can immediately be cut:

·       $4 million – the annual budget of the IRS to operate a TV production studio;

·       $1.7 billion – to maintain federal property that is not in use or underutilized;

·       $9.8 billion – closing Medicaid loopholes;

·       $10 billion – the public health slush fund in Obamacare;

·       183 – the number of conference paid for by federal agencies; and

·       $100 million in EPA grants to foreign countries over the last 10 years.

 "So instead of cutting wasteful spending, this Administration continues the old liberal mantra – higher taxes that only take more money out of the pockets of hard working American families and small businesses.  Our economy needs a strong and vibrant private sector and more taxes is not the answer. Just look at the jobs report that came out today where more workers have stopped looking for work and the number of people unemployed for 27 weeks or longer continued to increase.  We need to cut spending, reform our entitlement programs, and simplify our tax code to help spur economic growth and restore Americans’ confidence.

"Instead of fear and scare tactics, our nation needs leadership that inspires our greatness and unites us to tackle our country’s pressing challenges. This coming week, we will address one of our greatest challenges – our national debt -  as we map out a budget plan that will put us on a path to fiscal sanity.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Inga Barks is suspended from her Fresno radio gig after being arrested for drunk and disorderly, and the family in the Glenwood Gardens death shows some real class

 * ... GLENWOOD: About the only class shown in the aftermath of the tragic death of 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless at the Glenwood Gardens retirement home has been shown by the victim's family. The family could have hired a lawyer and slapped the facility with a lawsuit, but instead it issued a calm, clearly worded statement praising the care Bayless received and saying it was not in the family's nature to file a lawsuit. In a world that is increasingly crass and litigious, it is nice to see that some form of class still lives.

 * ... PRICE: It was nice to run into David Price the other day at downtown Rotary. Price is the retired head of the county resource management agency who moved to Tennessee and promptly came down with serious spinal problems that left him almost crippled and near death. He is now back walking, smiling and making his trademark jokes. "I have a few things that don't work," he told me, "but I am blessed with what I have." Dave and wife Liz were on the west coast headed toward a cruise to Hawaii to celebrate his health and their 30th wedding anniversary.

* ... HERMAN: The Bakersfield Museum of Art's goodbye to outgoing executive director Bernie Herman was a heart warming tribute to Herman's nine years of service. A huge crowd attended the tribute, representing some of the community's most stalwart supporters of the arts. Among those I spotted were Cindy Pollard, Dona Baker, Art Sherwyn, Larry and Sandy Reider, Jeff and Stephanie Pickering, Gary and Bettina Belter, Bob Crewdson and Nicole St. John, Claire Putney, Gary Frazier, Sheryl and Lou Barbich, John Brock Jr., Don Martin, Judi McCarthy, Betty Younger, Vince and Linda Rojas, Tracy Walker-Kiser, Evelyn Johnson, Lesa and John Mackessey, David and Suzanne Leon, David Cohn, Bart and Napier Hill, Vince Fong, Susan and Rod Hersberger, David and Kristine Morton, Dr. Madan Mukhopadhyay and wife Dolly, and many more.

* ... INGA: Radio talk show host Inga Barks has been put on paid leave by her Fresno employer pending the outcome of an investigation into her arrest at the Marketplace in southwest Bakersfield. Police said Barks was drunk and disorderly when they found her reportedly passed out in her car near Tahoe Joe's bar and restaurant. Barks blamed her condition on medication she is taking.

* ... SCHNEIDER: Hats off to Lieutenant Lincoln Schneider, who has been named one of the Navy's 2012 Recruiters of the Year. The Navy Recruiter of the Year awards recognize the most accomplished and successful recruiters across the country. Schneider is a 1999 graduate of Stockdale High School and later Tulane University.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

First Look with Scott Cox, a three-hour local news talk radio and live video production, kicks off on Monday, March 18, and Bryan Burrow takes over the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

* ... SYMPHONY: Former banker Bryan Burrow has taken over control of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra as president and chief executive officer. Burrow said he hopes to bring a strong business model to the 80-year-old organization, which suffers from an aging audience and limited visibility. The next performance is this Saturday when the symphony teams with the Masterworks Chorale, CSUB Singers and a children's chorus. Tickets are available and the Rabobank box office or on

 * ... FIRST LOOK: A new, three-hour local news program will kick off Monday, March 18, on KERN 1180. It's a partnership between The Californian and American General Media, which owns KERN 1180, and it will feature news, weather, live entertainment and analysis. Called First Look with Scott Cox, the show will be simulcast on the radio while streamed live in high definition video on The show will run weekdays from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. in a new TV studio in The Californian newsroom. Stay tuned.

* ... REMODEL: Good news for folks who live in the downtown area. The Smart and Final grocery store on Golden State Freeway is about to undergo a major facelift and renovation. Employees there say work should start in a couple months to upgrade the store to resemble the more modern Smart and Final locations elsewhere in town.

 * ... YOGURT: Burrberry, the frozen yogurt shop that opened on 18th Street a year or so ago, has moved over a block in to the heart of the downtown arts district. It is now located in the former location of the Spotlight Cafe. Owner Pam Gallagher says they've expanded offerings to include freshly baked croissants, breakfast sandwiches and a full line of coffee and tea. Next week she plans on adding soups and sandwiches for the lunch crowd. "

 * ... TRASH: Is noting that one's "culture" may be responsible for littering a racist comment? That's what one reader, Fred Castillo, said in responding to an earlier post from a business executive. "I'm not even going to get into the underlying racial tones intimated in those comments. Call me crazy but it seems less a 'cultural' issue so much as a socio economic problem. I was at a local park preparing for my walk when a car in obvious need of exterior maintenance drove up. The 'kids' proceeded to eat their fast food and tossed everything out the car windows after they were done with no obvious shame. I came this close to yelling at them but had second thoughts as I was by myself and there was no telling what their reaction would have been. Let you 'local executive' know that I am Hispanic and the folks littering were Caucasian." For the record Fred, the executive who wrote that is also Hispanic and her reference to "culture" was not about race, but rather about how folks are reared and what cultural values are passed down in the family. Culture is not always ethnic centric.

 * ... NEAR MISS: Shame on the driver of an older green Honda or Saturn that blew through the stoplight at 18th and F streets Tuesday, almost broadsiding a car by inches and giving its driver (me) a near heart attack. Everyone seems to have a horror story about drivers who blindly run red lights across our town.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Karen Goh returns to Garden Pathways as president, and the state wrestling championships provide a boost to downtown eateries

 * ... GOH: Karen Goh, who lost to Leticia Perez in the 5th District Supervisor race, is returning to Garden Pathways as president. The non profit organization mentors children, youth and adults to build productive lives. Prior to being appointed serve as a Supervisor, Goh served as the organization's executive director.

 * ... BOOM TOWN: The state high school wrestling championships held at Rabobank Arena brought thousands of visitors to town, and no place benefitted more than the downtown arts district. Restaurants were packed all weekend, and it was hard to find a seat and the downtown venues like Uricchio's Trattoria, the Padre Hotel and Chef's Choice Noodle Bar. Said one waitress at Chef's Choice: "I have never seen anyone like this on a Saturday. It's overwhelming."

* ... CHILDREN FIRST: The Children First Campaign is offering five, $1,000 scholarships to groups or individuals that live or work within the Bakersfield City School District to help the lives of local children.  Said Linda Fiddler: "The grants are based on a research study done by the Case Foundation. The findings indicated that when the ideas for projects are generated from within the target neighborhoods, not only were they more successful but also taught participants how to be powerful advocates for change. We are challenging our neighborhoods to think of projects that will improve the lives of children within the Bakersfield City School District service area." To apply go to

* ... TRASH: A local business executive dropped me a note expressing her frustration with our litter problem. The problem, as she noted, is that many of the offenders were reared in families and cultures where littering was acceptable. So what is the solution? "(Anti litter campaigns) are never going to succeed until people who litter start paying (fines) and/or doing community work.  I don't understand why we have to assign money that we need in other areas, or that we simply don't have, to pay people to pick up trash when we should be making money thanks to those who don't care about the image of our city. I assure you that these people grew up like that, so the only way to 're-educate them' is to teach them a good, expensive lesson. And there are two places that hurt the most: our wallets and doing work that we hate to do."

 * ... TRASH THEFT: And speaking of trash, Patricia Henson of the Society for Disabled Children shared with me this problem involving two of their brown trash containers that were stolen recently from their Brundage Lane location. "The person who took the containers decided to dump out the trash all over the ground in front of our facility. The trash cans had been placed at the curb for regular pick up. So not only did we have to clean up the trash it will cost us $70 to get a new container delivered. What is truly sad is that the $140 this problem has cost could have been used to provide two or three out of town medical appointment trips, a month of STAR for one child. STAR provides assistance for children who are performing below grade level, two and a half weeks of speech and language therapy for a child or been used to support one of our other programs. What a sad commentary on our society when not even a nonprofit's trash cans are safe."