Thursday, March 28, 2013

McCarthy: Obama's anti-energy regulations stifle production, hurt Kern County and lead to even higher prices at the gas pump

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

 "Every summer we see gas prices rise as summer-blend fuel replaces winter-blend at the pump. But recently, Californians haven’t needed Memorial Day fuel spikes to remind us of fluctuating fuel costs. In fact, gas prices haven’t been stable for years – resulting in pain at the pump that hurts local families and small business owners. But there is a way to help stabilize fuel costs, and it starts
right here in Kern County. Kern leads California in oil and gas production, producing roughly 70% of California’s domestic oil and 58% of its natural gas.  In fact, we are one of the top petroleum-producing counties in the nation.

 "Unfortunately, burdensome red tape from Washington and Sacramento are stifling local potential for more American energy development and production. Instead of encouraging growth in the energy sector, this Administration continues burdening energy producers with overregulation, overtaxation, and overlitigation. Kern County Planning Department officials put it best, saying energy development in California is “subject to a complicated multi-level system of governmental regulations and programs” that are “costly and confusing for industry to comply with.”

"The President’s anti-energy regulatory policies have suppressed domestic energy development on federal lands holding vast untapped oil and natural gas resources – a missed opportunity that hits the pockets of hardworking American families and small businesses instead of creating jobs and powering our local and national economy.

"This energy agenda is flawed.

 "California – and particularly our region – has potential energy resources that position us to lead the way in oil, natural gas, renewables and electricity.  In fact, a recent study revealed an estimated 15.4 billion barrels of shale oil could be recoverable from the Monterey Shale right here in our backyard.  We have the resources; now we need the policy.  Look at North Dakota - their 3 percent unemployment rate can be directly attributed to their growing energy sector. California has even greater energy potential, yet statewide unemployment continues at almost 10 percent and over 14 percent locally. These are some of the reasons I joined Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan in support of the new House Republican budget, which passed the House last week. It puts our nation on a smart path to energy independence by taking advantage of our resources here at home through an all-of-the-above energy plan, including:

1.      Expanding production of oil shale, one of our most viable new energy sources;

2.      Expanding refinery capacity and reforming the refinery permitting process to ease burdens on local industry;

3.      Exploring new opportunities for renewable energy production; and

4.      With new technology, allowing the construction of clean coal, nuclear and biofuel plants.

 "Kern has been a leader in energy production since the mid-1800s when “black gold” was first discovered.  It’s part of our history; a critical component of our local economy and a continued compass to our future growth. That is why I believe in promoting pro-growth policies that will help jumpstart American energy exploration - and provide Californians and all Americans affordable and reliable energy, made in America, by Americans, for Americans.

The nation's railroads are in an unprecedented building and expansion boom, and pop icon Carly Rae Jepsen will perform at The Californian's downtown broadcast studio

 * ... RAILROADS: Some years ago an economist told me to watch the nation's rail traffic to get a real pulse on the economy. When the shipment of durable goods across the country starts to pick up, you can be assured the economy is recovering. Now comes word that North America's major freight railroads "are in the midst of a building boom unlike anything since the industry's Gilded Age hey day in the 19th century - this year pouring $14
billion into rail yards, refueling stations, additional track," according to the Wall Street Journal. In addition, rail is also stealing market share from traditional trucking companies. All good news for the economy.

 * ... CARLY: Pop icon Carly Rae Jepsen, whose song "Call Me Maybe" shot to the top of the pop charts, will be singing for a select group of people Tuesday afternoon in The Californian's downtown First Look broadcast studio. The Californian and radio station Hits 93.1 have been giving away tickets to 20 lucky fans for an up close acoustic performance.

* ... LITTER: A good contribution from reader Denney Evans: "I’ve read countless blogs about the litter problems in Bakersfield. My advice: when you’re walking the neighborhood for exercise, take a bag and pick it up. As the saying goes, 'If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem.'"

* ... OVERHEARD: Former city councilman Mark Salvaggio, now an aide to Kern County Supervisor David Couch, tells columnist Lois Henry he is working on a constituent problem "like a rat on a Cheeto." Classic Salvaggio.

 * ... HARRISON: The revelation by Monsignor Craig Harrison that his parents were both in hospice tiggered a slew or responses. One of the best is from Jamie Henderson: "I knew Don and Dorothy Harrison were not doing well – very sorry to hear that it has reached the hospice stage. I had the great fortune to have played baseball at BHS on the 1967 Driller team that went 26-3. That was the only year Don coached varsity baseball and he guided a great team that included future Minnesota Viking, all-pro linebacker Jeff Siemon as our right fielder, and future Chicago Cub and San Francisco Giant, Steve Ontiveros, as our third baseman... Don also was absolutely one of the best CIF commissioners that our local sports officials ever worked with. Later, in the latter part of the 1970s I had the privilege of teaching with Dorothy Harrison at Sierra Junior High. Dorothy was an excellent teacher and a wonderful colleague. I am convinced that God brings a number of top notch people into our lives – Don and Dorothy are way up on my list. We all need to pray for them and their family during this time of passage."

 * ... SPCA: The local SPCA does so much good day in and day out, and it certainly deserves our support all year. The organization off Gibson Street is in dire need of fresh towels, and it is also gearing up for its annual book sale that begins April 26 with a preview night of just $10 to have a first chance at the books. The sale will run a full week, once again at 3501 Mall View Road, Suite 113-114. If you have anything to donate, please do so before the annual sale.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You may be a Bakersfield old timer if you bought groceries at the ADS Market on Baker Street, now a dog grooming business.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Same sex marriage is now supported by a clear national majority, and Monsignor Craig Harrison deals with two parents under hospice care

 * ... GAY MARRIAGE: No matter how you feel about gay marriage, it's hard to deny that support for it has been rising over the last few years. National polls now show a clear majority of Americans support the right of gays to marry, and even in California - where Proposition 8 passed to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman - today fully 61 percent of California voters approve of it. The California case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Said The New York Times about a recent survey: "The poll found that a third of Americans who support legal marriages for same-sex couples said they did not always feel that way and had changed their thinking for a variety of reasons. Among those who changed their minds, one in five said that personally knowing someone who is gay or lesbian influenced them. Other reasons volunteered by respondents included increased tolerance (17 percent) or education (17 percent) and that support for same-sex marriage is the modern way of thinking about the issue (12 percent)."

* ... VANDALISM: If you park your car in the lot across Stockdale Highway from Cal State Bakersfield to use the bike path, do so at your own risk. Yet another person has complained that their car was broken into, in broad daylight, while they were on the path walking. "We got off the path and my car alarm was blaring," one woman said. 'I think we scared them off and this isn't the first time this has happened in that lot."

 * ... MONSIGNOR: Holy week has taken on a special meaning for Monsignor Craig Harrison, who is now caring for both his ailing father and mother in his own home. Just five years after losing his sister, Harrison said both his parents are now under hospice care battling cancer. Harrison said his Easter sermon would likely reflect this important passage in his own life.

 * ... GARCES: Hats off to the Garces girls basketball team that made it to the Valley Championships, even if the team did fall short in the final. Vernetta West was one of the parents cheering on the Rams and is an unabashed Garces supporter. One of her daughters, Rachol West, is a senior and has received a full ride scholarship to San Jose State University. Her freshman daughter, Celeste West, is a six foot, three inch standout who is already on the radar of several Division 1 schools.

 * ... OVERHEARD: A middle aged woman is telling a friend about jogging in the Seven Oaks area. "I was running down Old River near Ming and counted 19 paper cups, most of them from McDonald's.  There were so many thrown out of cars I couldn't help but count them all."

 * ... SOROPTIMIST: Talk about consistency and commitment: Betty La Course of Delano has been a Soroptimist for 64 years, an engaged and active member the entire time. She and her husband owned the Delano Mortuary and then sold it to retire. She is not only a director on the the Soroptimist board, but is also a charter member of the Delano club when it was founded on March 12, 1949. The organization is devoted to helping women succeed.

 * ... GAY BLADES: From Gary Crabtree: "Oh how times have changed. Trivia question for your blog. What was the name of the East High Dance Band in 1956? Answer: The Gay Blades."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Reader Gene Bonus says you may be a Bakersfield old timer if "you played tackle football on the north lawn of the Baker Street library wearing hand sewn uniforms put together by Jesse Martinez."

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Kern County Sheriff's deputies round up 18 suspects in the rash of burglaries in the Bako Country Club area

* ... BURGLARIES: Good news for folks who live in the Bakersfield Country Club area. Sheriff's investigators last week arrested 18 people on a variety of misdemeanor and felony warrants, most of them related to a rash of home burglaries where the doors are smashed in during broad daylight.

 * ... TRASH: It's good to see some momentum regarding local litter clean ups, but some readers, like Charlie Manzer, are wondering why other communities don't seem to have much of a problem. "We go to the Ventura area a lot ... and we notice almost every visit we see Caltrans crews doing trash pick-up. Just wondering if this tourist beach community has a preference to us here in Bako? The 101 freeway and its on and off ramps are always free of litter."

 * ... MISS FRESNO. Congratulations to Elizabeth Farr, a 22-year-old senior at Fresno State University who was crowned Miss Fresno County for 2013. Elizabeth is a local graduate of Garces Memorial High School. She is majoring in business finance (entrepreneuship) and will graduate in June. She will represent Fresno in the Miss California Pageant on June 25-29 at the Saroyan Theater. Her parents are local family practice Dr. William and Chrissy Farr. Thanks to her proud grandmother, Donna Sill, for submitting this.

 * ... FIRST LOOK: If you haven't checked out First Look with Scott Cox, the radio and hi-def video simulcast on, you are missing something special. The show runs from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on NewsTalk 1180 KERN with a live video stream from The Californian newsroom at Last week's guests included Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Sheriff Donny Youngblood, Monsignor Michael Braun, former Mayor Mary Kay Shell, Houchin Blood Bank's Greg Gallion, Jim Shaw of the Buckeroos and singer Monty Byrom. On Monday, opinion editor Bob Price will be talking to 5th District Supervisor Leticia Perez, and on Tuesday I will be chatting with Monsignor Craig Harrison.

 * ... LIONS: Hats off to Mac McKnight, who last week celebrated 50 years as a Bakersfield Breakfast Lion's Club member. Mayor Harvey Hall marked the occasion by presenting him with a City of Bakersfield proclamation as March 21 being Mac McKnight day. At the age of 88, McKnight remains an active member of the Lion's Club and attends every meeting at 6 a.m. on Thursdays. (photo of Mayor Hall, Mac McKnight and Lions Club President Jim Lamar)

 * ... SOCCER: The U.S. Soccer Development Academy has announced the inclusion of 22 new clubs to the under 13-14 age division, including one in Bakersfield. The local club, called the Central California Aztecs, will join the existing clubs next fall.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You may be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember when "you could see the Milky Way every night, and watching the red lights of the cars on the Grapevine was entertaining."