Friday, April 19, 2013

McCarthy: Boston act of terrorism will not crack the American resolve ... we will heal

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield and House Majority Whip, gives us his response to the Boston Marathon bombings. In his words:

 "This week, we were stunned by a ruthless and cowardly act of terrorism in Boston.  On Massachusetts’ state holiday Patriots’ Day – a day that recognizes the sacrifices of our ancestors to establish a free society – the freedom to live in peace was viciously attacked.  Thousands of people from around the world participated in the Boston Marathon, including at least 12 people from  However, we tragically lost an 8 year old boy, a young woman, and an exchange student from China who were all partaking in the festivities of the day. And now, an innocent officer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Judy and I share our thoughts and with those families whose lives have been forever changed. 
Bakersfield. Thankfully, all have been safely accounted for.

 "As our country comes together to pray for those who were killed and those who were injured, and we see the horrific video of the bombing, we cannot forget the resolute spirit of America.  When we watch those individuals run to those in need, not thinking of what could happen to themselves, we see that spirit is going to unite this country. It is that spirit that we heard as a thunderous crowd sang our National Anthem before the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres hockey game this week. It is that spirit that has united us in times of crisis in the past, and is certainly what unites us behind Boston now.

 "One thing is certain - the walls of American resolve have been tested before, and our strength does not crack. Terrorism on our homeland seeks to instill fear and panic into the daily lives of the American people. We will not let that happen. All necessary resources have been committed to make sure the perpetrators are found and brought to justice, and to begin to heal Boston and the rest of the country.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fresh and Easy may join Green Frog and Young's on the long list of smaller, local supermarkets that have left the Bakersfield market, and the BC drumline heads to Ohio for a national championship competition

 * ... GROCERS: Fans of the local Fresh and Easy grocery stories are lamenting over the British parent firm's decision to unload its unprofitable U.S. enterprise. If Fresh and Easy leaves our market, it will join Young's Market and the Green Frog on the list of smaller grocery stories that have left our community. On the upside, the Dollar General markets like the one that occupies the old Young's store hold promise in filling the void left by the locally owned grocers.

 * .... OOPS: Today's morning chuckle comes from reader Darlene Stewart: "This happened on a recent visit to my eye doctor in Oildale. In the crowded waiting room a man came in with his dog.  They were able to find a seat and while waiting the dog seemed nervous and fidgety, which seemed unusual for a 'service dog.' Shortly thereafter, an observant woman asked the man if he was there for an eye exam. Looking surprised, he said, 'No, for my dog's shots!' Embarrassed but good naturedly he laughed as he left with his dog to go next door to the veterinary office!"

* ... THATCHER: Do you remember when former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher spoke at the Bakersfield Business Conference? Phyllis Adams was a hostess at The Tavern by the Green then and remembers with the late British leader had dinner there. "She was most gracious in remarking about the restaurant and on leaving stopped to say thank you to me. A more charming lady is hard to find."

 * ... SMALL TOWN: One of Bakersfield's great charms is its small-town feel even when we continue to grow. Mary Moreland said it best when she noted that her soon-to-be-married niece, who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, sent a wedding announcement addressed simply to 'Uncle Car and Aunt Mary' with no last name and to the wrong address. "She had the right street but missed the right number by 2000. (But) our mailman got the letter to us! Living in Bakersfield does have many advantages."

 * ... DRUMLINE: The Bakersfield College drumline is in Dayton, Ohio, competing in a national drumline championships. But it hasn't been a trip without troubles. It turns ou the 37 students, instructors and director Tim Heasley got caught up in the American Airlines snafu that grounded thousands of air craft, but the crew finally made it to Ohio. Wish them luck.

* ... KOREA BOUND: Jim Bell and his wife Donna are in South Korea spending a week representing the Rotary District 5240. Jim recently retired as vice president of Clear Channel Radio and told me the trip is to visit a "sister district" which includes Busan and Ulsan, South Korea. Certainly an interesting time to be on the Korean peninsula.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Gene Bonas says you may be a Bakersfield old timer if you "watched sporting events on the asphalt surfaces at Washington Jr. High (now the Bakersfield City School District office complex).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Boston bombings bring out the conspiracy theorists on the web, and a little good - and bad - form around our community

 * ... BOSTON: The terrorist bombings at the Boston Marathon are almost beyond belief, but equally disturbing are the troubled ramblings posted on social media websites like
Facebook, Twitter and other forums. Within an hour of the bombings some folks were speculating this was an "inside job" by our own government, or a scheme by President Obama to manipulate public opinion. The immediacy of social media allows us to talk before we think. It's disheartening that some among us simply cannot take a moment to grieve for the victims and their families as the investigations unfold. (photos courtesy of CNN and

 * ... GOOD FORM: Stephen Montgomery passed along these comments about a thoughtful driver. "While riding my Harley northbound on Highway 99 following a silver midsize sedan I noted the driver signaled one flash of his right turn signal to alert me to a piece of truck tire scrap in the road. Those scraps from big rig tires that have been recapped are a genuine hazard to anyone who has the misfortune to run over them. For a motorcyclist it can be a fatal event and I sincerely appreciated this motorist's thoughtfulness."

 * ... BAD FORM: And then there is this, sent by a reader I will only identify as J.V. "I couldn't believe my eyes. As if her good looks weren't enough to attract attention, a lady in a black GMC Yukon Denali near Sports Chalet on California accidentally set off her car alarm and then still proceeded to empty trash from her car onto the ground. Given today's breeze, it was soon scattered all over the parking lot.  Some people."

 * ... STOLEN CAR: Hats off to Bakersfield Police detectives who recently followed up on a citizen's call of two suspicious men to return a stolen car to its owner. The lesson: never hesitate to call BPD to report suspicious activity in your neighborhood.

 * ... TOGNINI: I had a nice chat with Sandra Bays, whose parents were Arthur and Patricia Tognini, owners of the old Brundage Variety Store and active members of our community. She called to correct an earlier writer about a TV show that she hosted on channel 23. "I had a birth injury that was corrected and never had a (prosthetic) eye," she said. Between 1964 and 1971, she and her husband also hosted a TV program called the Sandra and Jimmy Bays show that featured prominent newsmakers and celebrities. The old Brundage Variety, she said, was located on Chester Avenue in the middle of the block between Brundage and 1st Street.

 * ... MEMORIES: And here's another memory of Bakersfield a few years back, this one from reader Becky Arguedas. "Yes, I remember a variety store on Brundage Lane but I believe it was called Southwest Variety. They had everything from sewing notions, toys and everything in between.  I got my first Barbie doll there in the late 1950s. I also remember a bar at the corner of Brundage and Hughes Lane. It was called Piggots. The neighborhood kids would gather on the cul-de-sac and play baseball where I grew up not far from there and when our neighbor would come home from work, we would scatter when we saw his car coming because he always stopped at Piggots before he came home."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

McCarthy: President's budget calls for unsustainable spending and millions of dollars in new tax hikes

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

 "This week, we lost two remarkable women who many of us admired.  First, the world mourned the passing of Margaret Thatcher, or the “Iron Lady” as the Soviets nicknamed her.  And deservedly so - she was an unflinching champion of liberty, democracy, and free enterprise. The daughter of a
grocer, Thatcher rose to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, turned Britain around and, with President Reagan, won the Cold War.  As we face some of our greatest challenges as a nation, let’s remember her words, “There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty.”  This transformational world leader will be missed.

 "The same day, we also learned Annette Funiciello, who many know as one of the original Musketeers on “The Mickey Mouse Club”, passed away in Bakersfield after a long battle against multiple sclerosis. Throughout her life and career she inspired viewers and touched many lives.

 "In Washington, 65 days past the deadline, the President finally released his version of a budget.  In it, he calls for $1.1 trillion in new taxes on top of those he already put on American taxpayers in January.  The President’s budget fails to rein in spending, and instead calls for $964 billion in new spending above the projected growth of the economy.  On this path, we could see $45.5 trillion in total spending over ten years.  This is unacceptable and, as I’ve said time and again, we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.  Yet, his unserious budget only reduces the deficit by $119 billion over ten years – not the initial $1.8 trillion deficit reduction claimed by the White House.

 "That does not put us on a sustainable path and that is why House Republicans put forth a different plan that gives people more control over their own lives and less government bureaucracy.  I am pleased the House recently passed this responsible budget blueprint that holds Washington accountable and tackles the real drivers of our debt. By cutting waste, simplifying the tax code, repealing Obamacare and replacing it with patient-centered reforms, and reforming entitlements to ensure they exist for future generations, this plan allows hardworking taxpayers to keep more, save more, and invest more.

"This week I also chatted with Scott Cox on First Look about ongoing efforts in the battle against Valley Fever.  I sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health director and other senior officials requesting a meeting to express our communities’ sense of urgency that they prioritize Valley Fever vaccine research and develop better methods of preventing and overcoming this illness.  Additionally, I will travel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta to tour the facilities and meet with the director and leading experts in combating this disease. As a lifelong resident of the Central Valley, I’ve seen how this disease has affected the lives of so many around us, and I will continue to lead the effort in Washington and around the country to raise awareness and find a solution.

Bako Bits: a local connection to the Jackie Robinson movie and East Rotary puts on a fund raiser to find a cure for Valley Fever

 * ... JACKIE ROBINSON: It turns out that the movie on the life of Jackie Robinson has a local connection. Joy Cook Tolladay told me that her brother, Dick Cook, is executive producer of the film and she recently attended a special screening.  "It's a story about courage, it's a love story and it's the best history lesson we can teach our children. Even though I didn't grow up in that era, I always
knew Jackie Robinson was a hero. I just didn't respect how big of a hero he was until I saw the movie."

 * ... LUIGIS: Is there a better way to spend a lazy Saturday brunch than at Luigi's Restaurant and Delicatessen over on East 19th Street? The long-time favorite lunch haunt features a can't miss menu, outside seating and new courtyard bar and a chance to reconnect with folks you haven't seen for months.

* ... MOVING UP: Debbie Allen is an understandably proud mother who brought us up to date on her surgeon son, Clint Tanner Allen, a 1997 graduate of Shafter High School. He went on to graduate from Bakersfield College and later Texas A and M University. From there it was medical school, internships and residency and now he is on the faculty at Johns Hopkins as an assistant professor of otolaryngology.

 * ... GOOD DEED: Hats off to the anonymous person who picked up the tab for a group of seniors from an assisted living facility who had lunch at Woolgrower's last week. Irving Falk was one of those who was treated to lunch and called me to "thank this person for a wonderful, wonderful thing."

 * ... MEMORIES: Reader Pat Donnallan remembers the old Brundage Variety store. "If you were one of the kids living West of Roosevelt School, Brundage Variety was a usual stop on your way home from Emerson Junior High. In the 1950s we walked from Myrtle and Bank atreets to Emerson. Parents did not drive you to school, you walked that two miles. On our walks home in the hot afternoon sun, we would hit Brundage Variety for the candy bar then walk up Chester to Warrens Drive-in for a Coke for that energy to help get us home. Brundage Variety was located on the southwest corner of Chester Avenue and 1st Street . I believe the store was owned by the Toggnini’s and I vaguely remember Mr. Toggnini was the pharmacist there  Their daughter Sandra went on to be on TV with an afternoon show here in town and she was always fondly remembered as the ‘lady with the glass eye.'  She used to have pound puppies on her show and mom took my sis and I to get one of the dogs we saw on her show.  Yep, brings back a lot of memories."

 * ... VALLEY FEVER: The East Rotary Club is holding a wine lovers dinner this Saturday over at Monsignor Leddy Hall at Garces Memorial High School. It's called Vino Amore and will feature a five course gourmet meal catered by T.L. Maxwell's Restaurant and Bar, followed by live and silent auctions. Proceeds will benefit Valley Fever Americas, the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House and the East Bakersfield Rotary Foundation. Tickets are $75. Call Sandi Schwartz at (661) 706-6663.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Gil Pedersen says you are definitely a Bakersfield old time pilot if you remember "when you could  take  or land from Meadows Field without radio contact. You got clearance from the tower by light signals."