Thursday, May 16, 2013

State Senate candidate Leticia Perez denies commenting on a video by the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, but a digital footprint indicates otherwise

 * ... PEREZ: Leticia Perez, the county supervisor who is in a heated District 16 state Senate race, took me to task for saying she was"not amused"by a locally produced video promoting fiscally sound government. The video was produced by the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government and is titled "If I Wanted Kern County to Fail." It talks about balanced budgets, pension and education reform,
personal responsibility and leadership. Perez sent me an email denying she had ever commented on the video and demanding that I "clarify" it in this blog. So here is the clarification: I have a copy of the email Perez sent to Jenifer Pitcher, the community liaison at KCRG, in which Perez says this about the video: "What a joke." That's not an official Perez statement, but I think it fairly captures how she feels about KCRG and its video. I asked Perez to respond, and if she believed her email had been hacked, and she responded that she would "look into it." So there you have it. Perez is among five candidates running in the May 21 election. She is generally expected to end up in a runoff with cherry farmer Andy Vidak, a Republican.

 * ... SILVA: The confiscation of two cell phones from witnesses who said they videotaped the beating death of David Sal Silva at the hands of Kern County Sheriff's deputies may have a chilling effect on future witnesses. As one caller to The Ralph Bailey Show remarked: why would anyone tell the police they have video of a crime scene if they know a deputy will show up at their door and demand that the phone be surrendered? In the future, it's more likely folks will share the video with news organizations or friends before telling police they have evidence. Sheriff Donny Youngblood said his deputies were simply securing the crime scene and gathering evidence, but showing up at witness doors and demanding their mobile phones doesn't exactly engender trust. Meanwhile, this story has been covered by CNN, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and other national news outlets, not exactly the kind of image we would like to project.

* ... BAD FORM: Mary Williams spotted this bit of really bad form in the parking lot of the Vons grocery store at the corner of Stockdale and California. "I was livid ... to find a small black and white dog inside of a White Toyota Camry. The temperature outside was 93. It must have been well over 100 inside of the car. No water for the dog, a crack of the window on each side, the dog obviously was suffering in the heat.  Fifteen minutes passed and still no owner of the car (I had to call animal control because I couldn’t leave with a clear conscience).   I wonder….  Could the owner have sat inside the car under the same circumstances and be comfortable? At least they would have the option to exit the pressure cooker."

 * ... PIT BULLS: And speaking of dogs, retired city clerk Pamela McCarthy had a nasty run-in with a stray pit bull while she was taking her Schnauzer Buddy for a walk in Westchester the other day. "A few blocks from home a stray pit bull came out of nowhere and attacked us," she said. "I have never been more afraid. Fortunately for me I was carrying pepper spray and some homeowners and a gentleman driving down Elm stopped and came to my assistance. I wound up with a few bites and Buddy was badly bruised and shaken and we made a quick trip to the doctor and vet. We were very lucky and I truly want to thank those who came to our aide. Animal control was able to locate the stray and will quarantine it for 10 days. This is the second time a loose dog as come after us. Please remind dog owners that dogs do not stay in their yards when they see another dog. So please, keep them fenced or on a leash."

 * ... PARKING: Earlier this month reader Stephen A. Montgomery parked at City Hall to participate in Mayor Harvel Hall's annual litter survey. His reward? A parking ticket for $25. "It never occurred to me permits would be needed for that parking lot considering the lack of any other interests anywhere nearby that might want parking but now I know better," he said. No good deed goes unpunished.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Race for the open 16th District state Senate District heats up with heated barbs between frontrunners Leticia Perez and Andy Vidak, and a reunion is set for the old Kern County Union High School

 * ... PEREZ: With just a week to go the campaign for the 16th District state Senate race is growing predictably nasty. Frontrunners Leticia Perez and Andy Vidak have taken the gloves off, both airing scathing TV ads attacking the other. And now comes word that Perez had to apologize for using the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe in a campaign flier distributed in Fresno. Perez called it an "image of inspiration" but apologized after a complaint was filed with the Fresno Archdiocese. Perez also was not amused by a popular video produced by the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government promoting more fiscally sound policies. And finally, Perez abruptly canceled a scheduled appearance on KERN's First Look with Scott Cox video simulcast after The Californian endorsed Vidak. If Perez and Vidak end up in a runoff, as is widely expected, we'll all have two more months of this to entertain us. (file photos of Perez, Vidak)

* ... GRANTS: The Bakersfeld Californian (family) Foundation has awarded $225,413 in grants to Kern County nonprofits involved in community enrichment projects throughout Kern County, including beautification efforts, small scope historical preservation projects and general community improvement. Among the recipients were The Bakersfield Museum of Art, Golden Empire Gleaners, Saint Vincent de Paul Center, Fox Theater Foundation, Covenant Community Service, the Gay and Lesbian Center of Bakersfield, The Cross Family Center and the Kern River Parkway Foundation, among others.

 * ... REUNION: There is a very special reunion planned this Saturday: the 75th anniversary of the 1938 class of Kern County Union High School. At this point, organizer Ada Davis says 38 classmates have been located and about half of them will be attending with friends and family. The first reunion of the class was held back in 1958 when 376 members of the graduating class of 630 attended. Many of these folks are among the "who's who" of Bakersfield, and it will surely be a memorable event. The event is planned for 11 a.m. at Marie Callender's.

 * ... TENNIS: If you are out and about this (Wednesday) evening, you might want to run over to Seven Oaks Country Club for a special (and free) tennis exhibition. It's being sponsored by a local company that provides fracking monitoring services for safe and effective oil field development and is called "Hit the Target," as in in both fracking and tennis. Ellen Bartling, a former standout tennis player at Stockdale High School and now a graduate of UC Santa Barbara working in the oil industry, is helping in promoting the event. The matches start from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

 * ... MEMORIAL DAY: Greenlawn Funeral Home is holding a special Memorial Day celebration at its Southwest location on Panama Lane. It will include an honor guard, Tehachapi police pipes and drums, the Blue Star Moms, speakers and even a Marine vocalist. There will be food and activities for children following the 11 a.m. event. A more traditional service will be held at the River Boulevard location in the Northeast.

 * ... CORRECTION: Dominic's Dugout, one of the Relay for Life teams, raised $45,000 for cancer research over a three year period and not all in the recently completed Relay event.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Longtime Bakersfield boxing and music venue The Dome is purchased by a local church and a local girl in named 1st Team All America on the Colorado State University lacrosse team

 * ... THE DOME: The Dome, the Bakersfield entertainment center know as a venue for boxing and live music, has been purchased by a local church-affiliated organization. The new name will be the Cross Family Center at The Dome. Toure Tyler, pastor of the Cross Christian Church, said they hope to continue using the Dome for concerts and boxing but he also has plans to make it more of a community center to reach out to needy youth.

 * ... LACROSSE: Congratulation to Abby Wattenbarger, a former Garces Memorial High School athlete who has been named 1st Team All America in Lacrosse at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. She played tennis and basketball at Garces and never played Lacrosse until going to school at CSU. She is the daughter of Doug and Elle Wattenbarger. (file photos of CSU lacrosse)

 * ... BAD FORM? There are always two sides to every story, and Bonnie Navarrette wrote to present her side. She admitted being the driver who rolled through a four-way stop sign near East Hills the other day, only to be chastised by another driver. "I am the woman involved in the altercation (the reader) described except, he didn't state the whole story. (He) is implying that he was just trying to be nice when in fact he stalked me down in the Big 5 parking lot and after he didn't get the response  he was looking for told me to kiss his (a...)_ flipped me off and went tearing off in the parking lot. I do not make it a habit to get in arguments with old men in parking lots especially with my children with me, so I went in the store. What else was I supposed to do? The only lesson my children learned that day was there are very rude people in this town trying to disguise themselves as polite."

 * ... INTERNSHIPS: The local office of state Assemblywoman Shannon Grove is taking applications for unpaid summer  internships. There is a five week commitment and you but have graduated from high school with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and be at least 18 years old. If interested, send a resume, cover letter, and transcript to: Cathy Abernathy, Office of Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, 4900 California Ave # 100 B, Bakersfield, CA 93309.

 * ... TAFT COLLEGE: Taft College will be holding its commencement on Friday, May 24, at the Taft Union High football stadium. This comes while the school is showing a 15 percent jump in enrollment for summer and an 18 percent increase for the fall.

 * ... RELAY: Among the 300-plus teams out at Relay for Life last week was Dominic's Dugout, named in memory of Dominic Cornejo, a Garces High graduate who died of cancer several years ago. His parents, Gerry and Irma Cornejo, told me the team raised $45,000.  "We relay so that those lost to cancer will not be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day cancer will be eliminated," they said.