Friday, June 28, 2013

McCarthy: Overbearing and restrictive regulations are hurting energy production in California, where we still import half of our crude oil despite abundant reserves

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield and House Majority Whip) gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill.

 "When I travel around the Central Valley, I see tremendous opportunities in harnessing our region’s energy potential. I’ve lived in Bakersfield my entire life, and being from Kern County, one grows up understanding that energy is vital to the health of our economy and way of life. It powers our classrooms, cools our homes, and allows parents to drive children to practice.

We are fortunate to live in a region blessed with an abundance of traditional and renewable energy resources. And with cutting-edge technological advances, we have the ability to safely and innovatively produce and develop these resources, and catapult California – and specifically, Kern – into economic growth and prosperity.

"A figure I’ve talked about frequently on this blog is that over 70 percent of California’s oil and gas – 10 percent of the national total - is produced right here in Kern County.  And this is just the beginning; recent findings uncovered that the Monterey Shale formation holds one of the world’s largest onshore reserves of shale oil, with experts predicting it has roughly 15.4 billion barrels of oil. It has not even been touched yet.

"And yet, as one of the top energy consuming states, California is growing increasingly dependent upon imported oil. For example, in 2012, 50 percent of California’s crude oil was imported.  With known untapped resources at our disposal like the Monterey Shale, this is unfathomable. And while some in this state point to an increase in domestic oil production nationally, that increase in energy production has come from private lands – not federal lands.

 "In addition to limiting public land use for energy production, overbearing and duplicative regulations have made it virtually impossible for local energy companies to survive, much less succeed.  Imagine the potential that could be unleashed if we approved commonsense energy policies that unshackled our domestic energy resources.  It is my goal that we capitalize on our resources in an environmentally respectful manner so that we can boost our regional economy, expand the influence of energy produced by Californians and reduce unnecessary energy dependence.

 "These are some reasons I supported two commonsense pieces of legislation, the Outer Continental Shelf Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreements Authorization Act (H.R.1613) and the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act (H.R. 2213), which passed the House with bipartisan support this past week. By removing federal government barriers blocking off-shore energy production and expanding domestic production possibilities in the Gulf, these two bills can help America transform energy potential into tangible results, including stabilizing fuel costs, creating over a million new jobs and strengthening the economy.

 "I believe in energy made in America, by Americans, and for Americans. Kern is already a crucial energy source for California and the nation, and our county is poised to lead our state and country towards an energy renaissance that will power our economy and alleviate foreign dependence. Instead of limiting potential, government ought to create an environment that allows growth.  This week’s legislation and more pro-energy legislation coming in the House is a step in the right direction.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bako Bits: Stockdale High loses two key staffers to retirement and who knew the Strawberry Alarm Clock once played at a Bako bowling alley?

 * ... STOCKDALE: Stockdale High School has lost two long-time staff members with the

retirements of Mark Hance and Dave "Doc" Rangel. Hance was the athletic director and Rangel the longtime athletic trainer. If your child attended Stockdale, you no doubt are aware of the good cheer and commitment both of these men brought to their jobs. Congratulations and good luck.  

  * .... BIKES: Don Brakebill is a regular runner on our bike path and submits this reminder to cyclists who share the path. "Most are courteous in announcing 'on your left' as they approach from behind, and we respond with a left hand in the air to acknowledge we had heard and understood they were passing.  A few would race by us without a word, dangerous for the rider and for the runner as either could change direction or stop suddenly. But the worst are groups of riders riding three abreast coming toward us and not moving over to their half of the pathway. So, just as cyclists expect car drivers to respect their presence and right to be on the roads, runners and walkers expect and will appreciate the same courtesy from the bikers using the pathway. There really is room for us all and biker and runner etiquette can be learned and practiced."

* ... NAVY: Carolyn Ewert, a Centennial High graduate, has now graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a degree in ocean engineering and has been commissioned an Ensign in the Navy.  She is now getting ready to report for duty at the Naval Station Everett in Everett, Washington, and will immediately be sent to her ship, the USS Shoup, which is on deployment in the Persian Gulf. She is the oldest daughter of Dave and Nancy Ewert.

* ... MEMORIES: One more memory of old Bakersfield, this one from reader Tony Contreras: "In response to writer Dave Rangel's input about he and Russ Kinney and Mike Hicks working at the Bakersfield Bowling Academy way back when, he mentioned a roller rink and drive-in with an elephant out front. The drive-in was called Jumbo's and the roller rink was called the Starlight Roller Rink on Kentucky, just east of Union. Jumbo's was part of 'the strip' that all the teenagers cruised back then. Another drive-in which was part of 'the strip' was Michener's on 18th Street near Q Street. Truly the good ole days!"

*  ... BOWLING: And speaking of old haunts, this one the Golden State Lanes, Terry Gaiser remembers its banquet room that for a while was called "Gay 90s" and later turned into a place for teens called "Club 17." As it turns out, Gaiser said, the 1960s band Strawberry Alarm Clock played there before its one big hit, "Incense and Peppermints."

  * ... MUNITIONS: And speaking of Golden State Lanes, Hal Aaron remembers that behind the bowling alley "was a very large warehouse that was used by the government to manufacture munitions and casings for the military. The operation required high security clearance. My knowledge of the above was from two brothers who worked there, one had day shift and the other had night shift." That was around 1943 or 1944, Aaron said.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Is Bakersfield College Athletic Director Ryan Beckwith being set up to be fired? And will he go quietly in the night? Stay tuned.

 * ... BAKERSFIELD COLLEGE: The real story up at Bakersfield College is not that its appeal of the punishing football sanctions has been rejected, but rather the behind-the-scenes drama in finding someone to blame for the whole mess. Insiders tell me that President Sonya Christian is fingering Athletic Director Ryan Beckwith as the fall guy, even though he has been in town just two years and some of the practices that offended the Southern California Football Association have been ongoing for years, all under the watch of Chancellor Sandra Serrano, a former BC president herself. If all this was going on before Beckwith was hired, who is responsible for that? Although still relatively new, Beckwith has gained the respect and confidence of many of BC's most influential supporters, but it likely won't be enough to save his job. If this is our equivalent of The Red Wedding massacre episode in the HBO hit Game of Thrones, something tells me Beckwith will not go quietly. Stay tuned. (file photos of Beckwith, Christian)

* ... TOUGH KITTY: On a lighter note, don't you wish we had more people in our community like Ralph Robles? He's the man who rescued a scrawny stray kitten who survived a harrowing ride under the hood of his car. In case you missed it: Robles was cruising down Olive Drive recently when his car suddenly lost power and he was forced to pull to the side of the road. What started as an inconvenience on a scorchingly hot Bakersfield day turned into something that touched his heart. The source of the problem: a small black and white kitten who had crawled into the engine area and got its paw caught in a belt. Worried the cat was near death, Robles flagged down a friendly sheriff's deputy who helped him free the injured kitten. Animal control was then called but the officer told Robles that the kitten would likely be euthanized if taken to the county shelter. "I just could not allow a cat that survived a 20-mile ride in a hot house engine compartment and getting tangled with a moving engine belt be put down after such a heroic fight to live," he said. The kitten was taken to a local veterinarian who treated her broken leg with antibiotics and a splint. "We are calling it TK (for Tough Kitty) until we find its real forever family. It responds to any hand that touches it with love and drags itself to whoever offers a caress. Gentle and loving, it was tough enough to win a fight with a 4,000 pound car." Now that is a happy ending.

* ... OVERHEARD: A woman is overheard sharing the secrets of a long marriage with a friend. "My pool man has been married for over 40 years. When I asked him what the secret was, he told me, 'Once you give up hope, everything is okay.'" Yikes.

 * ... DIGNAN: Melissa Dignan, the popular former weather forecaster for KERO TV, has joined Watson Realty as a residential sales agent. Dignan worked for KERO TV for almost four years before her contract was not renewed. She is married to Brian Dignan, a coach for the Bakersfield Christian High School basketball team.

* ... BURGER JOINT: Riley Parker remembers the old hamburger drive-in that was located on Golden State just north of Farmer John's Pancake House. He said it was named Jumbo Burger and he was a regular then while serving as a Bakersfield police motorcycle officer. "I shared many cups of coffee there with ‘old-timers’ such as Alan Zachary, Dale Parnell, Jerry Vanderpool, Dave Schieber, Danny Shrider, and a host of other fine men in blue."

 * ... SECRET SAUCE: Back in the day one of the best hamburgers in town could be found at Billy Bob's Burgers. Cheryle DeMarco was a regular there and talked the owners into sharing their secret sauce before the place closed. "I would see them spray something out of big white spray bottle right before the burger's were done. They were so good. I use this sauce on almost any red meat I barbecue now. It is three quarters Worcestershire sauce and one quarter liquid smoke. Salt and pepper your meat, then spray this on when almost done. I also use it as a marinade."

Monday, June 24, 2013

Kern County's Tejon Ranch as seen through a corporate video

 A look at the history of Tejon Ranch in a video put together by the corporate marketing department.

McCarthy: Small businesses live in fear of Obamacare and are already firing workers or holding off on hiring others

 House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill:

  "Back in 2009, as the debate over the President’s proposed health care law heated up, I held a Town Hall here in Bakersfield to hear directly from members of our community on this issue.  Thousands came to CSUB that night - and a shocking 90% strongly opposed the law. Now, as the January 1 date for full implementation of Obamacare comes closer, small business owners, families and individuals in California and across the nation are beginning to grasp the drastic impact Obamacare will have on their families.

 "In fact, small business owners are so afraid of what Obamacare implementation means for their bottom line that many are not only holding off on hiring, but already laying off workers. A recent Gallup poll found that 41% of businesses surveyed are so worried about the cost increases caused by Obamacare they have frozen hiring. And about one fifth of small employers revealed they’d already reduced the number of employees they have as a direct result of Obamacare. The majority of businesses believe Obamacare will lead to increased costs and reduced quality of health care. As I travel around our communities in California, I hear the same concerns voiced by our local small business owners. 

 "Unfortunately, leading health care and economic policy analysts agree- Californians are in for rate shock.  According to a recent Forbes article, the myriad of regulations and mandates in Obamacare will drive up insurance costs for Californians purchasing health care on their own by as much as 146%! The article observes that on average, a healthy 25 or 40 year old consumer in California will see their individual-market premium double. Ironically, the President attacked insurers back in 2010 after they announced that some groups would face premium increases of up to 39%.

 "Our homegrown businesses and hardworking California taxpayers already struggle to survive here thanks to some of the furthest-reaching and duplicative regulations in the nation. The last thing we need are thousands more pages of bureaucratic regulations from Obamacare. Still, Democratic state legislator Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez recently introduced legislation (AB 880) that piles on even more red tape to the health care law that will exacerbate the harmful effect Obamacare will have on our small business growth and hiring.

"Small business and individual freedom are at the heart of the entrepreneurship and innovation needed for job creation. Obamacare is already getting in the way of small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs’ ability to succeed, and this has serious implications for economic recovery. Like the attendees of my 2009 health care Town Hall, I continue to be gravely concerned about the effect the health care law will have on the California economy and taxpayers – which is why I have voted over 30 times in the House to repeal or replace Obamacare. I urge Governor Brown and California Democrats to wake up to the reality of Obamacare and put California back on track. This law must be repealed.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bako Bits: Bakersfield experiences an open war on bicyclists; when will the madness end? And more readers recall the old Bakersfield Bowling Academy

 * ... BAD FORM: Are we experiencing an open season on local bicyclists? It sure seems that way, and now we have yet another example of a driver deliberately running down a cyclist, once again on Panorama Drive. Said Krisi Heriford: "To whomever hit our friend, Lisa, who was riding her bike on Father's Day up the Panorama bluffs, shame on you for not stopping after you struck her with your vehicle. The impact of being struck by your mirror threw her from her bike, landing on her head and breaking her helmet. Even though she has a huge hematoma from the impact of your mirror against her arm, and cuts and soreness, she will recover.  Her family, as well as all of her friends, are so ever grateful that she was able to return home, after going to the hospital, to celebrate Father's Day with her family, just in case you were wondering after you sped off if she survived."

 * ... BURGERS: Bryan Kelly submits this memory of a special hamburger place. "There are several reasons why I lost my 29 inch waist, but a major contributing factor is the great American institution known as the hamburger. I remember Bob's as Billy Bob's Burgers and Beer... a 'dive' is a superlative form that does not begin to describe that wonderful old place. The restrooms were in a separate building behind the bar and were labeled as 'himpies' and 'herpies.'  I speak fluent hamburger and will always have a special place in my heart and a notch on my belt for Billy Bob's."

 * .. BOWLING: My earlier post about an old bowling alley on Golden State hit a nerve with readers, and my in box was full of memories. Marlia Maples joined others in identifying it was the Bakersfield Bowling Academy. "Before moving to Golden State, Bakersfield Bowling Academy was located at 1106 18th Street. The owners were Jack Moore and Pete Lokey. There were always problems with the roof leaking as the building supported 36 lanes without the use of inside supports in the lane area. The trophy shop was managed many years by Spike Cohn. I worked the front desk on the day shift from approximately 1975 to 1978." Another reader, Nancy Green, still has a cigarette light emblazoned with the name of the bowling alley and its owners, Lokey and Moore. (reader submitted picture of the old bowling alley)

 * ... MORE BOWLING: Another reader, Dave Rangel of Stockdale High, also worked there. "I know because I was a porter there, along with Russ Kinney and Mike Hicks... Russ and myself disassembled the bowling lanes located on the site around the late 1960s." Eugene Wood remembers the area being popular with teens at the time. "It was a hub of activity in the 1950s with a roller rink, Farmer John's Pancake House and a drive in with girls on roller skates bringing orders out to your car. I don't remember the names of the roller rink or drive in, but I seem to recall a large grey elephant neon sign with the drive in."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: John Strand of Lake Isabella says you may be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember when "the only Bank of America in Bakersfield (20th and Chester) had a full-time Bakersfield police officer in the main customer area."