Friday, September 6, 2013

Cal State professor Gonzalo Santos replies to Congressman McCarthy's description of their meeting on immigration reform.

 Gonzalo Santos is a CSUB sociology professor who has been active in the movement to push for sweeping reform of our nation's immigration laws. He was with a small group of pro reform activists who met with McCarthy recently. McCarthy told me Santos threatened him by telling him he would 
"make me feel the pain" by having protestors shadow his every movement. 

 Today Santos claimed that McCarthy had twisted the facts. His note to me follows. Santos also accepted my invitation to be my guest on First Look with Scott Cox this coming Tuesday at 9 a.m. on KERN NewsTalk 1180. The interview will be broadcast live on Tune in to hear his side of the story. His note:

"Mr Beene,

I know blogging is held to more relaxed standards of journalism than straight reporting, but it would have been nice to check with me statements attributed to me.

"For the record, what Rep. McCarthy told you I told him is a distortion, a fabrication. If you are interested in finding out what I actually told him, feel free to ask me and I'll be glad to tell you or one of your reporters.

"But for now, and paraphrasing Harry Truman: I'm not in the habit of threatening politicians, I merely tell them the truth and they think it's a threat.

"BTW, his 'explanation' for his noticed absence on the two pilgrimage events last Sunday & Monday is also disingenuous. His staff informed us WEEKS IN ADVANCE he would not greet or meet the pilgrims. Had he been willing to greet us and join us in searching for a pathway to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans, we would have gladly walked even longer to accommodate his busy recess schedule.

Thank you for the excellent coverage of those events and publishing our editorial on Wednesday.

Prof. Gonzalo Santos

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cal State Bakersfield professor threatens House Majority Whip over the issue of immigration, saying it will be like the 1960s all over again

 * ... MCCARTHY: It is reasonable that people get passionate over immigration reform, but does it excuse threats and intimidation? In a meeting with local pro-reform activists, Rep. Kevin McCarthy was taken aback when CSUB sociology instructor Gonzalo Santos issued a veiled threat if real reform legislation doesn't pass within three months. According to McCarthy, Santos said he would "make me feel the pain... make it difficult for me" by having his movements shadowed by protests if immigration reform doesn't happen. "He told me it would be like the 1960s again," McCarthy told me. "They already come by my house and it makes my daughter feel uncomfortable... I don't like being threatened." My own views on this issue are probably closer to those of Santos than McCarthy, but I don't believe these kinds of threats are the least bit constructive. McCarthy also dismissed accusations that he refused to meet with pro reform protesters who showed up at his local office over Labor Day, saying he had been called back to Washington for the intelligence briefing on the Syria conflict. (file photo of Gonzalo Santos)

* ... VALLEY FEVER: House Majority Whip McCarthy may be in the cross hairs over immigration reform, but some of the most important work he is doing is in trying to find a vaccine for Valley Fever. He has now gotten the attention of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, and two CDC directors will be in Bakersfield Sept. 23-24 for the first Valley Fever Symposium. McCarthy is invited all survivors of Valley Fever, and their family and friends. to a reception on Sept. 23 at 4:30 p.m. at the Hans Einstein Center at 1800 Mount Vernon.

 * ... MORE VALLEY FEVER: And speaking of Valley Fever, did you know that 97 percent of all Valley Fever cases come from Kern and three Arizona counties? It's the limited impact geographically that has allowed the disease to fly under the radar.

 * ... SPOTTED: On Truxtun Avenue headed east near Oak Street a reader spots a Bakersfield police officer in an unmarked patrol car, stopped with his lights and flashers on in the left hand lane. "He was out of his vehicle helping a driver push his stalled or broken-down car out of the road and into a nearby parking lot. I know it's something pretty simple, and I shouldn't really be surprised, but it was awesome to see one of our local officers offer a quick helping hand to a stranded motorist. And I think it shows you're never too busy to help someone."

 * ... LATINATION: If you have never attended a First Friday in the downtown arts district, this is the Friday to do it. The most popular art show in town opens today at The Metro Galleries when Latination premiers, an impressive collection of more than 100 pieces celebrating the arts and culture of the Latino community. As usual, all of the other art galleries along 19th Street and around the Fox Theater will be open. Things get popping around 5 p.m.

 * ... PROSTATE CANCER: There is a free prostate cancer screening for the uninsured or under insured this Saturday. It's sponsored by the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center and local urologists and will be held at the CBCC on Truxtun Avenue. You can call now to make a free appointment at (661) 862-7136. The screening runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

United Farm Workers and Democratic Senate leader pushing legislation to impose contracts on California farmers, and 'Miss Sue' Mitchell from the Blind Side to appear at CSUB Roadrunner scholarship dinner

 * ... UFW: There was a damning opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal the other day taking to task the United Farm Workers (UFW), which is trying to impose a a contract against Sanger-based Gerawan Farming. The piece said the UFW, with help from state Senate President Darrell Steinberg, is pushing legislation that would allow farmworker unions to request state mediation "whenever a contract expires, thus obliterating collective bargaining. Unions often prefer mediation because they don't have to negotiate with management, and workers don't get to vote on the final contract." What is behind all this? According to the Journal the UFW, which has lost 90 percent of its members since the 1970s, desperately needs dues from the 5,000 Gerawan workers to pad its own coffers. "Hitting up Gerawan's 5,000 workers could double the union's revenues, and the easiest way to extract money from workers was to enlist the state's help." As usual, it's always about the money.

 * ... BLIND SIDE: The CSUB Roadrunner Scholarship Fund is holding a dinner on Thursday, Sept. 12, that is worth checking out. It will feature "Miss Sue" Mitchell, the educator whose work was depicted by Kathy Bates in the movie "The Blind Side." She is the woman who worked with Super Bowl offensive lineman Michael Oher as he struggled with school. Tickets are just $40 for Roadrunner Scholarship Fund members and $50 for the public. Contact Cathy Lee at (661) 654-2188.

* ... FEEDBACK: This feedback comes from reader Sharon Langham regarding a blog post about how idling cars can contribute to air pollution. "I can't believe you reprinted the letter (comment) from Jon Crawford... Come on now. Why can I drive almost 400 miles before I need gas but could idle only (by his crazy calculations for 45 minutes)? Mr. Beene, someone should be looking to replace you as CEO/President as your brain must have been on idle for even giving Mr. Crawford the time it took to read such an idiotic letter in the first place, let alone print it. I am a bit curious to see how many people respond as I have."

 * ... STINSON: Ben F. Stinson III will be honored this week with the John Brock Award, recognizing his years of service to our community. This is a well deserved honor for a man who works tirelessly to benefit Bakersfield. Proceeds from the dinner benefit the School of Business and Public Administration at California State University Bakersfield.

 * ... MEMORIES: I had a nice telephone chat with reader Ron Ruettgers, who shared the story of when his grandmother (Minnie Bridges) accidentally helped plow a car into the old Green Frog when it was located at California and Chester. "My aunt had parked her brand new 1950 Cadillac in front of the store and left my grandmother inside," he told me. "She must have left the car idling as my grandmother reached over and must have knocked it into gear. It propelled the car right into the Smith's Bakery in the front of the store." Thankfully, no one was seriously injured.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Is China contributing to the San Joaquin Valley's air pollution? And tune in Tuesday at 9 a.m. for my interview with Monsignor Craig Harrison

 * ... IDLING CARS: Jon Crawford wrote to add his voice to those concerned how idling cars contribute to pollution. "I am in agreement with Gerhard Schmidt’s comments about idling cars at the Costco gas pumps. What he didn’t add was that cars use somewhere between one and two gallons of gasoline while idling. That means that at the low end, they are burning 6 cents of gas for every minute they wait in line at Costco [or at a long stop light]; making any wait uneconomic, unless one shuts off their
engine. A few years ago, I did some rough calculations along this same line and concluded that idling at our fast food places’ drive-thru lines result in burning 20-gallons of gas each hour per place. That’s a lot of wasted gasoline in Bakersfield. There’s more. If these customers walked from the parking lot to the inside counter, they would collectively burn some 150 pounds of fat every 12 hours these places are open; which may be one of the bigger causes of our fair city’s high rate of obesity."

 * ... POLLUTION: And speaking of air pollution, did you read the story in the Sunday Californian by Steven Mayer? It is a fascinating read that says researchers now believe that China may be contributing to the Valley's bad air. If that is correct, and high levels of ozone are being transported across the Pacific Ocean from China, then the Valley could be being unfairly punished. Said Mayer: "This research raises serious questions regarding the annual assessment of a $29 million pollution penalty paid primarily by Valley motorists in their vehicle registration fees - a cost borne each year when the district exceeds the federal standards." Stay tuned for more on this.

 * ... FATHER CRAIG: Monsignor Craig Harrison will be my guest on First Look with Scott Cox on Tuesday at 9 a.m.. We'll talk about the death of his father, dealing with long term illnesses and get his take on comments by Pope Francis about married or gay priests. The show airs on KERN NewsTalk 1180 and is video streamed live on

* ... EAST: If you went to East Bakersfield High School, remember the 75th anniversary celebration set for October 12. It will be homecoming when East plays Tehachapi High and the celebration will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Karen Strong Cunningham, class of 1976, is organizing some of the events for the graduating classes from the 1970s.

* ... MEMORIES: Phyllis Smith wrote to say she was born and raised in Bakersfield and early on lived on H Street just a house away from a place called Higdon's Tenth Street Grocery. "My mother used to give me a dime to go there and buy a loaf of bread. It was usually white bread from Golden Crust Bakery locally. This is where she did her grocery shopping. There are so many stories about Bakersfield.  Thank you for printing them for us to enjoy."
 * ... MEMORIES: And this From Sara Lynn Adams: "My father, Joe Adams, worked for Gus Ergo very many moons ago and lived in the Oleander area too.  My father was Gus's 'delivery man' and  he would take groceries to their houses and got to know the neighborhood quite well.  I think in those days my father made 14 cents an hour. My father knew all the people in the neighborhood, and would help them with grocery shopping, lawn mowing, and other chores...When my father was old enough he went to work for the railroad, and the railroad would get shipments for stores, and some freight would be damaged... the railroad would give the employees a first choice of the damaged goods. My father bought a dining room table, which Gus Ergo in turn exchanged his dining room table for.  My mother still has the dining room table my father exchanged with Gus 60 plus years ago."