Friday, November 15, 2013

McCarthy: Today Americans are losing their health care insurance, and tomorrow we might lose access to doctors because of Obamacare

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

 "After the President broke his promise to the American people that they could keep their health insurance under his law, we’re seeing that is simply not the case around the country. More and more
constituents are coming forward upset that the health care plans they have had are now ending. In California, it is now expected that about 1 million Californians will lose their existing health insurance by the end of this year.

 "What is most frustrating to me is simply this: all of this was predictable and avoidable. Similarly, it is this frustration that guided our legislative principles last month when House Republicans proposed something very simple: suspend Obamacare’s individual mandate for just one year. Unfortunately, this Administration chose politics over policy.

 "But now - in a reversal from just one month ago - Democrats are calling for suspending the individual mandate itself or the mandate’s tax penalty. In keeping with our commitment to the American people, today, the House acted once again to counter the disastrous effects of this law by passing H.R. 3350, the Keep Your Health Plan Act.  Very simply, this bill allows providers to continue to offer health insurance plans in 2014 that don’t meet the oppressive standards of Obamacare.  Additionally, our bill allows those without health insurance to qualify for these same insurance plans without being forced to shop for plans they don’t want on some faulty government website.

 "Today, it is fact that Americans cannot keep their coverage.  Tomorrow it will be the staggering and unexpected costs.  Next month, Americans will find that they might lose access to their doctors, and the list will go on.  No administrative fix will solve these underlying fundamental issues that make Obamacare unworkable. I call upon the President today to join us to undo this mess and look at real health care solutions.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rotary Club of Bakersfield sends team to Nicaragua to in honor of the late Wendy Wayne, and more dirty diapers on our streets

 * … ROTARY: Kudos to the twelve people representing the Rotary Club of Bakersfield who just returned from a week in Camoapa (central), Nicaragua, to work on a water project in honor of Wendy Wayne.  Nine Rotarians, two spouses and Cindy Chernow, Wendy's sister, worked community to build a "lavender," a wash and bathing station next to a newly installed well. This project will have a tremendous impact on the village of Las Pencas, which previously obtained water and washed its clothes in the same river – a river that would often run dry during Nicaragua's long dry season. The group included Cindy Chernow, Sue Benham, Bob and Patti Burdette, Jim Cordle, Jeff Green, Jeff Johnson, Justin Leland, Dave Plivelich, Steve and DeAnne Sanders and Ray W. Watson.  This is just one more example of the impact the Rotary Club of Bakersfield has in our community and abroad.

* … ONCE A DRILLER: Tom Schroeter sent me a gentle reminder about being a Driller. Said Schroeter: "As the proud father of Ali Schroeter, I want to thank the paper for the article in Thursday's edition recognizing her for breaking a school volleyball record at Rutgers University (Former Driller Sets Record).  However, I would be remiss (and would suffer the slings of all Drillers) if I didn't point out one error in the article. There are no 'former' Drillers. As you have no doubt heard, 'once a Driller, always. . . .'   And so next time there is an article about a 'former' Driller, you might consider something like '2012 Driller Sets Record.'" I stand corrected!

 * … DIAPERS: Can you stand one more story about people tossing dirty diapers on our streets? This from Carole Casteen: "Bakersfield is a great place to live, but some of our residents need basic instruction on civil behavior.  One Saturday morning I went to the Costco on Panama Lane, and arrived early enough to get a parking spot extremely close to the front door.  As I was loading my groceries into my vehicle, I noticed a white bundle smack in the middle of the parking space right next to my car.  I watched as a huge truck roared through the parking lot and chose to drive into the parking space next to my car. Yes, he drove his big truck right over the white diaper bundle, squishing it completely and then drove off.  Fortunately none of the stuff that squirted out of the rolled-up diaper sprayed onto my car, and fortunately I was far enough away and had already loaded my groceries. Note: the rolled-up diaper next to my car could not have been more than 25 steps to a large trash can near the Costco entrance. The Costco manager said that it happens there ALL THE TIME!"

 * … MORE TRASH: And there is this from reader Denney Evans: "I read that a special task force is being assembled to  monitor vehicles heading toward our city dumps. A suggestion. Use this group to monitor high schools. We could balance the budget on the citations. My findings in  Riverlakes confirm that the student favorites are  Bud Light, Camels, McDonalds and Starbucks."

 * … COFFEE SHOP: For all your old timers out there, who remembers Cy's Coffee Shop? This from reader Donna Semar: "You might know a resource where I could find more information about Cy's Coffee Shop that was located on the northwest corner of 18th and Eye Streets.  I'm very interested in images from the interior. My husband referred to it as Robin Hood's and doesn't know why. Perhaps there was a mural of Sherwood Forrest on the walls?  He would visit Cy's with his father in the early 1960s. I do know that there were 3 Cy's - 18th and Eye, 18th and Union (then it was 99), and 24th Street (currently 24th Street Cafe). Any information will certainly enhance our Thanksgiving conversations."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pots holding shade trees for the downtown arts district are vandalized and The Salvation Army gets a $100,000 grant from The Bakersfield Californian Foundation

* … VANDALISM: It was distressing to awake Saturday and learn that someone took a hammer to one of the beautiful new pots that were installed downtown to beautify the area. The pots, which were
purchased via a grant from The Bakersfield Californian (family) Foundation, were placed throughout the arts district to hold shade trees. The pot that was demolished sat near the Ice Housing framing studio on 19th Street.

 * … GRANTS: And speaking of The Bakersfield Californian (family) Foundation, it awarded a $100,000 grant to the Salvation Army, Tehachapi Service Center to fund the creation of a Community Center that will serve the residents of the Tehachapi area. The Foundation has also offered the Bakersfield Homeless Center Job Development Program a matching grant of $50,00. If the Homeless Center can raise $50,000 within six months, the Foundation will match that amount with its own $50,000.

* … DIAPERS: My earlier blog post on a woman who tossed a dirty diaper into a car via the sun roof after watching a couple leave in on the curb drew applause from more than a dozen readers. This, from Gene Bonas, was typical:  "I just love it when the Esthers of the world seize this type of opportunity and act on it. Great story! If you see Esther in a future meeting, give her a great big hug for me."

* … BAD FORM: Frances Quiroz raises a point about bad form that I just happen to agree with. It happens when parents take their young children into R-rated movies. "There were at least three families with kids that I saw going in to this movie. A movie, that if you looked up it's reviews, has three scenes of nudity, sexual content and sexually suggestive scenes and fondling… Are you kidding me? This is what you want to expose your kids to? As a parent of two minors myself, ages 13 and 16, there are some movies that are PG13 that I won't let my kids watch. Maybe I'm a parent from the dark ages, but I care about what my kids are exposed to. Please tell me that I'm not the only one!"

 * … BAKERSFIELD COLLEGE: Four distinguished alumni of Bakersfield College will be inducted into the alumni association's Hall of Fame this week. On Thursday, the alumni group will hold a dinner to honor Dr. John Alexander, Peter Reyes, Bill Houser and Gerry Collis into the hall of fame. Some tickets are still available by calling (661) 395-4800. Tickets are $35. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. in the Bakersfield College Cafeteria.

  * … GOOD FORM: The folks over at Covenant Coffee on North Chester are sponsoring a Book Drive for Oildale Schools. Said Covenant's Randy Martin: "The goal is for each K-6 grade student from Wingland, Standard, Beardsley and North Beardsley to be given two books each ...we need about 4,000 books! The drive runs through Nov. 17. We are giving a free coffee with the donation of two books!" This is a good cause and, if you haven't been to Covenant's trendy coffee shop on North Chester, here's your chance to check it out.