Saturday, November 23, 2013

McCarthy: Private business, not government, is how the United States became the largest oil and gas producer in the world

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:

 "As Californians, we know all too well the slightly sinking feeling in our stomachs when the gas gauge in our car points to ‘E.’  And across the country, utility costs remain top of mind to Americans when
budgeting month to month.  But the energy resources that power our cars, heat our homes, and keep the lights on have undergone resurgence in our country, leading to an opportunity for increased standard of living for all Americans.

 "This week was an important week in the U.S. House of Representatives for Americans seeking lower energy costs and an overall more robust economy.  Three bills were passed that will increase the production of American-made energy, ensure states remain the primary overseer of the work in their communities, and will help deliver affordable energy directly to our communities.

 "By the end of this year, it is expected that the U.S. will be the top oil and gas producer in the world – surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia.  Astonishingly, these accomplishments have come from private and state owned lands and not lands owned by the federal government.  To ensure our energy future remains in our hands and not OPEC, we cannot remain static.  On Wednesday, the House moved to end the bureaucratic delays that have so far prohibited us from harnessing all our energy blessings on federally owned lands.

 "Once this opportunity is provided however, future actions by the federal government further threaten our energy independence and the affordable energy it brings along with it.  The innovative process known as hydraulic fracturing that has enabled us to access previously inaccessible oil and gas in an environmentally sound manner is currently regulated by the states – and they are doing a safe and responsible job.  The Obama administration wants to change that and add unnecessary interference from Washington.  So rather than impose an average of 228 days of permitting time by the federal government’s involvement, the House voted to keep it where states have it now – at 30 days.
"Turning these newfound energy resources into actual savings for the American household requires reliable and efficient infrastructure networks to transport them.  Unfortunately, our current system cannot keep up with the increased energy production.  To incentivize the free market to invest and upgrade our aging infrastructure, the federal government must be held accountable to reasonable permitting timelines.  The last vote in the House this week did just that.

I"n this energy lifecycle, new American jobs will be created and monthly gasoline and utility costs from Boston to Bakersfield will be reduced.  Lower energy costs are a bipartisan goal and the votes in the House this week represent that - each bill garnering bipartisan support.  I remain committed to an energy policy that embraces American energy and eases the angst of that next stop at the gas station.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy launches spirited defense of hydraulic fracturing, and the Fox Theater launches a fund raising drive to save the grande dame of downtown Bakersfield

 * … SHALE: Bakersfield Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy has launched a spirited defense of hydraulic fracking, the petroleum extraction method that has drawn scrutiny from environmentalists. In a piece written for The Sacramento Bee, McCarthy noted that the "Monterey shale is projected to hold greater potential for oil than any other shale play in the country – more than 15 billion barrels or 64 percent of total undeveloped but recoverable shale oil, according to a 2011 International Energy
Agency report. To put this into perspective, this is five times more than the amount of oil in North Dakota, where the unemployment rate is the lowest in the country. As our state, particularly the Central Valley region, grapples with high unemployment and few new job opportunities, the potential for prosperity in an industry that is well established in California cannot be ignored." McCarthy called some of the fracking opponents  "long on exaggeration but short on fact... hydraulic fracturing has been demonstrated to be safe. In fact, California’s own director of the Department of Conservation, Mark Nechodom, stated in a recent interview that hydraulic fracturing has been used for the last 40 years and there has not been one record of reported damage."

* … FOX: The historic Fox Theater is holding its year-end fund raising drive, asking folks to reach into their pockets to help support this wonderful old theater. The Fox was opened on Christmas Day 1930, fell into disrepair over the years and is now in the capable hands of a local foundation. This is a charity worthy of your consideration. Go to to donate online, or call (661) 636-0918 to learn how you can support a remodeling project.

 * … CONCERT: If you are interested in helping CSUB athletics, make sure to check out a concert coming Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the Fox Theater. Called "A simpler holiday," the show features Wynonna and The Big Noise with an opening act by Bakersfield's own Whitney Wattenbarger. Tickets are available at the Fox Theater box office or at all Vallitix locations. (Photo of Whitney Wattenbarger compliments of her Facebook page)

 * … SPOTTED: From my friend Linda Welch: "This one made my day. A lady was driving a pretty new Cadillac Escalade. She threw a lit cigarette out the windows and didn't notice the pretty black and white car behind her until he turned on his pretty overhead lights … yep he nailed her."

 * … MEMORY: Kevin Flom wrote to remember the Sub Machine sandwich sop on Wilson and Wible roads. "I was a frequent visitor of that place. Great sandwiches! I became a good friend to the owner, Fran Barnes.  She lived in Tehachapi but it has been some years since I last saw her  After the Sackett and Peters  and Vons closed down, the loss of foot traffic caused her to close the store. I too often think about her and the great sandwiches she served. To this date, I have never had a pastrami sandwich like hers."

 * … ROTARY: And hats off to the folks over at Breakfast Rotary, who delivered a van full of professional work attire to the American Job Center (formerly known as Career Services Center).  The clothes were gathered during October.  The Tuxedo Man van, owned by Breakfast Club member Carl Leech, transported the clothes to the center.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Driller turns 101, more trash on our city streets and be ready for the National Day of Giving coming in two weeks

 * … DRILLER: Richard Diffee dropped me a note to say that Bakersfield High graduate Ross Thornton just celebrated his 101st birthday. "He played for the Drillers in 1931 … and a couple of his teammates were Romain Clerou and Homer Beaty. He also played two years as center for the Renegades. If any of his teammates from 1931 read this, give him a call as he would love to hear from you. "

 * … TRASH: Mary Helen Barro wrote to say she was appalled on reading about the two women who were throwing trash out of their SUV downtown.  "I only wish the witnesses had snapped a photo with their cell phone, or noted their license plate number and turned it over to authorities. Years ago when I lived in Studio City (San Fernando Valley), new tenants moved into our neighborhood, and they trashed the area around their property. There was traffic in and out at all hours. Our Neighborhood Watch group began writing down all the license plates of their visitors.  After a couple of weeks, we held a news conference and announced that we had given all license plate numbers to authorities.  The offending neighbors moved out within a month.  I strongly believe that we need to take similar actions here in Bakersfield, when trashy neighbors and drivers litter our town. By the way, kudos to the lady who threw the dirty diaper back into the car.  These trashy people won't stop until their trash is thrown right back at them, or until they get a hefty fine for littering our streets.  Along with the fine should go 20 hours of community service picking up trash "

* … SPOTTED: While driving west on Highway 58, Scott McArthur sighted "an adult doe (deer) bound across 58 in front of oncoming traffic and wait in the median in order to cross. I thought I was back in Michigan."

 * … GIVING: Make sure you look for the 2013 Charity Giving Guide that will be inserted into The Bakersfield Californian this Sunday. Produced by the Kern Community Foundation, it provides a practical way to research local non profits while offering testimonials on personal giving. And remember that coming up on Tuesday, Dec. 3, is the national "day of giving."

  * … TURKEY:  Independence High School is once again teaming up with Living Grace Church to hold its second annual Turkey Drop on Saturday Nov. 23, at the high school from noon to 2 pm.
Said Chuck Beatty: "Please join us by dropping off a frozen turkey or other non-perishable items.  Last year, we were able to donate 120 complete dinners to the FLOOD Ministries and to needy Independence families. Independence High School is located at 8001 Old River Road. Any questions, please call Kelly Hardin at (661) 834-8001

 * … BAD FORM: Stephen Montgomery called out whoever tagged a sign in front of a community garden in our community. "Amber Beeson and her volunteers have put their hearts and souls into making the 4th and Eye community garden a success so it was with some frustration that I spotted the damage some street mutt did to one of their signs. Makes you want to dope-slap someone. This tag has been successfully removed with slight damage to that garden decal."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bako Bits: Bob Lerude is honored by watchdog group for saving taxpayer dollars and another incredible story about those who use our community as their personal trash can

 * … KUDOS: Hats off to Bob Lerude, the county Parks and Recreation director who has been honored for saving taxpayers' dollars. The Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, an advocacy group dedicated to promoting responsible government spending at the local level, will honor Lerude this week for finding ways to save more than $300,000 by contracting out services for three remote parks.

 * … DRILLER: Another Driller success story compliments of Don Bollard: "My wife, Roberta taught Home Economics at BHS for many years. She loved teaching there and is very proud of the school and the students she taught there. Our daughter, Kathleen, graduated from BHS in 1976. Went on to get her BS at Santa Clara, her MS and PhD from Cal and is now the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Colorado. Another Driller success story.

 * … OVERHEARD: A young man is asked he he did that day. His response: "We bought a carton of cigarettes for a guy who just had a stroke."

 * … LITTER: And just when you think things can't get much worse, they do. De Rhodes was driving downtown last week when she spotted two women in a large SUV casually tossing trash out their car windows.  "These women threw out of  all of their Sonic trash onto K Street as they left the Sonic parking lot.  As though that weren't enough, they continued to throw out even more accumulated garbage from their vehicle onto L Street (right in front of KGET), as they waited for a green light at 21st Street.  Then, not once, twice, or even three times, they did it four times as the proceeded south on L Street, not missing one business in their path.  Even Sequoia Sandwich Shop (which keeps their property soooo clean) got sacks full deposited near  their front door.  I can't say they even stopped pitching trash  because I turned east onto 18th Street. Just once, I was able to pull along side their Explorer long enough to  thank them for throwing out their garbage all over town.  As you have no doubt assumed their car windows were rolled down affording them the "quick pitch,' so they listened just long enough to thank me muttered with a whole lot of expletives, obscene gestures and something about "whoopin my ___".  (photo by De Rhodes)

 * … CY'S: A question about who remembers the old Cy's Coffee Shop downtown drew this response from Sandy Oliver. "Donna Semar (posed a) question why her husband referred to Cy's as Robin Hood's. I believe is because the restaurant that replaced it was called The Robin Hood. My brother in law, Al Goetschalckx, owned the restaurant   He and Cy May were very good friends, and Al leased the building and bought all the fixtures from Cy. The Robin Hood burned down I believe in the early 1960s.  Cy May then moved to the location on Union Avenue.

 * … MORE CY'S: And then there was this from reader Paula Rodenburg: "My mother, Eve Pocorena, was a waitress at the Cy's Coffee Shop on 18th and Union from the early 1950s until 1960 when she and my dad Larry had saved enough money to pay off their mortgage and she could quit her job. She took her last weekly paycheck of $35 before tips and bought me a Pekingese puppy which I named Puppins, my first dog. Her boss was Cy May and she got a real kick out of working for him… At that time the old Route 99 was the only way in and out of Los Angeles from the north so she served quite a few famous celebrities including John Carradine, father of Keith and his siblings. She remembered John coming in with five children and always talked about how well behaved the children were. When my sister, now Patti Sergent, went to nursing school in Los Angeles my mom and dad made her come home on weekends to hostess at Cy's - Mr. May was kind enough to give her a job. It was Patti's first time away from home and they were trying to keep her out of trouble.  Didn't work!"