Friday, May 2, 2014

House Majority Whip McCarthy: The dodging and weaving by the Obama administration on the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi cannot be tolerated and the relatives of the victims demand answers

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

 "This week I worked with my colleagues in the House to provide greater support and resources to our nation’s veterans, while also ensuring that our active-duty service members will receive the backing from Congress they need. The 2015 Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs Appropriations Bill fulfills the promise we make to all those who have served and who currently serve our country with bravery. This legislation increases funding for the essential programs and benefits our veterans have earned. It works to end the disability claims processing backlog so that our wounded warriors can receive timely, high-quality medical treatment. And it devotes the funds necessary to build and maintain the support systems and infrastructure the men and women of our military require. I am pleased to say that this bill passed the House overwhelmingly on Wednesday.

 "Earlier in the week, the White House was forced to release documents that showed the Administration blatantly misled the American public in the days directly following the terrorist attack on our diplomatic mission in Benghazi. While multiple House committees have been working tirelessly to investigate what happened in Benghazi, the Obama Administration still withheld relevant documents despite multiple Congressional subpoenas. And today, House Republicans redoubled our efforts to get to the bottom of the 2012 terrorist attacks against our nation in Benghazi by calling for the formation of a select committee. We cannot tolerate the Administration’s continued evasion and obstruction. The American people need answers, which is why we are taking the extraordinary step of appointing a special select committee to get to the bottom of this.

 "The American people and, more importantly, the families and friends of those who lost loved ones, simply want answers. Answers to what transpired on that fateful night that left four of our countrymen dead. Answers to what the President and his staff knew in the aftermath of this attack.  We will continue to act to get all the facts that the American people deserve.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Toyota says adios to California and heads to Texas, but is anyone in Sacramento listening? And more on the envisioned new grand park in Bakersfield out near the Kern River

 * … TOYOTA: The decision by Toyota to move its headquarters from Torrance to Texas should be a wakeup call for California lawmakers, who have a well earned anti-business reputation. Toyota
executives cited Texas' business friendly climate and the fact that the state has no personal income tax. Said Allan Zaremberg, head of the California Chamber of Commerce: "… In California, excessive litigation, overregulation, and high taxes are factors for both the employer and the employees in making location decisions."

 * … INJURY: A couple who used to live in Bakersfield were among seven people injured in Santorini, Greece, last weekend during a Resurrection procession. Vikki and Chris Presmyk were part of a crowd in a church yard when a home-made firework exploded next to them. Vikki suffered serious abdominal injuries and underwent surgery. Chris suffered burns on his face and legs. Apparently they are both recovering. Chris, who works for Schlumberger, and Vikki both had strong local ties to our community during their years in Bakersfield. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Thanks to reader Donna Thompson for passing along this information.

* … CANYONS: A small correction is in order regarding the purchase of the 850 acres of uplands and bluffs out at Hart Park designated as a new grand park. I wondered about the increasing use of off road motorcycles in the area, but it appears that kind of use has been prohibited for at least 10 years. Said
hiker and local activist Michelle Beck: "When the Specific Trails Plan for the area was being put together, it was determined by the city and by the property owners that motorized vehicles were not a compatible use. OHV users were in attendance at these meetings, and the majority of them obeyed the rules and have been riding other places instead. Since the issue was settled long ago, there should be no reason for a 'dust up' when the property becomes a habitat preserve. If all goes well and the property is acquired, hopefully everyone will rally around and help with the clean-up of trash and the restoration of the plants and grasses. It has the potential to be another beloved jewel in Bakersfield's crown like the Kern River Parkway and Panorama Vista."

* … MORNING CHUCKLE: This morning chuckle comes compliments from a neighbor downtown. "I was out whacking weeds in the alley and rested a cold longneck on top of one of my green waste containers while I was working about 50 feet away. Two guys in an old Chevy or Ford pickup drive slowly down the alley and stopped next to the green waste container. The passenger rolls down the window and reaches for my beer. I yelled at them. They rolled the window back up and drove slowly past me while I was lecturing them on the fine points of weed whacking beer etiquette. They wouldn’t make eye contact or or roll the window back down. Is nothing sacred any more?"

 * … QUIG'S: The Garces Circle downtown has never smelled better since Quig's BBQ and Catering opened on the corner. At noon, the aroma of fresh barbecue fills the air for blocks.

 * … HIGH ACHIEVER: Hats off to Emily Bloom, a junior at Bakersfield High School who has been accepted to the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC to study petroleum engineering this summer.  She is the daughter of Peter and Karen Bloom. Said her proud mother:  "The Bloom family has suffered tremendous loss and tragedy, but through it all, Emily’s light persistently shines."

 * … GIRLS FUND: The Women's and Girl's Fund has given out another $30,000 in grants in the area of education and training. Among the recipients were Dress for Success Bakersfield at $7,000, Youth 2 Leaders Education Foundation at $8,000, and the Kern Adult Literacy Council at $15,000.
The ever gracious Joan Dezember received the 2014 Women Defining Philanthropy Award for 2014. Also recognized with the same award were Isabella and Sophia Busacca, two high achieving youngsters who along with their brother Anthony started the non profit Dreamn Catchers program at Liberty High School. The Women's and Girl's Fund is part of the Kern Community Foundation which was established in 1999. The Foundation now has more than 100 charitable fund with assets of more than $18 million


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Get ready for the inevitable dustup over off road motorcyclists in the soon to be preserved 'grand park" out by the Kern River, and we lose another member of the Greatest Generation

 * … CANYONS: Some of the best news in years came recently with the decision by the Metropolitan Bakersfield Habitat Conservation Trust Group to acquire the "crown jewel"of our area, the nearly 850 acres of bluffs out near Hart Park and the Kern River. Ever since the scheme to develop the property went bust, the rolling hills have been used by joggers, hikers, bicyclists and off-road motorcyclists. It is a beautiful area and certainly worth the investment as a new "grand park" for Bakersfield. But once the land is turned over to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, there will no doubt be restrictions on the off-road motorcyclists who are destroying habitat and carving their own trails in the area. Stay tuned for the inevitable dust up.

 * … RIP: We lost another member of the Greatest Generation the other day with the passing of 90-year-old Ed Barnet. My friend Angelo Haddad told me that Ed, who lived in the Northeast near the old Green Frog Market, received a Purple Heart for his D-Day invasion wound, the Bronze Star, the European Theater Combat medal, the Presidential Unit Citation medal, and numerous campaign ribbons including the Battle of the Bulge during the winter of 1944 as a 19 year old from Memphis. May you rest in peace.

 * … OVERHEARD: A local businessman whose wife is Jewish is telling a friend at lunch: "When we moved here we were surprised at how many meetings start off thanking 'our savior Jesus Christ.' It doesn't bother me but that would never have happened back where we used to live."

 * … SPOTTED: On a friend's Facebook wall: "NBA commissioner rules that Donald Sterling cannot bring a white person -- namely, himself -- to any NBA games ."

 * … OLPH: Don't forget the annual Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish spring barbecue is this Thursday, May 1, at the Parish ground on Columbus. A $25 ticket gets you a delicious Harris Ranch steak or Teriyaki chicken grilled by Gary and Adam Icardo. The doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner service from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 pm.  Call Deborah Leary for tickets (661) 872-1543 or buy them at the door.

* … MEMORIES: Local architect Tom Jannino added to the discussion of the old downtown. In his words: "If memory serves me correctly, and it is getting a little foggier, Tiny's was originally on the  southeast corner of 18th and Chester, across 18th from the building in question. It later moved across 18th when it's former location was demolished for the construction of what was originally 'Bakersfield Savings and Loan', a structure presently housing 'Caesars' and several other tenants. As a child, I had many trips downtown with my mother, often stopping for lunch at Tiny's, the Tea room at Brock's, or the lunch counter at Newberry's or Woolworth's. A personal favorite was a small donut shop located on the east side of Chester Avenue just across the alley from the building that was originally the Californian Theater. Of course, all of this happened before the existence of Valley Plaza, when downtown Bakersfield was the center of shopping and banking."

 * … MORE MEMORIES: Jack Pasek reached out to remind me that a Sambo's restaurant once occupied the building on Ming Avenue that is now Bob's Big Boy. And Rollie Moore reminded be that the 'Salad Bowl' on Chester and 18th Street (Northeast corner) was his favorite eatery. "They had a 'Door open Toaster' sitting on every table along with a small cereal shaped box listing all the current songs. For a nickel you could select your favorite song and it would signal the big juke box in the corner to play your request as you visited and ate. The food was great!"

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bako Bits: La Cresta family returns from a weekend to find their truck up on blocks, good deeds from a FedEx driver and remembering a time when wool suits cost $7

 * … THEFTS: There is not a neighborhood in town that hasn't been hit with petty thefts and burglaries. Up in La Cresta a couple was out of town for Easter and when they returned they found all four tires of their truck stolen, their late model truck sitting on cinder blocks. Apparently this is going on throughout town, including a few instances in Stockdale Estates. (file photo)

 * … SELFIES: I agree with a recent story regarding some annoying habits that I hope soon fade away: talking on cellphones in restaurants and our narcissistic obsession with taking and publicly sharing "selfies" photos on our smart phones.

 * … GOOD DEED: Carol Camp wrote to give a shootout to a FedEx driver named Vanessa who helped rescue her husband who had fallen from a carport attic ladder. "Vanessa happened to be delivering a package to our home and found him on the ground… she yelled (and) I went running and of course there was blood everywhere. I got a roll of paper towels and the phone, she applied pressure to his head wound while I called 911. She stayed with me until they arrived. He had 10 staples in his head.  I also want you to know she stopped by the next day to see how he was doing. What a great gal.  Thank YOU Vanessa."

* … GOOD FORM: We all have a tendency to overuse the word "hero," but I have to nominate our teachers as being "everyday heroes." Consider this inspiring note from a local kindergarten teacher known as Miss B. "Got me a new sweet bee today right on our way out to lunch. Her mom, pregnant with her seventh child, dropped her off and the young girl with a missing bottom right tooth and sporting nothing but a tank and torn overalls, extended her hands caked with filth and fingernails bedded with dirt, for a buzz-worthy welcome hug. With five weeks left of school, I looked down at her sad eyes and whispered, 'These are going to be the 25 best days of your life.' She smiled and off to lunch we went!"

 * … OLD TIMES: Gary Corbell is a volunteer with the 60-plus club at CSUB and recently discovered a 1935 copy of the Los Angeles Times. Among the advertising: wool suits priced between $6.96 and $17.75, and beach halters for women from 95 cents to $2.75. In The Southland section: "Forty-four more seized by police in San Diego clean-up. Charges against two San Gabriel women accused of annoying neighbors with noise at religious services, dropped in court." And finally actress Jacqueline Logan, stage and screen actress, who had filed for bankruptcy in December was discharged from bankruptcy.  She had listed liabilites of $14,461 and the IRS was seeking to collect $3,765 in income, interest. Said Gary:  "All the above only goes to show… nothing much has changed in America since 1935 EXCEPT for the cost of living.

 * … MEMORIES: Here's a little history lesson on our town for you newcomers. This memory is courtesy of reader Bob Harding: "Hello! Your column Friday referenced a Sambo's on Union and I agree with that reader. There was also a Sambo's at Oak and Palm where La Mina is now. The architecture still looks like those restaurants did. I enjoy your interest in our town's history! I am born and raised here, BHS 1966. I have lots of memories like leaving for UCSB in the fall of 1966 and California Avenue ending at the Chevron station at the north end of Real Road. Nothing but tin cans and jackrabbits from there to Stockdale, long before 'old' Stockdale needed to exist as a distinguishing adjective. It was a big clump of trees by itself out in the distance. New Stine dead ended at Stockdale and went South to Del Webb's Kern City, and the only building at the intersection was Ewing's restaurant on the southeast corner. I could go on! Keep it up!" Thank you Bob.