Friday, June 20, 2014

New House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield gives a nod to his humble roots, pledges to fight for the Central Valley

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, newly election House Majority Leader, submits this to Bakersfield Observed. In his own words:

 "I want to thank my colleagues and constituents for the trust they have placed in me as the new Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. To say that I am incredibly humbled and honored would be an understatement. Only in America can the grandson of a cattle rancher and the son of a firefighter have the opportunity I now have to fight for you, your families, and our community’s ideals in our nation’s capital.

 "I was born and raised right here in our community.  It is where I met my wife, Judy, and where we brought up our two children in the first house we ever bought together. More importantly, it is where I learned my conservative values.

 "Here, I started a small business—Kevin O’s Deli—and learned the importance of self-reliance and entrepreneurship; to always show up first and leave last; that anything worth doing is worth doing right.

 "Here, I came to appreciate the importance of good family and friends; of taking care for one’s neighbor; and President Reagan’s wise words that “All great change in America starts at the dinner table.”

 "And it was here I was taught to value the service and sacrifice of those who fought to protect our way of life; to always shake the hand of a veteran; and that we are the land of the free because of the brave.

 "I am reminded of these lessons each day as your Representative, and I am committed to ensuring that our values and priorities will be heard in Washington, D.C. Though we have made many great strides—in combating Valley Fever and in supporting the top-tier research being performed at Edwards and China Lake—there is still much work to be done.

 "I will continue our fight against inflexible and ideological policies that keep vital water resources from our region. I will put the brakes on Governor Brown’s poorly planned high-speed rail project that would cut through our communities and hamstring our budget. I will work to create a better business climate so that the Central Valley will remain a leading energy producer in the nation for years to come. And I will not stop until we reform the broken VA system that has woefully failed to care for those who have bravely fought for our country.

 "To our community, I would like to simply and humbly say, Thank You.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

If Hispanic lawyers like H.A. Sala are pit bulls in the courtroom, what about lawyers of other ethnic backgrounds, a reader asks. And domestic oil production skyrockets thanks to hydraulic fracturing

* … OIL: Thanks to a boom in domestic oil production and better fuel economy in cars and trucks, the United States is experiencing fewer shocks at the gas pump. According to The Wall Street Journal,
domestic crude oil production has shot up 47 percent since late 2010. In fact, domestic oil production in October surpassed imports for the first time in 20 years, the paper said. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is responsible for much of the increased production.

* … TANDY: Anne Stoken wrote in response to my earlier post about City Manager Alan Tandy. Said Anne: "Fans of the NHL, the Condors and ice hockey in general would greatly appreciate it if you would cease to refer to an alleged assault by City Manager Tandy 'during' an amateur hockey game.  It's clear from the video and the descriptions by eyewitnesses that whatever occurred happened 'after' an amateur hockey game." True enough, but Tandy is out of the woods after the District Attorney declined to prosecute.

 * … PITBULLS: And Julie Womack wrote to question my description of H.A. Sala and Daniel Rodriguez as courtroom pit bulls who could have squared off in the Tandy case.  "So if Hispanic lawyers are pit bulls, what breeds of dogs would be identified with attorneys of other ethnic lineages?" she asked. If any lawyer is as dogged (no pun intended) as H.A. Sala is in the courtroom, he or she is also a pit bull.

 * … WALL STREET: I stopped by the Wall Street Cafe the other day and was delighted to find the owners had rolled out a fresh new summer menu. The "summer salad" featured fresh strawberries and the caprese salad was outstanding. The cafe is located at 1818 L Street.

* … ACHIEVER: Hats off to Christopher Siebert, a Bakersfield student who was named to the Dean's List at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. He is a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering.

 * … REED: Joanna Reed, owner of Cricklewood Nursery and Landscape, dropped me a note to say her son, Mark Reed, was honored as Father of the Year by the American Diabetes Association for the work he has done on behalf of diabetes research and outreach. Said his mother: "He shared the podium with Jakob Dylan and Michael Helfant who were also honored. All three men have children with Type I diabetes and have taken time from their busy schedules to help with a very worthy cause.  Needles to say I am quite proud. Mark is a graduate of Foothill High and the father of Ryan Reed, NASCAR Nationwide driver No. 16 who has Type I diabetes."

 * … MEMORIES: Ninety-year-old Irene Hageman Bower sent this note about the old St. Joseph's School.  "It was located on the north side of Oregon Street in the 500 block. I lived on the south side of Oregon Street in the 400 block, and attended Washington Elementary School for the second and third grades. When Washington Elementary School became a junior high, we students were transferred to Longfellow Elementary, where we attended until moving back to Washington Junior High.  After graduating from there in 1938, I went on to attend one semester at Bakersfield High School before being transferred to the newly completed East Bakersfield High, from which I graduated in 1941. Our home on Oregon Street, as well as St. Joseph School, was demolished for the creation of the cross town freeway."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The case against Bakersfield City Manager Alan Tandy pits the two most prominent Hispanic attorneys in town (H.A. Sala and Daniel Rodriguez), promising a pit bull of a dustup in court

 * … TANDY: One of the subplots in the dustup over whether City Manager Alan Tandy assaulted another man during an amateur hockey game are the attorneys involved, in this case two of the most prominent Hispanic lawyers in town. Criminal defense attorney H.A. Sala is representing Tandy, and plaintiff's lawyer Daniel Rodriguez is representing his accuser. As one observer of the local legal scene remarked: "I would pay to be in that courtroom if those two pitbulls square off."


* … SPINNER: I was saddened to learn of the death of Maurice Sneed, the 49-year-old man known for spinning a Little Caesars sign in the Southwest. I didn't know Maurice, but his daily presence across town, energetically spinning that pizza sign while waving at cars, provided a comfortable if false sense of intimacy. He will not soon be forgotten.

* … BAD FORM: Stephen A. Montgomery let off a little steam with this observation: "In addition to the self entitled jerks who litter our community and those who think there is value in tagging or putting stickers and decals on traffic signs to say nothing about all the yard sale, lost/found dog/cat signs that only leave when they rot off is that ambulance chasing attorney who every six weeks comes through our neighborhood sticking a slick color business card reading 'Que hacer en caso de un ACCIDENTE' with a triple 8 and a local phone number. Never mind the Oleander Sunset Neighborhood isn't an enclave of Spanish speakers or for the vast majority of the neighborhood don't read Spanish at all. In frustration I gather these up and blue can them but I do wish he would stop this pointless practice."

   * … JIM WRIGHT: With Rep. Kevin McCarthy poised to become the new House Majority Leader, Ann Cierley recalls when her cousin, longtime Texas congressman Jim Wright, held that position. "He made at least a half-dozen personal overnight trips to Bakersfield during that time and it was such fun to go out to the airport to pick him up with my car always being met by Secret Service before I could even park! One of Jim's favorite stories to this day (he's 91 now) is coming through the lobby at Meadows Field and being stopped by a local who upon recognizing him, gasped 'Didn't you used to be Jim Wright?'  He laughed delightedly and hugged the man warmly, saying in that great Texas drawl, 'Well, Ah still am and hope to be for a lil' while yet.'"

 * … POW: And finally there was this interesting historical footnote from another 90-year-old, Joyce Winter. It was February 1946 and her husband, Fred Winter, was in the 2nd Armored Division. "They were among the first to fight their way into Berlin at the end of WWII.  They also had occupation duty. When Fred was home from the war for a week, he captured a German soldier. How?  Fred was building fence for a friend in Caliente and a man approached him with his hands up. He was an 'escapee' from the POW camp near Lamont and was cold and hungry  Fred helped return the POW to the camp."