Friday, July 25, 2014

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy: While President Obama and the Senate dither, California suffers a record setting drought and thousands go without work.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his own words:

 "As I listen to the residents in our community, they are growing frustrated and discouraged by a President that, time and time again, has skirted making the tough choices at home and has failed to demonstrate strong American leadership abroad. Frankly, I share their frustrations.

 "Equally frustrating is the fact that the House is acting in Congress and the Senate is not. In the House, we have passed over 300 bills—bills that would encourage the creation of good-paying jobs, move North America closer to energy independence, make government more efficient and accountable, and lower the costs of everyday expenses. But what has happened to these bills? They are sitting in the Democrat Senate, on Leader Harry Reid’s desk.

 "This is simply unacceptable. Times are tough right now. Moms and dads are working harder just to make ends meet.  House Republicans have ideas that will help all American families.  This week, I worked with my colleagues in the House to pass legislation that lets families keep more of their hard-earned money – the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act.

 "The price of raising a child has skyrocketed in the Obama Economy. According to the USDA, the annual costs of food, clothing, education and child care has increased by thousands of dollars in the last decade. Nonetheless, even as prices have consistently risen, the Child Tax Credit has remained the same. Our bill will index the Child Tax Credit for inflation, helping families better afford the increasing costs of raising a child, while putting more of the money they earn back in their pockets.

  "Meanwhile, as the House was working, President Obama was in California.  As he was flying across different regions of our state, I was disappointed that he failed to address our current water crisis.

 "The Central Valley and our state continue to endure the worst drought in a century, one that is threatening the livelihoods of so many communities and causing an increase in food prices for people everywhere.  Rather than taking commonsense actions to allow more water to flow to the Central Valley, this Administration has largely stood silent, as once-productive farmland sits idle, workers do not have jobs, and trees are being uprooted due to lack of water.   Inaction has consequences.  One only has to go to a local grocery store or even order a double-double at In-N-Out to see the higher prices that we now pay due to our water crisis that has been exacerbated by water restricting environmental regulations.  The House has passed the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act earlier this year and the Senate finally passed a water bill as well. Discussions are underway on a solution, which must address these onerous regulations.

 "I believe that all Americans deserve better than that.  With over 300 bills awaiting action in the Senate, the House will continue to act. We deserve a government that works for us, that learns to do more with less, and that produces real results.

Historic pictures of Bakersfield's clock tower after the 1952 earthquakes ...

 Thanks to my friend Dee Rhodes who supplied these family pictures of the historic Bakersfield clock tower after the devastating 1952 earthquakes …

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bakersfield man suffers traumatic neck injury while zip lining in Mexico; family establishes fund raising to bring him back to the United States

 * … TRAGEDY: Horrible news out of Cabo San Lucas where a Bakersfield man was severely injured in a zip lining accident. Brian Hodges and his wife Shimeaka were in Cabo celebrating a year of marriage when Brian broke his neck when he slammed into the side of a mountain while
zip lining. He is currently in a medically induced coma in a Mexican hospital. The family is trying to raise money to have Brian flown back to California where his insurance will kick in and he can be treated. Shimeaka works at OMNI Healthcare and Brian is a truck driver for KSI. A friend established the Brian and Shimeaka Hodges Fund at under their name. The family is trying to recoup the $50,000 it had to pay the Mexican hospital for Brian to be treated.

 * … BAD FORM: This example of some really bad form (and that is being generous) comes from reader Darla McCallum. "This is to the person who hit a dog on July 19th on Enos lane south of Rosedale Highway. (you know who you are). Did you even slow down or stop to see how the dog was? My guess is no! Shame on you. My husband and I did along with four other kind hearted people. He was severly injured and scared. How could you just leave him on the side of the road to die? You could have called for help. We could not afford to take him to the emergency vet. We comforted him as best we could until Animal Control got there. I say THANK YOU to the four people that stopped to help. My husband and I and a young women from Taft stayed with him for almost three hours, and by the way he had to be put down his internal injuries were too bad to save him. Again I say where is the compassion for living, breathing beings?"

 * … GOOD FORM: Hats off to two Garces High graduates who rescued a dog in the ocean off the Ventura coast. It turns out a dog had chased a sea gull into the ocean and went out too far, getting stranded while its owner was frantic on the beach. The two Bakersfield men, David Etcheverry and Cruise Adams, grabbed a kayak and a surfboard and paddled out to save the dog. Said Jeff Adams, Cruise's uncle: "David and Cruise paddled back to shore to a standing ovation by about 50 onlookers. It was a good thing David had been out kayaking every morning and Cruise had been surfing every morning to give them the ability to save another families love one."

 * … FOUNDATION: The Bakersfield Californian (family) Foundation is holding two separate grant cycles with awards of $100,000 and $50,000. The Foundation is looking to make a large impact with these two awards that will go to deserving non-profits. Letters of inquiry are due Friday, August 29. There is no "theme" for the work being done to win these awards. Go to the Foundation website ( for more information.

 * … KUDOS: Kudos to Rachol West, a 2013 Garces High graduate who has been recognized by the Mountain West Conference for academic excellence in maintaining at least a 3.5 GPA through her freshman year as a student athlete (women's basketball) at San Jose State University.

 * … MEMORIES: Meanwhile local Realtor Ken Barnes remembers visiting his longtime friend Robert Stack in Los Angeles about 12 years ago. "We decided to go to lunch at the Bel-Air country club near his house. When we entered the bar-lunch area overlooking the putting green Bob said 'Let's join these guys over here by the window.' As we sat down he introduced me to Richard Crenna, Greg Kinnear, Dick Martin, and James Garner. He told me later he thought Kinnear was being interviewed for a membership in the club. You would never had known any of these guys were famous just sitting over lunch for an hour or so and talking about nothing special.  Garner was especially funny with many of his remarks.  Sad to say, I lost Bob the following year to a heart attack. Great memories."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

You know you're from Bakersfield when you get excited when it sprinkles in town, more from those who want to ban fireworks and yes, more bad form in the Trader Joe's parking lot

 * … PLEDGE: Kati Hartnett McKeown, who works in the district office of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, noted this as she was driving with her 6-year-old son. "Jake just said the Pledge of Allegiance to a flag
flying on a pole by a building as we were driving past and he included.. 'and you may be seated.' We had to explain that part was not actually in the pledge."

 * …. WATER: With all the focus on conserving water, who will hold our city and county responsible? We've been told to expect steep fines if we allow water to flow into the street, but what about those public median sprinklers that are sending water cascading down Gosford and other roads virtually every morning? And the same thing is happening up on Panorama Drive.

 * … FIREWORKS: The conversation on whether we should ban fireworks here continues, and now the opposition has mounted a signature campaign on Facebook. Lois Henry, my colleague who has long advocated a ban, has created a Facebook page asking folks to weigh in. (You can find it on Facebook by searching for Ban Fireworks in Kern County) The page has almost 600 followers and it is growing every day. Meanwhile, reader Bob Hartshon put it this way: "Much has been said for, and against, banning fireworks. Many complaints seemed to be associated with illegal fireworks. Banning legal fireworks will not matter regarding these complaints. The issue is those knuckleheads who use illegal fireworks or legal fireworks the improper way. It's about people acting responsibly. In the words of the great philosopher, Ron White, 'you can't fix stupid.'"

 * … VICTOR: The recent remodel of the Smart and Final on Golden State was an unexpected gift to folks who live in the downtown area, and now after a short absence, manager Victor Rios has returned. Rios is known for his personal touch, smile and excellent customer service.

 * … DMV: Count me among the happy customers of the DMV online appointment reservation service. I was in and out in 15 minutes with an appointment the other day, bypassing a line that snaked out the door at the F Street office.

 * … GOOD FORM: Hats off to the young couple who stopped their car off Brimhall Road the other day to rescue a stray dog that was wandering in the street. The woman stopped oncoming traffic as her friend coaxed the young pup into their car.

 * … BAD FORM: Note to the middle aged man in the raised black truck at Trader Joe's this weekend who apparently wasn't wearing underwear when he hopped out of his car as a woman sat at the wheel of her car next to him. "Yuck," she said, "it was a close your eyes moment."

 * … CODY: Cody Kessler, the junior quarterback at USC who hails from Bakersfield's Centennial High, made the "watch list" of college players most likely to be in the running for the Maxwell Award, given to the college player of the year. Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron won the award last year.

 * … BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield if you post pictures of raindrops on the sidewalk and post it on Facebook to celebrate a slight sprinkle.