Saturday, August 23, 2014

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy: the murder of James Foley is a direct attack on the United States and our way of life

 House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives his view of the threat from the Islamic State terror organization.

 "This week, the world witnessed the purest form of evil through the deplorable actions of ISIS on
American journalist James Foley.  First and foremost, I offer my deepest condolences and prayers to his family and friends. His work to shine light on the darkest corners of the world was a heroic service that is indicative of the value of free press that has strengthened America into the greatest democracy in the world.

 "For weeks, I have expressed support for targeted airstrikes against ISIS.  But since the first strikes began, the Administration’s strategy against ISIS has been unclear. It has been made clear that the threat posed by ISIS is not isolated to the Middle East and its people. The murder of James Foley is a direct attack on the United States and our way of life. Therefore I stand ready to work with the Administration to confront this terrorist organization directly. 

 "The men and women of our military selflessly and courageously serve to protect our freedoms. It has been said that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Throughout our nation’s history America’s leadership has helped thwart evil throughout the globe.

 "Notably, the greatest generation helped topple one of the most dangerous threats to humanity in World War II. We honor these veterans, as we do all veterans, in Washington with monuments and memorials. One of my greatest honors as a Member of Congress is hosting our own local heroes as they travel 3,000 miles with the Kern County Honor Flight to visit the places that honor their service. This week, my office in Washington, DC welcomed and hosted 39 veterans and their guardians with the Honor Flight as they visited the monuments and toured the U.S. Capitol.

 "These heroes have made our country and the world a safer place. We as a nation are forever grateful for their service.

 "As we continue to fight evil throughout the world, let us never forget the sacrifice so many have made to secure our freedom.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

More scams involving the Internal Revenue Service make the rounds, texting while driving a motorcycle and the best meat in town? Wood-Dale market

 * … SCAM: I have been alerted to yet another telephone scam make the founds. This one involves a call from someone purporting to be from the Internal Revenue Service, claiming that back taxes are due and threatening to jail you unless the case is settled immediately. It happened to Terry Kropp of Rosedale,
who described herself ad pretty savvy about these things. "This was scary," she told me. "They were very, very convincing. I demanded to talk to a supervisor, they gave me a case number and they wanted me to admit I owned them money." Terry wisely called her attorney and then the IRS itself, which confirmed the scam. "They told me they get five to six calls a day like this," she said.

 * … SPOTTED: Motorcyclist driving down Rosedale Highway during rush hour with one hand on the handlebars while texting with the another.

* … GOOD FORM: Jayne Lee passes on this nice note about the folks over at Advanced Smog on District Boulevard. "Last week while paying for my smog inspection at Advanced Smog I noticed something out of place in a large pen behind the counter. Looking closely I discovered seven, six-week old puppies. The staff had seen a dog wandering in the busy street, took it in, and three days later the rescue had seven puppies. Homes had already been found for five of the babies. Kudos to the employees there for their care for this new mom and her babies."

 * … BAD FORM: My friend Pete Wonderly poses this question: "Folks, is it at all possible to show consideration for others (and obey the county law) by having your dogs on a leash when walking or running along the bike path or foothills? For three out of the four past Saturdays, I've crossed paths with a woman accompanied by her two Labrador Retrievers, both off-leash. My two small terriers, both on-leash, are not terribly impressed when her dogs rush them. My friends and I have patiently tried to explain courtesy and the county leash law to her, but to know avail. I'm tempted to carry an extra lead and put the woman on leash the next time I encounter her."

 * … TRASH: And speaking of bad form, it looks like Fairfax Drive between Panorama and Alfred Harrell Highway has become a new dumping ground for old mattresses, sofas and love seats.

 * … FOODIE BEST BET: It is hard to beat the freshness of the steaks, chicken and pork - all offered with outstanding customer service - at the Wood-Dale Market on Stine Road.

 * … BAD TASTE?: Wanda G. Reilly wonders if anyone else is put off by the Carl's Jr. commercial of the scantily clad models eating burgers on a car. In her words: "Is anyone other than this 80-year-old woman offended by the tasteless, trashy commercials Carl's Jr. places in prime time? I can't believe those wet bodies slithering over cars has any thing to do with eating a sandwich!"

 * … MEMORIES: A reader dropped off a version of The Californian dated July 4, 1976, celebrating the nation's Bicentennial. Some tidbits from the advertising: porterhouse and T-bone steaks were going for $1.98 a pound and an above ground swimming pool for $769.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bakersfield enjoys an emerging arts scene with top musicians appearing about town, and more feedback on the death of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri

 * … MUSIC: I stopped by a free concert at Imbibe Wine and Spirits this weekend and was wowed by the vocals of Emily Danger, a band whose lead vocalist (Emily Nicholas) hails from
Bakersfield but now lives in Brooklyn. Her concert before a packed room is reflective of something special that is emerging in our community, especially if you are a fan of live music. Almost every day, in some venue across town, you can hear some terrific talent, whether it's hometown favorite Mento Buru (who showed up at the Alley Cat for an impromptu concert this weekend) or the house band at KC Steakhouse. If you are into master guitarists, Rick Kreiser hosts a regular "Guitar Masters" series while three friends are bringing new talent into town with the "Passing Through" series of concerts held either at The Metro Galleries or The Bakersfield Museum of Art. We're not Austin yet, but we have come a long way. (file photos of Emily Danger and Mento Buru)

 * … ACCIDENT: The traffic accident at the intersection of Old River Road and Ming Avenue that took the life of a 67-year-old woman triggered a flood of responses on social media. This response was typical: "People have just got to slow down in this town. Old River isn't a country road any more."

* … FERGUSON: I received a lot of feedback on my post talking about my father's advice about staying out of trouble with the police. Pamela Wildermuth was disappointed with me, noting that a "even though a black man in this country may be very successful, and may have followed ALL the advice you quoted, he is still more likely to have an unpleasant encounter with the police than is his white counterpart. Race is an inescapable issue in the complex relationship between citizens and law enforcement. It's too bad that you didn't address it."

 * … MORE FERGUSON: Kendall Moya Arthur agreed and added this: "Please reconsider your platitude of how any young man should behave. Your response reflected insensitivity to the immediate history of how young black men are treated, particularly at the hands of the police, who are entrusted to be super-heroes of justice and defenders of the weak and disenfranchised. If only it might have been so simple as young men following your father’s advice to remain unhurt." Note to both Pamela and Kendall: I did not mean to imply race was never an issue, but rather repeating some sound advice from my father about holding yourself accountable.

* … MORE FERGUSON: Tony Malon was a bit more agreeable with my post: "I agree with your father completely, sounds like mine. I am 77 years old , living in Bakersfield the past four years. I was born in St. Louis, then moved to a suburb called Overland , then to Cool Valley bordering Ferguson, for about 25 years. Ferguson and surrounding areas have alawys been a problem such as has been happening now even when times were good. I'm not taking sides as I have known many police officers in the area for years. Some good some not so good. I have a question, if the officer was a six year veteran with a clean record  why would he fire six bullets into an individual for no reason whatsoever?... When I was quite youn , and a police officer stopped me to ask me a question, I was told to obey officers or hell to be paid when I got home."

 * … REUNIONS: Royal Reynier will soon be attending his 60th East Bakersfield High School reunion, and he recommends touching base with long lost friends as frequently as possible. "The first reunion is attended to see if others have gone on to better lives and to mingle with the same people you did in high school... The sixtieth? Who knows. The only sure thing is that there will be a smaller group and the stories may be not quite right as memories fail. My advice is to attend a reunion. You have changed and so have they. You may have not have been in the so called 'in group.' but there is always
someone there that has a pleasant memory of you."

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Monday Bako Bits: Kern County's unemployment rate improves, Bland Solar and Air gets some recognition and some bad form out in Seven Oaks

 * … SHOOTING: The shooting of an unarmed man in Ferguson, Mo., and the unrest and rioting that
followed has triggered a lot of soul searching about behavior by both the police and regular citizens. I found this advice about "how to avoid being shot by police" strikingly similar to what my own father cautioned me years ago. Here goes: "Don’t be in a gang. Don’t rob convenience stores. Don’t do or sell drugs. Don’t loiter on street corners or walk down the middle of the street. Don’t carouse at night. If you are stopped by a police officer, comply with his or her orders. If you don’t like what they are doing, record the incident and hire an attorney. Do not, under any circumstances, attack the officer, hit the officer, or try to take the officer’s gun away from the officer." Said the author: "These seem pretty simple to most people, but there are large segments of our society who seem to believe that you can do these things and then they are aghast when things spiral out of control and someone gets shot."

 * … JOBS: Good news on the local job front. The Kern Economic Development Corp says the Kern
County jobless rate dropped in July to 10.4 percent, compared to 11.6 percent the same month last year. Year-over-year, July also saw an increase in jobs across all industries.  California’s unadjusted July 2014 unemployment rate is 7.8 percent and the nation’s rate is 6.5 percent.

* … SPOTTED: A friend posted this on his Facebook page: "PG and E wished me Happy Birthday by making my power go on and off, over and over again, from 2:15 a.m. to 7 a.m."

 * … FOODIE BEST BET: KC Steakhouse, the popular downtown eatery know for its dark, vintage interior, has brought back its "buy one dinner (or lunch) and get one free" special. It also is offering 50 percent off select bottles of wine every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

 * … SOLAR: Congratulations to Bakersfield's Bland Solar and Air, which was ranked ninth on the list of the top 100 best residential solar companies in the country. Bland Solar and Air has been in business and installing solar since 1985 and is the largest local installer in the San Joaquin Valley. The top three were SolarCity, Vivint Solar and RGS Energy. The rankings were compiled by Solar Power World.

 * … GOOD FORM: Hats off to the Bakersfield police officer who went out of his way to make sure a woman made it to her car in the dark. From reader Gerald A. Starr: "Seen on Wednesday evening after 8:30 p.m. on 17th Place and 18th Street. A lady diner was returning to her car after the CASA graduation and dinner at Uricchio’s. Her car was parked north of 18th Street (it was quite dark). A BPD patrol car on 18th Street came to a stop while the lady crossed the street and then turned right to escort the lady to her parked car illuminating the sidewalk and the area with the patrol car’s spotlight. Thank you to that officer as one of Bakersfield’s finest to take 2-3 minutes for an act of human kindness!"

 * … BAD FORM: A reader was walking in Windsor Park in Seven Oaks this weekend she she spotted a man walking his two dogs, off the leash. "They I observed him go to two different drinking fountains and turn on the water while the larger dog stood on its hind legs and drank from the fountains." Yuck.

 * … RETAIL: Jay Stodder tipped me off that a new retail clothing store has moved into the old Gottchalk's at the East Hills Mall.  "They are called 'Sarah' and actually relocated from a smaller unit in that mall. Great to see any local business succeed as well as prosper."