Friday, January 30, 2015

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy: House to vote on repealing Obamacare to return healthcare decisions back to the people

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

 "Super Bowl weekend is an exciting time for everyone, even if the Chargers, 49ers, Raiders, or whoever your favorite team is won’t be taking the field. But in our community, the big game has even
greater significance this year. For the Boron High School football team, they are experiencing the trip of a lifetime. After entering (and winning!) the NFL’s Together We Make Football contest, they won a trip to Arizona and tickets to Sunday’s game. We are so proud of the Boron community for pulling the support together and showing the country the ‘pride’ of Kern County.

 "But before we settle in to watch the Seahawks face the Patriots, it was a week of flurried activity in Washington (literally and figuratively).

 "The House has started the 114th Congress off to a fast start. In the opening weeks, our goal is to pass dozens of important bills that were approved by the House last Congress but were held up by the Democrat-led Senate. This includes the Hire More Heroes Act, which helps small businesses grow and veterans get jobs. It includes the Keystone pipeline and other legislation that upgrades our energy infrastructure. We passed legislation that redefines full time as 40 hours, after Obamacare lowered it to 30. And we also passed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act, legislation that will reform the VA by improving veterans’ access to mental health care resources, helping ensure veterans get the help they need after serving and protecting our country. These bills all passed out of the House with bipartisan support, and some have even passed out of the Senate.

  "Unfortunately, the President’s response hasn’t always been supportive of these measures as he has threatened more vetoes this quickly than any President since they became a formal practice.

 "Despite the resounding message by voters last November to hold Washington accountable and get some things accomplished, the President has ‘veered left’ and does not appear to be willing to work with Republicans in Congress. But the House of Representatives is intimately tied to the will of the people. We talk with our constituents every day, and when we are in our district, we listen to our constituents in meetings, in the grocery store, at the gas station, and in our houses of worship. The House has committed that the priorities we hear will indeed be the priorities of the House.

  "Next week, the House will vote to repeal Obamacare which has increased costs and reduced coverage for health care. Pulling this bill from its roots is an important first step to returning the health care decisions back to the families making them. And at the same time I have instructed the committee chairmen of the Energy and Commerce, Education and Workforce, and Ways and Means Committee’s to develop patient-centered solutions to replace Obamacare. Ours will put individuals and families in the driver’s seat and use the principles of choice and competition to make high-quality health care more affordable and accessible for all.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Clinica Sierra Vista to open a new facility to serve the needy on the east side, bad form on the bike path and discovering the "Sonny burger" at Mexicali restaurant

* ... CLINICA: The east side of town has an important new health center that will open on Monday. It's called the East Niles Community Heath Center and it represents the latest venture by Clinica Sierra Vista to expand its coverage for underserved and low-income residents. I toured the facility this week
with Clinica CEO Steve Schilling and his board chair, local plaintiffs attorney Matt Clark, and left impressed with the color and vibrancy of the new facility, which represents the future of local health care. The goal: provide an attractive, modern facility to get folks out of hospital emergency rooms and into comprehensive health care plans. The East Niles building will also house the family practice residency that used to operate out of Kern Medical Center, but is now under the Clinica umbrella, the Rio Bravo Family Residency Program.

 * … ACHIEVER: Hats off to Lauren Naworski, a 2011 graduate of Garces Memorial High School who will graduate in June from UC Santa Barbara. She is now interning at Fox Sports in Los Angeles where her first assignment was to help compile footage for coverage of Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski's 1,000th victory. She will graduate with a double major in communications and political science and is a member of the Alpha Phi sorority. She is the daughter of Andy and Julie Naworski.

 * … GOOD FORM: Janelle Kaufman lives across the street from the Olive Drive Elementary School and was impressed when a school gardener stopped working and removed his hat when the school broadcast the pledge of allegiance in the morning.

 * … BAD FORM: To the woman who allowed her small dog to weave all over the bike path, almost taking down a cyclist after nipping him in the leg: keep your animal on a leash before the unthinkable happens. And to all your cyclists out there: slow down. The bike path is a multi-use facility, not your personal velodrome.

* … FOODIE: Mexicali is famous for its south of the border dishes, but it also offers one of the best hamburgers in town. Next time, try the twin-patty "Sonny burger." You will not be disappointed.

 * … CAR DEALERS: Brian Kelly poses an interesting question: "The movie 'Psycho' was partially filmed here. There is a scene where Ms. Leigh gets another car. I believe the master shot shows another car lot across the street. Does anyone remember where these places were? Chester Avenue? Union Avenue?"

 * … MEMORIES: Steve Urner wrote to remember when he was a child in the 1960s when he rode his mo-ped tdo the Bakersfield County Club for a part-time job. "Nothing but foothills," he said.  "I also rode the mo-ped to Ewing’s on Alta Vista as the evening dishwasher (1964).  Jack Ewing would come back and flick his cigar ashes in the disposal throughout the evening as he visited with patrons. Great bunch of people."

 * …. MEMORY: Kurt Seeger says you might be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember the minature golf course on Mount Vernon Avenue where the Sizzler now stand. Pinball games were just a nickel a play.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Remembering the old west heritage of Bako when folks would ride horses into local bars on a bet, and more crime hits local neighborhoods

 * … CRIME: Jack and Jane Skaggs have lived in the Olive Drive area for years, enjoying their quiet street and a seven-foot tall, globed light fixture in their front yard that they would routinely
decorate for Christmas and Halloween. The other day it disappeared, unbolted and hauled off by thieves in the darkness of the night. "That thing must have weighed more ethan 300 pounds," said Skaggs, a retired California Highway Patrol officer. "It was seven feet tall. Where did they put it when they drove away? People will steal anything."

 * … HORSES: In an earlier blog post I wrote about a man riding his horse into the bar at the old El Tejon Hotel on a bet. Well, it looks like there was a similar event around 1932 during the Frontier Days celebration. Reader Mimi Hull said her brother, Milton Rudnick who was then just 4 years old, was on the back of a horse ridden by George Hoskings when they rode into The Padre Hotel. The horse's name was "Cacahuate" (Spanish for peanut). "George picked him up at our home on Oleander and they proceeded to ride downtown to join the celebration. George was doing his best to celebrate the occasion  and was 'feeling no pain.' He decided it would be a good idea to rid  into Sholar's  Market, which was across the street  from the Padre. Since they wouldn't let them ride into the market, he decided to just go across the street into the Padre Hotel. They made it into the hotel, but a crowd gathered when George tried to ride up the elevator…. By this time, Milton, who had ridden on the back of George's horse many times, was crying and begging, 'Please don't put my friend in jail.' In the midst of all this, one of our dad's friends, Art Alexander, came forward and announced that he knew the boy was one of Oscar Rudnick's children and that he would see that he was returned to his home."

 *… MORE HORSES: And there was this note from J.J. Gianquinto: "Thank you for the mention of the individual who rode his horse into the El Tejon, and for printing the response this morning.  Given the nature of the society in Bakersfield during the 1930s, there could have been more than one cowboy riding into the lobby. Charlie Dodge had presented a pair of chaps to me. Very old, obviously antiques. He stated the significance of them was that they were worn by an individual who was
wearing them when he rode into the lobby. I recall he mentioned the first name 'Gordon,' which made sense because the initials on the chaps were GSR. Charlie and I spent many hours chatting while on horseback, and at various functions. How I now wish I had taken the time and opportunity to have memorialized those chats in writing, or on tape. Charlie and Mary, together, had a great treasure of knowledge about Bakersfield and the people who lived here. No wonder, since they were both in police work here for so many, many years."

 * … CAR DEALERS: Lots of feedback on our old car dealers, including this from reader Karen Boehning: "There was a question about the owner of Columbus Motors. His name was Bob Gomez. The original business was built for Leo Meek VW, then reopened as Gardner Porsche-Audi. Next was Cantrell Porsche-Audi. Bob Gomez then purchased and became Columbus Motors. My husband, Chuck, worked for all the these dealers before leaving and opening his own shop, Stockdale Automotive. Also, it was not where Lowe’s is located. That was College Shopping Center.  Columbus Motors was located on the next corner just east, which is now an equipment rental business."

 * … MEMORIES: And finally, Geraldine Sproul added yet more: "Before Bill Hawk sold Oldsmobiles the dealer was Schweitzer Motors. He was on Chester but, not near the other dealers. The Chrysler dealer was Hubbard Motors. Rolfe Lowden sold Hudson cars. (Bet most people do not even remember this car.) The Packard dealer was Hackett Motors."

Sunday, January 25, 2015

In a fog shrouded valley, head up the Kern River canyon to find the sun, remembering the old Tam O'Shanter and identifying who was the cowboy who rode his horse into the old El Tejon Hotel bar

* … GLOOM: This was a gloomy, fog shrouded weekend here, but I found one way follow the sun.
Accompanied by six friends, we drove up the Kern Canyon with our mountain bikes in tow, hit crystal blue skies and temperatures in the 60s, and did a brisk ride on the fire road to Cow Flat.  Even if you don't ride, put some boots on and take advantage of nature's beauty just 45 minutes out of the fog.

* … PASSING: The passing of long-time Bakersfield College chemistry professor Patricia Lee caught the attention of one of her former students, Martha Turner Ingle. She said: "My high school chemistry teacher had announced that 'girls have no place in this class.' Mrs. Lee understood what I and many others had experienced and she went to great lengths on her own time to help us catch up. I just wanted to offer one last tribute to a fine teacher. "

* … EASTSIDE: Living on the east side of town doesn't get the attention it deserves, at least according to Jeanne Schamblin. "Once you come down the hill past Morning Drive, you enter a beautiful valley which I feel should be given the name of Rio Bravo Valley. We aren't really a part of 'east Bakersfield' but in our own part of town. We have Rosedale, Greenacres, Oildale, Seven Oaks, Southwest, Northwest etc… we deserve our own identify such Rio Bravo Valley… We've been the 'red headed stepchild' of Bakersfield long enough. Take a look at our area: beautiful homes on hills, gated areas, golf course living, a lake, soccer park."

 * … MEMORIES: Gerald Sutliff was moved to share a memory from 1957 when he was a bus boy working at the Tam O'Shanter when it was owned by Jack Ewing. "One evening when Jack was away I came out of the kitchen to find the wait staff, all women, standing in a cluster;  They seemed to be upset about something.  I asked what was going on? They told me there was a negro couple waiting by the entrance  None seemed willing or able to act. I grabbed a fresh table napkin draped over my arm and assumed the appearance of what I thought a head waiter should look like. I went to couple and offered them seating which they took. Then one of waitress came the table and took the couple's order.  Nothing was said to me about it by Jack or other staff."

 * … CAR DEALERS: One more memory of all those old car dealers that are now gone, this one from Erik Cortez. "All these memories of old car lots and no one has mentioned the old Columbus Porsche dealership on Columbus between Mount Vernon and Haley which is now Lowe's. My father was friends with the owner but can't remember his name. My father is 78 so this happens. I remember my father's Porsche 924 turbo burning down on the Grapevine and going with him to pick up his new Porsche 944 non-turbo. Everyone was super friendly at that car lot. I believe it was a VW and Audi dealership as well since my sister's convertible VW Rabbit was picked up from there too, with a red bow wrapped around it as well. Can anyone remember that owner's name?"

 * … HORSE BAR: Trudy Hodges cleared up the question about who rode a horse into a local hotel back in the day. Said Hodges: "Sheriff Charlie Dodge told the story about my grandfather riding his horse into the El Tejon Hotel. His name was P.J .Branson .. There was a photo of my grandfather at the bar with his Stetson hat on and on the back of his horse called Babe  My grandfather was the first Parks and Recreation Manager in Kern County and as a child I lived at Hart Memorial Park in a large white house.  My mother grew up at the park. The reason that my grandfather rode Babe into the bar was because of a bet, probably made with the sheriff."

House Majority Leader McCarthy: President Obama more interested in posturing than finding common ground

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

   "The Constitution says that the President 'shall from time to time give the Congress Information of the State of the Union.' Through most of our history, the President has provided to Congress a state of the union through either a letter or a speech, and President Obama continued that tradition this past week.
 "Through the election in November, the people made it clear that they want our country to go in a different direction. At the state of the union, the President had an opportunity to do more than just claim he wanted to work with Republicans, but to actually put forward ideas that we could work together on and that the American people want.

 "Unfortunately, the President missed this golden opportunity. Though he said he was willing to work with Congress, he threatened to veto four different bills during the speech alone—the largest number of veto threats in a state of the union in memory.
 "And when he moved on to offering proposals of his own instead of just shooting down ideas from Congress, he went back to the same tax-and-spend, big-government ideas that the American people have made it very clear they don’t want.

  "So far, it seems the President would rather continue his political posturing instead of finding common ground.

  "There is a simple formula for divided government to work together. First, you need a Congress that passes good bills that both sides can support. Next, you need a president that is willing to work with Congress to find areas of agreement so both parties can accept the resolution.

 "In the opening weeks of this new year, the House has been keeping up its side of the bargain. We’ve passed bipartisan bill after bipartisan bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, rein in the Washington  "regulatory regime, reform the permitting process for natural gas pipelines, stop the taxpayer funding of abortion, and more. But the President has already threatened to veto seven bipartisan House bills. In total, these bills have received 123 Democrat votes.

 "As I’ve always said, I am willing to work with anyone who is willing to work. So far, the President hasn’t shown that he’s willing to work with us. He needs to set his sights higher than the veto pen.