Friday, May 22, 2015

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader, gives tribute to those who gave it all for our freedoms

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

 "We all know the Gettysburg Address: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are
created equal.”

 But how often do we think about the rest of the speech? Lincoln ended his address saying:

“The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

 On this Memorial Day, we remember our fallen heroes who gave their lives, their “last full measure of devotion,” so that we could remain free, so that the world would not suffer under tyranny, so that our families could remain safe.

 On this bittersweet day, we must remember those who fought and died for us, but we also must honor them by committing ourselves to the future.

 Let us remember that this great country is unique and that we remain a beacon of freedom and hope for the world. Let us remember that we stand for human dignity and our inherent moral equality. And let us never forget that we are exceptional precisely because of the principles that so many of our men and women in our history have died for. As a country, we must live each day for those principles.

Today, we enjoy a long weekend. We probably get to spend a little extra time with our families and friends. We can barbecue, sit in the sun, play some baseball and football, and enjoy all of the little things that we have living in a free and independent nation. But throughout this day and throughout our community, we must remember—we must remember those who gave everything in defense of our nation. We are a grateful community and we must never forget.

 Our nation—and so many other nations—remain free because of our servicemen and our servicewomen. Today and every other day, we must honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy our freedoms.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Music festivals, menudo cook-off, craft beer fest and The Eagles highlight the weekend, and northeast homeowners hold an Irish wake for a 60-foot tall coastal redwood tree

 * ... FESTIVALS: How fat is your wallet these days? I'm asking because if you are looking for something do this this Memorial Day weekend, there are plenty of festivals and music acts that will
be happy to take your money. You can start with George Martin's huge Rock and Country Music and Art Festival Saturday at the Kern County Museum featuring a couple dozen familiar acts like Leann Rimes, Chubby Checker and Eddie Money. If that is too pricey, head over to the CSUB amphi-theater for the Craft Beer Festival hosted by Moo Creamery and Imbibe Wine and Spirits. Fighting a hangover? Then the Kern Hispanic Chamber's Menudo Festival may be right for you at the fairgrounds, or you can save your money and try to score a ticket to The Eagles concert at Rabobank Arena on Tuesday. On the less expensive side, you might check out the Average White Band appearing Friday evening at the Park at River Walk, where tickets are just $15.

* ... DROUGHT: Bob Hartshorn sent me this missive about the drought: "I have a comment regarding the California water conservation efforts/laws. I am waiting for the port-a-potties to be lined up at the Sacramento legislative offices, so our lawmakers can lead by example. Also, I would like to suggest to the lady who goes to her neighbor to ask/tell him not to wash out the gutters. Invite that gentleman to observe you taking a shower so the he can make sure you aren't taking too much time. After all, it's for the common good.

 * ... SPOTTED: Saw this on Twitter the other day: "I've never been in love, but I imagine it's similar to the feeling you get when you see your food coming in a restaurant."

 * ... VISUAL CLUTTER: Here's a thoughtful note from  Anthony Malon: "What's with all the 'I buy houses' signs everywhere? Don't they ever have to take them down ? If there is a law, it's easy to enforce they have a phone number on the signs. Looks terrible on top of all the yards sales signs on Saturday."

 * ... GRANTS: One of the more generous benefactors in town is The Bakersfield Californian (family) Foundation, which recently announced yet more grants. Among the recipients were the College Dream Fund, $3,200 for scholarships; Have a Heart Human Society, $3,500; Kern Agricultural Foundation, $4,000 for scholarships;  Kern Athletic Fencing Foundation, $7,500; Salvation Army, $11,520; Keep Bakersfield Beautiful, $14,500 for two community gardens; Bit-O-Heaven Ranch, $25,000 in matching funds; and the Wings of Rescue, $28,000 for its Saving Bakersfield Shelter Pets project.                                                                                  

* ... IRISH WAKE: What's the proper way to say goodbye to a stately old tree? How about an old fashioned Irish wake? John Rodgers lives on Christmas Tree Lane in the Northeast and has the tallest coastal redwood tree on the block. "We have been told we need to remove it since it is six feet from our home and is causing damage to our foundation. Needless to say we are not happy having to do this. We are posting it on Facebook and hoping folks will come for one last look at the tree and share a toast with us."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A reader takes on those who abuse dogs and show a lack of decorum, while I praise the personal connections that make Bakersfield home

 * ... ANIMAL ABUSE: If you want to get someone's attention, turn the conversation to how some people treat their pets. This note from Jean Hughes Gutierrez hit home: "Your recent comment on dogs being dumped on Breckenridge Road and being attacked and eaten by wild animals was typical
of what is going on in this town. Add that to the impatient driver who ran over a mother duck and tiny babies because he got tired of waiting for them to move on Truxtun, and the father who attacked and threw his infant for too much crying. What is in common?  These living, feeling beings are helpless and dependent on powerful humans to be caring and kind. Spaying and neutering is only a small part of ending the dumping of pets who are considered throw aways when they become big, boring, or costly. The real problem is  the mind set of Bakersfield residents, combined with the systematic taking away of reasonably safe living space for both abandoned domestic animals and wild animals.  This is done because man thinks he is entitled to anything he wants, any time he wants, at any cost. Babies and animals are of little concern. The unspeakable final travesty? People gripe because domestic and wild animals eliminate on their property. And the solution, in their sick minds, is to not feed them if starving.  I guess the animals are supposed to hold their stool and urine, and ignore their hunger pangs, until they die. An we are the "superior" species?"

 * ... OUR TOWN: One of the benefits of living here is the ability to making lasting connections and friendships that withstand the test of time. I am not referring to close friends (although certainly those are important) but rather the local businessmen and women on whom we rely to furnish our homes, repair our appliances and paint our homes. I did business with Jerry Warren and his company, Bakersfield Plumbing, for years until his untimely death in 2011. Along with his wife, Jennie, I was always afforded fast, efficient service, always with a smile. (I spent more time chatting with Jerry about his family and life than he did working on my plumbing) Thanks to a stubborn drain in my old home, I recently got to meet Jerry's son, Tony, who carries on the family business and does it with his father's charisma and honesty. It's that small town feeling, and it is something to appreciate.

* ... DROUGHT: Sue Castro weighed in on the woman who confronted a neighbor for washing out his gutters. "If one of my neighbors came to my door and told me to 'please not do it again' regarding some water crime I committed, I would tell her to mind her own business. She's all proud of what she did when she should be embarrassed at being a rat fink. This drought fracas is getting out of hand.  It's like mass hysteria.  Really, people, God will open up the clouds in His time just like He always does after years of keeping it dry to show us who is boss! Remember all the other droughts we have gone through? The only difference with this one is a little old smelt.  I say kill the smelt and send us the wasted water going out to the ocean. And guys, somebody has pulled an Orsen Welles on you all.  Stop freaking out."

 * ... TAKE MY WIFE: And speaking of the drought, Don Kurtz added this: "Trying to comply with the orders from Gov. Brown on saving water, I told my wife we could shower together. She told me she would rather pay the $10,000 fine!"

 * ... COUNTRY CLUB: Up at the Bakersfield County Club there is a lot of work being done to make sure the club uses as little water as necessary. Dr. C. Allen Anderson wrote to praise the club’s president, Kevin Small, and his board of directors and ground superintendent, Steve Scarborough. "I was recently invited as a member’s guest to play golf at BCC. I was pleased to see several large and strategic areas of the course had been renovated into drought resistant landscaping. Evidently, these measures have been underway long before the media and government directed us all to conserve. These areas are beautiful and yet require very little water. We could all take a lesson from BCC."

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Will a winter El Nino save California from the long drought? And can we please display some decorum during our high school graduations?

 * ...  EL NINO: There is a long way to go, but there are early signs that California could be in for an extremely rainy period next winter. That's the word from weather forecasters who say a strong El
Nino is forming near the equator. According to a climatologist quoted in The Los Angeles Times,  "it could be ... potentially the beginning of the end of the drought." Of course a lot can happen before that happens - other signs that El Ninos were forming didn't pan out - but we have to keep hope alive.

  * ... HIGH SCHOOL: With high school graduations coming up, is it too much to ask folks to show some decorum during the ceremonies? Retired high school teacher Craig Holland summed it recently with this post on his Facebook page: "I am sooo glad I don't have to sit through another high school graduation. Rude low life people making a disrespectful circus out of what should be a respectful occasion. They don't know the difference between a graduation ceremony and a pro wrestling bout. It is embarrassing for the faculty. That is why I took tickets at STHS (Stockade High) graduation the last half dozen years, and scooted out the door at the mention or the first grad's name. I was embarrassed for the kids and for everyone. I went directly to a watering hole and respectfully raised a glass to 'my kids' and then went home."

 * ... BAD FORM: Here's hoping a string of really bad luck follows the people who stole the right front rim and tire off a local teenager's 2008 Ford Fusion in the Northwest, leaving the car jacked up and its owner with a $600 bill to replace it. Not a good way to start the day.

 * ... GOOD FORM: Yvonne Torres was driving to work recently when she almost ran over a jaywalker at 19th Street and Chester Avenue. The jaywalker was wearing a Halliburton uniform, but Torres then realized he was crossing the street to rescue an elderly woman who was trying to get her wheel chair out of her car. "It made me feel guilty about getting upset. I want to commend this employee for going above and beyond his job. It shows what kind of a people Halliburton has working for  them. When you think people are not watching people are. Thank you Halliburton!"

 * ... OVERHEARD: At Tahoe Joe's a young mother is having a drink at happy hour and is overheard telling a friend about a neighbor: "If I see one more 'selfie' with her children I am going to throw up."

* ... FOODIE: A new lunch and dinner menu has been rolled out at The Mark Restaurant on 19th Street, and it's worth a look. There are now three signature hamburgers on the menu, as well as a Ruben that is outstanding. Meanwhile, if you are a fan of beets, as I am, try the outstanding three-beet salad at Valentien.

* ... SCAM: An old scam is making the rounds again. Listen to this from Rose Harris of Wasco, who received a call from someone claiming to be from the Publisher's Clearinghouse saying she had won $980, but they wanted a $350 'delivery charge.' "They said 'Would you like a TV fanfare or a private deposit?' I said neither and I am not paying you anything... I hung up. The caller ID showed an area code in Kingston, Jamaica."