Friday, June 26, 2015

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy attends the funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston while expressing remorse for the death of a Bakersfield police officer

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

 "At the conclusion of another busy week in Washington, I was honored to attend the touching funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney who was one of the victims of the South Carolina shooting last week. Against the backdrop of a national tragedy, the power of prayer and faith has uplifted the Charleston community and our nation as a whole as we continue to stand with the family and friends who are grieving. Hate has no place in the United States and today’s celebration of life and love was an inspiring reminder that even in the darkest days, the light of God will shine through.

  "Locally, Judy and I are saddened to hear of the death of Bakersfield Police Officer David Joseph Nelson. A young officer who gave his life protecting our community, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends and to our entire local law enforcement community.

 "This week, the entire California Republican delegation joined together and introduced legislation that will fix the water mismanagement in California that has contributed to worst water crisis in generations. The crisis has transcended regional boundaries in the state and now the pain that our community has suffered over the past few years has no gripped suburban and urban communities throughout California. For years, I have offered and supported solution after solution that has passed the House, which unfortunately the President has opposed and were not enacted into law. But we will not rest until we solve this water crisis. We must act now so that when we are blessed with rain and snow we can capture and store it.

 "This latest proposal achieves four major goals that I have consistently stated must be included in any water bill. They include: 1.) moving water through the Delta; 2.) creating a path for new storage; 3.) protecting the State Water Project; and 4.) preserving state water rights.

This bill is an important step to getting our community the water it needs and the water that we have contracted and paid for. In the coming weeks, this bill will make its way to the floor and will pass out of the House. I believe that the Senate will also follow suit and pass a California water bill. In fact, I have spoken to Senator Feinstein about this bill and our community’s need to have a bill signed into law that actually delivers water. Time is of the essence, and I look forward both sides of the aisle coming together and supporting important solutions that provide the robust economic opportunity our families, farmers, workers and businesses all need.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

While the furor over the Confederate flag burns hot, a local black news talk show host questions the rush to tear down monuments in the South to Civil War heroes

 * ... FLAG: The controversy over the Confederate flag is resonating across the country, and it is nowhere as hot as on social media. When Amazon decided to stop selling the flag, I spotted this note on Facebook speaking to the hypocrisy of it all: "Amazon sells a huge variety of shirts, posters, you-name-it featuring the hammer and
sickle, Joseph Stalin’s mustache, all things Che Guevara, Vladimir Lenin and other colorful revolutionaries ... Guevara’s book Guerilla Warfare is on sale in four different formats. In one of the worst genocides in modern times, Stalin forcibly starved Ukrainian peasants in what’s known as the Holodomor, a 'terror-famine' that left anywhere from 2.4 million to 7.5 million Ukrainian peasants dead in 1933."

 * ... MORE FLAG: The feeding frenzy that started with the Confederate battle flag has now moved on to the hundreds of statues of Confederate war heroes that appear throughout the south, as well as schools and streets named after rebel leaders. Is it reasonable to expect that every vestige of the Civil War, from the Southern perspective, be removed from society? I was struck when local talk radio host Ralph Bailey, a conservative African American and host on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM, yesterday defended Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate calvary general from Memphis known as the "wizard of the saddle." After the war Forrest became a member of the Ku Klux Klan, but later fully embraced the Union and apologized for his actions, much to the dismay of his fellow Southerners. Said Bailey: "The facts are irrefutable. Forrest experienced a Malcolm X-like racial epiphany. Not only did he walk away from an incredibly lucrative slave trade profession but he addressed a crowd of black pole bearers in 1875 calling for racial equality well documented by The New York Times. He had no political motivation and had to have been vilified by friends and family who viewed blacks as innately inferior. Not only should his bust remain in the Tennessee statehouse but he should be a symbol of change and forgiveness ."

 * .... SOUTH HIGH: If you are a Bakersfield native, you know that the rebel flag was used by South High School to support the "Rebel" athletic teams. Said Ronal Reynier: "Here in Bakersfield we had a similar situation in 1976 when South High School was asked to change the 'Stars & Bars' flag they had been using for 19 years. The proposed flag would be a field of red with SH in gold. It was proposed at the meeting to change it to a field of red with SHS in blue trimmed in white. This was not agreeable to one faction. A student asked to speak. He said that the solution would be to have a new red flag with a gold hammer and sickle. He was suspended from school for five days.

 * ... PERRY: Former Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry was in town the other night for a fund raiser at the Westchester home of Kyle Carter and his wife, Kim McAbee. You can bet Perry will be followed by a parade of other GOP contenders who will be courting some of our area's influential business people.

* ... SPOTTED: A panhandler on a freeway ramp holds a sign proclaiming: "Mostly harmless."

  * ... INDEPENDENCE HIGH: Phyllis Adams dropped me a personal letter to thank a group of Independence High School seniors who have entertained residents at Carriage House Estates. "Glenn Miller era music was played by Richard Gonzales and dancing was enjoyed with students and residents for several hours," she wrote. What a satisfying feeling for teens to plan and enjoy time with their elders. Sharing of those evenings will be long remembered."

 * ... MEMORIES: Joe Chavez wrote with this memory from East Bakersfield: "Does anyone remember Louie the mailman from the 1960s? He delivered in east Bakersfield and he always had a smile. I myself would chase after him when I was waiting for a toy or model kit I ordered. Then it was off to swim at Jefferson park. What wonderful days!"

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A couple who burglarized a downtown home are arrested thanks to their pictures being circulated on Facebook, celebrating Hammons Meat market and it's time for another Guitar Masters concert

 * ... SOCIAL MEDIA: You can mark this one as a victory for the good guys. A neighbor's house downtown was burglarized this past weekend and later in the day the intruders came back to finish the job, eyeballing the home from a rear alley. This time the owner was home, snapped a couple of
pictures of the suspects in the alley (a couple in their early 30s, heavily tattooed) that were later circulated first on a neighborhood watch email list and later on Facebook. Within hours the couple was arrested (turns out they were driving a stolen car) and most of the stolen items were recovered. Now that is social media at its best.

 * ... VISITOR: When visitors come to town, how do you entertain them? I had friend from college this weekend and at his request, gave him a tour of the almond groves off Famoso Road and the Kern River oil field. We take this stuff for granted, but for folks from another area of the country, they are awesome sights and a chance to educate them on agriculture and oil. Then, a weekend of our landmark downtown restaurants: dinner at Muertos on Friday and Uricchio's Trattoria the next day, along with the signature Bakersfield event: Saturday lunch at Luigi's. Doesn't get much better than that.

 * ... HAMMONS: And speaking of local family-owned businesses, I had a nice chat the other day with Jenny Hammons, the dynamic 27-year-old who has taken over JJ Hammons Meats, the remarkable meat market founded by her grandfather in 1975. Jenny told me the market has a July Fourth special on rib eyes for $7.59 a pound, a bargain by any standard and almost 50 percent less than other high end meat shops. The special runs from June 24 through July 4. Check Hammons out at 1700 South Union Avenue.

 * ... SPOTTED: A local bumper sticker reads: "Duct tape can't fix stupid, but it sure can muffle the sound."

 * ... MUSIC: Guitar virtuoso Albert Lee is performing tonight (Wednesday) at the Simonsen Performing Arts Center at Bakersfield College. This is part of Rick Kreiser's "Guitar Masters" acts that have become so popular. Tickets at $35 at the door and $18 for students. The fun begins at 7:30 p.m. and Kreiser promises a "surprise" appearance at the concert.

 * ... SCAMS: My post on KERO TV anchor Jackie Parks shutting down a telephone scam brought this response from reader Mike: "I got a laugh out of your article re Jackie Parks and thought you might get the same with an incident that happened to my mother. Years ago she had some furniture in storage. After she had it removed and paid her last bill she thought it was over. It wasn't! The following month she got a bill. She wrote back that the furniture was no longer in storage and to please stop billing her. Next month, same thing. And the next, etc. Finally she wrote them and said
'Please forward all furniture immediately to the following address!' She never heard from them again.                                          

 * ... ACHIEVERS: Louise Scurlock, a proud mother and grandmother, offered the following about some high achieving local products of our local schools: "You might go to Memorial Hospital one day and find Bruce Scurlock M.D.,  his daughter, Kristin Chrisum P.A., and his other daughter Brooke Holmes, R.N., all working there. Maybe son, Joshua Scurlock M.D., from Massachusetts, should be intrigued to come back to Bakersfield and practice. All are graduates of Bakersfield High Schools."


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Is the gluten free movement one based on science or hysteria? A CSUB lecturer says it is "rampant nutritional misinformation," more bad form at Starbucks and a good way to support the arts

 * ... GLUTEN: Last week I posted a comment from a reader about what causes gluten intolerance, and it triggered a firestorm of emails. This one, from CSUB lecturer Adam Pennell, sums up how a lot of folks feel: "I am an adjunct lecturer/instructor at CSUB (Department of Physical Education and Kinesiology; Department of Biology) and BC (Department of Health & Physical Education).
One of my biology courses at CSUB has been nutrition for the past three years. My two cents... The gluten-free fad diet has been disproved - by the same scientists who started it (Biesiekierski et al., 2013). Most people do not have Celiac disease and do not even know what gluten is. The true culprit? Rampant nutritional misinformation, sensationalism, and exploitation. Are GMOs (genetically modified organisms) causing food allergies? Plain and simple, we need more high-caliber research. If increased FDA involvement is what you think we need, look into the supplement industry. I have a presentation that would scare you silly."

* ... BAD FORM: Shame on the driver at the Starbucks on Ming and Ashe who unleashed a torrent of vulgarities on fellow driver Toni De Rosa. Toni was trying to park her car while maneuvering through the drive-through line when the other driver, a young woman, "jammed her foot on the gas and almost hit me by sideswiping my car for fear I might pull in line ahead of her... She started screaming and yelling as I drove through. I could hear her through my rolled-up window.
I just want this rude person to know I saw her and I was not trying to steal her spot in the line - I was just parking my car. She almost caused a collision because of her unnecessary fear of losing her place in line... Please let your readers know your spot in line is not worth an accident and yes, some people are rude and what goes around comes around. They will get theirs when they least expect it."

 * ... GRADUATIONS: Stephen A. Montgomery has a solution for those people who disrupt local graduations. "It seems we can’t get through a graduation ceremony without a bunch of low life types making an ugly embarrassing scene. Seating should be arranged and security staff should be on hand to remove the bad behaviors. There needs to be accountability for such unjustifiable and selfish behavior. One idea is, stop the ceremony, on the PA announce that there are some ill behaved people in the audience who have interrupted the ceremony and after they are removed and order is resumed the ceremony will resume."

 * ... CONCERTS: Want to support the arts? Then you might consider joining the Bakersfield Community Concert Association, a group that offers some of the best concerts in town at a reasonable price. All its concerts are held at Rabobank Theater and feature everything from Grammy-nominated song writers to jazz quartets. Season tickets for all eight concerts are $80 for adults, $34 for full time college students and $24 for students through high school. For details check it out at

 * ... GOOD FORM: Darlyn Baker sent a shout out to city work crews for making the best of a bad situation. "Recently, a vehicle ran through a wrought iron fence into the garage of a condemned house at Spruce and 24th St. The plywood used to close up the opening has been painted the two tone colors of the house.  How nice for the city to make the most of a bad situation.