Thursday, July 2, 2015

On this Fourth of July weekend, give thanks to the greatness of our country, and some really good form around our community

 * ... FOURTH: This weekend we celebrate the birth of our nation, and though there are plenty of issues that divide us (immigration, abortion, gay marriage, Obamacare, social policy etc) I hope we all take a moment to appreciate that we live in a country that allows us the freedom to disagree. Are
we perfect? Certainly not. But look around the world and the problems faced by so many countries - Greece, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, Ukraine and closer to home, even Mexico with its drug cartels - and things don't look so bad. So fly that flag this weekend and toast to what we have.

* ... GOOD FORM: Bob Ritchey had an encounter the other day that is worth sharing. In his words: "I saw an older man dumpster diving for recyclables and I went up to talk to him.  One of the questions I asked him was how much does he make a day and he said '$10 on a good day.' I told him I admired him because he was out trying to earn money, instead of begging. I reached in my wallet and I knew I didn’t have much cash at the time. I had three bills and I thought they were all $1 and I apologized for not having more to give him. He said thanks and left the property. A few minutes later I saw him coming back toward the property and I ran over to my son and asked him to give me a $5 bill. The man came up to me told me that he wanted to let me know that one of the bills I had given him was actually a $10 bill. Needless to say I was shocked with his honesty and I rewarded him with another $5."

 * ... THREE STRIKES: The long criminal record of the man arrested in connection with the death of Bakersfield police officer David Nelson sparked a lot of comments. Typical of the reaction was this from Ken Barnes: "When did the 'Three Strikes' law that the people of California voted in become
four, five, or six? And then you finally get jailed for life after causing someone's death? Maybe we should take the high speed rail money and build more prisons and courthouses so these offenders could be put away and not beat the court system with pleas for a lesser charge. Really disgusting."

* ... SPOTTED: "It’s not really drinking alone if the dog’s home."

 * ... OVERHEARD: A young woman is telling a friend: "I don't drink high priced wine. The cheaper stuff doesn't give you a hangover."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Here is some good form that will make your day, compliments of Patricia Basset: "I live in Lake Isabella and travel the canyon frequently. Quite often the canyon is closed due to an accident, someone over the cliff, rocks in the road, etc. Last Friday there was a large rock slide about half way up the canyon and the line of cars waiting to get through was massive. It was hot, hot, hot and we were told it could be up to 10 hours to get the road cleared. While I was driving up 178, I was behind a young man in a truck, pulling a backhoe. He was waiting along with all of us until a young woman walked back down the road, after going to the slide area. When that girl told the guy in front of me about the slide, he didn't even think twice. He pulled the chains off his backhoe, unloaded it (no simple task) and took off up the hill. Within minutes, he cleared one side of the road of several huge rocks which allowed the traffic to move slowly, but steadily along. I am pretty confident that nobody thanked him, but I want that man to know my husband and I, along with all those waiting, really appreciated his being willing to go out of his way to help us get through the canyon. We do have good people here in Bakersfield."

 * ... LOCAL BOY: The new principal of Malibu High School, Dr. Brandon Gallagher, has a Bakersfield connection. A graduate of Cal State Bakersfield, Gallagher began his teaching career in the Bakersfield City School District where he taught from 2001 to 2003. He later taught in Santa Paula and most recently served as principal of an elementary school in Hawaii.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on what July Fourth means to all Americans, a time of gratitude and grace

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Bakersfield Republican and House Majority Leader, gives us his weekly report from Capitol Hill:

 "The Fourth of July is an American holiday, but it is recognized around the world as a turning point in history where the dominance of the few gave way to the rights of the many. It is the point at which the people rejected distant powers and centralized governments in favor of government elected by the people, for the people, and accountable to the people.

 "Centuries after the birth of our nation, we still celebrate our Declaration of Independence because the principles it was founded on—government by the people, the innate dignity of human beings, and liberty and equal justice for all—are universal. They do not change and they can never be forgotten.

 "On this day, we celebrate the fact that, in America, we are not united by bloodlines or even shared opinion. Rather, we are united by the bold belief that every person is guaranteed rights that their government must respect. We are united by the rooted knowledge that government by the few for the interest of the few will necessarily devolve into tyranny. And we are united by the hope that our ideals will be ever more perfectly realized as we continue living this great American experiment.

  "This time of year, we also remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we might enjoy these liberties and this hope. We extend our prayers and our gratitude to the courageous men and women currently serving in the armed forces and their families. There is no doubt that we live in the land of the free because of the brave.

  "As we enjoy this holiday, watch some fireworks, and spend time with family and friends, we know that celebrating Independence Day is much more than remembering the greatness of our past. It is a call to make a brighter future—to build upon the foundations that make America not just a country, but an idea.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Will the rush to rid the nation of symbols of the Confederacy extend to Texas, wrested from Mexico in what Ulysses grant called an 'unjust war?' And John Fanucchi says farewell at Garces Memorial High School

 * ... HISTORY: The political fracas over the Confederate flag has led to a new movement calling for the renaming of every street, school or county in the South named in honor of Confederate war
dead. So where does all this end? If this country is going to embrace a long apology tour, we have a ways to go. Consider Texas, which was wrested away from Mexico in what Ulysses S. Grant called "one of the most unjust" wars "ever waged by a strong nation against a weaker nation." In Grant's view, the United States provoked the war against Mexico to unjustly seize Texas much as "European monarchies" expanded years earlier. So will the rush to rewrite history involve renaming Texas counties that bear the names of its founders like Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin as gesture to people of Mexican heritage? And so it goes. (file photos of Grant and Houston)

 * ... SPOTTED: I spotted this on Twitter: "I tend to say 'hello' to animals and avoid eye contact with humans."

 * ... FANUCCHI: Here's a toast to John Fanucchi, the long-time head of Garces Memorial High School who is retiring as president after 40 years with the private Catholic school. For anyone whose children went to Garces (as one of mine did) Fanucchi was the one constant on campus, a tireless cheerleader and a favorite among both students and parents. In his farewell message he said this: "Your gifts, your expertise, your selfless time, especially your prayers - have made this school the special place it is today. Had it not been for you, the students and families whose lives you have touched over these many years would not have been able to experience all that they have.  I know that they will be forever appreciative. Please know that I will forever be indebted to you for all that you have done for them and for me personally."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Bailey Abbott wrote to talk about all the trash left on the Panorama Bluffs, and the good folks who do their best to keep it clean. "The flip side to those folks are people like Roxana Francis who routinely walk the Panorama Bluff trails picking up after the less civic mined. This diminutive grey haired gal can be seen frequently bent over picking up and bagging the trash left by those who (apparently) think the world is their garbage can. Three cheers for Roxana and so many others that contribute to the common good."

 * ... DROUGHT: And Nancy Bryant contributed this about our long drought: "I just read the blurb about one neighbor yelling at his neighbor to stop power washing his house, and in return getting flipped. People with smart phones can easily download the Bakersfield mobile app. Take a picture of violation, and report it on the app. It is user friendly. I reported a water violation, and it was addressed in person the same day. So easy, and it prevents a possible nasty confrontation."

  * ... MORE DROUGHT: Said Aneta L. Adams: "Concerning Betsy Gosling's last comment, ''s obvious who's not following the watering rules. Their lawns are green' I beg to differ with Ms. Gosling. Several months back, you published an interesting article by Kathy Robinson of Robby's Nursery. She indicated that you can certainly have a green lawn in this drought using much less water and watering only two or three times per week. It's knowing WHEN to water and how much.  I've done just that.  I've cut my water bill by at least the required 36 percent, I've had my sprinkler system repaired and replaced my control box, I put Gromulch in my flower beds in March, and my yard is looking better than it has in years. By watering correctly, I've also reduced the amount of weeds in my lawn, and the Bermuda is healthier. We don't need neighbors reporting each other to the 'water police' because of misinformation."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You may be a Bakersfield old timer if you "remember stopping for a train at Banducci's Corner, Fairfax, Sterling or Oswell and watching each open boxcar to see if a 'bum'; was inside.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Monday Bako Bits: More scams about town, a shoutout to Rotary's Jim Bell and Oregon runner Blake Haney shows some good form

 * ... SCAM: Gilbert Alemao shared with me yet another scam, this one an email from "The Internal Revenue Service" informing him of a $1,900 refund. The catch? It asked for all his personal
information, bank account number etc. "I wasn't born yesterday but I have to admit the attachment is pretty impressive and official-looking. It could affect someone less wise."

* ... SPOTTED: I spotted this on Twitter: "You know what I like about people? Their pets."

* ... GOOD FORM: Here's a good example of good form thanks to Jim Walker. "My daughter,  Jill Walker, and her daughter  Kristen,  found out this week that Bakersfield niceness can cross state boundaries. While touring the University of Oregon campus recently,  they decided to visit the track and field facility where they spotted Blake Haney,  the former Stockdale High track star who now runs for the Oregon Ducks. When he found out they were there and had Bakersfield ties he interrupted his practice and spent time visiting and posing for pictures with them. Both Jill and Kristen were impressed with what a nice young man he is." Jill, by the way, was a standout distance runner for the Bakersfield High Drillers in the late 1970s. Her daughter Kristen is a member of the Valencia High track and cross country teams.

 * ... MORE GOOD FORM: Local attorney Will Winn was getting ready to check out at Lowe's on Columbus the other day when the cashier asked if he was a veteran. "I don't wear any clothing or insignia to signal that I am a SeaBee Viet Nam vet, so it kind of took me back. I answered yes and showed her my recently issued veteran's card that any veteran can acquire from Kern County veteran's services (headed up by Dick Taylor).  She replied, 'You will receive a ten percent discount.'  She continued to say that Lowe's gives this discount any day and all days to Veterans who just need to ask for it."

 * ... BAD FORM: There is one thing you can always count on if you live near the bluffs off Panorama Drive: you awake to find literally dozens of discard fast foot cups and wrappers in the gutter. Is it too much to ask for folks to take their trash home with them?

 * ... DROUGHT: Here is what the drought is doing to us. From reader John Pelham:" I can't water my lawn but the guy two houses down is power washing his house. I called to him to stop wasting water. He flipped me off."'

 * ... ROTARY: Barry Rosenfeld shared this bit of good news: "Did you know it has been 17 years since a Rotary District 5240 Governor came from Bakersfield?  I'm letting you know because Bakersfield Twilight Rotarian Jim Bell becomes District Governor on July 1! All Bakersfield area Rotarians are welcome to join in with the excitement on July 8 at the Bell Tower Club from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Along with Rotary fellowship, cocktails and hor d'oeuvres, the official banner will be unfurled; 'Home Club of District 5240 Governor.'"

 * ... TRAFFIC OFFICER: And Betsy Gosling laments the lack of Bakersfield police officers on the road dealing with violations. "I'm out and about almost every day and the illegal lane changes,  drivers driving as if there is no one else on the road, besides running red lights and going through stop signs, is unbelieveable and very dangerous. Too bad I can't call in a citation to the BPD.  Police officers have more serious crimes to investigate. I understand; but, we need the traffic officers . Also, it's obvious who's not following the watering rules. Their lawns are green.