Friday, July 10, 2015

House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy: House of Representatives addresses the drought in the west and Valley Fever

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his own words:

 "This week, the House Natural Resources Committee passed out of their committee H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act.

 "We move one step closer to modernizing our water management system by moving legislation that can provide our communities relief from continued water rationing and higher costs. I
commend the House Natural Resources Committee for its longstanding work over the past few Congresses to help address California’s water problems, and most importantly for their swift, yet thorough, action so this much-needed bill can be considered on the House floor as early as next week.

 "Communities across California and America’s west cannot afford to wait longer as they face more and more water shortages. This bill offers an alternative to the status quo by clearing up the roadblocks and inefficiencies in complex and often contradictory Federal laws, regulations, and lawsuits that block water infrastructure and keep water from getting to the people that need it most.

 "Also, this week Congress passed H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act.

"Every single person in this country has been affected by disease. In the Central Valley of California, for example, so many of our family and friends suffer from Valley Fever, one of the thousands of incurable diseases in the world.

 "Imagine what the world would be like if we could treat and cure those diseases. However, to do that, we have to make some major changes to how the government approaches medical research and innovation.

 "21st Century Cures is one of the most important bills we are considering this Congress because it can actually save lives. This bill preserves America’s place at the forefront of medical innovation by making a commitment to fund medical research, break down barriers to collaborations, and cut the time it take to get innovations from the laboratory to the doctor’s office. This legislation provides us an opportunity to work together and move forward to cure Parkinson’s, find new treatments for heart disease, put an end to Alzheimer’s, build on the current research on Valley Fever, and treat many more diseases. The House passed this bill because there is nothing more important we can do than to protect and preserve life.

 "These two critical pieces of legislation are driven by the concerns and impacts from our local community as we work to provide drought relief in California and the Western United States, and streamline treatments and cures for diseases that affect our friends and loved ones.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

On the national dialogue on race, political correctness and what it means to be white, and black, in America. And will we ever learn to deal with trash in our town?

 * ... WHITE PEOPLE: During these times of heightened awareness over race and political correctness, here is a sure sign of our times. It looks like MTV is about the launch a new
documentary called "White People," which promoters say "aims to get young caucasian men and women to talk openly and honestly about race." Says the president of MTV Stephen Friedman: “Whiteness often remains unexamined in conversations about race in this country, even as it acts as the implicit norm against which other racial identities are judged."

 * ... BLACK TWITTER: Meanwhile the Los Angeles Times has hired a reporter to cover 'Black Twitter,' the ongoing dialogue of black Americans on Twitter. A few years ago The Times devoted an entire weekly section, and considerable resources, to covering the minority communities in Los Angeles; now it does it by following hash tags on Twitter.

 * ... HOME: I included a 'Bakersfieldism' the other day that dealt with how some folks are actually embarrassed to call Kern County home. It drew this response from Doug Snyder who came here in 1982 from Ventura to work for Shell Oil. "Along the way my heart for ranching, hunting, fishing and horses I acquired from my upbringing as a Kansas farm kid, was a good fit with living here. I've been fortunate to know some of the best folks our area has to offer... eventually had my own little beef cattle ranch and leased a small place around 4,000 acres. So I guess what I'm trying to get to, is you can call me a whole lot of things, but I'd sure take kindly if you wouldn't associate me with that area, I like to refer too as the bowels of the beast, just a little south of Bakersfield. They can have the celebrities and the coast and the pretty and we'll keep the food, water and oil! Will someone please take this soap box!"

* ... TRASH: Go almost anywhere in this town and you will find an appalling amount of trash-on the road, in the alleys, in front of local businesses and in our parks. One of my beefs is how local retailers neglect all the litter in front of their businesses, leaving hundreds of cigarette butts among the shrubbery along with straws and cup lids and whatever else. (Next time you are at Starbucks or Flame and Skewers at 24th and L streets check out the litter in the bushes) So here's hoping that our local retailers begin to take as much pride in the cleanliness of the area outside their businesses as they do inside.

 * ... TWITTER: Spotted this the other day: "If my glass is half full then I start wondering where my bartender is."

 * ... DMV: Tony Malon shared this bit of bad form from his recent trip to the DMV: "A month ago I had to renew my drivers license, which is always a fun day. I made an appointment, so as to not spend a lot of time there. It went pretty smooth as far as the DMV is concerned. About a month later I got my license. Shortly thereafter I received a card from the DMV saying that a form was not signed when I was there. I had to go back and sign something. Waiting in line for about 30 minutes I found out I didn't have to be in line, just go to the window on the card, information I got from someone else in line not from a DMV employee. Waiting in line at the window I was told the person who handles this was at a different location that day and they couldn't find the paper I had to sign. A lady at the window who did the search told another person to get a new form, and have me sign it. That person brought me a two page form to fill out, halfway through filling it out the first lady came back, and said I didn't have to fill it all out just half and sign it. I told her the reason I had made an appointment to begin with was to not have problems, her answer was 'you can give your license back after all you won't have to come back for five years.' I answered are you sure of that, and she reassured me so. A month goes by, and I receive another card just like the first one. Going to the proper window I find a different person, I ask are you the person in charge, no was my answer. I showed the card, and she dug through some files and found the original form I was to sign. I signed it and was gone. I hope I don't get another card in the mail. Being retired and on limited income and with gas at almost four dollars a gallon I don't need anymore trips to the DMV."

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fire warnings are issued for dry as a tinder box California, Kyle Carter eyes running for mayor and just why in the world do we allow fireworks during a drought?

 * ... DROUGHT: Four years of drought have left huge parts of California forests dry as a tinder box, and no where is it worse than east of Fresno. According to a story by Bee reporter Mark Grossi, "California waits in dread of the next big wildfire. Ground zero is east of Fresno in the southern Sierra, home to Yosemite and Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks as wells as the last native
giant sequoia groves on the planet." Grossi said the mountain communities are a big concern, and noted  "the forestry and fire protection board adopted an emergency rule bypassing usual procedures so private landowners can quickly remove dead and dying trees. It is expected to take effect July 11."

 * ... FIREWORKS: It's amazing to me that Kern County still allows fireworks, given the drought and predictable fires that they cause, but Jim Milledge says it's really not that difficult to understand. "It's not about the drought, air pollution or possible injury to people, animals, or property," he wrote. "It is the all mighty dollar first and foremost. Sales will never be stopped."

* ... OVERHEARD: Steven Barnes of Barnes Wealth Management was in Popy's Deli and Market when he overheard two men discussing the house that was severely damaged by illegal fireworks this weekend. "When one found out how the fire started, he immediately stated, 'Oh Lois Henry will get on that!'"

 * ... SPOTTED: I saw this on Twitter: "When life throws me a curveball, I try to duck so it hits someone else."

 * .. KYLE CARTER: I ran into Kyle Carter and his wife, Kim, over the July Fourth weekend. The former home builder is focused on wrapping up a major remodel of a recording studio to create a Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame venue off 21st Street. It looks like the this project is still a few months off, but it promises to be impressive. And Carter, a big proponent of redevelopment and bringing new businesses downtown, reiterated that we can expect him to run for mayor next year. (file photos of Kyle and Kim Carter)

 * ... BAD FORM: After sharing 10 tacos and burritos at the downtown Taco Bell (yes, I counted), two women in their late 20s hop into their white SUV and head onto 24th Street, but not before casually tossing their napkins out the driver's side window.

 * ... SCAM: Are you ready for yet another scam? This one comes in an official looking email claiming to be from Discover Card. It threatens suspending your card privileges unless you "click" on a link and provide personal information. Reader Mary Hazzard knew better but passed this on to warn others.

*...  LIE-N -DEN: Did you know that the Lie-N-Den, the famous Bakersfield restaurant off Niles that some people think offers the best burger in town, was opened in 1948? Bob Bryant is about to celebrate 10 years of ownership of the landmark eatery, whose original name was Otto's, Home of the Whopper.

 * ...  BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield "if someone asks you where you're from and instead of saying Bakersfield, you say,'"Um, a little north of Los Angeles, just over the mountain.'"

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Isn't it time to ban fireworks considering our bad air and lack of water? And we know you love your dog, but better hope it doesn't make the list of most expensive to own

 * ... FIREWORKS: The Fourth is behind us but the heated passions over fireworks live on. Consider this note from R. Craig Lincoln: "I can’t tell you how disappointed I am of the city and county to allow fireworks. What’s wrong with our council and supervisors? Not only because of the
drought but Bakersfield and Kern County have the worst air quality and can’t even meet the EPA or CARB air quality requirements. Bakersfield is rated No. 1 in the nation for highest  levels of air pollution with asthma prominent throughout the region, and the bad air can also raise levels of respiratory and cardiovascular disease.  Fireworks just makes it worse. Bakersfield and Kern County with the highest level of year-round pollution and some of the highest incidences of heart and lung issues as well, according to the American Lung Association's annual report. Now the drought we don’t have the water available to fight fires caused by fireworks. This just doesn’t make sense!"

* ... DOGS: Owning a pet can be expensive, as we all know. But a recent study identified the 10 most expensive dog breeds, based on their propensity for developing bone conditions and other ailments. The top ten are the English Bulldog, the German Shepherd, the French Bulldog, the Chow Chow, the Tibetan Mastiff, the Irish Wolfhound, the Great Dane, the Rottweiler, the Bernise Mountain Dog and the Basset Hound.

* ... SPOTTED: On Facebook was this post: "If opposites truly attract, the correct life strategy is to be a complete loser."

 * ... DROUGHT: Ellyce Baldwin weighed in on our drought with this: "Today you passed along an indignity by Nancy Bryant over someone violating water restrictions, implying that pressure washing your structure is a violation. Since we will be pressure washing the eaves and fascia boards of our house soon in conjunction with painting them for house upkeep, and since a pressure washer has a nozzle that is controlled, it is not a violation to do this. I just called California Water Service Company and talked to a supervisor for the answer. A pressure washer uses less water than a hose. A garden hose uses about 8 gallons per minute, while a pressure washer uses five gallons or less per minute. So, while I’m not advocating washing ones house just to get cobwebs off, for maintenance painting prep, it’s not a violation. I do wish we had put the painting off for a year, but we signed a contract several months ago. We will be monitoring the pressure washing to ensure it is done with minimal water."

 * ... NELSON: Caroline O. Reid was in Los Angeles last week when she stopped at In-N-Out for a quick burger. Suddenly, she found herself surrounded by men and women in uniform. It was then she noticed they were from the Bakersfield Police Department, Kern County Sheriff's department and Porterville and Wasco, all in town to attend the funeral of David Nelson, the BPD officer who died in the line of duty. "They were such clean cut, strong, solid looking men and women. Their expressions were stoic. It struck me that in spite of the dreadful sadness we are experiencing, life must go on. We must eat. We must go back to our jobs and our families. I am sure that Bakersfield will never forget our highly respected Officer Nelson or the work he did and obviously, from what I’ve read, the work that he could have done had he been allowed the opportunity. Sometimes life is almost too sad but we must keep on keeping on."