Thursday, October 8, 2015

Kevin McCarthy's stunning decision to drop out of the race for House Speaker, it's time for the 99 Music Fest out at CSUB and Connie Perez considers a run against Rep. David Valadao

 * ... MCCARTHY: Politics, like aging, is not a game for sissies, but I couldn't help but feel for Rep. Kevin McCarthy and his family after he bowed out of the race to become the next Speaker of the House. McCarthy is an adult and can take the heat, but when he took questions from a swarm of reporters, flanked by his wife Judy and their children Meghan and Connor, it was painful to see the expression on Judy's face as her husband
fielded the inevitable queries under the glare of national scrutiny. No matter what you think of McCarthy and his politics, the emotional toll on his family is not something to celebrate or to take joy in.

* ... MUSIC FEST: Your best bet for entertainment this weekend is the 99 Music Festival out at the CSUB amphi-theater. There will be seven bands on two stages featuring pure 'Americana' music, a blend of folk, country and Bakersfield sounds that helped forge the unique music of our nation. Among the headliners will be James McMurtry, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Sam Outlaw, Truxton Mile, the Roustabouts, the Canadian group The Sheepdogs and Bakersfield's own Monty Byrom. The gates open at noon and the first music starts at 12:30 p.m. There will be plenty of wine, beer and food. Tickets at and available for $50 at the door. This is a '21 and over' event. (file photos of Sam Outlaw, Monty Byron)

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of payments."

* ... OIL SUMMIT: Hats off to the West Kern Petroleum Summit that has sold out all 700 seats for its event next weekend at Taft College. Only in its second year, this summit has hit the sweet spot for a new event devoted to energy production. Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens will be the keynote speaker, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek will work as emcee and Rep. Kevin McCarthy will also address the crowd. If you missed out on tickets the event will be streamed live on

 * ... PEREZ: Folks who follow this stuff are scratching their heads over word that Connie Perez, a partner in the accounting firm Brown Armstrong, is considering challenging Rep. David Valadao in the 21st Congressional District. Perez is a virtual unknown, has never held elective office, works in Pasadena but nevertheless is known to be personally ambitious. While some local Democrats say Perez has a powerful story to tell (she grew up poor in Tulare County and overcame numerous obstacles to succeed), others see her candidacy as a misguided "hail Mary" to unseat the well entrenched Valadao.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: You may be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember celebrating St. Patrick's Day at Lemucchi's Tam O'Shanter up on Alta Vista.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Millennials give up on network and cable TV, disrupting yet another industry, a decorated Vietnam veteran responds to a columnist and another fall fund raiser for Saint Vincent de Paul center

 * ... CABLE: Big changes have come to traditional TV and cable programming, and not surprisingly the millennials are leading the way. The latest research shows the millennials (aged 18 to 34) are
abandoning cable, not watching traditional network television and instead "grazing" the internet and watching niche programming on their smartphones, computers and tablets. This, of course, has huge consequences for TV viewership and advertising, and it affirms what analysts have been saying: "Among viewers 14 to 25, TVs finally have lost out... Millennial households without children are the least likely to have cable - one quarter use the internet or antennas instead." Likewise, the New York Times reported that "time spent on smartphone based entertainment - music, videos, games (but not instant messaging or social media) - has doubled in just a little more than a year among those 18 to 34."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "You can go anywhere you want if you look serious and carry a clipboard."

 * ... GASPAR: Joe Drew, who recently retired from Tejon Ranch, served in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot and had this reaction to a recent column by Jose Gaspar in The Californian: "I read Jose Gaspar’s article on how Ben Carson’s comments about Muslims are demoralizing them. For me, the absolute lack of condemnation of ISIS from the Imam’s leading American Muslim religious communities is an import indicator of where the Muslim community stands on its commitments to our country. And this goes all the way back to 9/11." (file photo of Joe Drew)

 * ... STEAK: There are few better combinations in life than a Gary Icardo-cooked Harris Ranch New York steak and helping a cook cause. Add to that near perfect weather and you have the annual Fall BBQ at the Saint Vincent de Paul Center on Baker Street, where Gary and Adam Icardo will hold court to help the less fortunate in our community. The event is this Thursday beginning at 5 p.m. at 316 Baker Street. Cost is just $25 person.

 * ... ACHIEVER: Hats off to Hilary Gevondyan, a Bakersfield High School graduate who now works for First Republic Bank as vice president and associate general counsel. Some of her remarkable non-work activities include serving in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan, providing pro-bono legal counsel to immigrants seeking asylum and teaching a class at the Berkeley Law School.

 * ... MEA CULPA: I made a mistake in passing along a query from Darlyn Baker about the identity of a DJ who used to sit on a chimney to greet motorists downtown. The correct location was at 24th and Beech streets and the DJ used to sit up on the roof for days. If you remember who this was, or who sponsored it, let me know.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sacramento Democrats fear how Kevin McCarthy might wield influence if he becomes Speaker of the House and Bakersfield begins losing some of its most majestic trees due to the drought

 * ... MCCARTHY: I spent some time in the Bay Area this weekend and had a lot of time to think about California issues and politics while driving Interstate 5 through the spine of our state. If Rep. Kevin McCarthy becomes Speaker of the House as expected, you have to wonder about how he
might influence some of the major issues facing California. He is opposed to the High Speed Rail project, is at odds with Democrats on how to help Valley farmers during the drought, and he has proposed revising (or eliminating) environmental regulations that he believes are weighed more in the favor of fish than humans. This makes Democrats in Sacramento extremely nervous, as it should be, but only time will tell how he uses his new clout to influence state policies.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "A woman saying 'I’m not mad at you' is like a dentist saying 'You won’t feel a thing.'"

 * … SPOTTED IN LA CRESTA: A homeowner near Garces Memorial High School planted this  sign in her yard: "Drive Like Your Children Live Here."

 * … DROUGHT: As I was reminded the other day, just because you allow your grass to die in the winter doesn't mean you can stop watering your trees. Some of our community's largest and most beautiful trees are dying because homeowners are not watering their deep roots.

 * … WEATHER BIRD: Stephen A. Montgomery responded to my earlier post about the old 'weather bird' sign that once stood on the Sill Building at 18th and Chester. Said Montgomery: "Oh, yes, I remember the Coca-Cola weather bird sign and, no, I don’t miss it. With its multi-colored neon lighting it was quite an elaborate affair and a rather discordant addition to the efficient lines of the sleek streamline moderne 1939 Sill building designed by Charles Henry Franklin and Ernest J. Kump, Jr. The real disappointment is that the building was never finished the way it was designed as a six-story structure with a louvered facade on the elevator structure on the roof."

 * ... ONE BOOK: There will be a lively discussion on the economic plight of the working poor in Kern County this week at Beale Memorial Library. The Tuesday evening event is sponsored by One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern and will be devoted to exploring ways to create positive change in our communities. One Book is a community wide reading project and the group is asking folks to read "The International Bank of Bob," a book by Bob Harris that looks at ways to make positive change in the world. The discussion is set for Tuesday, at 5 p.m.

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Darlyn Baker is seeking answers to a question that has bugged her:  "Whenever I pass by the home on Beech and 22th Street, I smile as I still visualize the DJ who perched atop their chimney for a fund raiser. I would like to know if anyone remembers who he was, what radio station was sponsoring that cause, when it was and how long he was up there."