Friday, December 18, 2015

House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy: lifting the ban on exporting oil allows producers to search for new markets as Iran enters the global energy market

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

 "Over forty years ago, the United States responded to an oil supply crisis driven by Iran and the
Middle East by instituting a ban on American exports of crude oil. The reasoning was simple: given the conventional wisdom that oil was a resource of limited supply, any discovery of it in the U.S. should be kept within our borders for the use and benefit of our economy. With this acknowledgment we were essentially bracing for a world without oil.

 "But like so many other instances, American ingenuity rejected this belief.  The advent of innovative techniques and technologies that uncovered and extracted newly found oil and gas has reshaped America’s energy future into a world leader. A game changer.

"A focal point of this influence continues to be right here in Kern County.  Our ties to the black gold that powers our way of life run deep. This is why my commitment to a strong American oil and gas portfolio is steadfast.  I believe that greater times of prosperity in this country can only be achieved if we have the energy to achieve it.

"So while the U.S. has flexed its energy muscle to the world (and quite impressively so) the economics have been a boon to consumers but is placing our producers and the communities they support in perilous times. Unfortunately, our community is not exempt from these conditions.

 "Given the economic situation, the domestic abundance, and the reentry of Iran to global marketplace thanks to Obama’s dangerous nuclear pact, the most obvious policy response was to lift the relic that is the ban on crude exports. In doing so our producers can search for new markets while offering our allies a reliable trading partner and limiting the influence the Iranian regime can impose on the world.

 "This week, Congress successfully lifted the ban on oil exports, which the President is expected to sign into law. This decision signals to the world and our communities that Congress ready to do all that it can to support a strong energy future and stronger communities.

Former Kern County airport director Ray Bishop found dead in Wyoming

 Ray Bishop, who was at the helm of the Kern County Airport revival and the construction of the Bill Thomas Terminal, was found dead in his home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There was no immediate cause of death for the 69-year-old Bishop.
 Bishop left Bakersfield and ran the Jackson Hole Airport for eight years. While in Bakersfield, Bishop was highly popular and admired for his work ethic and discipline. Bishop, an Air Force veteran who served two tours of duty in Vietnam, headed the Kern County Airport for more than a decade.
 He leaves behind his wife Debbie, and three children.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

So much trouble in the oil patch that even lifting the ban on oil exports may not help, The Habit Burger opens to big crowds and some of my favorite local eateries

 * ... OIL PATCH: These a tough times in the oil patch, and with the price hovering around $36 a barrel, it won't get much better anytime soon. Here are some disturbing facts for a community so
closed tied to energy: the price of oil has sunk by two thirds since the summer of 2014, Iranian oil will soon hit the market and global production continues to flood the market. Locally, layoffs are almost a weekly occurrence and those who remain employed live in fear of the next round of cuts. All this comes as President Obama is expected to sign legislation to end the ban on U.S. oil exports, a law that was passed after the 1973 Arab oil embargo. Supporters say lifting the ban is long overdue, but they concede
it will have little immediate impact on the price of crude.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I like holding the door for people who are far away, you know so they have to run a little."

 * ... HABIT BURGER: In true Bakersfield style, the Habit Burger Grill officially opened on California Avenue this week and it was a scene of long lines and massive crowds. We love a new eatery, and most of the reviews for this burger joint were positive. If the past is any guide, wait a few months before you stop by the Habit to try their specialty burgers.

 * ... FOODIE: Forget fast food, the best food in town is at one of our locally owned restaurants where the owners are there to personally greet you and the kitchen takes pride in consistency and creativity. Take your pick, but some of my favorites include Uricchio's Trattoria, Cafe Med, KC Steakhouse, Steak and Grape, Muertos, Mexicali, Jin Suishi, Casa Munoz, Luigi's Delicatessen, The Padre Hotel, The Mark, virtually any Basque eatery (Woolgrower's, Noriega's, Pyrenees Cafe), just to name a few. Take your pick.

 * ... CHEZ NOEL: I touched based the other day with Donna Chertok over at the Assistance League, which just came off another successful Chez Noel Home Tour. She reminded me that all proceeds from the home tour benefit the League's philanthropic programs, including Operation School Bell. And it was particularly heartening to hear that the young men from CSUB's Kappa Sigma fraternity worked with the League to so some of the heavy lifting. Hats off to those young men.

 * ... LIBRARY: With all the concern about funding our public libraries, it was good to get this note from sixth-grade teacher Roberto de Leon. "Edison Middle School was recently awarded a $6,000 grant award from author James Patterson to support our school library!  In addition, Scholastic Reading Club is matching the dollar donation with bonus points for individual classroom libraries. Edison is going to use the funding to buy new books for students. We've put together a group of kids who love reading - or, at the very least, have incredibly discerning tastes about books - and they'll be our primary book buyers. Imagine going on a $6,000 shopping spree at age 11?  It's an incredible gesture from Mr. Patterson, and one that a tiny school like ours is grateful for."

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

If you can't show some good form around the holidays, then when can we? A local girl has a Chanukah photo on display in Washington, D.C., and Bako loses a power couple to Texas

 * ... GOOD FORM: Here's some good form for the holidays, compliments of Janis Varner. Said Varner: "I had breakfast with my WW II veterans at Pappy’s Coffee Shop on Rosedale. We were
celebrating early the birthday of Mr. Bill Kehoe, my veteran from April 2013. Mr. Kehoe will 104 on December 28th! I had the whole place sing Happy Birthday to him and a few came up after to shake his hand and wish him well. When I went to pay the bill, Sarah – one of the owners – said a Vietnam veteran – whom wanted to remain anonymous – donated $50 toward our breakfast  Just another example of one generation thanking the Greatest Generation for their service. Thank you Mr. Vietnam Veteran for your generosity and service to our country."

 * ... MORE GOOD FORM: And Rita Loken added her "heartfelt thanks to Cindy and Kevin Trueblood who gift our city each year with their beautiful production of the Nutcracker Ballet. I went again this year and it absolutely took my breath away! The dancers, the costumes, the scenery, the orchestra – everything about it was first class. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

 * ... CHANUKAH: Congratulations to 13-year-old Leah Schlanger, a young Bakersfield student who has a photograph on display at Vice President Joe Biden's residence in Washington, D.C., this month. The photo of a Chanukah Menorah with colorful candles, along with images from nine other kids from across the country, were chosen as part of a new collaboration between National Geographic Kids and Dr. Jill Biden to celebrate young photographers.

 * … SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "If pigs could fly imagine what their wings would taste like."

 * ... HALL OF FAME: I finally got a tour of the new Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame and it is everything it is billed to be. Thanks to Kyle Carter and his wife Kim McAbee Carter, the old sound studio underwent an extensive remodel and is now ready to open its doors to the community. All of this did not come cheaply, and I was happy to sign up and write a check as one of the community "members" who has pledged to support this new venture. The Hall is located at 23rd and Q streets.

 * … FAREWELL: Congratulations to Ty and Christina Sweet who are leaving Bakersfield for new opportunities in Austin, Texas. Christina is a well known local artist who has been instrumental in the downtown arts scene and her husband works in the energy sector. Said Christina in a Facebook tribute to Bakersfield:  "Thank you for being the ground beneath my feet my entire life starting out a barefoot country girl living on Superior Road then growing up in the Southwest and making the greatest friends of my life. Rio Bravo Greeley, Seibert Elementary, and Thompson Jr. High where I learned who I wanted to be – an artist." Good people who added value to our community. Bakersfield's loss in Austin's gain.