* ... METTLER: So who knew former Kern High School District trustee Ken Mettler has such a thin skin? Mettler penned a "Community Voices" column in The Californian last week in which he lashed out at Rep. Kevin McCarthy for being "a former used car salesman turned taxpayer-paid politician" with no principles. Mettler fancies himself as a true conservative so you can imagine what the rest of the column said. Okay so far, so good, it is Mettler's opinion and we were happy to provide him a forum. But when you willingly join the debate circle you can bet you might be in for some criticism yourself. Which is exactly what radio host Ralph Bailey (KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM/1180 AM) did last week, calling out Mettler on his hypocrisy and challenging his facts. So how does Mettler respond? He had his lawyer send a cease and desist letter to KERN corporate owner American General Media and then - get this - sends a similar letter to The Californian asking us not to report any Bailey criticism of Mettler. Goodness Ken, you should know better. As they say in Havana, "boca cerrada, no entran moscas."
* ... HARVEY: On the other end of the decorum spectrum is Mayor Harvey Hall, who announced last week he would not seek re-election. Here's my note to you, Harvey: Thank you for your service. Your gift has always been your genuine kindness and concern for all citizens of our town, no matter their race, religion or economic stature. You eschewed the polarization and divisiveness that is part and parcel of politics today (see Mettler above item), and instead you always took the high road. Like the happy warrior Hubert Humphrey, you wore your love for Bakersfield on your pin-striped sleeve, and for that we all owe you a word of thanks.
* ... JAR TRAIL: I got out Sunday and tackled the Jar Trail, an incredibly steep two-mile ascent that climbs more than 1,000 feet per mile. It's located at the mouth of the Kern River Canyon and provides the most breath-taking views in town. But be advised: if you want to make it to the top, bring hiking sticks, water and snacks because for people of moderate fitness, the climb can take two to three hours. (They say a fitness buff nick named "the beast" can make the ascent in 32 minutes). This trail is not for beginners, but for those looking for a challenge, go for it. And please, if you go don't leave trash and water bottles on the trail.
* ... BAD FORM: Bryan Kelly just can't seem to get a break. Remember Bryan? He is the former Trader Joe's employee who a few years ago found a soiled diaper stuffed inside a shoe box at a local Walmart. Well, it happened again, this time at the Walmart in the Northeast. While strolling through the store he stumbled upon two women changing the diaper of a small boy, right where the Pampers were displayed. The women casually opened a new box of Pampers, pulled out a diaper, put it on the boy and stuffed the used diaper back in the box of Pampers. "They put the used Pamper in the package and turned it around so one could not tell it had been opened. I finally cleared my way out of the remnants of the tower of babel and out into our unhealthy fresh air. Have you ever showered with a mixture of Comet, Lysol and vinegar?"
* ... KERN RIVER VALLEY: Some folks up in Lake Isabella are holding a fund raiser to build a skate park for local kids. According to Karene R. Williams, a group of local volunteers has aligned itself with the non-profit California Recreation Foundation to raise the funds. "We have the support of First District Supervisor Mick Gleason as well as Parks and Recreation Director Bob Lerude. Kern County Parks and Recreation is providing the location at no cost. Once the skate park is built, it will be turned over to the county for upkeep and maintenance." The group hopes to raise $150,000.
Donations can be made to California Recreation Foundation and mailed to 2809 Irwin Avenue, Lake Isabella, CA 93240.
* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Ronal Reynier writes that you might be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember when high schools had "occupational classes... when Bakersfield Community College was at BHS and you went to Bakersfield Community College tuition free. Times have changed. We used to leave our books on an outside window sill and the next day they were still there."