Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Keep an eye on those tax raising proposals on the November ballot, Kyle Carter picks up an important endorsement and the Bako Sweet mini seedless watermelon shows up on the streets of New York City

 * ... TAXES: Here's yet another reason to pay attention to what your local government is doing these days: despite the defeat of the proposed library tax in June, more proposes to raise your taxes are headed to the November ballot. Bakersfield College is pushing one measure to improve its facilities, and other groups (public safety unions and Sheriff Donny Youngblood) tried unsuccessfully to increase the sales tax
to fund public safety and transportation projects. For taxpayers, this looks like death from a thousand small cuts as politicians use the ballot box to push vital decisions back to the voters. I found this response from former city councilman Mark Salvaggio noteworthy: "There is an old idiom: You never let a serious crisis go to waste.  In this vein, our county government needs to make some structural budget cuts to remain solvent.  If it is not done now during this budget crisis, it will never happen; it will be government as usual. Now is the time to cut back on dozens of unfilled public safety positions that are still funded but have little hope of being filled in the future.  These funds are used to pay for expensive overtime for the rank and file in these departments, the hiring of temporary employees to complement the current permanent employees, i.e., the Probation Department and who knows what else... The Kern Community College District Board of Trustees just voted to put a $503 million dollar bond on the ballot in November.  If passed, this will add another tax on our property tax bills which already have numerous bond taxes on them.  For example, this college district currently has 3 other outstanding bonds on the property tax rolls along with 1 maybe 2 for the Kern High School District as well as dozens of elementary school district bonds throughout Kern County."

 * ... ENDORSEMENTS: Kyle Carter has picked up an important endorsement in his quest to succeed Harvey Hall as mayor. The country's largest police union, the Kern Law Enforcement Association, said it was supporting Carter because of his commitment to landing new funding for local law enforcement. Meanwhile Carter's opponent, Karen Goh, picked up a less weighty endorsement when she won the support of local attorney Milt Younger, once a kingmaker in local Democratic politics and a longtime voice for liberal causes throughout the region.

 * ... SMALL WORLD: My oldest daughter, a graduate of Garces Memorial High and later UC Berkeley, now lives in Brooklyn but carries a piece of Bakersfield in her heart. So I should not have been surprised when she texted me a picture of a seedless, organic mini watermelon with the brand "Bako Sweet" that she found in a local New York City street market. It turns out the melon she purchased in Brooklyn is from Valpredo Farms here in Kern County, founded by Chester and John Valpredo and carried on by the family to this day. Check out the family's website at www.bakosweet.com.

* ... GOOD FORM: If you already love Trader Joe's, this note from Bonnie Farrer will make you love it even more: "Is Trader Joe's a great store or what? Today I needed a few items there but was not allowed to put my small dog in the grocery cart. I couldn't leave him in the hot car so one of the  clerks stood outside the door with Toby on a leash while I shopped. Bravo to that young man!"

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Stalking is when two people go for a long romantic walk together but only one of them knows about it."

 * ... BAD FORM: Fred Valenzano weighed on our litter habit with this thought: "Your Friday column (7/22) has a slight error in your comments about plastic bags: quite a few smokers STILL throw away cigarette butts like they are nothing! I know and am related to current and ex-smokers who are/were always thoughtful. But I see people everywhere who still treat our world as their personal ashtray. Ugh!"

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