* ... WARD 2: The battle for the soul of downtown's Ward 2 on the City Council is on, and it could very well turn out to be the most heated local election this year. Last week I passed along the words of Sue Castro, a strong supporter of Councilman Terry Maxwell, who sought to portray challenger Andrae Gonzales as a future "yes man." (Castro used the Spanish 'si' as emphasis, drawing criticism she was playing the race card.) Gonzales, taking the high road, responded with this: "As a city councilman I will say Si, Oui, Ja, Sim, Ye, and Yes in any other language to move our city forward. I will say 'yes' to make our neighborhoods safer and cleaner. I will say 'yes' to supporting downtown revitalization efforts. And I will say 'yes' to finishing the Thomas Roads Improvement Program projects. We've suffered through four long years of nothing but naysaying and obstructionism. We've heard a lot of talk, but have not seen any action. It's time for thoughtful leadership. It's time to say yes for progress."
* ... MAYOR'S RACE: So who knew running for mayor of Bakersfield would be so popular? Now that Harvey Hall has announced his retirement, 27 people have pulled papers expressing interest in the largely ceremonial job. It's almost as if anyone with more than 100 Facebook friends has decided to run, but the early odds are clearly behind the well connected and well organized Karen Goh and former homebuilder Kyle Carter, who is equally well connected and with the deep pockets to make a serious run.
* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Without sleep, I just become a very tall 2 year old."
* ... BETTE: And Bette Midler tweeted this: "Kim Kardashian tweeted a nude selfie today. If Kim wants us to see a part of her we've never seen, she's gonna have to swallow the camera."
* ... MARLEY'S GHOST: Ready to step out and catch some live music while touring the fabulous new Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame? You can do it Friday evening when Marley's Ghost brings its big sound to the Hall of Fame. Tickets are just $25, doors open at 5 p.m. and the show begins promptly at 6:30 p.m. Don't miss these guys.
* ... TENNIS: Looking for something exciting to do that won't cost you a penny? Then head over to the Bakersfield Racquet Club this Sunday to catch the Bakersfield Open, a pro circuit event that will feature some of the hottest young professionals from across the world. It runs March 12-20 and as I said, is absolutely free. Make a night of it and catch some tennis and then take in dinner at one of our locally owned downtown restaurants.