Thursday, March 31, 2016

A new audit slams the University of California system for favoring foreign and out of state students because they pay higher tuitions, Mayor Harvey Hall shows more class and no, Trader Joe's is not shutting down

* ... UC SYSTEM: A new report sharply criticized the University of California system for favoring foreign and out of state students over California residents simply because they pay more in tuition.

This probably shouldn't come as any surprise, but the audit was the harshest criticism yet for the UC system that has long been under attack for admitting more out of state students as a way to balance its budget. It recommended, among other things, a cap on foreign and out of state students as well as stricter entrance requirements. How many outstanding, high achieving California students do you know who have been forced to out out of state simply because the UC System needs more money?

 * ... HARVEY HALL: Among the reasons I will miss Harvey Hall as mayor is the way he welcomes, embraces and appreciates all voices in our community. Among those voices is the local Sikh community, which is significant and growing, and which will hold its annual parade and celebration later this month. Hall is now appearing on public affairs spots on local television promoting the event, and we can only hope his successor is equally as welcoming to all diverse elements who share this place we call home.

 * ... APRIL FOOLS: What was the Yahoo! news site thinking by allowing someone to post an April Fools story saying Trader Joe's was shutting all of its 500 stores across the country? The story, posted Thursday the day before April 1, went viral on social media before it was exposed for just what it was, a premature bad joke.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I think the only way I’ll ever be motivated to go to the gym is if I’m in prison."

 * ... OVERHEARD: "The only thing worse than smokers are the smokers who dump their ashtrays into a parking lot."

 * ... SHARP SHOOTER: Frontier High school junior Remington DeWitt has done it again, earning yet another accolade in the sport of skeet shooting. DeWitt, daughter of Stuart and Kourtney DeWitt, has been named to the Zone 7 All Area Ladies team that will compete in the regional shoot next month in Phoenix. Not bad for a 16 year old.

 * ... MEMORIES: John Strand from Lake Isabella says you might a Bakersfield old-timer "if you remember Marge Stiles (Styles?).  She was the weather lady at KERO-TV when studios were in the El Tejon Hotel downtown. Even though her monochrome graphics consisted of a grease marker and some Plexiglas, and there were no weather satellites, her forecasts were surprisingly accurate."

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

California floats a plan to offer retirement plans to workers who don't have access to them, and a trip back South reveals a near litter free environment

 * ... CALIFORNIA: California has always been a trend setter for the nation (and you may disagree if this is a good thing in some cases) but I was encouraged to read about a move to provide essentially a 401 (k) retirement plan for private sector workers who otherwise don't have access to them. It
would work like this: workers would be signed up automatically and have 2 percent to 5 percent of their salaries invested in the plan, unless of course the employee decides otherwise. This sounds like a solid plan to provide all Californian workers a vehicle to save for their retirement.

* ... SOUTHBOUND: I spent a week connecting with old friends in Savannah and attending a wedding of a special friend. The city is stunning, the people are friendly and the food and restaurants in the historic district are without peer. But what impressed me most was the cleanliness of the downtown and its focus on remaining litter free. And the interstates? They were equally clean, thanks in part to the state's use of prison labor to police the roadsides.

 * ... BAD FORM: Kly Horsley encountered this bit of bad form while walking with his dog the other day and encountered two angry boxers. "The dogs were leashed but out of control. If the owner would of lost control my dog would probably be dead. As she was pulling her dogs away she said they don't get walked much. As they walk away she says sorry."

 * ... PRIUS: There was this observation from reader Greg Laskowski: "Observed recently while driving on Coffee Road an individual smoking while driving a Prius. What’s wrong with this picture?"

 * ... SPOTTED: Meanwhile Mike Stricker attended the NCAA Wrestling Tournament in New York recently and spotted a familiar face: former KGET weatherman John Elliott holding court on a New York station and "still crazy as ever."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Don’t worry about the grass on the other side. It’s not your grass."

 * ... GOOD FORM: And finally, Neil Walker reminded me of the goodness that exists in our community with this post: "Throughout my career, college and military days, I’ve spent considerable time away from my hometown of Bakersfield. I’ve always come home and even coaxed my new bride in 1979 to relocate from her beloved southern California ... couldn’t budge her out of here now! Like many others who have written with similar experiences, I discovered three missing credit cards along with my VA card. I backtracked everywhere I’d been over the prior week (and) no luck. Then I stopped by Costco on Rosedale and inquired with supervisor Tom. He and manager Tim checked the safe room and emerged displaying all four of my missing cards. What a relief not to have to cancel three credit cards and visit the VA for a duplicate card. Again, a wonderful but unidentified Bakersfield resident found my cards and turned them in. Many thanks to Costco and especially to the good citizen ... I hope you’re reading this. "