Thursday, October 13, 2016

Emilio Huerta launches dishonest attack ad in the 21st Congressional District, City Councilman Bob Smith shows some real class and local school bond measures face an uphill fight

* ... BAD FORM: If they gave out Academy Awards for dishonest political attack ads, then Emilio Huerta would walk home with the Oscar. His latest video ad is built on the twin themes of deceit and dishonesty. In it, he ties incumbent Congressman David Valadao to Donald Trump, when in truth
Valadao has denounced Trump and make it clear he has no intentions of voting for him. In fairness to Valadao, he was one of the early Republicans who put distance between himself and the Republican presidential nominee. But the attack ad doesn't stop there, implying somehow that neither Trump nor Valadao believe the water crisis in California is real. Really? There is little chance that voters in the 21st Congressional District will fall for this malarkey, but this is the political currency that Huerta and his mother, Dolores Huerta, choose to trade in.

* ... GOOD FORM: But enough of the dishonesty of the Huerta clan and let's shine the light on a local politician who has done what we hire these folks to do. I'm talking about City Councilman Bob Smith who displayed a rare display of leadership by forging a compromise to establish a sound buffer along the Westside Parkway. Residents wanted a sound wall, but Smith came up with the idea of a large earthen berm that should do the trick. And guess what? Everyone seems to be happy with the results. It's rare these days when our political leaders actually show some initiative to bring us all together.

 * ... BOND MEASURES: What are the odds that some of the local bond measures for schools will pass with the required 55 percent of the vote? So far Measure J (Kern Community College District) Measure K (Kern High School District) and Measure N (Bakersfield City School District) are getting little to no attention in this heated election season. And the fact that there will be more than a dozen local and statewide initiatives on the ballot this year, few people are betting that any of these measures will pass.

* ... CSUB: Are you ready for some big time college basketball? Last year Coach Rod Barnes and the CSUB Roadrunners won the Western Athletic Conference tournament and appeared in the NCAA tournament, losing to Oklahoma in the first round. The Runners are picked to finish third on the men's side and fourth on the women's side. This is a team worth following, folks.

* ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "I will be glad for the election to be over so I can have my friends back."

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Sorry I sent a card saying, 'my condolences during this difficult time' when you said you're engaged. I hadn't realized this was good news."

 * ... MORE TWITTER: "I've managed to keep a plant alive for six months now, so obviously I'm ready for a serious relationship again."

 * ... MAGIC: More feedback from the folks who got to meet Magic Johnson when he spoke at the Bakersfield Business Conference last week. Said Jerome Caneta: 'Magic was VERY gracious backstage. He posed for pictures and signed autographs until everyone had theirs. It took a large amount of time and he did so with that winning smile the whole time! Then he asked if everyone got their pictures, they all nodded, he said his goodbyes and drove off.  There's more to this story, but he was pure class."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Daniel Rodriguez spots his son on a billboard in New York's Time Square, Magic Johnson brings a message of hope to the Bakersfield Business Conference and will Terry Maxwell's obsession with the 24th Street widening derail his campaign?

* ... SMALL WORLD: So how would you react if you were in New York City and you spotted your own son on a billboard in Times Square? It happened to local plaintiffs lawyer Daniel Rodriguez recently when his son Tomas (2006 Garces Memorial High graduate) was featured in a billboard ad for The Trade Desk Company, a digital marketing firm. The story: the company went
public three weeks ago and bought ad space on the giant electronic billboards in Time Square to celebrate the event, and Tomas was among several company employees who were featured. Tomas moved to New York about a year ago (he lives in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn near another Garces graduate, my daughter) and serves as product marketing manager for the company. "It was surreal to see my son's face on these giant billboards," Rodriguez said. "How many people from Bakersfield have had their images grace Times Square? I could not be prouder."

* ... MAGIC: Thoughts on this weekend's Bakersfield Business Conference: the scaled down version of this iconic Bakersfield event was a hit, but it did have its challenges. The lines for beer and wine were so long it took a full 30 minutes standing in the sun to get served, and promoter George Martin would have done better with a bit more levity (remember when Rich Little, Jay Leno and other comedians were regulars?) to counterbalance the vitriol of the political season. The hit of the day? Clearly it was former LA Lakers great Magic Johnson, who wooed the audience and worked the room like an old time preacher, offering up a message of hope, loyalty, focus and trust. It just goes to show you how powerful a positive message can resonate in a world that seems to have lost all sense of sanity and decorum.

* ... WARD 2: If Terry Maxwell beats Andrae Gonzales and wins re-election to the Ward 2 seat on the City Council, the experts will no doubt credit the power of the incumbency and the fact he is so well known about town. But if he loses, they will blame his own obsession with the 24th Street widening which has alienated more than enough people to turn the election.

* ... GERT: Congratulations to Gert Prejean, who turned 100 years old on Saturday. Prejean was feted by the Bakersfield Duplicate Bridge Club, where she holds forth regularly. Said her friend Patricia Basset: "She has lived in Bakersfield for nearly 50 years, and still plays a darn good game of bridge three to four times a week. Gert is independent, spunky and continues to drive herself to the club daily. You can't help be in awe of her energy and enthusiasm. We should all be so lucky to have such a long, productive life.  "

 * ... GOOD FORM: Congratulations to the Bakersfield High class of 1956 that recently held their 60th reunion and donated $2,000 back to the school.

 * ... SCHOLARSHIP: One of the more successful foundations in town - the Joe Alexander Scholarship Foundation - is affiliated with the Bakersfield East Rotary Club and this year the big fund raising dinner is set for this Saturday at the home of Dr. William and Evid Nyitray. The foundation provides scholarships to needy students and this year they hope to award some 35 scholarships. If you are interested in tickets or sponsorships contact Jackie Blevins at (661) 410-0326.