Thursday, February 2, 2017

Congressman David Valadao strikes an independent pose, some ideas for Hart Park and did we find that owner of the 1962 Cadillac that turned up in a Florida car museum?

 * ... DAVID VALADAO: There are few politicians who have been better at walking the tight road of being a Republican and supporting immigration reform than Rep. David Valadao of Hanford. The son of Portuguese immigrants, Valadao succeeds in a largely Hispanic congressional district by paying
attention to the needs of his constituents. I spoke with the congressman on my daily radio show on KERN NewTalk 96.1 and it was clear he was willing to butt heads with the Trump administration no matter the cost. He was an early supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, and this week he introduced legislation to protect the 'Dreamers' in case these young people who are here illegally but were brought to the United States as infants risk deportation. Valadao said there may be as many as 50,000 'Dreamers' in the counties he serves, as astonishing number by any standard. I was also curious to learn that Valadao, a strong supporter of Israel, supports the move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "If Jesus does return, I'm pretty sure he'll be stopped at the airport."

 * ... THEATER DINING: Count me among those who are skeptical about this idea of introducing restaurant dining into movie theaters. It's bad enough dealing with people who talk and incessantly check their cell phones, and now I have to hear the crunch of the taco and the sound of silverware on plates? No thank you, I'll pass.

 * ... TRICE HARVEY: And also count me among those who are mourning the loss of former county supervisor and Assemblyman Trice Harvey, a unique spirit who possessed a special gift of making others laugh. While working at The Californian, I would often stop by the office on a Sunday and would occasionally receive a call from Trice telling me his paper was not delivered. I'd grab a copy and drive it over to the Harvey home, where Trice would greet me with a big smile and this greeting in his deep Arkansas drawl: "Well lookie here, the CEO as my personal delivery boy! Now that is service!"

 * ... HART PARK: There is a lot of talk about what to do about Hart Park, that gem of a greenbelt out off Alfred Harrell Highway. The county is broke, and is now considering charging a daily fee to park there, but a better idea was raised recently on my talk radio show when Supervisor Mike Maggard was my guest. (For the record Maggard opposes the daily fee). A caller suggested hiring a vendor to bring back paddle boats, food trucks and other activities to raise money for the county and provide entertainment for the park goers. Yet another suggested having a private company build a restaurant on the river. "Can you imagine a nice steak house right there on the river?" she said.

 * ... BATTLE OF HUE: Hard to believe it was 49 years ago when U.S. Army and Marine units were engaged in the Battle of Hue, one of the bloodiest and longest battles of the Vietnam War. On Monday, Army veteran Fred Drew will join me on The Richard Beene Show to talk about his role at Hue and how the Vietnam experience shaped his life. I will also explore human trafficking and the moves afoot to raise awareness of this appalling crime. Join me from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM.

 * ... CADILLAC: Jeanne Schamblin read my post about the search for the original owner of a 1962 Cadillac that showed up in a Florida car museum. She recognized the address on the original bill of sale (the buyer was a C.R. Smith) and had this say: "I would bet it is and that person was Carmen Smith who lived in the large home behind what, at that time, was Mason Jassaud but is now the Casino. Carmen was a cousin to the Schamblin family, owners of Pioneer Mercantile for many years. I imagine I met her once or twice but understand that she was a very independent lady who lived in this large home with three bedrooms, each with their own full bathroom. The home also had a basement. When we purchased it, there was no lawn but plastic on the ground with small pebbles painted green. The home was transformed into a lovely residential care home where many well-known residents of Bakersfield lived. Today it is owned by a couple who continue to serve the community with this house as it has remained a  residential care home for the elderly."    

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Remembering the remarkable life of thespian Bryan Kelly, Julie Moss gives some love to our bike path and looking for the owner of a classic 1962 Cadillac

 * ... BRYAN KELLY: Do you ever wonder about what impact your life will leave on others? Will
your legacy be one of love and laughter and kindness, or one of achievement, drive and aloofness? I thought about those things the other day when I attended a "gathering" of sorts recognizing the life of the late Bryan Kelly, a longtime thespian who brought his wit and charm to his day job at Trader Joe's for so many years. His longtime partner and fellow theater co-conspirator, Michael Izquierdo, hosted the "celebration" at Little Italy where a group of 60-odd folks gathered to share stories and a few tears about the life of this remarkable man, who died of cancer at the age of 63. We were treated to a showing of Greater Tuna, the hit local play that featured Kelly and Izquierdo that was as fresh today as it was in the md 1980s when we were all younger. God's speed, my friend.

* ... JULIE MOSS: I was out for a long hike along the Kern River this past weekend when I ran into Julie Moss, the marathon runner whose dramatic finish in the 1982 Hawaii Ironman marathon made headlines around the world. (She was leading in the race when her body gave out and she was forced to crawl to the finish, only to be passed with just 15 yards to go by Kathleen McCartney). Moss lives in Cardiff but was in town often to visit her college friend, Lisette Whitaker. She was doing a brisk run along the river when she stopped to share this: "You should write about how great his bike path is. How many cities have something like this so accessible?" She is right, of course, and we all should appreciate this slice of nature that runs through our community.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Never trust a married guy's opinion of who’s hot. It’s like asking a starving guy what food tastes good."

 * ... CADILLAC: Nashville area Realtor Joe Rice reached out to me to help him find the original owner of a beautiful 1962 Cadillac he recently purchased in Florida. Rice bought the car, popped open the glove compartment and found the original bill of sale. It turns out the car was purchased in 1961 from Gene Winer Cadillac on H Street, purchased by a person named C.R. Smith who once lived on Trinity Lane. Said Rice: "I have also attached the original check used to purchase the car as well as the receipt from the dealership. This car has only 21,000 original miles. It also has original paint and interior with the exception of the headliner which I just had replaced. I purchased it about six months ago from a museum in Florida and love it. I thought it would be great to share this information and pictures with the family." The price of this classic product of Detroit: $6,999. 32. The check was drawn on an account from the East Bakersfield branch of Crocker Anglo National Bank. Folks: this car is a beauty and if you can help Joe Rice find the original owner, privately email me at

 * ... WINTER FORMAL: Local high schools put on their winter formals last weekend and the restaurants were packed with young people spruced up in their formal dresses and tuxedos. I was dining out and found a piece of paper outlining the "Frontier High School Dance Policy," which laid out these guidelines: "No inappropriate or suggesting dancing will be allowed. No simulated sex acts, bending over or grinding. No dancing that threatens students safety." A sign of the times, I suppose.

 * ... GRAFFITI: Vicki Coble speaks for a lot of us when sent me this missive: "I drive (Highway) 99 from Panama Lane to Airport Drive four days a week. The wall that is being built on the freeway is full of graffiti every morning. Do these people have nothing better to do than paint names and gang signs on the wall and over passes. I know I could find them something to paint if they are bored. "

 * ... MEMORIES: Stephen A. Montgomery shared a special memory when he was in the military and used to take a bus between Bakersfield and Sand Diego.  "Members of the armed forces got all sorts of minor considerations and some not so minor. Management was proactive in making sure we made our connections and that sort of thing. One trip comes to mind. Around 1966 I was there in uniform along with many other sailors and Marines. We were waiting or had already boarded a local that was scheduled to stop at every fireplug between Bakersfield and San Diego when a manager came out and called to us to get off that bus and stand by as he was calling an extra express to take us nonstop to Camp Pendleton and US Naval Station San Diego. The bus they furnished was a very old art deco delight with a streamlined body. It featured thick and deeply padded seats next to highly detailed cast aluminum flourishes extending from the deck into the overhead with cast frosted glass side lights that followed the same line of detail as the aluminum elements. If I ever wanted to own a bus that gorgeous old lady of the highway would be it!?"