Thursday, March 23, 2017

Rio Bravo Country Club to shut down at the end of May, a USC study identifies the worst traffic choke points, and Cheesecake Factory to open at Valley Plaza

 * ... TRAFFIC: Traffic in Los Angeles is already bad, and it is getting worst. That's the word from the USC Annenberg School which identified the five worst freeway interchanges. For those of us who
occasionally commute to LA, these will come as no surprise. Among them: The 405 south to the 101; the 405 north to the 105 and 90; the 10 east to the 405; the 110 North to the 10; and the 405 south to the 10 and the 90. The study concluded: "There is no sign of traffic letting up, either. Over the last year, average rush-hour speeds at the worst interchanges have dropped from two or three miles per hour all the way up to 13 mph. On the eastbound I-10 during evening rush hour, average speeds just after the 405 interchange tanked from about 25 mph in 2012 to just over 12 mph this year. The smallest declines may not sound like much, but they amount to double-digit percentage drops when you’re already crawling by at 15 mph. And they become significant when multiplied across dozens of lanes throughout the city."

 * ... LOCAL TRAFFIC: Locally, here is my list for some of Bakersfield's worst traffic chokepoints: the east-bound Westside Parkway at Truxtun in the morning; Truxtun and Oak at rush hour and at noon; Oak and California; California and Stockdale Highway; Rosedale Highway virtually anytime; and Highway 99 at Highway 58, Ming Avenue and 24th Street. What is on your list?

* ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "At the end of the day, life should ask us, ‘Do you want to save the changes?’"

 * ... RIO BRAVO: Folks who live in the Rio Bravo area are reeling after learning that the Rio Bravo Country Club may be shutting down at the end of May. Homeowners say they were notified of the pending closure and are hoping someone buys the club and saves the spectacular, 7,000 yard course located in the scenic foothills at the mouth of the Kern River canyon.

 * ... CHEESECAKE: I heard the other day that a Cheesecake Factory is being built at Valley Plaza Mall on the site of the old Sears auto and tire shop. No word yet on when that will be open for business. Meanwhile, Sears itself is in dire straits, and it warned investors this week that it may not survive.

 * ... WARD 5: Ward 5 City Council candidate Bruce Freeman has launched an aggressive social media campaign via Facebook and other digital offerings. Expect the spending in Ward 5 to increase as Freeman and challenger Ryan Nance work the Southwest for vote.

 * ... MEMORIES: I received a sweet, hand written note from Frances Doyle of Taft sharing her memories on an archery club that held tournaments out at Hart Park in the 1950s. She recalls a cardboard bear target and the founder of the club, Jim Murphy. Later, her son and daughter took up the sport with much success. Sherilyn, the daughter, won her first junior state championship at the age of 10, became a national champion at Clemson and was inducted into the Bob Elias Sports Hall of Fame in 1983. "I wish I could name all of our archery friends, such as Tom and Bev Beaty, Clarence Kozloski, Jake Thomas, Bob Poznoff, Betty Nelson, Richard Land, Gladys McCain, Bud and Ruth Greer... so many more."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SEIU targets House Majority Leader McCarthy with radio campaign, CSUB continues its magical year in the NIT and water in the river triggers an explosion of activity

* ... HEALTH CARE: Big money from both the left and right is being thrown into the health care debate, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is one of the prime targets. The latest radio
advertising campaign attacking McCarthy for supporting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act comes from big labor, in this case the SEIU (Service Employees International Union). The local unit of the SEIU was among the organizations that recently protested in front of McCarthy's personal residence in the Southwest.

* ... WIND WOLVES: I spent four hours hiking the majestic Wind Wolves Preserve this past weekend and was heartened to see so many people taking in the beauty of its 93,000 unspoiled acres. I arrived to a half full parking lot at 9 a.m. and when I left at 1 p.m. there were so many cars entering it looked like a scene from Woodstock. The wildflowers are spectacular so get out there before the summer heat settles in.

 * ... ROAD RUNNERS: Is there a hotter team in college basketball than CSUB, which continued its run through the National Invitational Tournament with yet another impressive win over Colorado State? The branding power of seeing CSUB on national TV cannot be underestimated. Up next: Texas-Arlington in the NIT quarterfinal on Wednesday.

* ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: This post from my friend Jolie Brouttier, a teacher at McKinley Elementary: "If I wanted to touch the past, I'd touch a rock. If I wanted to touch the present, I'd touch a flower. But I want to touch the future, so I teach."

 * ... PADDLE BOARDING: Summer isn't here yet but I have already spotted some paddle boarders on the Kern River. The last time we had this kind of water in the river there was an explosion of recreational activity from Beach Park south to the Park at River Walk: canoes, paddle boards, rafts and swimmers. Expect an even bigger summer this year.

 * ... MAILBOX CRIME: A friend of mine reached out to share this rant. It speaks for itself.
"Twice this week we've had our credit cards stolen! My new corporate card never made it to my house, so I suspect mailbox theft (again). A few months ago, our mailboxes were broken into and our new debit card was stolen. Somehow, the thieves were able to activate the card and immediately stole $2,000 from us. Why is this a low level crime in the eyes of BPD and the USPS? Is it because the banks make us whole again? It is such a hassle! I'm having our new cards (three of them this week alone) be delivered via Fed Ex, with signature required."