Thursday, April 20, 2017

Beetle infestations threaten to wipe out millions of trees in California and the debate rages on: are high taxes and regulation forcing Californias to leave for Texas, Nevada and other states?

 * ... SHOT HOLE BORE BEETLE: Did you read the story in The Las Angeles Times about the threat to hundreds of thousands of trees in Southern California? It's a serious issue that could make our region "look, feel, sound and smell much less pleasant than it does now." According to The Times,
botanists have documented insect infestations that threaten to wipe out the California live oak, avocado, ash, almond, peach and even our stately sycamores that are so common in Kern County. The threat: something called the polyphagous shot hole borer beetle that "could kill as many as 27 million trees in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, including parts of the desert." Can you imagine if this infestation reaches Kern County? One expert from UC Riverside had this warning: "If we cannot control the shot hole borer, it will kill all the sycamores in California."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "How long are you supposed to wait before you unpause the TV after your wife tells you she wants a divorce?"

 * ... LEAVING CAL: We've sparked a lively debate here over the issue of leaving California because of its burdensome taxes, which are soon going higher. Whether you stay or leave one thing is certain: there is a net outflow of Californians to other states, with Texas being the top destination. Said one report in the Sacramento Bee based on US Census data: "The leading destination for those leaving California is Texas, with about 293,000 economically disadvantaged residents leaving and about 137,000 coming for a net loss of 156,000 from 2005 through 2015. Next up are states surrounding California; in order, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon."

 * ... LEAVING: Among those weighing in is Chad Jackman: "In response to Mr. Jon Johnston taking issue with folks taking their retirements that they were 'given' and moving out of the state of California. First off, no member of the community 'gave' me anything, I earn it. As a proud member of the Bakersfield PD I served my community and like all that wear a badge, put my butt on the line for them. We have the right to live in whichever state we chose. (It's kinda in the name United States) Those of us that chose to leave California no longer use any services or infrastructure. So that would be taxation without representation, we fought a war about that kinda stuff. By the way, in the great state of Tennessee there are no state income tax and the roads are great and trash free."

 * ... MORE LEAVING: And there was this from Chris Padham: "Pretty hilarious about Kathy Harlan. Her comment about the entire state of Arizona has crummy air quality compared to California, then reading the article with the tag line of 'California again leads cities with sullied air.' And I looked and looked at the list of the top ten polluted cities and gosh, not one from Arizona,  but five in California. I can only assume she has never traveled out of state. Oh, by the way I can assure Kathy that when I retire I will gladly leave California. And I'm certain I'll be very happy in Arizona. "

 * ... THE BLUFFS: Jon Sarad had this to say about the location of an old bar in town. Said Sarad: "I remember the Bluffs Bar as being a beer bar on southeast corner near North Baker and Irene Street. The building is still there‎, but no cool ones for years. I think Hannings liquors was owned by family who had a famous old bar catty corner on 17th from Haberfelde Builfinh. Was it Mike Huston, or Hutson who remembered Panorama Liquors? If Huston, his family owned Arrow Liquors on Columbus. Before the days of 7-11 and Thriftymart all the College Heights kids got ice cream, candy and sodas there."

 * ... MORE BLUFFS: Johnna Beard Hall ended the note this way: "My parents owned The Bluffs for 45 years. It was on the corner of North Baker and Irene Street, a small neighborhood bar."

 * ... MEMORIES: Jim Smith poses this question about the old Maison Jaussauds on south Union: "Did not the Shah of Iran and his entourage stop at Maison Jaussauds for lunch on their way north to Yosemite Valley back in the 1970s? Am I right or abysmally wrong? You're archives or a reader can confirm."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Putting to rest a myth about Obamacare, get ready for the fourth annual Mac 'n Cheese Festival out at CSUB and remembering when Maison Jaussaud on south Union was the hottest restaurant in town

 * ... OBAMACARE: There has been a lot of disinformation about the idea that members of Congress are eligible for some sort of gold plated federal health insurance while the rest of the country must rely on the Affordable Care Care (ACA) more commonly known as Obamacare. But let's put this popular myth to rest: According to The Washington Post, the ACA requires members of Congress to subscribe to the D.C. exchanges, and because congressmen and senators make too much money, they must pay it themselves. So in this case, that means they all must subscribed to Obamacare.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I ran into my ex the other day. I could have sworn the light was green."

 * ... MAC 'N CHEESE: The hottest ticket in town this weekend is for the fourth annual Mac 'n Cheese Festival out at CSUB's Alumni Park. The event features a couple dozen food vendors who vie for the best version of macaroni and cheese, live music from Mento Buru and plenty of craft beer and wine. Last year the event was a near sell out, so get your tickets early at The festival is sponsored by American General Media and supports the CSUB athletic scholarship fund.

 * ... BLOWBACK: Kathy Harlan took me to task for writing about the exodus of people from California due to high taxes and regulation. In her words: "Richard, will we ever hear the end of Republican complaining? You have taken it to a fine art form. Focus on the fact that you have the presidency and congress and what a fine mess Republicans are making of that. California is doing just fine. If you don't like the gas tax and the clean air we enjoy, by all means, move to Arizona. The entire state has crummy air quality and a poor level of government services. You would be very happy there, I am sure."

 * ... MORE BLOWBACK: And Jon Johnson added this: "Richard, I love it when these people like Diane Alburger take their pensions, that are largely paid for by the taxpayers of California (Pers Sters, Kern County Retirement etc) and move out of state. Thus escaping any tax (I understand they still have a liability for state income tax) paid in California. Also not contributing to any of the other social or economic benefit their retirement income might bring back to the communities that gave them these 'fine' benefits. Maybe we are better off with out them?"

 * ... THE BLUFFS: On another note, Maureen Myers said the old bar called The Bluffs was not located on Panorama and River Boulevard but rather it "was a divey little place set deeper back in the neighborhood towards Jefferson Park."

 * ... MEMORIES: From the archives of The Bakersfield Californian, as cited on Facebooks' Kern County of Old, was this entry about the iconic Maison Jaussaud’s on south Union, known as  Bakersfield's "classiest restaurant and nightclub of the 1950s... Upon its stage Johnny Carson once endured his most ignominious flop as a stand-up comedian.” For years "wealthy farmers once brought their fur-stole-draped wives for Manhattans and Porterhouse steaks” in the popular restaurant. "Singer Dorothy Dandridge performed here too, along with a succession of over-the-hill veterans whose names still packed punches at the time, like the then-ancient Marx Brothers and the equally aged Three Stooges. Actress Jane Russell appeared on the Maison Jaussaud stage and so did Carol Channing and the Ink Spots.”