Thursday, June 8, 2017

The high cost of running for office in Bakersfield, Luigi's gets an honor, Wood-Dale Market to open a second location near Seven Oaks and check out some authentic Mexican food at Iguanas off White Lane

 * ... POLITICS: Would you be surprised if I told you it takes $500,000 to run for mayor of Bakersfield? That's what I heard from Kyle Carter, the former home builder who ran a close second to Karen Goh in the recent mayoral election. And it doesn't get much better running for one of our city
council wards; city councilman-elect Bruce Freeman told me it took a cool $150,000 and change to mount his successful campaign for the Ward 5 seat.

 * ... SCAMS: An old scam is making a comeback and it can happen to you if you pay for your gas at the pump using a credit or debit card. Consider this note from my friend Pam Binns, who was a victim recently at a local Fastrip. "They got my debit numbers and pin, transferred money from savings to checking at an ATM then went to two different post offices in LA and used the card- they made- for money orders. Bank won't refund my money for a week. I know it was Fastrip because that was the only place I had to use my pin. And, there was a guy in his tan truck in front of me just sitting there and not pumping gas. He would not move. I had to back out to leave. I'm sure he was waiting to get the skimmer from my machine. That Fastrip has no cameras outside, apparently, so if you see me on a stakeout there, you'll know why."

 * ... TIP GABRIELA: I was saddened to learn of the death of Gabriela Soto, a popular Wasco teacher who was killed in a car crash earlier this week in Shafter. Soto, 40, was seven months pregnant when she died at Kern Medical. Her unborn baby girl also died. Soto was a teacher at Independence High School in Wasco.

 * ... LUIGIS: Hats off to our very own Luigi's Restaurant Delicatessen which was recognized as the California Small Business of the year in 2017. The extended Valpredo and Lemucchi family spent a day in Sacramento to celebrate with state Sen. Andy Vidak, who recognized Luigi's as his Senate District 14's small business of the year.

 * ... WOOD-DALE: It looks like the venerable Wood-Dale Market, by my standards the best butcher shop in town, is in the final phase of negotiating a deal to open a second location in the Grand Island Shopping Center at Ming Avenue and Buena Vista. This is a smart move by the family owned Wood-Dale, and it secures a second location in the Bolthouse Properties' shopping center that also features some of the hottest businesses in town, including Sully's, Wiki's Wine Dive and Grill, Sol y Luna and In-Shape Health Club.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: Just tried to kill a roach with Axe Body Spray but now his name is Brett and he won't shut up about cross fit."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing."

 * ... FOODIE: A friend treated me to dinner recently at Iguanas, a Mexican restaurant that breaks out of the predictable mold and leaves you both surprised, and delighted. Owned by Sergio Olivares, Iguanas is located on White Lane near Ashe Road and is a showcase for authentic, creative dishes. Try the gorditas as an appetizer.

 * ... ACHIEVER: I chatted with my friend Dave Ewert recently and he brought me up to date on his oldest daughter, Carolyn. A graduate of Centennial High School and later the Naval Academy at Annapolis, she was recently promoted to the rank of lieutenant and is working as a navigator and legal officer on the LCS Independence based in San Diego.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, San Francisco and other California cities make the list of the costliest places to live, but here at home we celebrate the humble margarita, Wood-Dale Market and Juicy Burger

 * ... COSTLIEST CITIES: Would it surprise you that California consistently shows up as one of the costliest places to live in America.?Check out this list from Forbes on the 20 costliest places to
live, starting with the most expensive: Kings County, NY; Marin County; Santa Cruz; San Francisco; Maui; San Luis Obispo; Napa; Monterey, Queens County, NY; Sonoma, San Mateo County; Orange County; Honolulu; Alameda County; New York City; Ventura; Santa Barbara; Los Angeles, El Dorado and San Diego.

* ... TRASH AND THE POST OFFICE: Dan Flores had this to say about the condition of our local post offices: "My recent travels to various city post offices paints a picture of 'we don't care.'
The Stockdale post office should be a gem - and maybe it is after you get past the weeds and trash. This is a public building. Why should it look so shabby and poor? The self image is bad.
The post office on Planz and Larson lane is actually worse. After a time, the  general population might start to believe that this is who we are - just a piece of the great Central Valley SuperGhetto."

 * ... INSECT EXPLOSION: Have you ever seen so many moths, flies, ants and bugs this time of year? We can thank the record wet winter.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I heard you like bad boys, so I brought 11 items to a 10 items or less checkout lane."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Life is short. Summer is shorter. Tan your legs."

 * ... RANDOM FOOD THOUGHTS: The most underrated hamburger in town can be found at Juicy Burger; if there a better margarita than the one sold at Mexicali downtown, somebody needs to tell me about it; and word on the street is that the best butcher shop in town - Wood-Dale Market over on Stine Road - may be looking for a second location.

 * ... WIND WOLVES: The Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce nailed it by giving its Chairman's Award during the Beautiful Bakersfield Awards to the Wildlands Conservancy and its spectacular Wind Wolves Preserve. If you haven't visited this 93,000 acre treasure, you need to do so.

 * ... CONSTRUCTION: I would avoid California Avenue between Oak and South H streets this week until city work crews finish repaving that stretch in front of Bakersfield High School. Expect the roadwork to continue for at least another month.

 * ... BAD FORM: Nancy Bryant shared this bit of bad form: "This morning my husband was T-boned by a Dodge pickup while riding his bicycle through the Graces traffic circle. Yes, he was wearing a helmet, neon green cycling shirt, and following the rules of the road. The pickup driver decided to blow through the yield sign after the slightest of hesitation, and plowed into my husband.   My husband said the driver didn't look before he pulled into traffic, and he was unable to stop. He only saw my husband after he bounced off the drivers side of the truck. Luckily, BPD was flagged down, and reports taken.  He just suffered some scrapes, and the bike almost totaled.  I would like to thank the driver of the Dodge truck for stopping.  Now, my question is, what was so important that he had to blow the yield sign?  Clear day, no other traffic, and obviously distracted.  You could have killed or maimed my husband because of your inattention.  I hope next time, you are not distracted, and you pay attention to the rules of the road.  The life you save may be your own."