Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bakersfield City Council says no to millions in tax revenue from marijuana but then pleads poverty and floats the idea of a sales tax increase. Say what? Meanwhile Craft Tap House and Grill closes on Truxtun Avenue

 * ... OH THE IRONY: So how do you feel about the Bakersfield City Council considering a sales tax increase at the same time it is passing on earning potentially millions of dollars in new revenue by
regulating marijuana? And why do we need a sales tax? Well of course, to pay for pension-related decisions made by previous city councils that have left us all on the hook. The irony here is rich, and I for one will not support any potential sales tax increase while we are saying no to a richer, more dependable revenue stream because we have a 1950s mentality when it comes to cannabis.

* ... BURGER WARS: A Los Angeles-based restaurant company has entered the local burger wars. The company is opening a CaliBurger franchise on Olive Drive at State Road and is now interviewing prospective employees.

 * ... CRAFT BEER: It looks like the Craft Tap House and Grill has closed, a victim of the explosion of restaurants featuring specialty beers and bar food. Located off Truxtun in the home of a previous restaurant, the craft house opened in February of last year featuring more than 50 different types of beer. Meanwhile across town, another craft beer venue - Temblor Brewing Co. - is celebrating two years in business.

* ... GOOD FORM: Hats off to Sam Ames, the local woodworking craftsman who spotted a couple in distress on Highway 65, turned his car around and helped them fix their flat tire. The couple spoke little English but Ames, who lived in Spain as a young man when he raced bikes, helped them through and referred them to Country Tire and Wheel in Bakersfield.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "My wife asked me to load the dishwasher. So I poured her some shots and told her to start drinking. And that’s how the fight started."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "I spend an extraordinary amount of time counting other people's food items in the express line."

 * ... MEMORIES: A picture of a 50-year-old bottle of 7-Up in mint condition showed up on the Facebook page "Kern County of Old." The bottle, manufactured at the old 7-Up plant in east Bakersfield, was used by Laurie Smith's grandmother to dampen fabrics while she ironed. Said Smith: "I can recall my grandma using this 7-Up bottle with the little runner plug sprinkler top to dampen fabrics when she ironed. The 7 ounce bottle came from Bakersfield's own 7-Up bottling facility. It's in mint condition, even after 50 plus years! The little rubber sprinkling plug is a neat little piece of Americana too. Note the ingredients on the back of the bottle. No wonder 7-Up used to taste so much better years ago!"

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

RIP Pete Cattani and Bill Lee, our homeless population and former Mayor Mary K. Shell shows some resourcefulness at the Holy Smoke barbecue

 * ... RIP: Bakersfield lost a pair of local businessmen this past week. Sherman Lee, owner of Bill Lee's Bamboo Chopsticks and a major landowner downtown, died of pancreatic cancer and Pete Cattani,
owner of the Ammo Dump gun store, also passed away. Lee was 76 years old while Cattani was 84. Cattani was active in shooting competitions and his Easton Drive gun store was a must-stop among shooting enthusiasts. In June, we lost Gene Thome, owner of Bear Mountain Sports off Weedpatch Highway.

 * ... HOMELESSNESS: I moderated a panel on homelessness at CSUB recently and some of the statistics were just stunning. Some of what I heard: the homeless population is getting younger, particularly among women and their children. In addition fully 65 to 70 percent of the homeless veterans without combat experience have substance absue issues, and there is a clear distinction between panhandlers (many of whom have places to live) and the true homeless. Another worrying sign: their numbers are steadily increasing not only in Bakersfield but across the country.

 * ... DISNEYLAND: The oddest, and most stunning, photographs that appeared on Facebook this week were the pictures taken at Disneyland while the Anaheim Hills fires turned the skies an eerie blood orange. The amusement park remained open while just a few miles away the wind-whipped fire consumed a dozen expensive homes.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "The problem with drinking with people from work is they’re the ones I bitch about when I’m drunk."

 * ... PAT SAJAK: This tweet from Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak spoke volumes: "OK, let me explain this again: We're celebs. We're wiser and more empathetic than you. We are famous. Please take our opinions more seriously."

 * ... MARY K. SHELL: Former mayor Mary K. Shell has always been known for her resourcefulness and it was on display last week when she attended the Holy Smoke barbecue at Garces Memorial High School. Navy veteran Gene Bonas shared a table with the former mayor and reported this: "My wife noticed she was eating her steak with a plastic fork, so Robbie offered her one of the steak knives she always brings to BBQs for everyone to use. With a sly smile, Mary K. held up a Swiss Army knife and stated she was doing quite well. Mary K. was a totally delightful person to have dinner with."

 * ... BAD FORM: An odd sight along the bike path near North Chester this weekend when a group of riders headed west turned the corner to come upon two homeless men laughing hysterically as a muscular black pit bull was hanging from a rope tied to a tree, his sturdy jaw clenched tight to the end of the rope in an apparent show of strength.

 * ...REUNIONS: I was out and about this weekend and caught friends going to a couple of notable class reunions. The West High School class of 1987 were enjoying their 30th reunion at The Padre Hotel while Highland High class of 1977 was celebrating its 40th reunion.