Monday, January 8, 2018

Bakersfield Observed is now online only. Today's topics: Super PAC enters the fray behind the local marijuana vote, just how responsive are our city council members and Supervisor Mike Maggard's office shows some class

 Monday, January 8, 2018

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this such a special place. We value your feedback. Email your news and notes (good form, bad form, kids doing well, anniversaries, observations) to

 * ... BALLOT INITIATIVE: Keep an eye on that ballot initiative to put the question of marijuana before Kern County voters. First, the Political Action Committee (PAC) pushing the measure is well
funded by outside interests who see Kern County as an ideal place to cultivate cannabis for the Los Angeles market. And make no mistake about it, this has nothing to do with the retail sale of pot but rather big money investors who are salivating over our ability to grow, package and distribute marijuana, much as we do pistachios, grapes and almonds. Word is this could be the same money that is behind those "Mad Mike Maggard" radio advertisements attacking the supervisor for voting against regulating marijuana in Kern.

 * ... WHO IS LISTENING: I ran into a retired Bakersfield elementary school teacher the other day who shared that she began using medicinal marijuana after brain surgery. "I called (city councilman) Ken Weir because I live in his district, and I even wrote him a note telling him how it (marijuana) has helped me. He never called me back. So I called Andres Gonzales (Ward 2 councilman) because I knew him when he served on the school board. Same thing. Never got back to me. And I even worked on his campaign." Both Weir and Gonzales voted against the regulation or sale of medicinal cannabis in Bakersfield.

 * ... FLU SEASON: It seems like just about everyone in town is sick with the flu, or at least flu like symptoms, and it's a strain that puts folks down for two solid weeks. How bad is it this year? In Ventura, a friend received a call from Kaiser with a prerecorded, “widely broadcast” message warning that wait times in all ERs and Urgent Care facilities are very long right now. In other words, "don’t even think about coming in." Meanwhile here locally, doctors at Preferred Family Care on Truxtun say this is one of the worst flu seasons ever.

 * ... SIGNS: Have you seen the signs that pranksters put up on the "Welcome to California" posts along the state lines? They read: "Official sanctuary state. Felons, illegals and MS13 Welcome! Democrats need the votes!"

 * ... LOCAL HISTORY: Are you a history buff? Ever wonder what the city of Bakersfield looked like before the 1952 earthquake? Or what a sleepy little burg it was before Interstate 5 connected us with Los Angeles. On Wednesday, January 17, I will host local historian David Kelley on my radio show (KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM) to chat about the old Ridge Route and the grand hotels that lined the winding, dangerous road. It was a favorite retreat for the Hollywood elites, yet today little evidence is left. Tune in at 1:30 p.m. for a fascinating interview.

 * ... MAGGARD: Hats off to Supervisor Mike Maggard's office for being responsive to its constituents. A resident of La Cresta, upset at the overflowing trash bins on Panorama Bluffs, complained to Maggard's office and the next day the park was spruced up. Said the resident: "We may disagree on the marijuana issue but his staff is great with stuff like this," she said.

 * ... TYRONE WALLACE: Another Kern County kid heads to the pros. Tyrone Wallace, a former Bakersfield High School standout who later went to Cal Berkeley, has signed a contract to play for the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA. Wallace played with the a D-League affiliate in Salt Lake City before signing with the Clippers. Wallace scored his first NBA points with the Clippers this week.

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