Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Father Bert Mello of OLPH dies, county supervisors struggle with redistricting and a veteran sheriff's deputy says crime is out of control here

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed, now online only. 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 to

 * ... RIP BERT MELLO: Father Bert Mello, who took over at Our Lady of Perpetual Help just
three years ago, has died. His passing was announced Wednesday morning at the start of the
inaugural Kern Catholic Prayer mass to audible gasps from the capacity crowd. There is no immediate word on how he died. Mello had a compelling personal story and spoke opening of his hard partying self indulgent way of life before he turned to the church.

* ... SUPERVISOR DISTRICTS: The biggest story politically is what will the federal court rule in deciding what happens to the county supervisor districts before the November election. Thanks to the lawsuit bought by the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund and the Dolores Huerta Foundation,
the court ruled the districts must be redrawn because they were crafted in a way that dilutes Latino voting strength. In other words, the county needs a second "safe" Latino district. How that is done and which incumbent it might effectively unseat - David Couch? Mike Maggard? Mick Gleason? - is critical since campaigning is already under way for those incumbents like Maggard who face reelection. All this is unprecedented and we should know soon what the court decides. Meanwhile, Maggard and others continue to campaign hard in a district that might not soon exist.

 * ... AMAZON DELIVERY: Bakersfield has been chosen for a new distribution center that will help deliver Amazon products quicker to the home. According to Oscar Baltazar, senior vice president for Collier International, the new "fulfillment" center will be located at the Wonderful Industrial Park near 7th Standard Road. Amazon does not own the facility but rather contracts with its owner to help fulfill its mission of fast delivery.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "When my dog sniffs another dog’s poop I can only assume that it’s their equivalent to checking a friend’s facebook page."

 * ... CRIME: How bad is crime in Kern County? How about the worst as it has been in more than 30 years. That is how Kern County sheriff's deputy Martin Downs answered the question when he appeared with partner Casey Brunzel on KERN NewsTalk 96.1. Downs and Brunzel are part of the KCSO's rural crime unit that specializes in oil, agriculture and livestock crime. Why has crime spiked? "There aren't any consequences," Downs said, describing a cycle of arrest and release that leaves few in fear of the law.

 * ... KERN VETS: Some of the most interesting talk radio locally is found on a new program devoted to our local veterans. Hosting by Army Airborne veteran Chad Garcia, "KERN Vets" runs every Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM. Last week Garcia interviewed two veterans of the Battle of Iwo Jima and this week his guest will be a Vietnam veteran with two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star. They will also discuss the issue of "professional veterans" who seek attention but don't tend to their own issues.

 * ... CHINA PALACE: The county health department has shut down another popular restaurant,  China Palace on California Avenue. Inspectors found cooked chicken and some vegetables were kept at improper temperatures and there was also some uncovered raw shrimp and chicken in a walk in refrigerator. No word on when it will reopen. Meanwhile, Muertos remains closed after inspectors found multiple violations about a week ago, including roaches.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out this picture of Chester Avenue and 18th Street back in the day. Photo courtesy of the Kern County of Old Facebook page.

No comments: