Monday, March 19, 2018

A vintage car show downtown clogs the streets and drives customers away, Traco Matthews leaves Aera Energy for another job and knowing when the small things can have a big impact

Monday, March 19, 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 

 * ... CAR SHOW: I'm not a fan of car shows, but I understand those who get into these kind of things. But the days of staging these shows in the downtown area - particularly a work day - should be long gone considering the problems they create. On this past rainy Friday, it was near impossible to navigate downtown as the Cruzin Bakersfield vintage car show wound through the downtown streets. The irony here is that shows like this actually hurt downtown businesses, not help them.
When you rope off streets you are pushing people out of downtown, not inviting them in, and the local shops and restaurants suffer. What should have been a busy night at the local eateries was turned into a retail nightmare, and one restaurant owner told me it took her a full hour to get into work. The Cruizin Bakersfield car show does a lot to help local charities, but next time they should consider Stramler Park or the Kern County Fairgrounds. Benefiting charities at the expense of local restaurants and retail shops is a bad deal.

  * ...  BOULEVARD: More big news in local food and entertainment: The Boulevard, a 45,000 square foot project over off Buck Owens Boulevard, will open next month featuring gastropub style cuisine, an outdoor beer garden, state of the art bowling, laser tag, bocce ball and a ropes course. This is yet another project by the Bynum family, this time David Bynum and Trifecta Management. His brother, Don Bynum, is part of a group that runs Temblor Brewing Co.. The BLVD, as it will be known, sits in the same spot that once housed the old Home Base. It will open April 19.

 * ... TRACO MOVES ON: A big congratulations to Traco Matthews who is leaving Area Energy to become one of the Human Resource directors for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools. Matthews announced the move on Facebook and we will no doubt hear from from this man who has thrown himself into our community. (picture of Traco with Aera's Cindy Pollard)

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Showing your love used to be buying them flowers or writing a poem. Now it’s just looking at them for 5 minutes without checking your phone."

 * ... EAST SIDE: Sometimes it's the little things that make a difference, and Ward 2 City Councilman Andrae Gonzales is the master of knowing that small things can make a big impact. Since unseating Terry Maxwell on the council, Gonzales has made his "neighborhood clean up" Saturday a fixture of his office, and he was out again this weekend with Ward 2 residents cleaning the streets. This week his monthly "Keep East Bakersfield Beautiful" cleanup covered the alley between Monterey and Lake Street from Williams to Beale.

 * ... SHAME ON THE PADRE: Meanwhile shame on the Padre Hotel and managers in its Brimstone lounge for putting this grand hotel in a bad light. I was dining with a friend when he submitted a $40 Padre gift certificate to pay for drinks. Our waiter told him that "management" said the $40 could only be used for food. Say what? Perhaps not coincidentally, former Valentien manager Jeramy Brown is one of the managers at the Padre now, and he was known for rejecting gift certificates when he worked at The Mark across the street. If a gift certificate is for "solid food only," perhaps it should stipulate that.

 * ... MEMORIES: This old picture of 19th and Chester looking west down 19th Street is compliments of the Kern County of Old Facebook page.

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