Wednesday, January 24, 2018

More charges of political intrigue in the local pot debate, the Washington Post looks into Kevin O's Deli and both Inga Barks and Jaz McKay are out at KNZR radio

Wednesday, January 24, 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 (good form, bad form, kids doing well, anniversaries, observations) to 

* ... CALIFORNIA POLITICS: California has some of the highest utility rates in the nation, so why are we selling excess power to neighboring states for less than we charge state residents? That's right, this is one of those 'only in California' stories that will drive you nuts. Over the past 20 years,
the number of power plants and green energy farms fueled by cheap natural gas and renewable energy in California have soared, bringing the state a windfall in excess capacity power. But instead of lowering our rates - what a concept - California has instead chosen to sell the excess power to neighboring states at rates cheaper than they charge us who live here. Why? Because the environmental lobby, which rules the day in Sacramento, believes only higher rates will lead to reduced consumption to battle global warming. And the green lobby hates natural gas, even though it is cheap and much cleaner than coal, because it's a fossil fuel. And so it goes.

 * ... POT DEBATE: Just when you think the local debate over marijuana can't get any whackier, it does. At the Board of Supervisors meeting this week David Abbasi, president of the Central Valley Cannabis Association, unleashed a broadside against Supervisor Mike Maggard, accusing him of being part of a criminal conspiracy to design regulations to approve a limited number of dispensaries associated with his friends. It's a serious charge, perhaps a reckless one, in that Abbasi is accusing a sitting supervisor of criminal wrongdoing. "What I am putting on the record today is Maggard's connection to a notorious, criminal drug trafficking organization in the cannabis business," he said. "I asked for help from federal investigators to end the real 'fraud being foisted on Kern County' by Kim Schaefer, Jimmy Lee, Mike Maggard and their high powered dispensary owners that paid them in exchange for a monopoly on cannabis in Kern County. Abbasi argues that Maggard is favoring dispensaries under the loose organization Kern Citizens For Patient Rights, a group Schaefer works with as a consultant. (Schaefer also is a consultant on Maggard's reelection campaign). Maggard denies any such connection, as does Schaefer by the way. Stay tuned because this debate is just heating up.

 * ... KEVIN MCCARTHY: And check this out: it turns out the Washington Post is investigating Rep. Kevin McCarthy's background to fact check his personal story. And what is the big story the Post wants to expose? It is McCarthy's well known story of how he started a deli as a young man back in the 1980s. I spotted this on Californian food critic Pete Titll's Facebook page: "Yesterday's weirdness: contacted by a Washington Post fact checker who was trying to get the details on exactly what kind of business Congressman Kevin McCarthy operated back in 1986 when I reviewed Kevin O's Deli. He said someone had complained that McCarthy was exaggerating the scope of his operation, which he set up in a family yogurt shop while I believe he was studying at CSUB. Oddly, they attached a pdf of the review and I mentioned McCarthy by name as he took my order and waited on us. Not sure what they're going to do with it." I am not sure what the point here is; there are plenty of people (including Tittl) who remember with fondness the old Kevin O's Deli.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Everything can be taken as an insult. You've just got to want it."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "If you had to choose between eating tacos the rest of your life or being skinny, would you choose hard or soft tacos?"

 * ... INGA BARKS: There has been a total house cleaning at local talk show station KNZR, the Alpha Media owned local station. First, they cut ties with longtime radio host Inga Barks, and now comes word that afternoon host Jaz McKay has been fired because if his fondness for racist slurs, insults and vulgarities. Alpha Media is not talking but both Barks and McKay confirmed their dismissals on social media.

  * ... MAURY WILLS: If you were at Luigi's recently you may have spotted former Dodger great Maury Wills. The legendary Dodger shortstop and former manager was in town for the Taft College Triple Play dinner and was seen at Luigi's with Michael Bowers and Traco Mathews.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The politics of pot hits the mainstream and asking myself this question: Is the Women's March more about the "resistance" to the Trump administration and leftist causes or advancing women's issues?

Monday, January 22, 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 (good form, bad form, kids doing well, anniversaries, observations) to

 * ... POLITICS OF POT: Now that marijuana is legal in California and it has entered mainstream politics, keep an eye on the growing rift between the original local cannabis advocates and the big
moneyed interest coming from out of the area. One of our original pro cannabis groups, the Kern Citizens for Patient Rights, is seeking to distance itself from the out of area interests that have shown no qualms about playing hardball with local politicians. I found this Facebook post from Heather Epps, of the KCPR, interesting: "Kern Citizens for Patient Rights is the same small grassroots group that successfully blocked Kern County's ban on medicinal cannabis dispensaries in 2011.
KCPR quailfied our Medical Cannabis initiative and will be on the City of Bakersfield 2018 ballot.
I do NOT support Americans for Safe Neighborhoods they are #BIGMARIJUANA. I do NOT support the attacks on our local leaders. I do NOT support Los Angeles real estate investors writing our local laws...Now is the time for the cannabis community to come together...not attack each other and perpetuate violence. These attacks are fueled by greed and competition for local campaign funds."

 * ... WOMEN"S MARCH: The second annual Women's March was a big success here in Bakersfield and across the country, but let's be clear about one thing: these marches are less about empowering women than they are about repudiating the Trump administration and advancing the "resistance" movement. That said, there is plenty of good to come from it: the rally encourages our participation in our democracy, recognizes the importance of voting, shines a light on genuine women's issues and sets a good example for our children about how we all can - and should - pay attention and get involved in civic life. And there is also the bad: the Women's March has been hijacked by narrow political interest groups, from the unions to the farmworkers movements to climate change advocates to Democratic candidates. When SB 562 (the nurse's union push for universal health care in California) is a major topic, you know this is more about politics than anything else. A more accurate name might be the Women's Resistance Movement March."

 * ... OVERHEARD: A middle aged man is asked if his wife is participating in the Women's March in downtown Bakersfield. His response: "Only if it goes by Trader Joe's and Nordstrom Rack."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I was wrong. #Women'sMarch2018 was not a good place to meet broads."

 * ... CHAD GARCIA: It's not always easy to do the right thing, but when you have a strong moral compass, you know when to step forward. That was the case last week with Chad Garcia, a Army combat veteran who once worked as a producer for KNZR radio afternoon talk show host Jaz McKay. Garcia left the station after a falling out with McKay, who he describes as a crude bully prone to insults and racist comments. At the same time, Garcia was looking for his own show on the station so he was walking that fine line between insulting the station's star while lobbying for his own show. But when McKay posted a racist video of himself scanning the radio dial and hurling racist insults at the Spanish language stations, Garcia knew he had to do the right thing. So he posted McKay's own video on Facebook, called attention to it and shared it with hundreds of his followers. The blowback was instant and KNZR was flooded with calls demanding McKay be fired. McKay was not on the air Friday and we will see what happens. The larger point here is this: in a world where it is easy to try to get along, people with a strong moral compass like Chad Garcia do the right thing, even if it could hurt him in the long run.

* ... ABANDONED DOGS: Did you see the pictures of the two abandoned dogs who were found and treated at the Kern County Animal Services? They were both nearly unrecognizable because of years of long, matted hair that covered their body to the point you could barely see their heads eyes, paws and feet. Check out their pictures on Facebook. The staff spent hours cutting their fur and bringing them back to life. Hats off to those folks over at animal services.