Friday, July 6, 2018

Copper thieves strip the AC units at the Gleaners, Sheriff Donny Youngblood wants new tax to hire more deputies and the new CSUB presidents makes the rounds about town

Friday, July 6, 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. Email your news and notes to 

 * ... COPPER THEFT: There has been a rash of copper wire thefts around town, and the favorite target for thieves are air conditioning units. Across town, business people are showing up for work
only to find their AC units disassembled and stripped of all copper wire. It happened this week at the Golden Empire Gleaners, an organization dedicated to providing food for the most needy among us. The Gleaners posted this on their Facebook page: "Sometime during the Independence Day holiday, unknown person(s) entered the Gleaners property through a hole in the chain link fence. They then scaled an eight foot wall at the rear (north) of the building and stripped our seven ton commercial HVAC unit of its copper. It is a total loss and can not be repaired."

 * ... NEW TAXES: Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood is going to ask the Board of Supervisors to place a sales tax increase on the November ballot to fund public safety. The city of Bakersfield already has a similar proposal that would raise $50 million for public safety initiatives. Youngblood argues, convincingly, that his deputies already make less money that their counterparts in Bakersfield and Shafter and that any new positions in Bakersfield would likely be filled by deputies eager to earn more money.

 * ... CSUB PRESIDENT: This is the first week of work for new CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny, and she spent the time introducing herself to students, faculty and newsmakers about town. She appeared on virtually every local television station, on KERN NewsTalk as my guest and she also appeared in the pages of The Bakersfield Californian. I spotted Zelezny having dinner at Uricchio's Trattoria with Mayor Karen Goh and CSUB marketing specialist Michael Lukens.

 * ... OPIODS: There is a growing body of evidence that medicinal marijuana can help those suffering from opiod addictions. One study found that in states that allow the sale of medicinal marijuana, opiod addiction dropped an average of 24 percent as addicts turned from harder drugs to medicinal pot for relief.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I’ll call it a “smart phone” the day I yell, “Where’s my phone?!” and it answers."

 * ... MORE TWITTER: :"I’m at that stage in life where my bladder is at its weakest and my phobia of public toilets is at its strongest."

 * ... RIP THE DOME: So did you hear The Dome, that iconic east Bakersfield building that once hosted wrestling and boxing matches, has been sold and will likely be torn down? That's the word from reports that say the building, dating from the 1940s, has been sold to a private company that has an immigration detention center next door. The list price of The Dome was $2.2 million but no official word yet on the exact sales price.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out this photo of the Haberfelde Building under construction in 1913.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Is Arvin Mayor Jose Gurrola the most hated man on campus because of his opposition to oil and gas drilling? And more on those initiatives heading to the ballot box in November

Monday, July 2, 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. Email your news and notes to 

 * ... SALES TAX: How do you feel about the proposed 1 percent increase in the local sales tax? The city promotes it as a way to beef up public safety, but others see it as a way to meet pension obligations for legions of retirees. I spoke with City Manager Alan Tandy recently and he said it
would allow the city to hire 100 more police officers, plus about 60 civilians to support those officers on the streets. In addition, he said it would allow the city fire department to get back to old levels with the addition of some 15 firemen. That is a powerful argument for those of us who believe we need more boots on the ground so to speak, but will it be enough to convince residents to vote yes? Time will tell.

 * ... NOVEMBER BALLOT: The local sales tax question is just one of a number of important initiatives that will be on the November ballot. Prop 6 will ask voters if they want to repeal the huge state gas tax that went into effect a few months ago, there will be two and possibly three marijuana initiatives on the ballot in Kern County (all would allow the sale of medicinal marijuana) and Californians will also be asked if they want to break the state up into three separate states. Even if that last one passes, it only has the slightest chance to become law, but it will be fun to watch.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "My husband got barbecue sauce on my mom’s favorite white tablecloth. For five whole minutes I wasn’t the biggest disappointment in her life."

 * ... MOST HATED MAN ON CAMPUS: Who is the most hated man in Bakersfield? If you are in the oil industry, it must be Arvin Mayor Jose Gurrola who joined with several other liberal mayors in demanding that California end oil and gas production. That's right, a mayor from one of the most productive oil and gas regions in the country goes to Sacramento to tell Gov. Jerry Brown that we need to shutter an industry that provides tens of thousands of jobs to people in Kern County. So is this political naivete or simply grand standing by a 20ish politician who should know better? Take your pick but you can bet he is in the political crosshairs of the very people he is trying to destroy.

 * ... CRIME: Want to know how bad crime has gotten around here? Then listen to the latest scam, which apparently has already send one young man to the hospital. It happened a few days ago at the Park at RiverWalk where a young women approached two college aged men late in the evening. The woman appeared distressed and needing help. When the men stopped to help, they were viciously attacked by two other masked men wielding baseball bats. One of the joggers was left seriously injured and the attackers made off with the cell phones of the victims. Apparently this scam is going on around town, and police are telling people to be wary of women "in distress." This has happened at least twice, once in at RiverWalk and a second time off the bike trail near Manor.

 * ... MEMORIES: Who remembers The Plunge off Union Avenue? Take a trip down memory lane and enjoy this photo.