Friday, August 10, 2018

The three-way race in the 4th District on the Board of Supervisors heats up, Couch fends off attacks on the "English only" charge and the Boy Scouts prepare to honor Monsignor Craig Harrison

Friday, August 10, 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

 * ... 4th DISTRICT:
Is it possible to get elected to county office here when you criticize the oil and gas industry? We will test that thesis in November when voters decide whether to re-elect David
Couch as 4th District supervisor or opt for one of his two challengers, Delano Mayor Grace Vallejo or Lamont Chamber president Jose Gonzalez. Gonzalez, for one, has been harshly critical of the oil and gas industry and took to the podium during a public hearing in Arvin to trash fossil fuels. For her part, Vallejo warned against "biting the hand that feeds you" and has taken a more balanced approach to the industry that provides so many local jobs. Couch of course is a strong supporter of the local fossil fuel production.

 * ... ENGLISH ONLY: In Couch's bid for reelection he is battling the perception that he is hostile to Latinos, a position being advanced by Vallejo supporter Dolores Huerta, among others. It all stems from the time Couch served on the Bakersfield City Council and supported the idea of declaring English has the official language of the city. But if you listen to his detractors, Couch was proposing "English only" in the city of Bakersfield, which Couch said was not only wrong and misleading but highly inflammatory. "I never supported English only," he told me. "I think it's great if people speak two, three or four different languages." This being politics, you can expect this charge to be repeated by Couch's opponents. As Couch himself said: "It's going to be a food fight."

 * ... HOMELESS: The number of people suffering from "homeless fatigue," an apparent lack of sympathy for those who roam our streets, is on the rise. And it doesn't help when a homeless encampment pops up in a park in Oildale where folks are sleeping under the plastic slides and swing sets.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "My friend is studying to be a librarian so I've decided to study to become a blacksmith."

 * ... MORE TWITTER: "If I owned a diner I’d have a sandwich called 'The Usual' so everyone would feel special."

 * ... MONSIGNOR CRAIG: Monsignor Craig Harrison is being honored by the local chapter of the Boy Scouts, the Southern Sierra Council, at its Distinguished Citizens Dinner next month.
The Boy Scouts of America-the Southern Sierra Council will honor Harrison at the Sept. 7 dinner and reception t Luigi's. Proceeds from the event will benefit scouting programs, such as the community Scoutreach Project that brings scouting to underserved areas through Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorer Scouts, and STEM Scout programs in partnership with local schools, churches, and law enforcement. Contact (661) 325-9036 for tickets.

 * ... MEMORIES: Enjoy this old photo at the corner of Dale Drive and Roberts Lane.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Wildfires turn the sun a blood orange and air is thick with crud, the Parks-Karli family come back for a visit and we finally get a (small) break in the heat wave

Monday, August 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

 * ... NUCLEAR WINTER? Bakersfield is never at its best in the summer, but the impact of the smoke from the wild fires, including a new one off Breckenridge Road, has made this a particularly
ugly period. On Saturday, the sun was blood red, the air thick with the acrid stench of smoke, and when you add in the legions of homeless wandering our streets like dazed zombies, it was not exactly a Chamber of Commerce weekend for our community. And speaking of the homeless, have you noticed they seem to be everywhere? Downtown has always had its issues with the homeless, but a casual drive around town you will find them deep in the Southwest and Northwest, all along Ming Avenue and yes, even out at the Shops at the Riverwalk on Stockdale Highway.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "If a man said he’ll fix it, he will. There is no need to remind him every six months about it."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: The Bakersfield Californian's Steven Mayer posted this on Facebook: "As the air slowly kills you, remember to enjoy the toxic sunsets as you sink into oblivion."

* ... MERLE'S HOUSE: Only in Bakersfield do you open the newspaper to find a house for sale that was once owned by the late country music legend Merle Haggard. The house, located in the Bakersfield Country Club area, is priced at $359,000. The headline above the picture read: "Merle and Bonnie Haggard's History."

 * ... REUNION: Former KERO TV anchors Jackie Parks and husband Todd Karli were back in Bakersfield this past week. The couple, who left town to join a TV station in Maryland, made the rounds catching up with old friends and co-workers. Parks and Karli were always a class act, and much like Jim Scott and Robin Mangarin Scott, made Bakersfield their home for many years before finally moving on.

 * ... GOOD FORM: Hats off to the off duty police officer who confronted a homeless man digging through a trash can and tossing the content across the sidewalk at 19th and Eye streets on Saturday. The homeless man became belligerent until the officer quietly showed him his badge and told him that "some of us want our city to look better. Put the trash back in the can."

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out the old Bank of America building at the corner of Chester and 20th Street, now the home of Stars Theatre.