Thursday, December 20, 2018

Friday's Bakersfield Observed: Homelessness is out of control across the country, Ken Keller becomes CEO of Memorial Hospital, and are women in Bakersfield more likely to cheat on their husbands?

Friday, December 21, 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 to live. Send your tips to

 * ... HOMELESSNESS: For the second consecutive year, the number of people living homeless on our streets has risen. There is a critical shortage of affordable housing, opiod abuse is adding to the
problem and despite the best efforts of cities, the problem remains out of control. Sound familiar? If you thought I was talking about Bakersfield, you are wrong. These are excerpts from a new report on homelessness across the nation. Like Bakersfield, cities big and small are facing the same vexing problem in confronting homelessness: it is bad and it is getting worse, and there are no easy solutions.  In Los Angeles just two hours south of us, Mayor Eric Garcetti has responded by dedicating special funding to set up temporary shelters across the city.

 * ... PEREZ: Supervisor Letitia Perez will go on trial in March for allegedly violating conflict of interest laws when she voted to regulate marijuana while her husband, consultant Fernando Jara, represented clients seeking to get into the business. I am still betting this will be settled before trial, but the pressure is on to find a compromise before the March trial.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Apparently putting Alka-Seltzer in my mouth while getting baptized and pretending I’m being possessed by the devil is not funny."

 * ... RIP CHRISTOPHER: Christopher Kreiser lost his battle with cancer this week and with that our community lost a good soul. Kreiser, son of Carney's owner Rick Kreiser and the late Kristen Kreiser, was just 39 years old. He had been undergoing experimental treatment at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles for a few months when he passed. Ironically, it was 10 years ago that his mother, Kristen, died of cancer. Rick Kreiser is the founder of the Guitar Masters concerts series that has raised tens of thousands of dollar for the Kern County Cancer Fund. Christopher is survived by his wife, Katie, and their three children.

 * ... KEN KELLER: Ken Keller, chief operating officer at Memorial Hospital, has been appointed president and CEO following the promotion of former CEO Jon Van Boening. Keller holds a masters in the executive program from the University of New Orleans and a bachelors in pre-medicine from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Van Boening is now president and senior vice president of operations for all the Dignity Health hospitals in Central California.

 * ... CHEATING: I spotted this on Facebook. Are our women here more likely to cheat? Yes, says the cheating website Ashley Madison.

 * ... MEMORIES: Enjoy this walk down memory lane with this shot of the old Allard Furniture Company building on Baker Street from 1920.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

One in four Americans want Santa to be gender neutral (seriously), downtown traffic is a mess due to the 24th Street widening project, and setting the record straight on the history of Mexicali

Monday, December 17, 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 to live. Send your tips to

 * ... DOWNTOWN TRAFFIC: The 24th Street widening project downtown is now in full swing, and boy has it created a mess. The city closed off parts of 23rd Street over the weekend to install a
storm drain at D and 23rd, forcing traffic into the Westchester neighborhood to skirt the construction. And if you think this is bad, prepare for all those bridges for the Centennial project (across Stockdale Highway, California Avenue and Truxtun) that are just now getting underway.

 * ... GENDER NEUTRAL SANTA: Well here is a sign of the times: a recent survey in both the United States and Briton revealed that one in four people believe Santa Claus should be either female, or gender neutral. Given the changing views of sexuality, all this is not unsurprising but it does reflect society's evolving view of the role of gender in society. And so it goes.

 * ... JAKELIN DEATH: I think we can all agree that the death of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Makin at the border was a tragedy, but do both sides really need to politicize it? Sen. Dianne Feinstein has called for an investigation, asking how the Border Patrol "allowed this to happen." Say what? The youngster, suffering from dehydration, died after just six hours into U.S. custody after being hospitalized. Isn't blaming her death on the Border Patrol a bit like blaming the death of a car crash victim on the Hall Ambulance medics who responded to the scene? Or blaming Kern County sheriff's deputies for the death of a person who was swimming in the Kern River after they respond to reports of a drowning? The child's death is lamentable, but politicizing it serves no purpose. Check out this meme lifted from Facebook with this caption: "Jakelin AmeĆ­ Rosmery Caal Makin- only 7 yrs old - died of thirst, shock and exhaustion while in U.S. Border Patrol Custody. No child should be placed behind cages, no child should die because of inhumane treatment."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Running is the best way to remind yourself how much you love sitting."

 * ... OVERHEARD: A middle aged man is relating the story of a shoplifter who was chased out of a Rite-Aid downtown: "So he is chased out the door and he runs to a newer Mercedes parked in the parking lot and drives off."

 * ... MEXICALI: My friend David Lyman sent me this note to correct the record: "You refer to Mexicali West as the 'second' Mexicali.  It actually is the fourth. The company's first location was on Baker Street. It then opened its second location downtown on 18th Street. The third location was on Niles Street which has since closed. Mexicali West is number four."

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out this old photo of Emerson School from 1904, courtesy of the Kern County History Fans Facebook page.