Friday, August 23, 2019
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 community such a special place. Send news items to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* ... VAGRANTS: If you want to know how fed up, sickened and angry the general public is over this addiction and vagrant issue, just spend some time on social media. Check out this post and
Less than two years ago I would take my daughter to this park quite frequently... notice the slide she would go down is now occupied by a tent, and two individuals sleeping. I’ve interviewed Kevin McCarthy here at this park. (I could almost guarantee capitol police would deem the park a security risk.) I’ve shot PSA’s there for 23ABC dozens of times. This park is no longer a park. It’s a visual display of the failures in policy and conscious, both at the state and city level. This is not acceptable. The fact that our police can do nothing about this, I just don’t accept. The fact that our city leaders are waiting for funding to deal with this, I just don’t accept. We can do better Bakersfield. Consider who is leading our city, stop them today, politely and ask if they’ll let this go on for another year or so...'until funding comes through, or until a plan can be approved.'” Meanwhile, there is scarcely a public park in town that has not been seized by the homeless, including Jastro Park downtown, Patriot's park, Qualwood park and the park in Oildale.
* ... BURGER BOYCOTT: In-N-Out Burger, the Irvine-based burger chain so beloved by Californians, has found itself in hot water with some consumers after it donated $25,000 to the California Republican Party. And yes, you guessed it, it has led some to call for a boycott, even though the chain has donated to Republican causes before. By the way, good luck with that boycott.
* ... FATHER CRAIG: Did you hear about the lawsuit that attorneys for Father Craig Harrison filed against a Roman Catholic organization that tracks priests accused of sexual wrongdoing? Local plaintiff's attorney Craig Edmonston, part of Father Craig's legal team, filed the lawsuit against Stephen Brady of the Roman Catholic Faithful, an organization that tracks allegations of sexual abuse against Catholic clergy. It's a curious strategy on several levels but it may speak volumes about the effort to clear Harrison's name. First, and I found this puzzling, but the lawsuit came at a time when the case had died down publicly. Its filing only serves to revive the chatter about the abuse allegations by providing lurid details about Harrison's alleged behavior, and I am not sure that serves the embattled priest. Second, there is the merit - or lack of merit - to the lawsuit. Did Brady actually slander Harrison as the lawsuit alleges? At least to my eyes, Brady simply echoed what was already made public by the Diocese of Fresno, police agencies and numerous news outlets across the state. And the target of the lawsuit - Brady - is not exactly a big fish in this case, but rather a one-man show who likely works out of his basement. So is this simply a way to try to silence and scare off Harrison's critics by forcing them to pony up thousands of dollars to defend themselves? One thing is for sure: I am told dozens of well-heeled Bakersfield Catholics have pledged tens of thousands of dollars for a Harrison defense fund. My question: why don't they file a lawsuit against the Catholic Church, since it was the church that first raised these allegations? Stay tuned.
* ... MORE FATHER CRAIG: Word on the street is that Harrison has told people he expects to be reinstated to the clergy by the Diocese of Fresno, but without the title of monsignor. I for one hope that is not true. If the Diocese cannot prove the allegations, then it should return Harrison to his old position as a monsignor. Anything less would be grossly unfair to a man who has endured a difficult period of his life. Meanwhile, I am also told that those close to Harrison are advising him to become a private counselor if the Diocese does not reinstate him.
*... FISH FERTILIZER: Here's a novel way to get rid of the drug addicts and vagrants from your local business: use fish fertilizer around your building so it stinks so much even the homeless will go somewhere else. That was the solution one downtown businessperson came up with, as seen in this post on Facebook: "So far it’s been a quiet August on California and S. Had some junkies shooting up across the street this morning and that’s about it. No homeless sleeping around the funeral home since I sprayed the ally and side with fish based fertilizer.
* ... MEMORIES: And wow, take a look at these old photos from the Kern County of Old Facebook page.
* ... MORE MEMORIES: And lastly, check out the old Washington School that I spotted on the Kern County History Fans Facebook page.