Thursday-Friday, September 19-20, 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.
* ... DAVID HOGG: The Kegley Institute of Ethics will devote its spring speaker series to David Hogg, one of the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in south Florida. Hogg,
* ... FATHER CRAIG: Monsignor Craig Harrison's legal team has filed yet another lawsuit against his accusers, this one aimed at a monk who accused Harrison of inappropriately touching and fondling young men. This time Harrison's attorneys filed a suit against Justin Gilligan, who told investigators that Harrison had touched the genitals of young men, told homosexual jokes and engaged in pornography. The monk once worked with Harrison at St. Francis Parish in Bakersfield. If you remember, Harrison's attorneys have already sued a Catholic watch group group - Roman Catholic Faithful - for defamation. The filing of the suits opens Harrison to cross examination and depositions which will of course allow his detractors to repeat, in graphic detail, the sordid details of the charges he has been fighting. The monk's allegations were detailed to police with the full cooperation of the Diocese of Fresno, which suspended Harrison pending a full investigation. As noted plaintiff's lawyer Daniel Rodriguez said, at times this strategy can backfire, but it is clear that Harrison's legal team has taken the fight to his accusers, no matter what the cost.
* ... LIVE AUCTION; Speaking of Father Craig, did you hear about the live auction to benefit a local program this past week? It turns out one of the items being auctioned was dinner with Father Craig, and it went or a whopping $27,000 thanks to a winning bid by a local business owner. The bid speaks volumes about the enormous support that Father Craig enjoys among well heeled Catholics and others about town, some of the same people who are contributing to his defense fund that pays for the lawsuits against his detractors. It also reflects the great divide between the Catholic Church and pro-Harrison parishioners, many of whom have withdrawn their monetary support of the church in hopes of pressuring the diocese into returning Harrison to his old job.
* ... CRIME: The tsunami of petty crime committed by street vagrants, the mentally ill and the drug addicted continues unabated. Over the weekend the newly renovated offices of Skarpohol Frank architects downtown were vandalized. The front door was bashed in and the lobby ransacked, yet the only item stolen was a jar of candy. Meanwhile, police were called to Dagney's Coffee house downtown to deal with a pair of screaming homeless, and so it goes.
* ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Hey, @BetoORourke, actual Texan here. I regret to inform you that your request to buy my legally purchased firearms has been denied after your background check revealed your criminal record. Don’t want to take any chances. Xoxo."
* ... JEFF SIMPSON: One of the founders of Sequoia Sandwich Co. has joined American General Media as chief financial officer. Jeff Simpson, who along with partner Gary Blackburn built Sequoia into a powerhouse local lunch spot and went on to sell it last year, joined the Bakersfield-based radio company this week. AGM operates six radio stations in town, including KERN News Radio.
* ... MEMORIES: Two of my favorite Facebook pages - Kern County of Old and Kern County History Fans - deal with our living history. Here are some more nuggets from those pages.