Thursday, October 24, 2019

A sexual abuse lawyer accuses Monsignor Craig Harrison's lawyers of "draconian" tactics to silence critics, we have now entered into the realm of "flying shaming" and the Kern County Fair board needs to move toward transparency, not secrecy

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. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of any other individual, organization or company. 

As if the story involving Monsignor Craig Harrison could not get more interesting, it just did. Harrison, suspended from the Catholic Church after multiple men came
forward to accuse him of sexual impropriety, is now in civil court fighting an effort to have his personnel file opened for the public to see. The question: did a victims' rights advocacy organization defame Harrison by holding a press conference where its spokesman (Stephen Brady) reiterated the allegations? Harrison attorney Craig Edmonston says yes, and he slapped a defamation lawsuit against the group Roman Catholic Faithful. Attorneys for RCF responded by demanding to see Harrison's personnel file at the Diocese of Fresno, arguing that only by making the allegations public could the RCF defend itself. Mike Reck, an attorney for Jeff Anderson and Associates, a firm that specializes in sexual abuse cases, called Edmonston's lawsuit "draconian." Said Reck: "To use litigation to try to silence others is very heavy handed ... and uncommon. It's draconian." The opening of the file could be revealing: it would first provide in graphic detail all the salacious allegations against Father Craig, and it could also reveal damning information on how the church failed to deal with allegations against sitting priests. Stay tuned. (file photo of attorney Mike Reck)

 * ... FLYING SHAME: I suppose it was inevitable, but in the name of global warming, people are now being shamed for flying. That's right, the correctness police are now focusing on individual air travel to "shame" people for expanding their carbon footprint. In Sweden, it is known as "flygskam" or "flying shame" and it is directed by people who travel for leisure. As it turns out, it is a small group of frequent flyers (12 percent) who make more than six round trips a year and are responsible for two years of all air travel. According to the New York Times, these travelers emit more than three tons of carbon dioxide per year, a substantial amount by global standards. Personally, I think this is a good thing. Let's allow those who want to shut down fossil fuels to feel the real impact of doing so: instead of flying, take a bus (oops more carbon emissions) or a train (more emissions) or simply walk.

At this point you would think the people who run our public and quasi public agencies would understand the need for transparency. Not so with the Kern County Fair Board, where chairwoman Blodgie Rodriguez summarily dismissed the fair board without hearing from a room full of people who were there to speak about the controversy over more than $300,000 in unaccounted for expenditures. Hey Blodgie, it's just the public, and when you are chair of the board, it might be wise to let the people speak. On a lesser scale, the superintendent of the Bakersfield City School District shows similar tone deafness in dealing with parents at the Downtown Elementary School  angry about possible changes in the way the school operates. We are told that superintendent Harry "Doc" Irvin doesn't like to talk to the press (he has declined my invitation to appear on the radio) and he opts instead to meet with select group of parents behind closed doors. Here are my two cents for both Blodgie and Doc: dodging the press and the public may work in the short term, but you will pay dearly later. Just open the doors and let the sunshine in.

 * ... IN 'N OUT: We all know how Californians feel about our beloved In 'n Out burger, but what about the french fries? According to a recent online posting, the franchise's French fries are hardly a fan favorite. Too limp, too oily, not crisp enough, the complaints abound when it comes to the fries. But one poster had a remedy:"Order them well done," she said. "And they will come out perfect." Try it next time and tell me what you think.

 * ... DOWNTOWN CRIME: The rash of crime across town, much of it done at the hands of our drug addicted masses who roam our streets with near impunity, continues. Check out these surveillance pictures from TLO wines on 18th Street, where the Zaninovich family has poured tens of thousands of dollars into a lovely facility to display their wines. The person in the photo destroyed pots and plants and left a faucet on that flooded the facility

 * .... MEMORIES: Love this picture of the old Kern County Courthouse thanks to the Facebook page Kern County History Fans. The second picture is of the Pastime Theater, at 1517 19th St. (Bakersfield) was a silent-era theater that opened in February of 1913 and closed in July of 1927....

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