Friday, October 11, 2019

Are rolling blackouts the "new norm" in California and will Gov. Gavin Newsom pay a political price? Plus Kelly Ardis leaves The Californian to join CSUB and another trip down memory lane with some old photos

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. 

 * ... WINDS: Hey California, does it feel like we are becoming the next Venezuela, a nation-state of endless shortages, uncertainty and bloated bureaucracy? It sure looks like it when we wake up and
find the power has been shut off and the state bureaucracy is telling us to shut up because this is the "new norm" in California. It is all because of Pacific Gas and Electric, the utility that cannot seem to shoot straight, has instituted rolling blackouts during the windy season to prevent wildfires. That's right, after the lack of maintenance led to horrifying fires in northern California, the utility has decided to pass the buck to us instead of doing what we expect it to do. But here is the ugly truth: historically the utility has put the pockets of its investors over routine maintenance of its power lines, creating a system that puts shareholder profits over safety. (Thankfully that practice ended recently thanks to a federal judge), Now you know what I mean when I say California is starting to look a lot like Venezuela.

 * ... RECALL NEWSOM: So where does all this leave our Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has long been eyeing a run for the presidency at some point? Will the rolling power outages lead to more pressure on Newsom, and act as a catalyst for the "recall Newsom" movement? Recall supporters point to Newsom's moratorium on the death penalty (after being upheld by voters), his decision to take gas tax money meant to improve highways and divert it to pet rail projects, and now this. Time will tell but the pressure is growing on Newsom as the state struggles to keep the lights on.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "You're an adult now. That means nobody can stop you from putting shrimp in a bowl of melted butter and eating it like cereal. Not anymore."

 * ... MOVING UP: Congratulations to Kelly Ardis, a longtime Bakersfield Californian features reporter who is joining the ranks at CSUB in a marketing position. Ardis is the latest TBC alumni to join CSUB, closing ranks with Christine Bedell who works in alumni affairs, and head communications director Jennifer Self. Ardis will work for the school of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering, reporting to Dean Kathleen Madden and working closely with Jennifer Self, director of public affairs and communications. The school of NSME is on the rise at CSUB, having earned a prestigious engineering accreditation in 2018.

 * ... THE POLITICS OF WATER: If you live in California, you should pay closer attention to water policy and how politics plays a role in who gets this precious resources, and who doesn't. And now there is a comprehensive new non-profit that offers in-depth reporting and writing on California's love/hate relationship with water. It's called SJVWATER.ORG and it is run by award winning journalist Lois Henry, who has devoted her life to reporting and writing about water in the Central Valley. Go to the website and support it, financially, by becoming a subscriber. I did.

 * ... MEMORIES: And what do you think of this, a shot of "West side girls" back in the day. Thanks to Art Moore and the Kern County History Fans Facebook page. And check out this second photo of the old Ridge Route back in the day.

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