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.
* ... GOODBYE, CALIFORNIA: The exodus from California by people and business continues wth no end in sight, sign of growing discontent over a spendthrift government fond of higher taxes and heavier regulations. According to the Dallas Business Journal, some 660 companies moved 765
* ... STREET RACING: How bad is street racing in our town? Pretty bad, and even more widespread than I ever imagined if you read Bob Price's "Sound Off" column in The Californian this weekend. The latest tragic incident happened on Ming Avenue near Old River road, taking the life of a 58-year-old woman and injuring two children, when street racers plowed into her vehicle. Ming Avenue has long been plagued by street racing, but readers indicated it was going on across town. Other favorite sites for racing: the stretch between Stine Road and Ashe Road on Ming; the Westside Parkway; Oswell Street and Panama Lane.
* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Your relationship can overcome any obstacles as long as you have separate bathrooms."
* ... RIP PHIL WYMAN: Former conservative assemblyman Phil Wyman has died at the age of 74. Wyman was a beloved arch conservative, supporting legislation to require patent notification of teenage abortions, all the while backing the claims of some religious conservatives that satanic messages could be heard by playing rock music backward. He was beloved by many but that sentiment that has largely been overtaken by demographics that are making Kern County more Democratic and politically progressive. Wyman was a rancher and a camp operator.
* ... NEW PUBLISHER: Cliff Chandler has been named publisher of The Bakersfield Californian after serving as its general manager for six months. Chandler is the first publisher since the Fritts-Moorhouse family sold the newspaper to Sound News Media last July.
* ... MEMORIES: Check out these old photos of the day James Dean crashed on Highway 46.
* ... MORE MEMORIES: And finally, feast on this wonderful old photo I spotted on Facebook with this caption: "Eagle Creek Gusher No. 1, Fellows, California. Image taken 1909-1910. Well strikes like this one were exciting and dangerous moments for the workers. The roar of the oil shooting out of the ground was deafening and the potential for fire was great. Shown here is the gusher in full force. To give you the size of the derrick, I placed a red dot under a man walking next to it."