Thursday, January 31, 2019

A high school teacher and a graphic porn site but Bakersfield in the news, City Councilman Andrae Gonzales brushes off an attack by Fernando Jara and Jean Fuller pushes an "early college" program

Friday, February 1, 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 such a special to live. Send your tips to

 * ... FRONTIER PORN: There wasn't a bigger story this week than the revelation that a Frontier High School science teacher allegedly posted graphic videos on a porn site. Will the teacher, Emily
Salazar, lose her job now that virtually every male student at the school has likely watched their teacher perform in the most graphic fashion? Legal experts, including noted plaintiff lawyer Daniel Rodriguez, say it is not clear if Salazar can be fired for her behavior outside the classroom. Rodriguez noted that in some similar cases elsewhere, the teacher was transferred but kept her teaching credentials. Stay tuned for this one. (file photo of Emily Salazar)

: Ah local politics .... dripping with irony and full of grand standing, personal attacks and duplicity. Let's start with the latest dustup in the Kern County Democratic Party where political
consultant Fernando Jara (husband of Supervisor Leticia Perez) launched a vicious personal attack on City Councilman Andrae Gonzales for allegedly not being Democratic enough in the mid-term elections. Among other things, Jara said Gonzales was directly responsible for two Democrats losing their races for supervisor: Jeff Heinle (he lost to Mike Maggard) and Grace Vallejo (she lost to David Couch.) But he didn't leave it there, opting to go personal with this post: "You are the money changer, not a follower of the radical Jesus of the Gospel.You are the inn-keeper who sends children to be born in mangers. Certainly, Councilman, you are the man who reaches out for a bag of coins from the powers that be and hand over your leaders and the poor of this community, people of color, the least of these, to political, economic, and psychological Lynching. Repent." All this hides the fact that there is no love lost between Perez and Gonzales, or the fact that it was Jara's own work for the marijuana industry that led to conflict of interest charges against his wife. For his part, Gonzales took the high road and dismissed Jara's attacks as "nothing. I don't pay attention to him." (Facebook photo of Fernando Jara)

 * ... KAMALA HARRIS: Do you like your health insurance? Is it provided by your employer, or school, or perhaps you work for the county or the city? Polls and any number of surveys reflect that the overwhelming number of Americans are happy with their insurance, despite the fact there is a push on the left to move to a single payer system. And who is leading that charge on the national level? None other that Kamala Harris, the California senator who announced a presidential run this week. Under her plan, all private policies (including plans negotiated with local and state governments) would be stripped and replaced by a Medicare for all program. How does that make you feel?

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, you’re probably really hot."

 * ... EARLY COLLEGE: A few select high schools in Kern County are the first in the state to offer a new program called "early college" where students can graduate from high school while also earning their junior college associate's degree. The idea: allow students to take college level classes while in high school while forgoing traditional college tuition, and graduate from high school ready to transfer into college as a junior. Heading up the program is Dr. Jean Fuller, former minority leader of the State Senate who has been termed out of office.

 * ... MEMORIES: The Beale Clock Tower circa 1949. Thanks to the folks at the Kern County History Fans Facebook page.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

City Councilmen Willie Rivera and Andrae Gonzales are part of the blue wave in the Central Valley, crime plagues our local businesses and hats off to Mayor Karen Goh and others for pitching in to pick up trash

Monday, January 28, 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 such a special to live. Send your tips to

 * ... THE BLUE FUTURE: If you want to know what the future looks like for Kern County
politicians, you might start with City Councilmen Willie Rivera and Andres Gonzales. Though the council is a non-partisan office, both Rivera and Gonzales are Democrats, and unlike their brethren in the Bay Area or Los Angeles, they reflect Valley values that put them more in the center of the political left. Both are Hispanic, young, progressive, smart and willing to listen, qualities that elude some on the far left. And both are making their mark on a council that traditionally has been populated by those on the far right. You also have Assemblyman Rudy Salas and Supervisor Leticia Perez as young Democrats, but Perez's future is less certain given her upcoming trial on conflict of interest charges related to her husband's consulting for marijuana interests. Watch both Rivera and Gonzales; they are both to be reckoned with.

 * ... HOMELESS: I started my Sunday with an early bike ride and followed that with errands to Sprouts and Target on Stockdale Highway. If there were ever any doubt about our growing homeless problem, it was dashed by my encounters with the homeless in areas far from the city center. We were on cross bikes and on the dirt trail under Allen Road we encountered an encampment of perhaps 20 or so homeless. Tents, trash and rubbish littered the area., and it reeked of urine. Later in the day at the Target center on Stockdale Highway, there were homeless begging for money at each entrance. And so it goes.

 * ... HISTORY QUIZ: Did you know the Kern River (and Kern County itself) was named after Edward Kern, a cartographer who was on the 1845 expedition led by Gen. John C. Fremont? The Kern River was originally named Rio Bravo de San Felipe by Father Francisco Garc├ęs when he explored the area in 1776. Fremont was known in the period as "The Pathfinder" and he later ran for president twice, as well as serving as general in the Civil War with a checkered record.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Not to brag, but I’ve worked my way through every single class of antidepressants."

 * ... CRIME: Spotted this on Facebook. It speaks for itself: "In the last three days I have witnessed 3 robberies  yes 3! What has this world come to lately. First robbery was at Vons on Ming Ave. Lady walks out with a whole cart full of groceries without paying . She is followed by the store manager and asked for receipt. She fumbles in purse for receipt ( there was no receipt)  Manager asks her come in and he rings her up and low and behold she pays for it and is on her way. I talked to the manager and he said it happens daily and most thieves get away with it. Next day in Sunglasses Hut at Macy’s a guy walks up and grabs sunglasses and runs out of the store. Today at Vons on Stockdale Hwy a guy walked out with 4 large cans of formula and food stuffed up his sweatshirt. He runs through the parking lot with a get away car waiting for him. The employees didn’t run after him because as one said to me that there is no punishment for their crime. It makes me sad when many of us are trying to have a positive attitude and support our country and some just feel that it is theirs for the taking. I don’t think these crimes are because of the government shutdown since before the shutdown I have witnessed thieves walk into a store with a wagon and load it up with alcohol and just walk out. Something has to change! It seems that there is a trend of attitude with some that it is ok to just take what they want."

 * ... TRASH CLEANUP: I have often said that it is up to all of us to combat trash and litter, even if that means giving up some of our spare time to deal with it. So that was way I was thrilled to see a Facebook post by Mayor Karen Goh noting that employees of the Kern County Superintendent of Schools partnered with Keep Bakersfield Beautiful to clean up the downtown area on Saturday morning. Now that is what you call good form.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out this old ad for the old Saddle and Sirloin on Union Avenue, circa 1953.