Thursday, February 7, 2019

Three Kern County cities make a list of the "worst cities" in America, McFarland High rolls out the "early college" program and graffiti vandals deface freshly painted utility boxes on Panorama Drive

Friday, February 8, 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

 * ... WORST CITIES: Three Kern County cities made the list of the top 50 "worst cities" in the United States. Arvin, Taft and California all made the list, which was compiled by The Wall Street
Journal based on affordability, the local economy, the quality of life and the community. The top five "worst" cities were Highland Park, Michigan, Makaha, Hawaii, California City, Florida City and Mendota, Ca.

 * ... MCFARLAND HIGH: Did you know that McFarland High School has boasted the highest graduation rate in Kern County for the past three years? And the high school now has become the first in the state to introduce the "early college" program, which allows seniors to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate's degree from Bakersfield College. Starting next year, all ninth graders at McFarland High will be enrolled in the early college program.

 * ... GRAFFITI: Remember when local artists teamed up with county administrators to paint the utility boxes at Panorama Park with color images of flowers, trees and skylines? It was a thoughtful project, and it brought a new energy and positivity to the popular park along Panorma Drive. And as things go here, it didn't last long before graffiti artists ruined it all. Almost all of the freshly painted utility boxes have been tagged.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Half-time Super Bowl show review: The good news? I saw two nips. The bad news? They belonged to that Maroon 5 guy."

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Once you reach that level of dad where you put your phone in your shirt pocket there is no way back."

 * ... JAZZ FESTIVAL KILLED: The Bakersfield Jazz Festival, a benchmark event for our community, is taking a year off and will not be held this year. Jim Scully, the direction, had this to say: "The week of BJF is filled with events at CSUB this year honoring the new CSUB president, so it’s the right year for a reboot. We are taking a year to reinvent and re-imagine our event. We will be back and stronger than ever in 2020 - best to you all, and thanks for your support."

 * ... ETHICS PANEL: The Kegley Institute of Ethics out at CSU Bakersfield has brought on two professors as part of its Faculty Fellowship. They are Dr. Alice Hays (CSUB Department of Teacher Education) and Dr. Jeanine Kraybill( CSUB Department of Political Science). Dr. Hays’ project focuses on collaborating with local teachers and CSUB students to promote the development of ethical, social, and educational competencies in young students. Dr. Kraybill’s project focuses on the “different voice debate,” centered on representation of female judicial officers in the United States and, related to this, whether (and, if so, in what ways) female judges adjudicate differently on key issues than their male counterparts. Dr. Kraybill will investigate this issue by developing a survey that examines this question with juridical officers throughout California. Kraybill appears every Thursday at 2:30 p.m. on The Richard Beene Show on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM.

* ... MEMORIES: Check this out, the old Southern Hotel in its heyday.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Supervisor Mike Maggard tells Jim Scott the remaining local pot shops will have to close this summer, a local writer questions if there is a 'war on men' and does it do more harm than good and a farmer's market is coming to east Bakersfield

Monday, February 4, 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

 * ... POT SHOPS: After years of rancor and political wheeling and dealing that led to a conflict of interest charge against Supervisor Leticia Perez, it looks like Kern County's experimentation with legal marijuana will end this summer. That's according to Supervisor Mike Maggard who told
KGET's Jim Scott this weekend that in May, all of the existing pot shops in the county will have to close, unless they are granted extensions in February. For their part, the pot shop owners have been requesting an extension to recoup their investments, holding out hope that they can stay open a few more months with Supervisor approval.

 * ... LETICIA PEREZ: For her part, it looks like we indeed may be heading to a trial for Supervisor Leticia Perez on the conflict of interest charges filed against her. If you are new to town, Perez was charged because she failed to disclose that her husband, Fernando Jara, was lobbying for marijuana interests at the same time she was poised to vote on pot regulation. The charge is a misdemeanor but has hurt her politically and called into question her judgment. Stay tuned and let's see if there is a last minute settlement. Perez is represented by H.A. Sala, one of our town's most accomplished and aggressive defense attorneys.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "If you’re ever feeling down on your appearance, remember: even the ugliest potato can become a beautiful delicious French fry. Everybody wants a French fry."

 * ... WAR ON MEN: Are we witnessing a war on men? Has the assault on 'toxic masculinity' gone too far? That is what Stefanie Daubert wondered in a Community Voice opinion piece written for The Bakersfield Californian. I will be interviewing Daubert on The Richard Beene Show on Tuesday. Tune in to hear her explain why this war on men (my words, not hers) could be doing more damage than good.

 * ... FARMER'S MARKET: Is northeast Bakersfield getting a farmer's market? Apparently so if you believe this Facebook post I spotted. Word on the street is that the owner of Hen's Roost, the popular vegan restaurant downtown, is behind the new farmer's market.

 * ... MEMORIES: Don't you love this old postcard promoting the Santa Fe railroad, circa 1950s? Thanks to the Facebook page Kern County History Fans for this one.