Thursday, April 18, 2019

Bakersfield makes a list of top cities to live in America, yet homelessness continues to grow and move west, and RIP to car dealer Chuck Haddad and farmer Fred Starrh

 Friday, April 19, 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

 * ... HAPPINESS: Is Bakersfield worthy of making a list of one of the top cities in America to live? Well, U.S. News World Report thought so and it included our town in its list of top places to live in
2019. That's right, Bakersfield ranked 124 among 125 cities listed as top places to live. Said David Knoeb, president of Frontier Real Estate Services: "There is not a better place e to raise your family, to live and the people around here... it's just a great community." The report based its findings on the value of local housing, the local job market and overall desirability.

 * ... HOMELESS: Back in the day, give or take five years ago or so, the homeless were more or less a downtown problem. Well no more, and no where was that on greater display than out near the baseball fields near Jewetta and Calloway roads. There, running along the river bed, are dozens of makeshift campsites, full of litter and reeking of urine, right within sight of some of the most desirable neighborhoods in town. District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer addressed it when I interviewed her this week, saying these homeless encampments have their own hierarchy that includes a "governor" who acts as the head of the camp. Often, she said, the "governor" will send homeless out to intersections to raise money for their camp. And so it goes.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "When your boss tells you you’re fired do you finish the YouTube video or just leave? I need to know for future reference."

 * ... SPOTTED PON FACEBOOK: "Just a last-minute reminder that tax rates are merely legal minimums. If you believe you should pay more, it’s perfectly acceptable to send more."

* ... RIP: We lost some great men this week, and Assemblyman Vince Fong said it best in this post: "The past week, we have lost some tremendous individuals who have blessed me with their kindness, guidance, and mentorship. Words cannot describe the impact David Price, Chuck Haddad, and Fred Starrh Sr. has had in my life and the lives of countless others in our community. They were committed to family, service, and our community. My heart goes out to their families and I will be forever grateful for the friendship of these amazing individuals."

  * ... MEMORIES: Spotted this on my friend Matt Munoz's Facebook Page. Not sure what year this was published.

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And how about this old picture?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Former county department head Dave Price dies, Campbell Soups sells Bolthouse Farms, cleaner air leads to fewer "fog days" in Kern County and spring in Bakersfield ...

 Monday, April 15, 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

 * ... DAVE PRICE: RIP to Dave Price, one of the great citizens of our community who died last
Thursday at his Tennessee retirement home. Price retired as director of the county Resources Management Agency and left California for Kingsport, Tennessee, where his jovial manner and quick wit quickly endeared him to the locals. I knew Dave well and was proud to call him a friend, as did many. His wife, Liz, said he died of a cardiac event.

 * ... BOLTHOUSE: Bolthouse Farms, one of Kern County's powerhouse carrot and juice producers that was sold to Campbell Soup Co. a few years ago, has become a private company again. Campbell was looking to unload Bolthouse because, according to the Wall Street Journal, it proved difficult for the company to handle fresh food. Former Bolthouse CEO Jeff Dunn was leading a group of investors who purchased the business. No word yet if Bolthouse will return to Bakersfield as its corporate headquarters.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "No matter how nice I ask random people, nobody will take me to Funkytown."

 * ... WEEKEND: If it is spring in Bakersfield it is time for outdoor events and celebrations. This weekend alone we saw downtown Rotary's Havana Nights, the Stars Dinner Theater Dancing with the Stars (congratulations to Robin Mangarin-Scott for placing first), the Coconut Cup pickle ball tournament at the Bakersfield Racquet Club, the 4th Annual Sikh Peace Parade, a community trash cleanup day and more. Spring in Bakersfield.

 * ... RIG CITY: Congratulations to the Rig City Coffee Roasters on its one-year anniversary downtown. The popular coffee and pastry shop is part of a downtown renaissance of small businesses that are breathing new energy into our downtown.

 * ... TULE FOG: Remember a few years back when the tule fog was so think you could hardly see the car in front of you? Well, those days are largely behind us and we can thank lower levels of air pollution for it. That's according to a new study by scientists at the UC Berkeley who analyzed meteorological and air pollution data from the Central Valley reaching back to 1930. They reported this: "The results help explain the puzzling decades long rise and fall in the number of 'fog days' affecting the region, which increased 85 percent between 1930 and 1970 and then decreased 76 percent between 1980 to 2016. This up and down pattern follows trends in air pollution in the valley, which rose during the first half of the century when the region was increasingly farms and industrialized, and then dropped off after the enactment of air pollution regulations in the 1970s."

* .... MEMORIES: Take a look at this, the before and after of 20th Street downtown.