Thursday, May 2, 2019

Is Bakersfield a destination home for millennials? Judi McCarthy pledges $400,000 to the Women's and Girl's Fund and we hear the story behind the parakeets in town

Friday, May 3, 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

 * ... MILLENIAL LOVE: What kind of cities attract millennials? If you didn't guess Bakersfield, you would be wrong. That's right, Bakersfield recently made a top 10 list of destination cities for millennials. Published by the National Association of Realtors, Bakersfield
joined nine other metro areas that are attracting young job-seekers like never before. The reasons: a robust job market and the low cost of housing. Other factors: tons of live music and the history of the Bakersfield Sound, and terrific family run restaurants and Basque food.

 * ... KERN COMMUNITY FOUNDATION: Hats off to Judi McCarthy who made a very generous donation to the Women's and Girl's Fund (part of the Kern Community Foundation) to improve the lives of young women in our community. McCarthy was one of the founders of the fund but has since moved to Austin, Texas, but her heart remains here and she returned for a luncheon at Seven Oaks to make a special announcement. McCarthy pledged $400,000 for a two-for-one matching grant for every dollar contributed to the Women's and Girl's Fund. That's right, a $400,000 pledge with the hope of bringing the fund to a balance north of $2 million.

 * ... PARAKEETS: Did you know Bakersfield is home to thousands of wild green parakeets
? If you live downtown, this will come as no surprise. They are commonly spotted not only in the downtown and Westchester neighborhoods but in Oleander as well. It was good to see that Valley Public Radio sent a reporter to Bakersfield, who spotted the wild birds in Beale Park. Read the report here. An excerpt from the report: "To find out I met with someone who’s studied this population of birds for decades. Alison Sheehey is Master Naturalist who focuses on the Southern Sierra and Kern County. She says it all started with a weather event. 'In 1977 there was a huge windstorm that hit,” Sheehey says. “The winds were in excess of 100 miles an hour and it blew apart an aviary, the Happy Bird Aviary." Two breeding pairs of the birds escaped. “There were a lot of other birds that escaped, but it seemed like the Rose-ringed parakeets were the only ones that successfully started breeding,” Sheehey says. Almost 40 years later the birds are thriving in Bakersfield because of the similar temperature and precipitation to India where they’re from. Sheehey estimates there are 3,000 living under the protection of palm fronds at night. By day these birds roam the city hunting for nuts, stone fruit and flowers to eat. Sheehey doesn’t think these birds will leave the city limits even though they are agricultural pests in other counties.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Hey how come when Spider-Man shoots web from his hands, he's called a hero and when I shoot white stuff at someone, they call the cops. Is it because I'm brown?"

 * ... MORE SPOTTED: "Just saw a woman with a 'Dog Mom' bumper sticker. And while the kid in the back seat wasn’t great looking, I still thought it was kinda harsh."

 * ... ARNOLD: Remember a couple years ago when it was revealed that Arnold Schwarzenegger had an affair and his love-child son was living in Bakersfield? Well the boy is all grown up and recently graduated from Pepperdine University. Here is a photo of his son, Joseph, and Arnold on graduation day. Check out the resemblance.

 * ...MEMORIES: How about this old picture from "two bit" hill in the Taft oil fields?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Rep. Kevin McCarthy meets with Blaine Hodge, praises his courage

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy givers us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words ... 

 "Last week, my office presented the 23rd Congressional District of California Merit Award to East Kern, Antelope Valley, and Tulare County students. Each student awarded also had an opportunity to nominate an educator for the 23rd Congressional District of California Inspirational High School
Educator Award.

"It is a privilege to acknowledge the impressive achievements of our local students and teachers. These students are moving on to even greater successes and are positioned to make a positive impact in their communities. I am confident that they have learned the importance of putting forth the extra effort from the very teachers they nominated – teachers who exemplify what it means to be a positive role model. Congratulations to both the students and teachers on these well-deserved awards.

I also presented Blaine Hodge, a local hero from our community, with the 2019 Citizen Honors Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Last September, Blaine was having a meeting at a local Starbucks when a woman ran into the store, yelling for help. That’s when her boyfriend came in, chasing her with an 18-inch-long machete and threatening to kill her.

Blaine sprung to action. He threw the violent aggressor — who was mid-attack — off of the woman. The man then turned to Blaine, stabbing and hitting him in the forearm, thigh, and chest. Thankfully, both Blaine and the woman survived their wounds, and Blaine has made a near-full recovery in just seven months.

Despite the injuries he sustained, Blaine has kept a positive attitude through it all, saying he was meant to be there. I am honored to know Blaine and hope that we can all be as brave as him should we ever find ourselves in a similar circumstance.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Monday's Bakersfield Observed: Gov. Gavin Newsom weighing outlawing fossil fuels, Spanish guitarist confronts racism at a local bar, a second person comes forward to accuse Monsignor Craig Harrison and Candace Owens heads to Bako in support of Shannon Grove

Monday, April 29, 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

 * ... NEWSOM TO BAN OIL? Can you image if the state of California moved to ban the production of fossil fuels? Think about it. Nearly a half million people would lose good paying jobs, the state would be forced to import oil from places like Saudi Arabia which would spike carbon
missions, and communities like Bakersfield would dry up and become magnets for crime and the homeless. But that is exactly what Gov. Gavin Newsom is considering, if not an outright ban than restrictions that would heavily curtail local production. Environmentalists like the Sierra Club think this is a dandy idea, and frankly they could care less about the people who pay their mortgages and send their children to school thanks to the oil and natural gas industry. California has been flirting with the idea for years, blissfully ignoring the fact that if we don't produce it ourselves, we will simply have to import it from oversees. Stay tuned on this one. Madness could be just around the corner.

 * ... BAD FORM: I could barely believe my eyes when I spotted a post on Facebook accusing employees at Sandrini's downtown for refusing to serve a customer because he looked like "a foreigner." Did this really happen? Here in Bakersfield? Apparently it did, at least according to the renowned Spanish guitarist Diego "Twangero" Garcia, who was brought to town by Rick Kreiser for a concert at the Buck Owens Crystal Palace. Here is what the musician posted: "Last Wednesday, after our magic show at the @bocrystalpalace in #Bakersfield we decided to go to have a drink to @sandrinisbar  two blocks away from @thepadrehotel where we were staying. After 25 years of touring the world and bringing my music to the people I wasn’t allowed to come in to a place just for being a foreigner. “Just US ID, please." This is the very first time ever I felt discrimination and I needed to tell the story. Anyway, I love America and the way americans treat me everyday. Love and Peace Twanguero." On social media, some blamed Sandrini's doorman for the mistake, saying he was only making sure the customers were of legal age. Still, not a good thing for our community.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "My wife can find a stain on my shirt from across the room but can't see the mailbox when she's backing up?"

 * ... NEW ACCUSER: A second man has come forward to accuse Monsigner Craig Harrison of sexual molestation. According to reports, the man said he was a victim of Harrison's advances back in 1988 in Merced. This is the second person who has accused Harrison of impropriety. Meanwhile, a prayer service for Harrison is set for this Wednesday as his supporters continue to rally around the popular 59-year-old priest. If these accusations are true, it would be hard to think of a more precipitous fall from grace for this man who is so beloved in this community. But let's not rush to judgment. Let the cards play out.

* ... CANDACE OWENS: Conservative commentator Candace Owens, one of the bright new voices of the conservative movement, will be in Bakersfield May 16 for a fund raiser for state Sen. Shannon Grove. Known for her intelligence and rhetorical flair, Owens is beloved on the right and despised on the left and I suspect her appearance will lead to a sold out event on behalf of Grove.

* ... BEHEADING: Remember Jamie Osuna, the madman who was convicted of murder in Kern County and is doing time at Corcoran state prison? Well no surprise here, but Osuna allegedly beheaded his cellmate. Now that Gov. Gavin Newsom has pledged no more executions in the state, Osuna can rest assured he will never play the ultimate price for taking multiple lives.

 * ... MEMORIES: And lastly, thanks to the Facebook page Kern County of Old, is this old advertise meant for the Golden Crust Bakery around 1928.