Thursday, June 27, 2019

Bishop Joseph Brennan breaks his silence on the allegations of sexual abuse, the honky tonk Trout's is no more and yet another iconic Bakersfield Mexican restaurant is for sale

Friday, June 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 community such a special place. Send news items to

 * ... BISHOP BRENNAN: Bishop Joseph Brennan has broken his silence about the allegations of sexual abuse against Monsignor Craig Harrison and seven other priests in the Fresno diocese. While not naming Harrison directly, Brennan told KMPH in Fresno it is hard to maintain the presumption of innocence given the weight of the allegations. An excerpt from the interview: "Bishop Brennan says
that as the leader of the local Diocese, he looks at all the priests as his brothers, but admits it's hard to remain neutral when he hears the accusations some of them face. 'There are a few where I'm struggling preserving the presumption of innocence. In my position, you get to know things you don't want to know. You read things and you look at files and things start to add up in your own heart and mind cause you're human, and you start making judgments on that because you're human,' Brennan says. A review of abuse files is under way by a third-party, led a former FBI Executive Assistant Director. The Diocese has also handed over files to the State Attorney General's office. Bishop Brennan has personally met with prosecutors to offer his cooperation."

* ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "I don't give money to street beggars, but I almost did today to a white boy, just for his clever sign: 'Could you Pleez Spread Some Cheese on this Cracker?'"

 * ... CARMAX FIRE: The freeway fire that spread to the Carmax back parking lot destroyed or badly damaged almost 90 cars and trucks. It was near surreal, as these photos attest.

 * ... TROUT'S NO MORE: Trout's, that iconic honky tonk on North Chester, is no more. The old-time bar is now being gutted for a renovation that will make room for a medical facility. If you danced or hosted a cocktail there, it was your last time.

 * ... CASA MUNOZ: First we lost Sinaloa, then Mexicali West, and it looks like yet another local icon to Mexican food - Casa Munoz - may be heading the same way. The building at the corner of Union and 18th Street, home to some of the best Mexican fare and margaritas in town, is listed for sale for around $1 million. Time to show the Munoz family some love and catch dinner there.

* ... MEMORIES: So who knew we had a Piggly Wiggly in town? I learned this, and spotted this incredible old picture, on the Kern County of Old Facebook page. It had this caption: "View of the interior of The Piggly Wiggly store in Bakersfield in 1927 yes, we had one too. That store was located at 2029 Chester Avenue where Doug Hobbies stands now.'"

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And who doesn't remember Brock's?

Sunday, June 23, 2019

More than half of Kern County's homeless describe themselves as drug users or mentally ill, get ready for a new hike in gas prices and Jastro Park set to get six new pickle ball courts

Monday, June 24, 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 community such a special place. Send news items to

* ... HOMELESS: Here are some statistics from the latest homeless census that will depress you: 51 percent of the Kern County homeless identify themselves as drug abusers, 27 percent say they are
mentally ill, 24 percent say they have a chronic illness, 71 percent say they have no income, 10 percent say they are victims of domestic violence, 10 percent say they are fresh out of jail or prison, 2 percent were in a mental health facility recently and 2 percent are out of a hospital. All of this points to one conclusion: housing alone will not solve this crisis. Those addicted to drugs or suffering from mental illness will be harder to get off the street.

 * ... MORE HOMELESS: An speaking of the homeless, former homebuilder and mayoral candidate Kyle Carter, who lives downtown, posted this as a sign of our times: "Well, I’ve seen it all now. I was driving home from work today, Saturday, 2 p.m. and noticed a young girl in her 20s just drop trow and defecate right on Mary K. Shell's front lawn. Right on the corner of 21st and Elm streets.  This business is beyond out of hand. I want to be a good Christian and show God's love. But does that include putting up with, cleaning up after and paying for the shenanigans of these people that choose to destroy their own lives ? I’ve done all I can. I’ve worked all of my life to make this community a better place for people to live. This is not safe. It is not healthy. I am sure that this is not what God condones. We have got to do better as a community."

 * ... GAS TAX: Think gas prices in California are high enough? Well think again because the price is about to jump another six cents a gallon in line with the transportation initiative approved by the voters. The price per gallon will jump another six cents on July 1, yet another insult in a state already overburdened by state taxes and fees.

 * ... ARCHITECTS: Congratulations to Paul Skarphol and Gregory Frank, who have merged their businesses to create Skarphol/Frank Associates, specialists in architecture, planning and interiors. The new business relocated to a building in the emerging "EastChester" area of downtown.

 * ... PICKLE BALL: Bakersfield is getting six new pickle ball courts at Jastro Park. The city stripped the old tennis courts on Truxtun to create six pickle ball courts and two tennis courts to accommodate the growing popularity of pickle ball around town. The courts will be dedicated next Saturday at 8 a.m. with City Manager Alan Tandy (himself a big pickle ball fan) doing the court dedication.

 * ... BUCKET LIST: Congratulations to Pam Taylor, who works at Elk Hills, for scratching off skydiving from her bucket list. Taylor did the jump Skydive Taft.

 * ... MEMORIES: Enjoy these old pictures from the Facebook Kern County of Old and Kern County History Fans pages.