Thursday, July 4, 2019

A swarm of earthquakes hit Ridgecrest and the high desert, Casa Munoz heads to Las Vegas, Rep. Kevin McCarthy makes some predictions and what is with all the nude homeless people around town?

Friday, July 5, 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

 * ... JULY FOURTH: The downtown July Fourth parade, now 31 years old, keeps growing in size
and popularity. Mayor Karen Goh kicked off the festivities at the corner of Elm and 22nd Street as several hundred people walked the streets of old downtown to celebrate the birth of our nation. Enjoy these random shots.

* ... EARTHQUAKE: So where were you when the 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck on July Fourth? I was at the Bakersfield Racquet Club, taking a rest between pickle ball games, and sat in awe as i watched the huge light poles sway back and forth like a palm tree. Seismologists say we should expect more aftershocks of equal or even greater strength. take a look at this map of the known faults in our area.

 * ... TERM LIMITS: Remember David Abassi, the marijuana proponent who has tangled with both the city and the Board of Supervisors?  He says he is out of the cannabis business now, but he is not done with politics. His next goal is to gather enough signatures to put a initiative on the local ballot to establish term limits for the Board of Supervisors. "This could wipe out the entire board," he told me. "Wipe the slate clean."

* ... KEVIN MCCARTHY: Who does House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy think may win the Democratic presidential nomination? When we spoke earlier this week on The Richard Beene Show, McCarthy said Bernie Sanders was the best positioned to use his vast organization and fund raising ability to win the nomination. Joe Biden will fade, he said, and at this point in time, he said Sanders seems most likely to win the nomination.

 * ... CASA MUNOZ: One of our city's most iconic Mexican restaurants is moving to Nevada, and you can blame the high cost of doing business in California. Pep Munoz, part of the family that ran not only Casa Munoz but also Mexicali and Sinaloa, told me it was the rising cost of doing business here that led to the decision to leave California. Munoz blamed new fees and taxes and a rising minimum wage for his reason to live. If the minimum wage rises to $15 an hour, Munoz predicted there would be a mass exodus of full service restaurants. Munoz' father, Joe, will likely stay in town and possibly operate a much smaller restaurant, possibly in Shafter. The new eatery will be located in Henderson outside of Las Vegas and may be named either Sinaloa or Casa Munoz.

 * ... MORE PEP: And where does Pep Munoz go when he is not eating at his own restaurant? I posed that question to him and here is his list: Pyrenees Cafe, Uricchio's Trattoria, Sorella's, K.C. Steakhouse and Happy Jack's.

* ... HOMELESS: Here's a post on Facebook that speaks to our homeless crisis. No comments are necessary.

 * ... MEMORIES: Some old pictures of a Bakersfield in another time. First we see a scene from the old Golden Crust  Bread facility and then a shot of the stately old Southern Hotel, 19th Street and  Chester, circa 1898-1905. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

As Monsignor Craig Harrison awaits his fate, a tight circle of friends form a protective barrier for him, The Bakersfield Californian changes hands and its press has its final run and remembering the old Beale clock tower on Chester

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

 * ... FATHER CRAIG: It has been several months since the first allegations of sexual abuse were raised against Monsignor Craig Harrison, news that left his legions of followers literally in shock and disbelief. Since then other accusers have emerged, and we are now in a long waiting period to
determine if there will be any criminal charges, and perhaps more important, how the Diocese of Fresno will react. Harrison is back in town, dining and praying with a tight circle of friends and well heeled supporters, awaiting his fate. He is described as optimistic he will be cleared by police but less certain on what the church will do. Meanwhile, he is surrounded by a core group of Catholic friends who aggressively defend his honor and lash out at those who may question it. "If they sense you have doubts, they will try to destroy you," said one friend of Father Craig. "They have a list of people they think have turned on him. You don't want to be on that list." This group of insiders is careful about who Father Craig talks to, where he goes and they wisely cultivate "friendly" media who accept his innocence without question. Meanwhile, our community is divided into three camps: those will will always believe Father Craig, those who believe the accusers, and a largely silent group of people who know and respect and even love Father Craig but acknowledge that some (or all) of the accusers may be telling the truth. It is all polite on the surface, but underneath it is a level of toxicity and ugliness not seen often around here. "For all the talk about how nice people are in this town, something like this happens and you see how hateful people can be," a friend told me. "It's bad for all of us because it brings out the worst in us."

 * ... NEW ERA AT TBC: For the first time in more than 122 years, the local newspaper here - The Bakersfield Californian - is not owned by a local family. As of Monday, July 1, the paper is now owned by a Canadian based group that also owns the newspapers in Porterville, Lodi and Palmdale. The paper is now being printed in Palmdale and with the change a few dozen people lost their jobs. Staying on will be columnists Herb Benham and Bob Price, business reporter John Cox, feature writer Steve Mayer and longtime editors Stefani Dias and Christine Peterson. On the night of the last run of the TBC presses at Pegasus, a group of current and former employees were on hand as the giant, Japanese -made TKS press rumbled through its last run, shaking the building and bringing to an end a long era of family ownership.

 * ... BAKERSFIELD LIFE: Whatever the new owners do, I hope they don't mess with BakersfieldLife, the highly successful and well read monthly magazine. It is always an interesting and uplifting read and in Saturday's edition, it highlighted its annual "20 Under 40" issue to recognize upcoming leaders. I spotted some regular guests on The Richard Beene Show on that list, including Jessica Mathews of the League of Dreams, marketing tsar Shannon LaBare, illustrator Jennifer Williams Cordova, Dr. Valerie Civelli and Zack Skow of Marley's Mutts and CASA executive director Amy Travis.

 * ... MEMORIES: Don't you just love the old photos of the Beale Clock Tower? Thanks to the Kern County of Old and Kern County History Fans Facebook pages.