Friday, August 16, 2019

The public is at a boiling point over the crime, lawlessness and drug use that has become the norm on our streets, a huge fire adds to our already filthy air, some good news art the animal shelter and a walk down memory lane with the old Plunge on Union Avenue

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

hen government fails the people, and the people lose hope in the institutions that are there to protect them, some will choose to take matters into their own hands. And that is exactly what a lot of people are considering as they watch our city devolve into a cesspool
of addiction, crime and homelessness. People are talking amongst themselves, quietly frustrated that our city leaders and police seem incapable of doing anything but watch the situation get worse. The city council seems to be suffering from paralysis, the police have been stripped of their authority to do their jobs, the Downtown Business Association is a joke, and business owners and homeowners are left to fend for themselves. This is an old story we have seen countless times across the world; when institutions fail, people step into the vacuum to protect themselves, however they deem appropriate. This is a quiet movement now, but at some point it will manifest itself in perhaps a violent or aggressive way, and those who cling to their jobs on the City Council or Board of Supervisors will be held accountable. One well connected local business person told me she was frustrated with the way the city is approaching the new revenue from Measure N, shocked that improving a soccer park is on the list of the city's projects when we are inundated with crime and drug addition. "Yeah, they're like a bunch of kids with this found money. Pet projects, fluff, their first job is the public's safety. They're failing miserably. The downtown public is at a boiling point." That boiling point is near.

 * ... FIRE: Did you catch that nasty fire off Manor Drive and North Chester on Saturday? Apparently a welding torch triggered a grass fire that ended up burning a dozen or so vehicles. It was a bad addition to the already bad air we have every August.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I don’t like to talk about my issues because the last time I told a guy that I felt empty inside, he got me pregnant. "

 * ... CLEAR THE SHELTER: Cheers to Julie Johnson and the folks at the Bakersfield Animal Care Shelter for a successful "clear the shelter" day this weekend. More than 100 dogs and cats were adopted in the first two hours, clearing the shelter and making room for more animals.

 * ... MEMORIES: Who remembers visiting The Plunge on a hot Bakersfield afternoon? Thanks to the Facebook page Kern County of Old for these memories.

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And who remembers the Monkey Den on Baker Street across from the Arizona Cafe? This picture after the 1952 earthquake.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Neighbors rally to help Slice of Italy pizzeria after vandals strike for a second time, more on the drug addicts that roam our streets, Jay Tamsi gets a state award and Rep. Kevin McCarthy visits Israel

Friday, August 16, 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

 * ... GOOD NEIGHBORS: Did you hear about the vandalism at the Slice of Italy pizzeria on F Street? It has been hit twice in three days by teenagers who have been randomly throwing rocks
through the windows. What is happening to our community? The sense of lawlessness (and hopelessness with the homeless) is overwhelming, particularly downtown where dumpsters are set on fire, businesses are vandalized and street people use the public sidewalks as their personal urinals. But there are good people in the world, and I was thrilled to see the folks at Providence Strategic Consulting across F Street rally to help a neighbor. CEO Tracy Leach's staff have been lining up to buy pizzas there while encouraging the owners to hang tough. Now that is what you call a good neighbor.

 * ... OUR TIMES: So Slice of Italy is vandalized, a dumpster is set on fire and our parks have turned into camps where the addicted and homeless buy, sell and use drugs, sleep, defecate and trash. On Thursday, during a break while playing pickle ball at the new courts at Jastro Park, I came upon two young men and a young woman, seemingly homeless, using a syringe to shoot up in the public restroom. This has become a new norm. Think about that for a minute.

 * ... MORE CRIME: Meanwhile, it was heart breaking to read a post on Facebook about some items that were stolen during a break-in of a car downtown. The post: "Yesterday afternoon my vehicle was broken into and a white 3 ring binder containing my father's original military paperwork (DD214), 8 death certificates, life insurance policy documents, marriage certificate, funeral home paperwork including his thumbprints that were on a white card the funeral home did just for me, and the Social Security Administrations award letter! It was stolen in the area at Truxtun and N. Please! Please! Please! Contact me if you find any of these documents discarded anywhere! The last name on all of the paperwork is Beckwith. Yes, my car was locked and the alarm was armed. My windows have limo tint and u cannot see into the backseat area floorboard where the binder was located. I had just returned to work from accompanying my mother to an appointment at the VA service center and that’s why it was in my car. We have notified all 3 credit bureaus, the banks etc.. I just need these documents back!

 * ... JAY TAMSI: Congratulations to Jay Tamsi who has been named executive of the year by The California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. Tamsi has served as CEO of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber for the past eight years. He will be honored at the statewide convention in Stockton next week.

 * ... ISRAEL: A few more pictures of House Minority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy's trip to Israel, where he renewed his pledge to support the Jewish state even as it comes under attack by a group of progressive Democratic congresswomen. Israel, meanwhile, has informed Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) that they will be barred from visiting Israel during a trip scheduled to start Sunday.

 * ... MEMORIES: Some more great historical shots thanks to Art Moore and the Kern County History Fans Facebook page. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Marie Callender's closes, Fatburger comes to town, more frustration over our homeless crisis and Rep. Kevin McCarthy takes a trip to Israel to boost ties

Monday August 12, 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

 * ... RIP MARIE CALLENDERS: The local Marie Callender's on California Avenue is closing, the latest in a string of "legacy" eateries that has gone out of business. The company is in bankruptcy and we
learned last week that Marie Callender's, known for its holiday pies, would not make it. Meanwhile next door the old Mimi's Cafe has been demolished to make room for a Raising Cane's fried chicken franchise. And so it goes.

 * ... FATBURGER: Meanwhile Los Angeles-based Fatburger will open its first Bakersfield location on Sept. 4 at the corner of Oswell and Bernard. The chain announced last year that it was coming north and its legions of fans have been eagerly awaiting its opening.

 * ... HOMELESS: More rantings on Facebook about our vagrant problem: "Today I experienced an incident downtown that left me sad, disappointed and dismayed. Not as scary as Kyle’s but still a citizen in need. We were working an estate sale at 18th and Myrtle and about 2:30 p.m. I noticed a nicely dressed young woman that appeared to be passed out on the grass right at the NE corner of Jastro Park bear the curb. It didn’t look right so my co-worker and I went to assist. She was unresponsive to verbal communication and shaking her arm. She did have a pulse so I called 911 as my partner kept working with her. I thought Fire Department or Hall’s would be there any minute to check her vitals and make sure she okay. Not the case. Twenty minutes later nothing and I ended up flagging down a BPD cruiser for help. My gut feeling is that 911 blew it off and didn’t send it out to our emergency responders. Luckily she woke up/came to and we were able to talk with her. It appeared to us she may have suffered some heat stress and passed out. Our society has become so numb to people sleeping all over that we have forgotten how to care for those truly in need. It ended for us giving her water and money for a bus ride home. That lack of response by those who are supposed to be helping us blew my mind and put me in a funk for the rest of the day."

 * ... MORE HOMELESS: And then there was this, accompanied by a short video: "This is slightly graphic. When I pulled up this lady was masturbating nude in a ride’um cowboy pose and urinating at the same time while screaming rape in a bloodcurdling scream behind the Rite-Aid next to the GET bus station.  Then she continued to punch herself in the face. After she was done she walked over to the bus station and proceeded to smoke crack. If I could post the graphic videos that I’ve taken downtown on the streets, I would be kicked off of Facebook. This is not homelessness out of need, this is craziness because of drugs."

 * ... ISRAEL: House minority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy is in Israel for a fact finding tour, an important statement as some freshmen Democrats express concern about the long friendly relations between the United States and Israel. Enjoy these pictures from his trip.

 * ... MEMORIES: And how about this picture of Memorial Hospital in its early days, compliments of Art Moore and the Kern County History Fans Facebook page: