Thursday, September 19, 2019

Anti-gun activist and Stoneman High survivor David Hogg to appear at CSUB, Monsignor Craig's legal team goes on the offensive, and the attack on local businesses by the drug addicted continues unabated

Thursday-Friday, September 19-20, 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

* ... DAVID HOGG: The Kegley Institute of Ethics will devote its spring speaker series to David Hogg, one of the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in south Florida. Hogg,
now 19, has since become an anti-gun activist and crusader and a polarizing figure for pro Second Amendment advocates. Hogg's appearance was announced by Kegley director Dr. Michael Burroughs on The Richard Beene Show. No details yet on exactly when Hogg will appear at CSUB. Meanwhile, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Arun Gandhi, will appear at Kegley's Fall lecture on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Dore Theater.

 * ... FATHER CRAIG: Monsignor Craig Harrison's legal team has filed yet another lawsuit against his accusers, this one aimed at a monk who accused Harrison of inappropriately touching and fondling young men. This time Harrison's attorneys filed a suit against Justin Gilligan, who told investigators that Harrison had touched the genitals of young men, told homosexual jokes and engaged in pornography. The monk once worked with Harrison at St. Francis Parish in Bakersfield. If you remember, Harrison's attorneys have already sued a Catholic watch group group - Roman Catholic Faithful - for defamation. The filing of the suits opens Harrison to cross examination and depositions which will of course allow his detractors to repeat, in graphic detail, the sordid details of the charges he has been fighting. The monk's allegations were detailed to police with the full cooperation of the Diocese of Fresno, which suspended Harrison pending a full investigation. As noted plaintiff's lawyer Daniel Rodriguez said, at times this strategy can backfire, but it is clear that Harrison's legal team has taken the fight to his accusers, no matter what the cost.

 * ... LIVE AUCTION; Speaking of Father Craig, did you hear about the live auction to benefit a local program this past week? It turns out one of the items being auctioned was dinner with Father Craig, and it went or a whopping $27,000 thanks to a winning bid by a local business owner. The bid speaks volumes about the enormous support that Father Craig enjoys among well heeled Catholics and others about town, some of the same people who are contributing to his defense fund that pays for the lawsuits against his detractors. It also reflects the great divide between the Catholic Church and pro-Harrison parishioners, many of whom have withdrawn their monetary support of the church in hopes of pressuring the diocese into returning Harrison to his old job.

 * ... CRIME: The tsunami of petty crime committed by street vagrants, the mentally ill and the drug addicted continues unabated. Over the weekend the newly renovated offices of Skarpohol Frank architects downtown were vandalized. The front door was bashed in and the lobby ransacked, yet the only item stolen was a jar of candy. Meanwhile, police were called to Dagney's Coffee house downtown to deal with a pair of screaming homeless, and so it goes.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Hey, @BetoORourke, actual Texan here. I regret to inform you that your request to buy my legally purchased firearms has been denied after your background check revealed your criminal record. Don’t want to take any chances. Xoxo."

One of the founders of Sequoia Sandwich Co. has joined American General Media as chief financial officer. Jeff Simpson, who along with partner Gary Blackburn built Sequoia into a powerhouse local lunch spot and went on to sell it last year, joined the Bakersfield-based radio company this week. AGM operates six radio stations in town, including KERN News Radio.

 * ... MEMORIES: Two of my favorite Facebook pages - Kern County of Old and Kern County History Fans - deal with our living history. Here are some more nuggets from those pages.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The sheriff and the district attorney plan to step up enforcement on the streets, good news for our homeless crisis, Trump sends experts to Los Angeles to check on that street crisis and getting ready for another Bakersfield Marathon

Monday, September 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

 * ... HOMELESS: This may be some of the best news yet to come out of battle against drug addiction, homelessness and and street crime. It looks like District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer and
Sheriff Donny Youngblood are working together to find ways to prosecute people for misdemeanors, now that Sacramento has decriminalized all but the most serious of violent offenses. This excerpt is from The Californian: "Due to limited jail space, deputies in Kern County typically give out citations for those arrested on suspicion of drug possession or stealing less than $950. But law enforcement officials say those cited seldom show up in court, and the next time they are arrested they simply receive another ticket and give another promise to show up. “We’d like to be able to not give someone a ticket who has possession of drugs, a ticket to someone who has vandalized, a ticket for someone with a promise to go to court,” Zimmer said. “Because they don’t go to court. They don’t go to court because they are high and they can’t make these kinds of decisions. They have to go to jail.” It won't solve everything, but it is an important step forward.

 * ... MORE HOMELESS: The Trump administration has sent experts to Los Angeles to study the homeless crisis, and what they saw was not pretty. There are an estimated 45,000 people living on the streets in Los Angeles, and along with that have come typhoid, and invasion of rats and other public health issues. Rev. Andy Bales of Union Mission church told Forbes that five of the visitors were from the Environmental Protection Agency because "human waste flows into storm sewers." But that is not all. Bales also warned of types of homeless he is seeing. "We are seeing behaviors from our guests that I’ve never seen in 33 years,” said Bales. “They are so bizarre and different that I don’t even feel right describing the behaviors. It’s extreme violence of an extreme sexual nature. I have been doing this for 33 years and never seen anything like it.”

 * ... WEDDING: Congratulations to Blake Strong and Emily Holtzman tied the knot Sunday in a lovely ceremony at the new Metro Special Events space on 18th Street. Strong works for Kaiser and Emily is a local body artist. The couple met in Santa Rosa, lost their home after the fires and relocated to Bakersfield where Strong was raised. If you haven't visited Metro Special Events, try to do so. It is Don Martin's latest creation after he vacated the old Metro Galleries on 19th and Eye streets.

 * ... MARATHON: Are you ready for the Bakersfield Marathon? The fourth annual run will be held November 17, once again starting in the southwest at CSUB and winding its way through town and up to Bakersfield College before heading back. Officials expect to set yet another record turnout. The Bakersfield event serves as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

 * ... MEMORIES: Some more wonderful old pictures from our past thanks to the Facebook pages Kern County of Old and Kern County History Fans.