Thursday, October 24, 2019

A sexual abuse lawyer accuses Monsignor Craig Harrison's lawyers of "draconian" tactics to silence critics, we have now entered into the realm of "flying shaming" and the Kern County Fair board needs to move toward transparency, not secrecy

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. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of any other individual, organization or company. 

As if the story involving Monsignor Craig Harrison could not get more interesting, it just did. Harrison, suspended from the Catholic Church after multiple men came
forward to accuse him of sexual impropriety, is now in civil court fighting an effort to have his personnel file opened for the public to see. The question: did a victims' rights advocacy organization defame Harrison by holding a press conference where its spokesman (Stephen Brady) reiterated the allegations? Harrison attorney Craig Edmonston says yes, and he slapped a defamation lawsuit against the group Roman Catholic Faithful. Attorneys for RCF responded by demanding to see Harrison's personnel file at the Diocese of Fresno, arguing that only by making the allegations public could the RCF defend itself. Mike Reck, an attorney for Jeff Anderson and Associates, a firm that specializes in sexual abuse cases, called Edmonston's lawsuit "draconian." Said Reck: "To use litigation to try to silence others is very heavy handed ... and uncommon. It's draconian." The opening of the file could be revealing: it would first provide in graphic detail all the salacious allegations against Father Craig, and it could also reveal damning information on how the church failed to deal with allegations against sitting priests. Stay tuned. (file photo of attorney Mike Reck)

 * ... FLYING SHAME: I suppose it was inevitable, but in the name of global warming, people are now being shamed for flying. That's right, the correctness police are now focusing on individual air travel to "shame" people for expanding their carbon footprint. In Sweden, it is known as "flygskam" or "flying shame" and it is directed by people who travel for leisure. As it turns out, it is a small group of frequent flyers (12 percent) who make more than six round trips a year and are responsible for two years of all air travel. According to the New York Times, these travelers emit more than three tons of carbon dioxide per year, a substantial amount by global standards. Personally, I think this is a good thing. Let's allow those who want to shut down fossil fuels to feel the real impact of doing so: instead of flying, take a bus (oops more carbon emissions) or a train (more emissions) or simply walk.

At this point you would think the people who run our public and quasi public agencies would understand the need for transparency. Not so with the Kern County Fair Board, where chairwoman Blodgie Rodriguez summarily dismissed the fair board without hearing from a room full of people who were there to speak about the controversy over more than $300,000 in unaccounted for expenditures. Hey Blodgie, it's just the public, and when you are chair of the board, it might be wise to let the people speak. On a lesser scale, the superintendent of the Bakersfield City School District shows similar tone deafness in dealing with parents at the Downtown Elementary School  angry about possible changes in the way the school operates. We are told that superintendent Harry "Doc" Irvin doesn't like to talk to the press (he has declined my invitation to appear on the radio) and he opts instead to meet with select group of parents behind closed doors. Here are my two cents for both Blodgie and Doc: dodging the press and the public may work in the short term, but you will pay dearly later. Just open the doors and let the sunshine in.

 * ... IN 'N OUT: We all know how Californians feel about our beloved In 'n Out burger, but what about the french fries? According to a recent online posting, the franchise's French fries are hardly a fan favorite. Too limp, too oily, not crisp enough, the complaints abound when it comes to the fries. But one poster had a remedy:"Order them well done," she said. "And they will come out perfect." Try it next time and tell me what you think.

 * ... DOWNTOWN CRIME: The rash of crime across town, much of it done at the hands of our drug addicted masses who roam our streets with near impunity, continues. Check out these surveillance pictures from TLO wines on 18th Street, where the Zaninovich family has poured tens of thousands of dollars into a lovely facility to display their wines. The person in the photo destroyed pots and plants and left a faucet on that flooded the facility

 * .... MEMORIES: Love this picture of the old Kern County Courthouse thanks to the Facebook page Kern County History Fans. The second picture is of the Pastime Theater, at 1517 19th St. (Bakersfield) was a silent-era theater that opened in February of 1913 and closed in July of 1927....

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Valley of Hope gala honors Rick Kreiser, Dr. Jasleen Duggal celebrates a birthday in style, and Via Arte wraps up its 21st annual event at The Marketplace

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. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of any other individual, organization or company. 

 * ... VALLEY OF HOPE: Congratulations to Adventist Health and its Valley of Hope weekend gala
that benefited the Valley of Hope Children's Foundation. More than 350 people gathered for the gala, which honored Rick Kreiser as one of his award recipients. Owner of Carney's Business Solutions and a man deeply involved in our community, Kreiser lost both his wife and one of his sons to cancer.

 * ... BLUE GOLD SCRIMMAGE: Make sure you check out Tuesday's annual Blue/Gold scrimmage out at the Icardo Center at CSUB when both the men's and women's basketball teams will kick off the season with a nite of dunks and high flying acrobatics. The 7 p.m event is free to the public and doors open at 6:50 p.m.

* ... FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Check out this post from my friend Lily Crommett-Marsh. Read it and weep: "So San Luis Obispo, population 6, (actually 47,000, with airports in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara) now has non stop flights to: LAS VEGAS ($99.00 one way- not entirely heinous), Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle. Flights to SAN DIEGO and PORTLAND will begin next year.  And Kern, population 839,631, has next to nothing. What is going on. I know the airlines will go to the most lucrative markets, but what the heck are we doing wrong?????"

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Dear parents with teenagers: The bottle of vodka in your liquor cabinet is water."

 * ... BIRTHDAY: Dr. Jasleen Duggal, an endocrinologist from Bakersfield, celebrated her 40th birthday in style at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas with a few hundred friends and family. Duggal, known as 'Jazzy' to her friends, is married to local cardiologist Dr. Jeet Singh.

 * ... HOMELESS: Here is a random shot of one of our homeless using the public right of way as her own personal toilet. The caption read: "Off Highway 178 on Mt Vernon, panhandler taking a dump on the overpass where all can see him, as well as small kids."

 * ... VIA ARTE: The annual chalk art festival called Via Arte wrapped up this weekend, another successful venture by the Bakersfield Museum of Art held at The Marketplace on Ming Avenue. It was the 21st year of Via Arte. (photos courtesy of Jeanine Kraybill)

 * ... JUST FOR FUN: I saw this on social media, and it speaks volumes about how we view ourselves here in the Golden State.

 * ... MEMORIES: A couple more historic photos culled from the Facebook pages of Kern County of Old and Kern County History Fans.