Thursday, December 5, 2019

More local restaurants close around town, theft at retail stores skyrocket, attorneys are warning of a "very public" trial exposing alleging sexual abuse by Father Craig Harrison and looking at the rock at Morro Bay ia a time capsule

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. 

 * ... SHOW TRIAL: Is Bakersfield ready for a "very public" trial detailing the allegations of sexual abuse against Father Craig Harrison? That is what San Diego attorney Paul Jonna said may be
coming as he defends his client against a defamation lawsuit filed by Harrison and his attorneys. Harrison claims that Stephen Brady, head of a group called Roman Catholic Faithful, defamed him during a press conference Brady held to talk about the allegations against Father Craig. The ultimate defense of a defamation charge, Jonna said, is the truth. And getting to the truth during a trial would involve a "very public" examination of the charges from multiple men that Harrison subjected them all to sexual abuse and inappropriate touching, including testimony from the accusers themselves. Is Bakersfield ready for this? Our community has been ripped apart already, and a show trial would only serve to drive a larger wedge between those who blindly support Harrison against those who want to see all the facts before they make up their minds. Would a "very public" trial and all the accompanying allegations of sexual abuse help Father Craig reestablish himself in the community? Is this what his defense lawyers envisioned when they sued Brady? Time will tell. Meanwhile, the ultimate decision on Harrison's fate will be made by Bishop Joseph Brennan of the Diocese of Fresno, and we await that call.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I’m not shy, I’m just really good at figuring out who’s worth talking to."

 * ... CLOSINGS: More local restaurants have shut their doors, joining a growing list of local eateries that just couldn't make it in today's competitive environment. First, the Corner Bakery on California and Easton Drive shut down at the first of the month (no word on what will go in its place). I also learned that Steak and Grape over on Coffee has apparently closed for good. The popular steak place closed August 1 but indicated they were remodeling, and now word is it has closed. They join Cafe Med and Joseph's Italian restaurant on the list of eateries that apparently have served their last meal.

 * ... GETTYSBURG: A Kern County man is headed to Gettysburg to become superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site in Pennsylvania.
Steven Sims, a 1992 graduate of Tehachapi High School and later West Point, will be responsible for managing both of the national park sites. Sims, who was born and raised in Tehachapi, said he is excited about his new appointment. "It was an honor, and quite humbling," said Sims, a longtime National Park Service employee. "Gettysburg is a very important place in our nation's history."

 * ... WILDLIFE: Enjoy this shot of a group of coyotes out near Taft, captured by Pam Taylor. It is a healthy looking posse.

 * ... ANARCHY: Near anarchy reigns on our streets, as people feel free to pop into a local store and steal what they want without consequences,.Check out this post from the Bakersfield Thieves Facebook page: "This POS walked in and walked the store picked what he wanted and walked out with 2 scooters and whatever else the 2 cows that were with him. Sad part they doing it with children. Guess they raising the next generation of thieves. Guard tried to get our stuff back but dude was threatening. BPD won't help as long as something physical don't happen in store. Ummmm. Laws need to change. Retailers beware. Remember that ugly face and the cows he with."

 * ... MEMORIES: Just look at this old picture of the rock at Morro Bay from the 1890s.

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And finally from the Kern County of Old Facebook page, a look at the old Monte Carlo bar on Taft Highway, known as the place that served the coldest beer in Kern County back in the day.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

The exodus of people and businesses from California continues, street racing becomes a public nuisance and some historic photos of the crash that claimed the life of actor James Dean

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. 

 * ... GOODBYE, CALIFORNIA: The exodus from California by people and business continues wth no end in sight, sign of growing discontent over a spendthrift government fond of higher taxes and heavier regulations. According to the Dallas Business Journal, some 660 companies moved 765
facilities out of California in the past two years, and yes the Dallas-Fort Worth has been the beneficiary of many of the relocations.  "The departures from the Golden State between January 2018 and now involve corporate headquarters, manufacturing facilities, data centers, research hubs, software and engineering centers and a few warehouses, according to business relocation expert Joe Vranich, president of Spectrum Location Services." California companies large, midsize and small are shifting their regional or corporate headquarters to North Texas because of the DFW area’s generally lower taxes, more affordable housing, lower expenses, central location, access to an international airport and other factors.

 * ... STREET RACING: How bad is street racing in our town? Pretty bad, and even more widespread than I ever imagined if you read Bob Price's "Sound Off" column in The Californian this weekend. The latest tragic incident happened on Ming Avenue near Old River road, taking the life of a 58-year-old woman and injuring two children, when street racers plowed into her vehicle. Ming Avenue has long been plagued by street racing, but readers indicated it was going on across town. Other favorite sites for racing: the stretch between Stine Road and Ashe Road on Ming; the Westside Parkway; Oswell Street and Panama Lane.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Your relationship can overcome any obstacles as long as you have separate bathrooms."

 * ... RIP PHIL WYMAN: Former conservative assemblyman Phil Wyman has died at the age of 74. Wyman was a beloved arch conservative, supporting legislation to require patent notification of teenage abortions, all the while backing the claims of some religious conservatives that satanic messages could be heard by playing rock music backward. He was beloved by many but that sentiment that has largely been overtaken by demographics that are making Kern County more Democratic and politically progressive. Wyman was a rancher and a camp operator.

 * ... NEW PUBLISHER: Cliff Chandler has been named publisher of The Bakersfield Californian after serving as its general manager for six months. Chandler is the first publisher since the Fritts-Moorhouse family sold the newspaper to Sound News Media last July.

 * ... MEMORIES:
Check out these old photos of the day James Dean crashed on Highway 46.

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And finally, feast on this wonderful old photo I spotted on Facebook with this caption: "Eagle Creek Gusher No. 1, Fellows, California. Image taken 1909-1910. Well strikes like this one were exciting and dangerous moments for the workers. The roar of the oil shooting out of the ground was deafening and the potential for fire was great. Shown here is the gusher in full force. To give you the size of the derrick, I placed a red dot under a man walking next to it."