Monday, April 6, 2020

When will Kern County wake up to the dangers of the coronavirus? Plus the oil patch takes a big hit as it struggles to survive, and the small acts of kindness in our world

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 represent any other person or organization.

 * ... CORONAVIRUS: They are telling us that the coronavirus is this generation's Pearl Harbor. It will be terrifying. Thousands will die. And yet, so many in our community flaunt the social distancing guidelines, assuming they have done everything possible and they may be immune from
the virus. You see it at Riverwalk Park where families and friends gather for a day in the sun. You see it on the bike trail when groups of riders in tight formations pass in unison. You see it virtually
everywhere. Is there a point where the deaths and illnesses will spike to such a level that we will all just do the right thing? Or does the human condition defy logic? Kern County is now heading toward 300 infections. What is our number? Five hundred? A thousand? Two thousand? (Social media post of a bike ride this weekend. What is wrong with this picture?)

* ... IS THERE AN UPSIDE? If you look closely, you may find evidence of a silver lining in this lockdown. Friends check in on us out of the blue. A random text from a long lost family member brightens our day. Kindness from strangers. Small gestures that signal we are all in this together. This weekend, this chalk work titled "Be Safe" appeared on one of the shady streets of Oleander, a virtual work of art performed anonymous during the time of peril.

 * ... STARRY NIGHT: Okay, maybe it's not worthy of the great Van Gogh masterpiece "Starry Night" (image below) but have you noticed that the quarantine has cleared our air and skies? Across the world, as well as here in the southern San Joaquin Valley, the stars are visible at night, an unexpected treat and the result of fewer cars and trucks on the road. Tonight, check them out. You will not be disappointed.

 * ... SPOTTED ONLINE: "So now it's cool to walk into a bank with gloves and a mask, but when I did it, it was a felony."

 * ... OIL PATCH: Big trouble in the oil patch. First the price of oil sunk because of the feud between Russia and Saudi Arabia. And now the coronavirus sends oil stocks into the tank. Locally, California Resources Corp. (CRC) is flirting with bankruptcy as it struggles with massive debt associated with its spinoff from Occidental Petroleum a few years ago. AERA Energy also announced cutbacks, yet another shoe to drop in the collapse of the American economy that seemed so robust not that long ago.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check this out, social distancing back in the day, compliments of Art Moore and the Kern County History Fans Facebook page.

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