Sunday, June 7, 2020

Ward 1 attracts another potential candidate, a local protester dies and police speculate there is a police coverup, and Michael Burroughs examines the concept of 'white privilege'

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.

 * ... WARD ONE: There's a lot of posturing and positioning for the soon-to-open Ward 1 council seat being vacated by the retiring Willie Rivera. Arlena Fink Waller, a developer with deep roots in the ward, is the latest to express an interest in the seat. She joined Michael Bowers, a vice president of marketing with Centric Health, to flirt with the idea of running. Both Waller and Bowers are African-American, but Ward 1 is increasingly becoming an Hispanic dominated ward and it remains to be seen who might else enter the race. Waller threw out the possibility of a run on her Facebook page and
even included a call for a show of hands of who might write checks to support her candidacy. Bowers has already picked up a lot of support, thanks to his background in politics, first as an aide to Congressman David Valadao and then to former state Sen. Andy Vidak. The City Council must first decide whether to appoint an interim council person or wait until November or hold a special election.

 * ... PROTESTER DIES: The protester who was hit and killed by a car last week has been identified as 55-year-old Robert Forbes. It was late at night, around 10:30 p.m., when police said a car came upon protesters marching in the street near the intersection of Oak and California, hitting Forbes who later died. The incident has blown up on social media, with some saying the driver deliberately hit Forbes with his lights off, and others describing him as a white supremacist. Police dispute that, saying his lights were on and that the driver did hot appear to be speeding Nonetheless, some want to make this a racial issue, saying the driver (who is white) may get off hitting and killing a black man because of his privilege and race. The driver has yet to be identified.

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

* ... WHITE PRIVILEGE: Michael Burroughs, head of the Kegley Institute of Ethics at CSUB, penned an opinion piece for The Californian Sunday addressing the concept of white privilege. It's a worthwhile read on a subject that needs to be mastered. Said Burroughs: "I am a white man, and, thus, in this society, I am a privileged man. On a daily basis I take for granted privileges of personal safety, of respect, of not needing to justify the value of my life to others. There are very few, if any, harmful stereotypes that lead to my being pre-judged in social interactions or encounters with authority figures. I have never been in fear for my life due to the color of my skin and others’ reactions based on my race. I have the privilege to ignore my skin color, to forget my race. If I choose, I can remain unaware of racism as a pressing problem because it does not come for me each day; it does not seek me out, daily, in my life, work and relationships."

 * ... 7 TEACUPS: I had not heard of the "7 teacups" on the Kern River until I spotted this remarkable picture on Facebook. Apparently this is actually Dry Meadow creek where it empties into the Kern River a few miles from the Johnsondale bridge.

 * ... MEMORIES: My thanks to fellow history buff John Kelley for posting these old pictures of the 76 station on the Grapevine as well as a coffee shop. Enjoy.

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