Thursday, July 2, 2020

The firefighter's union and its supporters go after three county supervisors, Michael Turnipseed and the Kern Taxpayers Association attack reckless city spending, and the list of businesses closed due tot he coronavirus grows and grows

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.

 * ... CROSS HAIRS: Was it courageous, or politically stupid, when three county supervisors voted to impose a new contract on county firefighters, reigning in overtime rates that has enriched firefighters while blowing a hole in the county's budget? From a purely financial management
standpoint, the move was overdue and necessary, particularly considering the firefighters union had two years to negotiate a settlement but instead stood firm. And now that Supervisors Leticia Perez, Mike Maggard and Mick Gleason crossed them, you can bet the union will target them for retaliation. And it has already started on Facebook and other social media where people are bemoaning that our "hero" firefighters had to take a pay cut, a convenient rallying cry that happens to ignore the financial realities facing the county. This is not going away, so keep an eye on this one.

 * ... THE KNIVES ARE OUT: Meanwhile over at the city things are also in turmoil as the City Council comes under intense criticism for its spending. It all started when Michael Turnipseed, director of the Kern Taxpayers Association, rapped the Council for failing to live up to its promises to spend revenue raised by the Measure N sales tax measure on public safety (officers on the street) and quality of life issues. Turnipseed cited a $260,000 budget proposal to remodel a kitchen and bathroom at a fire station as an example of irresponsible spending. KTA, Turnipseed said, supported Measure N because the city "was running on fumes" and flirting with bankruptcy. But now Turnipseed says he feels betrayed by the council (he did single out Council Bruce Freeman as one who "gets it") and said if the city did not get its house in order, it would face "consequences," which could include a ballot measure to rescind Measure N. Stay tuned.

 * ... CORONAVIRUS: The list of businesses forced to close temporarily because of the coronavirus continues to grow, and with infections spiking, you can bet there will be more. Among those forced to close after an employee became infected are Luigi's Delicatessen, Sandrini's, The GET bus offices, Woolgrowers, Dewar's, Temblor, Mexicali, the Boys and Girls Club and the DMV office on F Street.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "You know you picked out the best fireworks when the guy running the stand gives you a high four on the way out.

 * .... HOMELESS CAMPS: The intersection of Real Road and California has become the latest flashpoint in homeless encampments. Conveniently located near a high-traffic intersection (suitable for begging for money) and the freeway underpasses, the intersection has become a favorite for local homeless.

  * ... MEMORIES: Another terrific shot of old downtown Bakersfield back in the 1950s. Check out those classic cars.

 * ... GORMAN: And here is an old one of Gorman in the 1930s.

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