Thursday, November 5, 2020

Kern County election returns show the county gradually trending more Democratic, California makes a list of the worst states to retire in and the show American Pickers is returning to Bakersfield

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 company or publication.

* .. PURPLE KERN: The image of Kern County has long been this: rock hard conservative, Republican, big on law and order and not a friendly place to be a Democrat. But that is changing, and no where was that more on display than this week's election. First consider this: did you know only 1 percent separates President Trump and Joe Biden in Kern's popular vote? That's right, as of right now the president won Kern County with some 71,000 votes, but Biden was nipping at his heals with 69,000 votes. How can that be in a red county? Here in red state Kern County, the Republican president beat his Democratic rival by just 1 percentage point. Let that sink in. Even Assemblyman Vince Fong, wildly popular and a "centrist" Republican by most standards, handily run his race against Democrat Julie Solis but she still managed to win some 38,000 votes. And then consider this: Democrat T.J. Cox outpolled Republican David Valadao in the 21st Congressional District race 62 percent to 38 percent in Kern County.

There are still some 80,000 to 100,000 Kern ballots yet to be counted, but these numbers speak for themselves. These are numbers that not long ago would be unthinkable, but they reflect the hard truths about Kern County's demographics: we are getting younger, browner and more likely to vote Democratic. Supervisor Leticia Perez, a Democrat, was widely ridiculed when she said two years ago that Kern was becoming a purple county, meaning a bled of red and blue. Who is laughing now?

* ... 21ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: With up to 100,000 votes still left to cast in Kern County, the race between Rep. T.J. Cox and challenger David Valadao remains too close to call. As of now Valadao leads with 51.4 percent of the vote while Cox has 48.6 percent, but that is a scarce 3,000 vote lead. Anything can happen. Expect anything. 

* ... TIMOTHY MOORE: Now here is another head scratcher. Remember Robert Forbes, the Black Lives Matter protester who was run down by a car and killed on California Avenue last June? Well the man who hit Forbes, Timothy Keith Moore, was found dead in Baja, Mexico, in September and now police say his death was caused by either an "accident or violence." Moore was known to hang in shady circles, and there is no reason to believe the death of Forbes was anything but an accident, but who knows what happened in Mexico. (photo courtesy of The Bakersfield Californian)

* ... GOOD STATES, BAD STATES: California made another list of being among the worst states in America for retirees. That's right, the website Moneywise (no relation to the local Moneywise Guys) ranked California in the Top Ten of the worst states for retirement. As usual, high taxes combined with high home prices and an overall expensive cost of living put California on the list. Other less desirable states for retirees include New York, Maryland, Alaska, Nevada, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New Mexico.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "If we are going to have a really old president, why can't it be Betty White?"

 * ... AMERICAN PICKERS: The popular TV show "American Pickers," where the hosts travel the country looking through garages, barns and attics for valuable antiques and keepsakes, is returning to California in December and looking for places to visit. If you know of a place where the pickers might go, call 855-OLD-RUST to get in touch with the producers. The hosts are Nike Wolfe and Frank Fritz who specialize in antique "picking."

 * ... INGA BARKS: Former conservative local radio host Inga Barks died this week at the age of 53. Barks struggled with personal issues, had a bout with cancer and had been in general bad health for some time when she passed away. No cause of death was given. Barks worked at both KERN and KNZR radio over her long career.

 * ... MEMORIES: Thanks to the Kern County History Fans Facebook page for posting these old images of the Bakersfield Inn in the 1940s.

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