Thursday, March 5, 2020

New City Manager Christian Clegg meets the press, Supervisors Couch and Perez who strength in their respective districts and Justin Salters hangs his own shingle as a public relations specialist

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.

Bakersfield's new city manager, Christian Clegg, held his first press conference this week, introducing himself to local reporters and vowing an "inclusive" administration that will take time to listen to the City Council and community about our priorities. Interesting,
perhaps in reference to the recently retired Alan Tandy, Clegg said he was not a "bull in the china shop" and instead hoped to have a more collaborative process. Clegg spent nine years in Stockton as an assistant city manager and said he plans to stay in Bakersfield for a long time.

 * ... ELECTIONS: Super Tuesday was just super for a handful of local candidates, predictable in many ways and highly instructive in others. First, the victory of Supervisor David Couch over Emilio Huerta is proof that hard work does indeed pay off. Couch was handed a new district he had to work (thanks to the federal court ordered redistricting) he was up against the son of civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, and he still steamrolled to victory, a testament to his tireless campaigning and work on behalf of his district. The same can be said for Supervisor Leticia Perez, who also waltzed to victory despite her troubles with the law when she was charged with a conflict of interest because of her husband's cannabis consulting business. Like Couch, Perez knows her district, works it and proved voters will show their loyalty to politicians who care. Mayor Karen Goh may prove to be one of the most popular politicians in town, and welcome Philip Peters to the Board of Supervisors after he won easily the race to succeed Mick Gleason in District 1. If Peters plays his card right, he will be a supervisor for many years to come thanks to the political machine that helped put him into office.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "I consider my self to be a capable, somewhat intelligent, middle aged man. However, I just double-tapped a photo in a magazine to see it better."

 * ... JUSTIN SALTERS: Congratulations to Justin Salters, a veteran political consultant who just launched his own public affairs and strategic communications company, Salters Associates. A CSUB graduate who is active on the alumni board, Salters has a decade of experience and hopes to focus on clients in the San Joaquin Valley.

 * ... MISSION BANK: Mission Bank held its official "grand opening" at its new location this week, capping off a month's long move from its old facility just a block away. The bank took over the old San Joaquin Bank building at the corner of 17th and L street, remodeled it and updated the exterior. The bank was founded in 1998 and in 2012 merged with Mojave Desert Bank.
A.J. Antongiovanni serves as its president and CEO.

 * ... VULTURES: Check out these turkey vultures that descended on my street downtown and took up temporary residence in a tree across the street.

* ... MEMORIES: Check out the old Rosenthal's Pacific Sales Company
located at 1621 19th Street in 1918 . Thanks to Art Moore and the Kern County History Fans Facebook page for this one.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Supervisor Leticia Perez stiffs KGET and fails to show up for her own debate, Kern County voters to decide the fate of two marijuana initiatives and GM kills the Impala, but the sedan will live on in our car culture

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.

 * ... SUPER TUESDAY: More than 60,000 Kern County voters have already casts their ballots in the Super Tuesday primary, when California joins 13 other states and the territory of Somoa in deciding both local and national elections. Locally, two marijuana initiatives are on the ballot,
Measure D and the competing Measure E, which was put forth by the Board of Supervisors. Supervisors David Couch and Leticia Perez are up for reelection, as is Mayor Karen Goh. For what it is worth, I am voting for Measure E and I am voting against Proposition 13, a huge school bond measure. I also recommend you vote to send Karen Goh back for a second term, allow David Couch to return to office and give Leticia Perez another term, despite some recent bad form on her part that I will discuss next.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Talented? You bet. I can lie in bed and fall asleep halfway through whatever show I’m watching. Every. Single. Time"

* ... LETICIA PEREZ: What was Supervisor Leticia Perez thinking? You are the incumbent, you are invited to a debate to face your challengers, you confirm, and then you stand them up. That's right, Perez was a 'no show' for the KGET televised debate and anchor Jim Scott did not appear pleased. I am told Perez was supposed to be there at 6:30 p.m. along with the other four candidates, they waited, and at 7 p.m. decided to go ahead without her. No phone call, no explanation, nothing. I contacted Perez and was told she was meeting with the Senate Pro Tem working on oil and gas leases, but Facebook told a different story: she was spotted at a birthday party for Democratic state Sen. Melissa Hurtado. Either Perez is supremely confident in her reelection, or she committed a brazen act of bad etiquette,  or both. It was bad form, supervisor, really bad form. For the record, the other candidates are realtor Ben Valdez, businessman Ronnie Cruz, entrepreneur David Abbasi and Greenfield Union School District Board member Dr. Ricardo Herrera.

 * ... TRASH: Lia Mendez is a runner and cyclist who knows how to set an example for the rest of us. Check out her post on Facebook: "A few months ago, I got into the habit of picking up litter while running the Kern River Parkway trails. It started as an impromptu cleanup effort, as I would inevitably encounter at least one discarded plastic bag on every run, and my rule became that if I found a bag, I wouldn't stop picking up trash until I'd filled it up. Because I would often find multiple plastic bags on the same run, I usually ended up removing a lot of litter from the trail. Pretty soon, my regular running route was starting to look a lot better. Often, other people enjoying the trails take notice of me picking up trash. They smile and offer me thanks, a fist bump, sometimes a high five.
"There's plenty for everyone!" I smile back at them, and hope that the next time they come across a piece of trash on the trail, they remember that crazy lady they saw running with a handful of garbage that one time, and decide to take action themselves. When I encounter trash in the environment, I don't see it as someone else's problem. I see it as an opportunity to lead by example and help make my community a better place." Thank you, Lia, for setting a good example for all of us.

* ... LAST IMPALA: General Motors has announced it is ending the production of the Chevrolet Impala, one of the most beloved classic American made sedans of all time. Sales of sedans have slumped and the Impala fell out of favor with car buyers. But one place it will always have a home is at the classic car shows in Bakersfield, where the Impala remains one of the all time favorites.

 * ... MEMORIES: And from the Kern County History Fans Facebook page, check out this old photo of Taft Union High School.