Thursday, May 28, 2020

Is Centric Health's Michael Bowers lining up to replace Willie Rivera in Ward !? Dr. Ravi Patel will receive the John Brock Award and Dr. Jeanine Kraybill is promoted to become an associate professor

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.

 * ... WILLIE RIVERA: Ward 1 City Councilman is leaving his position to take a new job with Area Energy, and he is urging an open, transparent discussion about the benefits of going to a full-time council position. The idea of getting rid of the city manager and going with a full time council is not new, but so far it has failed to muster enough support on the council to demand a full hearing.
Rivera said serving on the Bakersfield council is a "bigger job" now that the city is the ninth largest in California. Rivera wants a special election to succeed him in November, but that too will take a vote by the council. Otherwise, the council will make an interim appointment until and election can be held.

The most prominent person named as a replacement for Rivera is Michael Bowers, the marketing vice president for Centric Health who has important political experience working for both former state Sen. Andy Vidak and Congressman David Valadao. Bowers told me he grew up in Ward 1, is open to serving or running but would need the permission of his boss, Dr. Brij Bhambi, one of the founders of Centric Health. Bhambi, appearing on my radio show, said he was not personally political and preferred to leave questions of political activity to the others. Does that sound like Bowers has permission to serve? It does to me.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: A stylist posted this and aint it the truth? "That earthquake you felt was every hairdresser putting their head in their hands as they try to fit 500 clients into 2 hours, under a ton of regulations and rules."

 * ... NEW PROFESSORS: A big congratulations to Dr. Jeanine Kraybill who has been elevated to the position of Associate Professor at CSUB. Kraybill specializes in both political science and religious studies and - personal plug here - has been a weekly guest on The Richard Beene Show since January 2017. This is a big win for CSUB, our community and of course Kraybill and her husband Jesse, who now call Bakersfield home. And, the same was true for Michael Burroughs, another CSUB faculty member who was elevated to a tenured Associate Professor position. Burroughs heads the Kegley Institute of Ethics over at the campus.

 * ... RAVI PATEL: Dr. Ravi Patel, founder of the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center (CBCC), has been chosen to receive the John Brock Community Service Award. The award is given out every year to a community leader "who has demonstrated a lifetime of exceptional service" in Kern County. Patel moved to Bakersfield in 1985 and later helped guide the growth of CBCC into a 75,000-square-foot campus employing more than 250 people. The award will be given out in September.

 * ... PYRENNES: Check out these then and now pictures of Pyrenees Bakery, formerly located on East 21st Street.

 * ... MEMORIES: I spotted this picture on a local website devoted to Kern County history, a beauty from back in the day. Its caption reads: "Busy day on the Grapevine, circa 1940. Likely taken during wildflower season. Newspapers and radio programs such as the Richfield Reporter would report on the bloom, resulting in huge increases in traffic. Some rare cars pictured: A 1933-34 Willys sedan to the right, with the three people standing in front of it; and merging from the left foreground into traffic a 1939 Willys Californian, a flashy trim option only made at the Maywood, California Willys plant."

Monday, May 25, 2020

Restaurants open up for Memorial Day weekend, Supervisor Mike Maggard on fighting the coronavirus and City Councilman Willie Rivera decides enough is enough

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.

 * ... MEMORIAL DAY IN PICTURES: It was the perfect holiday weekend, mild temperatures that will give way to valley heat this week, but a memorable one nonetheless. My thanks to all the
photographers who shot these scenes of life in Kern County.

 * ... RIVERA IS OUT: Ward 1 City Councilman Willie Rivera, who was just 22 when he was elected, is stepping down as he accepts a new job with AERA Energy. You can bet that they are already lining up potential candidates to replace Rivera, whose term in office was not supposed to expire until 2022. Rivera issued this statement: “It is my hope that notifying you of my intentions now will allow the city to take action to schedule an election for my replacement to coincide with the city council elections already scheduled for November 3, 2020. Doing so would avoid any additional special election costs and allow the residents of Southeast Bakersfield to choose their next representative."

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Thanks to the magic of Twitter, you’re no longer restricted to fighting with family, friends and neighbors; you can now trade insults with total strangers. And you don’t even have to face them! Invigorating, isn’t it?":

 * ... BIKE SHOPS: The pandemic has led to a rush on bike shops, and local shops say they are selling everything they can get their hands on and are swamped with repairs. Over at Action Sports, which prides itself in customer service, owner Kerry Ryan noted there has been a crush of tuneups and repairs now that people are dusting off their bicycles and taking them out for family time during the lock down. If you need proof, hang around the bike path at the Park at RiverWalk to enjoy hundreds of families out on their bikes enjoying the mornings. Said Ryan: "We doubled our staff to meet the demand at the door," he said. "Our safety measures have pleased all but a few. The lockdown has made people appreciate getting out of the house and bicycles are the exciting way most people can do that.:

 * ... MOVING FORWARD: Supervisor Mike Maggard borrowed an analogy from his son when he talked about life during a pandemic. His son, active military, said during a firefight the only option was "to keep moving forward. Doing nothing is death." Maggard said the same was true during the pandemic where "standing still is not an option. We have to move forward." Maggard appeared with county CAO Ryan Alsop on KGET's Saturday afternoon show "Kern County In Depth" with host Jim Scott.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out the old Vaughn Taxi from around 1910, thanks to our friends at the Kern County History Fans Facebook page.

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: This picture dates from 1903 at Daytona Beach, Florida. It's not local but it's a wonderful picture anyway.