Thursday, June 25, 2020

Local protesters call for the complete dismantling of the Bakersfield Police Department, more illegal dumping around down and calls to destroy all images of "white Jesus"

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.

So what exactly is it that some of the local protesters want from our City Council in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement? Well according to two members of the
People's Budget Bako movement, they want nothing short of the complete dismantling of the police department. That's the word from Faheemah Salahud-Din Floyd and Dalton Jones who appeared on The Richard Beene Show to explain their goals. According to Floyd, the Bakersfield Police Department is so riddled with bias and racism that it cannot be saved, and must be abolished. And what would take its place? Jones suggested "community policing" by block activists who could keep the peace. In the absence of police, our country already has a version of that in our gangs, who impose their own will and law in the absence of authority. (Facebook photo of Floyd)

 * ... ILLEGAL DUMPING: The sheer amount of illegal dumping about down is disgraceful, and virtually no part of our community is immune from someone treating our roadsides like their own personal toilet. Camino Grande off Alfred Harrell Highway and Fairfax is a favorite dumping spot, and the other day I spotted a dead pit bull by the side of the road, left unceremoniously to rot in the summer sun.

 * ... GREAT CLEANSING: First came the statues of the Confederate dead, then anyone whose family owned a slave, then the Spanish missionaries and then our founding fathers. So we shouldn't be surprised when the new purity police took aim at symbols of Jesus no less to erase from society, particularly images that appear to make Jesus light skinned. A white skinned Jesus, the thinking goes, must be a product of white privilege. When Jesus goes, can Santa be far behind?

 * ... BIKE FRIENDLY: There is a new list out recognizing the most bike friendly cities in the nation, and Bakersfield is no where to be found.  To be sure, Bakersfield is certainly not near the top of the list, but it should rank somewhat higher given our cross-city bike trail and the ability to get out and ride off the road. According to Places for Bikes, a non profit, the top give cities friendly to bike commuters include San Luis Obispo, Madison, WI., Santa Barbara, Washington, D.C., and Missoula, MT.

* ... RIP TORI HOFFMANN: I was saddened to learn of the death of Tori Hoffman, the 29-year-old daughter of Tom and Beth Hoffman who passed away last week. No cause of death was given and a memorial service is planned fo rValley Baptist Church (Fruitvale campus) today (Thursday) at 11 a.m. Tori was the daughter of Tom and Beth Hoffmann, founders of the successful Hoffmann Hospice operation here in Bakersfield. She graduated from Bakersfield Christian High School and later received a degree from CSUB. Keep the Hoffmann family in your thoughts.

 * ... COVID CLOSURES: More restaurants are being forced to close temporarily after employees test positive for Covid-19. The latests forced to shutter are Woolgrowers and Dewar's, perhaps two of the most iconic restaurants in town. Also closed was the In-N-Out location on Panama Lane. Their closing comes as Luigi's Old World Delicatessen reopens after a short closure due to an employee testing positive.

 * ... MEMORIES: Here's a wonderful old photo, compliments of John Kelley, of the historic Fox Theater under construction.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Protesters destroy statues in San Francisco of Father Serra and Ulysses S. Grant, and how soon will they come for Father Garces at the traffic circle and the Big Indian at Ethyl's Corral? Plus a walk down memory lane with some old shots of Highway 99

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.

 * ... THE GREAT CLEANSING: The great cleansing of our national history, from statues to names of schools to street signs, continues across this nation. This weekend protesters turned their fury on
three statues in San Francisco, one of Father Junipero Serra, one of Francis Scott Key and a third of Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who just happened to be instrumental in defeating the Confederacy and freeing the slaves.  All three were unceremoniously defaced and torn down as police looked on. And so it goes.

 * ... MORE STATUES: The tearing down of history brought this retort on Facebook: "Last night, the mob took down down three statues in Golden Gate Park: one of St. Junipero Serra, and founder of the California missions; on off Francis Scott Key, composer of the "Star Spangled Banner"; and one of Ulysses S. Grant, whom Frederick Douglass eulogized as “a man too broad for prejudice, too humane to despise the humblest, too great to be small at any point. In him the Negro found a protector, the Indian a friend, a vanquished foe a brother, an imperiled nation a savior.” Think about that. On Juneteenth. The man probably most responsible for emancipation not named Lincoln had his statue torn down and vandalized. And the apologists for the mob are justifying it on the grounds that Grant once held a single enslaved person, who he manumitted before the Civil War, and because he had married a woman from a slaveholding family. Had enough yet?"

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Sometimes, when I squirt the dish-washing liquid, a few soap bubbles escape and float through the air and I'm instantly five-years-old again."

 * ... MORE SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "To the guy in line at the post office telling everyone about the governor's mandate to wear masks... Your mask doesn't do diddly squat on your chin with your mouth and nose exposed."

 * ... LOCAL ICONS: Locally, you have to wonder when the mob is going to come after some of the icon institutions here in Bakersfield. Will the statue of Father Garces at the traffic circle suffer the same fate at Junipero Serra in San Francisco? How long will it be before they come for the statue of the Big Indian out a Ethyl's Corral? And didn't Ben Franklin own slaves, even though he denounced slavery later in life? We will also have to rename Franklin Elementary, and you might as well rename Jefferson school at the same time. So much work to do and so little time.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out these old pictures of California Highway 99 over the years.