Tuesday, March 8, 2022

States across the country look at slashing taxes to help consumers, but California opts out... gas prices soar to record high levels and Canyon Hills Assembly of God sends relief to Poland to help Ukrainian refugees

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.

 * ... LOWER TAXES? Have you noticed there is a movement across the country to reduce taxes due to bloated state revenue coffers and international uncertainty with the war in Ukraine? It's not happening here in California of course, but at least 13 states with surpluses - among them Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, New York and Connecticut - are looking at tax relief. The notable exception of course is

California where Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Democrats are enjoying record surpluses but are refusing to consider any kind of meaningful tax relief. How about reducing the state auto registration fee for a year or two? Or cut the state gas tax, at least temporarily? In Sacramento, Republicans are pushing for a six month pause in the state tax on gasoline - that would reduce the price by 51 cents a gallon - but don't bet on that happening.

 * ... RUSSIAN OIL BAN:  President Joe Biden announced a ban on importing Russian oil and natural gas today but he stopped short of opening the way for California and other producers to pump more to fill in the gap. The United States imports about 637,000 gallons of Russian oil a day, or about 8 percent of our total usage, and the move is bound to raise gas prices even further. Meanwhile local politicians continue to press for more California oil production, but that is not likely to happen. So brace yourself for shock at the gas pump.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Celebrate International Women's Day by interrupting men with your unsolicited opinions and taking credit for their work. If they get upset about it, be sure to tell them that they sound hysterical and should probably smile more."

* ... FINALLY! Has Gov. Gavin Newsom finally awakened to the threat of having so many mentally challenged and other dangerous people on our streets? Perhaps, at least according to his latest proposal to offer more services to homeless people with severe mental health and addiction disorders even if that means forcing some into care, a move that many advocates of homeless people oppose as a violation of civil rights. The proposal by Newsom would require all counties to set up a mental health branch in civil court and provide comprehensive and community-based treatment to those suffering from debilitating psychosis.

 * ... COPS FOR PARKS: Hats off to the Bakersfield City Council for doing the right thing by creating a new unit to provide security in our public parks. The program will cost $2.4 million a year and comes after parks employees have been accosted and random citizens have grown increasingly frustrated with drug addicts, criminals and the homeless taking over local parks. Few people like to see the size of government grow, but it is well past time that the city of Bakersfield put the welfare of its law abiding citizens on par with those who so flagrantly violate the rules.

 * ... FAREWELL PASTOR ROBIN: Pastor Robin Robinson of Canyon Hills Assembly of God is being transferred back to Oklahoma where she has family, ending a remarkable period of influence for the woman who became the public face of CityServe, an organization devoted to helping the needy as well as the homeless. Perhaps due to her good nature, professionalism and honesty, Robinson was the rare public figure who gained the trust and respect of all sides in her work for CityServe. And her departure comes at an interesting time after CityServe announced a new project of affordable housing near its F Street headquarters, a move that has triggered opposition from some residents in the Westchester neighborhood.

 * ... UKRAINE AID: Speaking of Canyon Hills, did you hear lead Pastor Wendell Vinson and others from CityServe were in Poland where they flew with tons of meals for the thousands of Ukrainian refugees? Hats off to Vinson and his CityServe team for responding to a global crisis with people in dire need.

 * ... MEMORIES: From the Kern County History Fans comes this shot of an old market in Taft.

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