Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Flores and Smith appear headed for a runoff in the Third Supervisor District, Rudy Salas aims to oust Congressman David Valadao and is it the end of the Parra name in local politics?

 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.

 * ... JUNE PRIMARY: The primary is over and now we head to the November general election, where it seems with near certainty that Rep. Kevin McCarthy will be elected the next Speaker of the House. McCarthy held a strong lead on his opponent and heads to a runoff in his 20th Congressional District, but that was predicted and is expected to be easily reelected in the fall. Some thoughts on this weeks primary, which had its surprises:
 - One of the most interesting developments was in the race to succeed Mike Maggard in the Third

Supervisor District. As expected, Maggard aide Jeff Flores ran first and he was followed by former CHP officer Brian Smith. Flores and Smith appear headed for a runoff. Running a disappointing and lackluster third, and out of the race, was former homeless shelter executive Louis Gil.
 - Assemblyman Rudy Salas was the top vote getter in the 22nd Congressional District now held by Republican David Valadao. Salas and Valadao will head to a runoff but given the Democratic lead in voter registration, Salas could be headed for an upset. Valadao has had to face not only Democrats like Salas but Republicans in his own party who are upset because he voted to impeach then President Trump.
 - In the newly drawn 16th State Senate district a relative unknown, David Shepard, was the top vote getter, easily outdistancing incumbent Sen. Melissa Hurtado and spelling the end of the attempted political comeback of former Assemblywoman Nicole Parra. Shephard and Hurtado could meet in the November runoff. The Parra name has long held a coveted position in local politics, but this could spell the end of that local dynasty.
 - Supervisor Leticia Perez had little trouble in the 35th Assembly District, easily beating Taft Dr. Jasmeet Bain but the two will still have to square off in November.
 - Voters in San Francisco signaled they had enough of uber liberal District Attorney Chesa Boudin by recalling him from office. Boudin, 41, is a new breed of prosecutors who fundamentally do not believe in incarceration. Like other California cities, San Francisco has been overrun with crime, homelessness and drugs.
 - Laura Avila easily held back Todd Reeves to become the top vote getter in the assessor/recorder race.
 - In the race for county auditor/controller, the candidate who alluded to the possibility of voter fraud, Mark McKenzie, lost badly to Aimee Espinoza. She was leading with 61 percent of the vote, well enough to avoid a November runoff.

 * ... HOMELESS CAMPSITES: I read with interest, and some mild surprise, a recent story in The Californian about a plan to build campsites for homeless people who remain wary of checking into one of the city or county homeless navigation centers. At first glance it looks like yet another attempt to appease the homeless, but the effort is a sound one and deserves our support. The idea is simple: create a safe camping area for people who still refuse to access the shelters and their services. The idea came from the Community Action Partnership folks who run the existing M Street shelter. This is a simple but promising experiment because it does one simple thing: it gets homeless off the streets (at least at night) and keeps them from building makeshift camps in public parks or right of ways. It's not the perfect solution, but anything that keeps the homeless out of the parks is a step in the right direction. In New York City for example, more than 50,000 men and women take advantage of city shelters nightly, keeping them off the streets and out of the cardboard communities where others life. In New York, city run shelters house 80-90 percent of all homeless. Granted this will all cost money, but taxpayers should be happy to pay a little to keep these people off the streets and with access to mental health and drug counseling.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Do you believe in conspiracy theories or are you fine not knowing why the shampoo always runs out before the conditioner?"

 * ... GAS PRICES: If you don't think $10 a gallon gas is close, think again. A small gas station in Mendocino is charging just under that $10 benchmark, and you can bet more will follow.

 * ... MEMORIES: There is a Facebook page devoted to Kern County history - it's called Kern County History Fans - and it regularly posts terrific historic shots of our town. Check out this building - then and now - on Baker Street. What is it they say about they don't make them like they used to?

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And check out this picture of the old Kern County Courthouse that was partially destroyed in the 1952 earthquake. It was later razed completely.

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