Thursday, September 29, 2022

Experts say Californians can expect power blackouts for years to come, Daniel Root becomes a partner in a local law firm, the ugly state of a summer in Bakersfield and is the starter home a thing of the past?

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.

 * ... BLACKOUTS: If you think things are bad now with the California electrical grid, hang on because this could be a seriously issue for decades to come. We saw it this summer with Gov. Newsom announced a deadline to end the sale of gas powered vehicles in California, followed by the state asking the owners of electric vehicles not to charge their cars during the heat wave. And now experts warn that Californians

will be dealing with rolling blackouts for years. "The transition away from fossil fuels has complicated energy operations, as an increasing share of electricity is coming from solar and wind farms that produce power only when the sun shines or the wind blows, making the available supply more variable over a 24-hour period," said one expert in the Wall Street Journal.

 * ... RIP STARTER HOMES: Has America's love affair with "the starter home" come to an end? Is there any such thing as a relatively affordable "starter home" for those just starting out and building equity? In Denver, back in the 1990s, starter homes ran around $90,000 yet today the same house is north of $200,000, and the same thing is happening even in housing friendly Kern County, where the average price of a house is now over $300,000. Said the New York Times: "The disappearance of such affordable homes is central to the American housing crisis. The nation has a deepening shortage of housing... The affordable end of the market has been squeezed from every side. Land costs have risen steeply in booming parts of the country. Construction materials and government fees have become more expensive." And then there are the rising interest rates, all of which seem to spell the end of affordable housing as we once knew it.

 * ... SEXUAL PREDATORS: The profile of a typical sexual predator may read like this: a popular, engaging man in a position of power who uses his influence to curry favor with power brokers while grooming unsuspecting victims with gifts, kindness and attention, all the while subjecting his victims to hideous assaults while the predator maintains his public position of a generous, engaging leader. (The Catholic Church provides us with textbook examples of this) Predators come in all shapes and sizes, but they often come from the ranks of positions that give them access to young children: Scout leaders, teachers, a family friend, an uncle, a doctor and more often than not, a family priest. And that is exactly the theme of a new book that details how a family doctor repeatedly molested a young teenager and how that victim suppressed the memory of that for years. That man and victim is Jeff Pickering, the former head of the Kern Community Foundation, who just published a book detailing all the lurid aspects of his experience at the hands of a Florida doctor who continues to practice to this day. The book, "Better at the Broken Places," is available for pre-order on Amazon. Pickering will be in Bakersfield to promote the book, and sign copies, at Imbibe Wine and Spirits on the afternoon of Oct. 20.

 * .. DANIEL ROOT: A young Bakersfield man has been named a partner in the local law firm of Belden Blaine Raytis LLP. Daniel M. Root, son of the late Dr. Mark Root and his wife Bernadette, has been handling business, water and environmental, real estate and employment at the firm and now becomes one of its partners.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: A woman who was driving downtown witnessed a vagrant squatting down to defecate on 23rd Street. Her post: "I just witnessed a drive-by shitting."

 * ... BAD LOOK: Coming off yet another hot summer, Bakersfield is not looking its best. Lawns and shrubs are beaten down and scorched by long periods of extreme temperatures, the air quality is miserable, homeless fires have burned countless empty buildings and the sight of skinny, dirty street vagrants sleeping on the sidewalks has become an embarrassing spectacle that surprises no one. And now, you can add to the draining to Lake Truxtun and the lakes at the Park at RiverWalk to the decisions that have rendered our community ugly and irritable.

 * ... MEMORIES: Check out this picture from the Kern County of Old Facebook group. "Soldiers soon to join the war in France assemble on the Bakersfield courthouse steps in April 1917. Civil War veterans (last row) stand behind them."

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