Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Californians are stuck paying the highest utility rates in the nation, the movement toward electric cars is headed for a break through and just about everyone (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Chipotle) are raising prices these days

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.

 * ... CALIFORNIA SOLAR: If you pay for utilities here in California, none of this will come as a shock to you. But trust me, it will (and should) leave you angry. Thanks to California politicos on renewables

and natural gas, California's retail rates have increased 50 percent over the last decade. Part of this is due to the generous green energy subsidies that critics say only helps the rich in California, or at least those who can afford to upfront costs of solar. The Wall Street Journal said even the Sierra Club feels it is time to reduce the solar incentive.

 * ... ELECTRIC CARS: It looks like electric cars are about to make a big break through. According to The New York Times, sales of electric vehicles are so strong that dealers are requiring larger down payments and some models are sold out for the next two years. And, the Times noted a huge event is coming when Ford introduces its all electric F-150 pickup truck, which if successful will steer thousands of pickup drivers to the electric standard. The auto industry is on track to invest half a trillion dollars in electric vehicles over the next five years. And here is an interesting tidbit: in December, electric vehicles outsold battery powered cars in Europe for the first time ever. In all about 4 percent of all cars sold in the United States are electric.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I was going to clean my house but decided to stop inviting people over instead ."

 * ... POPE BENEDICT: So did you hear that a retired pope, Benedict XVI, is seeking forgiveness for mishandling cases of clerical sexual a use during his tenure as an archbishop in Germany? Given the church's dismal record is protecting pedophiles and covering up the actions of priests by continually transferring them, I am not sure whether to laugh or cry at a retired pope asking for forgiveness. Instead of looking for blanket amnesty, how about this retired pope apologize for the countless number of men and women who have been demeaned and shouted down after they made their accusations, only to find now they were correct? If all this sounds familiar, look up the case of Craig Harrison, the once popular Bakersfield priest who has been accused by multiple men of sexual abuse. The difference here: Harrison's case is wide open and he has been sued by a number of men who claimed he abused them over the years. Be prepared for to read some graphic testimony as this case makes its way through the courts. 

  * ... AMAZON PRIME: Last week we told you that Netflix was raising its prices to $15.49 a month and now you can also expect to pay more for your Amazon Prime account. The retailer said its annual fee, which provides free shipping as well as access to its video library, was rising $20 to $130 annually.
 * ... STARBUCKS: Starbucks, which notoriously opened its shops and bathrooms to the homeless a few years ago, is saying thanks by raising the price of your non-fat latte. It looks like the price hikes will be virtually across the board. And while Starbucks prides itself on its social conscience, it should be noted that does not extend to unions. The coffee maker is fighting a union organizing effort in Memphis. So let's get this straight: it's okay for homeless people to strip naked and bathe in your bathroom (as I have encountered in Bakersfield twice) but not okay for people to join a union. One imposes hardships on your customers and the other on corporate management. Go figure.
 * CHIPOTLE: And finally, Chipotle Mexican Grill says it also is raising prices as it plans to build hundreds of more stores in the coming year.

 * ... MEMORIES: Lastly, courtesy of our friend at the Kern County History Fans Facebook page, we leave you with this magical picture of a parade down Chester Avenue back in the day.