Thursday, October 6, 2022

President Biden turns to Venezuelan oil while snubbing domestic producers, City Council Andrae Gonzales' latest idea to combat dumpster fires lands with an unpopular thud and good news for fliers to Dallas out of Meadows Field

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.

 * ... SMART ENERGY POLICY? If you live in the oil patch, as we do, then you have to be scratching your head over President Biden's energy policy. As the administration continues to wage its war on fossil fuels and U.S. energy companies, the administration is now cutting a deal with the tyrants who run

Venezuela to increase production in return for the U.S. loosening sanctions. Wouldn't it make more sense to use U.S. produced energy, made in the U.S.A. and produced by American citizens instead of doing business with avowed enemies of our country? This comes on top of Biden begging OPEC to increase production, which they rejected. Wouldn't it make more sense to lift the restrictions on domestic oil and gas consumption so the jobs (and energy) stay here? Go figure.

 * ... HOMELESS ISSUES: It must suck to be City Councilman Andrae Gonzales sometimes. You represent Ward 2, which encompasses the downtown area where drugs, crime, vagrancy and homelessness have been out of control for too many years now to count. Whatever he has tried - better coordination with local businesses, private security and million-dollar new homeless shelters - hasn't worked. And now Gonzales is pushing an ordinance forcing businesses to securely lock their dumpsters so the homeless will stop setting the fires that have become all too common. But Gonzales immediately ran into a wall of protests from the very people he serves, downtown business owners who see this as yet another Band-Aid approach to a serious issue. It must have stung when Cassie Bittle, whose family runs KC Steakhouse and a woman who has become the voice of a frustrated business class downtown, posted this on Facebook as a response to his idea: "We've tried the locks, gravity bars, and fancy lids. Only other option is a cage which takes up space and construction for a business that has functioned without issue for over 50 years at the same location," she said. "There was no issue with homeless taking the bottles and cans until the lawlessness started...  Fixing a symptom of the issue not the root cause. AND we'll have three dumpsters to secure here pretty soon to meet new state regulations...why not throw a city ordinance in the mix.  Hope this grant doesn't make a $5,000 private project turn into a $50,000 publicly funded dumpster disaster." The only thing that is clear is this: the city's inability to deal with a very real crisis - and if you doubt it's a crisis have a chat with Cassie Bittle - has been a dismal failure. Half hearted ideas like putting the burden on businesses to secure their dumpsters are too little, too late.

 * ... MORE HOMELESS TROUBLE: If you are a regular cyclist, or runner, you know the Coffee Road underpass of the Kern River bike path is often flooded and can be extremely dangerous. But why? The area is not near water and you certainly can't blame the rain. Well now it comes to pass that we know the answer: according to what one city maintenance worker told a fellow cyclist, a homeless woman has been breaking the sprinkler heads on the irrigation lines to bathe, allowing the water to run freely and flood the pedestrian and cycling path. How does that make you feel about your community?

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: There's some good news for those of us who fly out of Meadows Field. American Airlines has announced it is increasing its capacity between Bakersfield and Dallas by using an Air Bus 319 instead of the smaller CRJ 900. That means there will be a full first-class seating and other amenities like WiFi and better air conditioning. The new service starts this week.

* ... MEMORIES: Take a look at this old saloon, located in the space now occupied by Jerry's Pizza, that appeared on the Kern County of Old Facebook page.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Supervisor candidate Brian Smith proclaims himself a MAGA election denier, Valadao and Salas in one of the most expensive congressional races in the nation and waking up to find the homeless and their carts setting up in your neighborhood

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.

 * ... ELECTION DENIER: Here's an intriguing question in the campaign between Jeff Flores and Brian Smith in the 3rd District Supervisor race: now that Smith has admitted to being an election denier, will it affect the race? Smith, a retired assistant commander with the CHP, said he believed the election was

stolen under questioning by KGET anchor Jim Scott during a televised debate last week. Asked if he had proof, Smith could not produce it (he mentioned something about "30,000 ballots in Torrance" but failed to explain its relevance) and clumsily talked his way through without answering the question. Asked the same question, Flores said he did not believe the election was stolen, saying he didn't believe in conspiracy theories and chose instead to talk about his commitment to family and community. Smith, who always planned to run for Sheriff until Donny Youngblood chose to run again, opted enter the 3rd District after Mike Maggard announced his retirement. Flore is Maggard's chief of staff, and he also has experience on the Kern High School District. So will having a conspiracy theorist in the race help or hurt Smith? Stay tuned.

 * ... SALAS VERSUS VALADAO: Rep. David Valadao is the lone Republican congressman left who voted to impeach President Trump; all the rest have either been defeated by pro Trump candidates in the primary or chosen not to run for reelection. This year, Democrats have targeted the seat and have put up Assemblyman Rudy Salas as their candidate. I ran into Salas at a fund raiser for Leticia Perez, who is running for 35th Assembly seat, and Salas said the 21st Congressional District race is now the second most expensive congressional race in the country. I bet it becomes the most expensive congressional race in America. 

* ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: Here is a random posting (I am omitting who posted it for privacy reasons) which has become all too familiar in our community. The resident wakes up and finds a homeless person with all his belongings in his neighborhood. Think for a second how this visual pollution of homelessness and the real threat of spiking crime and out of control vagrancy has had on our community. It has rendered us anxious, angry, uncertain and worried about the value of our property and belongings. That is the real toll of allowing the surge of drug addiction and homelessness to run rampant in our community while we sit idly and blame the state, doing virtually nothing to impede the homeless from using our public sidewalks as their personal toilet and sleeping area. The caption on this picture: "On my morning walk. Coming to your neighborhood soon . Reporting live from WEBFUKD."

* ... COSTCO HOT DOG:  Here's some good news for inflation weary consumers and it comes compliments of Costco. The company has told analysts that it has no plans to raise the price of its $1.50 hotdog combo special despite the squeeze on profits. Costco chief financial officer Richard Galanti was asked about both the hot dog combo meal and the $4.99 rotisserie chicken, and he assured analysts that at least at this time, the prices will not go up.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: A Maya Angelou quote worth sharing:

 * ... MEMORIES: Here are two nuggets from the Facebook page of the Kern County History Fans, always a joy to spend a morning with. Enjoy.