Friday, November 4, 2022

Bakersfield braces for a cold winter of crime and vandalism, a fed-up Portland finally moves to oust the homeless and celebrating 100,000 spay neuters by the non profit Critters Without Litters

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.

 * ... WINTER IS COMING: Winter is coming and with it the expected spike in seasonal crime. It's hard to think of petty crime getting any worse here, and for the most part residents - and of course the politicians who are supposed to do something about all this  - have learned to live with an ugly new reality of life in Bakersfield. You'd think there would be more of an urgency to clean the streets, but with a few rare exceptions (supervisor candidate Jeff Flores among them) most local elected officials just choose to ignore it. Cars are broken into nightly in the best of

neighborhoods, catalytic converters disappear in broad daylight, park restrooms have been taken over by drug addicts, empty buildings burn with frightening regularity as the number of mentally ill homeless on the streets seems to grow by the day. A businesswoman comes back from cancer treatment to find her downtown office broken into and a mess. A new business owner, proud of what she has built, finds two windows shattered during the night. A third person, an employee of a business on Stockdale Highway, reports to work one day to fire a fire smoldering in a dumpster. So what can we do? Not much it seems, but if you are a homeowner never leave anything in your car or truck, leave your outside porch lights on, install a security camera, consult with neighbors and when it is time to vote, kick out any public official who minimizes what has come of our community. (random photos around town)

 * ... PORTLAND RESPONDS: Want to know how bad the homeless issue has become? Even in Portland, home to a mindset that has allowed homeless encampments to flourish, city officials appear to have had enough. This week city crews moved into a major homeless encampment at Laurelhurst Park, located in a high income neighborhood, and cleaned the place out. As they cleared the camps bulldozers moved in and built multiple pickleball courts and a skate ramp. (file photo of Laurelhurst Park)

 * ... ENFORCEMENT WORKS: Most people involved in the homeless issue focus on providing permanent housing as the answer, yet that does little or nothing for the business people and residents who are subjected to the general craziness and lawlessness that vagrants bring. But enforcement (keeping vagrants on the move) does work, just like we saw in Portland, Just take a look at the Smart and Final parking lot on F Street, one of the city's longtime gritty venues for the homeless to gather. After a rash of vandalism, the homeless were moved out several weeks ago and - for now at least - the problem is gone. 

* ... CRITTERS WITHOUT LITTERS: Critters Without Litters is the only low cost, spay neuter non profit in Bakersfield devoted to dealing with our pet explosion problem. And now, just a few weeks from the organization's 10th anniversary, it reached a new milestone: Critters has now spayed or neutered 100,000 pets. "It's a mind boggling number," said Vicky Thrasher, executive director. "I still remember our first few weeks when we wondered how we'd ever get up to 20 surgeries a day." Critters routinely provides 70 to 80 spay/neuter surgeries a day for pets and feral or free roaming cats in the community, four days a week. They also offer a walk in vaccine clinic Monday through Thursday where anywhere from 120 to 180 animals arrive each day for vaccines. Critters Without Litters is located off White Lane on Stine Road. For more information go to (photos courtesy or Critters Without Litters)

 * ... SODA CRACKERS: One of the hottest local bands around, The Soda Crackers, is returning to the Kern County Museum for a special show on Sunday, Nov. 13. The band features brothers Zane and Cooper Adamo (sons of photographer Felix Adamo and author wife Teresa) and their bandmates to create a Western swing sound closely associated with the Bakersfield Sound. Tickets normally sell out so order them at by Felix Adamo)

 * .... MEMORIES: It's easy to forget how big Buck Owens was in his prime, particularly among Asian crowds who embraced his Bakersfield Sound. This picture says it all, compliments of the Kern County of Old Facebook page. The caption: "Buck Owens in mid 1970's on tour in Sydney, Australia. His manager on left is Jack McFadden, and on the right is Banjo player Ronnie Jackson. This was a month long tour in Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. Sold-out shows wherever they appeared."