Thursday, March 2, 2023

A crazy week brings snow to the Valley floor, conspiracy theorists turn out to oppose the use of Dominion Voting Systems and a shootout in a quiet neighborhood shakes the confidence of downtown homeowners

 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.

 * ... DOMINION VOTE: The Board of Supervisors meeting turned into a donnybrook this week when the board approved a new three-year deal with Dominion Voting Systems on a 3-2 split vote. With Phil Peters and David Couch dissenting, Supervisors Jeff Flores, Leticia Perez and Zack Scrivner voted to

continue using Dominion systems to count the votes. Despite there being not an inkling of evidence that Dominion Systems have been compromised (they contain no modems or internet access to allow them to be compromised electronically) speaker after speaker appeared before the board to oppose Dominion, some refusing the leave the speaker dais and engaging in shouting matches. This is what happens when the business of running a county runs smack into wild conspiracy theories not connected to reality. Kudos for Scrivner, Flores and Perez for doing the right thing. (photo by The Bakersfield Californian)

 * ... DOWNTOWN CRIME: Poor Ward 2 doesn't seem to get any respect. The downtown district is already home to the lion's share of homeless and vagrants, city parks have become safe zones to inject drugs, the shadows of burned vacant buildings are now commonplace and crime runs rampant. But a gun battle in front of a downtown residence? Is that what it has come to? And yet that is exactly what happened around 7:30 p.m. last Thursday (Feb. 23) at a residence on the south side of Pine Street at 23rd Street. According to police, the homeowner (armed with a CCW and sidearm) pulled into this driveway to find three men breaking into his home. A shootout followed (that's right, bullets were flying) and one of the suspects was shot and the homeowner was apparently grazed by a bullet. (Two of the suspects are in custody, one at Kern Medical Center) If this is a random act of violence in a normally sleepy neighborhood, then we have a real crime problem that threatens the entire city. The real threat here, it seems to me, is the lack of political will to deal with a very tricky problem that requires more than press conferences and self congratulatory selfies. Where are the BPD foot patrols to protect businesses? Who is reaching out to the owners of vacant buildings? Where are the new city lights promised so long ago? The reaction among some downtown residents? Groups of women are arming themselves and taking gun safety classes to be prepared. And who blames them?

Here are a few more random pictures of our recent snowstorm including a flooded Highway 99 near Pixley and some shots from Posey and Tehachapi,.Thanks to Peter Hunt for the shot of traffic backed up on Highway 58, Julie Malcomson Theriault and Michele Brown-Magyar for the use of their photos. The shot of the Hollywood sign was produced by an unknown photographer but the first shot, apparently taken by drone by local photographer Richard Joseph Forrester, is spectacular.

 * ... FRUGATTIS: The new location for Frugattis, that popular Italian restaurant that is now moving to new digs after a few decades at Coffee and Truxtun, gets a frosting of snow during the recent storm. The new location is located at Gosford Road and the Westside Parkway.

 * ... BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB: Congratulations to Ken Carter and Janice Meek for being recognized by the Boys and Girls Club of Kern County for their roles on the board of directors. The two were feted at the organization's “Open Doors & Open Hearts” event last weekend. Congratulations also to Robert Branton, who won the “Youth of the Year” award. Carter is the long time head of Watson Realty fFile photo of Ken Carter along with friends)

* ... CHRIS WILSON: Congratulations to Chris Wilson who was recently honored as Humanitarian of the Year 2022 by the Plank Foundation. Wilson is chairman of the Tigerfight Foundation, which raises money for a crippling childhood disease.

 * ... PYRENEES: The couple that owns Pyrenees Cafe are pushing what they believe is the cafe's secret: breakfast. Long known for its stiff drinks and Basque food, Pyrenees has a large and diverse breakfast menu that the Crawfords are promoting via this billboard near Costco. And the best news? Breakfast is served all day. Breakfast for dinner anyone?

* ... MEMORIES: Take a look down Chester Avenue in the old days and you can see that iconic Coca-Cola sign atop the Sill Building. This picture comes courtesy of the Kern County History Fans Facebook page. And lastly, the History Fans page did not disappoint again with this shot of an advertisement for beautiful new and old homes in Bakersfield.

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