Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Welcome to California where a budget deficit goes from a $100 billion surplus to a $22 billion deficit, the much awaited "superbloom" of wildflowers is under way officials expect record number of deaths in the Kern River

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 OR BUST: Ah to live in California, where yesterday's budget surplus is today's deficit. It seemed like yesterday when the state had a budget surplus of some $100 billion, but thanks to

inflation and a slowing economy we now face a deficit of $22.5 billion. That is a $125 billion swing in the states finances over 12 months and experts blame it on California's dependency on taxing the rich. As the economy slows and people earn less on their investments, tax revenue dwindles. Gov. Gavin Newsom is now looking at ways to close the deficit by cutting child programs and reducing funding for some climate change initiatives. Meanwhile, the median value of a home in California is $719,000 while in Texas (where many Golden State residents flee) stands at $289,000.

 * ... THE DEADLY KERN: The old sayings warns that death and taxes are the only two things in life you can count on, but you can add this: we can expect more deaths this year in the swollen Kern River. Outside of Bakersfield, and even as close as Los Angeles, people view the Kern River as a day-tip getaway to enjoy the cool water of a fresh river. But they aren't expecting the record snowmelt to swell an already dangerous river, and as Steven Mayer noted in The Californian, officials say the number of drownings is expected to spike this year. Already some 317 people have lost their lives in the river, and that number will likely increase as the temperatures rise and the snow melts.

 * ... SENIOR CREDIT: Here's some rich data on home ownership, age and credit. According to the New York Times, the wealth of most older adults is tied up in real estate. Among homeowners aged 65 to 74, home equity represented about 47 percent of their net work in 2019. For those over the age of 75, it jumps to 55 percent. For black homeowners over the age of 62, it accounted for about 75 percent of their net worth. And yet, federal data shows that banks are wary of lending to seniors even if their credit scores are beyond reproach.

 * ... WILDFLOWERS AND MORE: And once again we bring you some of our outstanding citizen photographers who are capturing some amazing wildflower and other shots around the state. The first two shots, including one from the Carrizo Plain, are by Jojo Parades Butingan, followed by Pam Taylor's cool shot of the moon setting, then a shot by Christy Morgan at Windwolves Preserve and Michele Morgan-Brown Magyar. And lastly, Landon Peppel gives us this wonderful shot of wildflowers out at Windwolves.


* ... ANTELOPE VALLEY: And if you really want to see some wildflowers, check out these blooms in the Antelope Valley. These pictures and this incredible shot of the Pacific Ocean appeared on the "My Home is California" Facebook page.


* ... MEMORIES: From the vault of the Kern County History Fans comes this old picture of the Morris department store downtown. And lastly check out the old St. Francis church located downtown before the 1951 earthquake destroyed it.

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