Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Are you sick of being asked to tip at self-serve checkouts? Plus the Oakland Diocese declared bankruptcy amid hundreds of sexual abuse claims and the number of injured and lost dogs grows

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.

 * ... SELF-SERVE TIPPING: Are you among those people who wince and recoil when asked to provide a tip at self-serve checkouts? It's happening more and more - at Starbucks, at your friendly independent

breakfast place etc - when people are asked to provide healthy tips to people who often do little more than simply ring up your bill. Critics call this "emotional blackmail" and they say retailers are reducing costs with self-serve checkout but now are expecting full service tips. Said The Wall Street Journal: "Tipping researchers and labor advocates said so-called tip creep is a way for employers to put the onus for employee pay onto customers, rather than raising wages themselves."

 * ... DIRTY PRIESTS: Lawsuits charging that Catholic priests routinely targeted, groomed and molested hundreds of young Californian men over the decades are making their way through the courts but one diocese (Oakland) has responded by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Lawyers for Anderson and Associates, a Minneapolis firm that specializes in holding dirty priests accountable, called the move "an attempt by the bishop to harbor perpetrators, conceal assets, and shield the truth from survivors of sexual abuse. Historically, organizations such as Catholic dioceses and religious orders have used Chapter 11 Bankruptcy as a shield to prevent embarrassing jury trials, allowing the institution to continue 'business as usual' while continuing to hide its secrets. Bishops use this legal tactic to prevent survivors of child sexual abuse from pursuing legal action, exposing predators, and holding the Diocese accountable." The law firm's website contains a list of more than 300 former and current priests who have been accused of sexual abuse and it also identifies priests in the Diocese of Fresno who face similar allegations. One of them is Craig Harrison, a former Bakersfield priest who has been accused by multiple young men of sexual grooming and abuse. Harrison left the church, which found that the charges against him were credible, and he has since tried to resurrect a career as a religious counselor an spiritual adviser. He does not face criminal actions because the statute of limitations has expired, but he does face liability in the civil lawsuits.

* ... SNAP RESPONDS: The organization SNAP (Suvivors Network of those Abused by Priests) took little time to respond. "Everything about this bankruptcy is improper. It is all about keeping money and secrets. From one coast to the other, the same ruse is being used by Catholic bishops. Deny the reality while rearranging the molesters. Fight against changes to the statute of limitations. When secular laws act against them, they go to federal bankruptcy courts and pretend that they're bankrupt." It went on to charge that the Oakland Diocese was "morally bankrupt... We'd like to know if Bishop Barber considers the 330 innocent victims who have filed lawsuits against his Diocese. He never admits that these wounded souls were members of the Oakland Diocese. They had been baptized and confirmed, served as altar servers, or went to Catholic schools. Their families trusted the priests who assaulted their children, and those families donated time and money to the Diocese. They effectively compensated the clergy who had damaged their children's life. There are 80 parishes in Oakland, and there are 330 victims so far, although not all the lawsuits have been logged at this time. That could well mean every single parish and school in the Diocese harbored abusers."

 * ... HEARTBREAK: Did you see the heart breaking picture of the large white dog that had been hit by a car in Delano? The picture was circulated on social media (Facebook and other websites) in the hope the owner could be found, but now we learn it is all a scam. Click on the photo and you learn it is a way to trick you our of your money.  The second photo of the dog appears to be real. It was found near west Shaw and Highway 99 in Fresno.

 * ... PICTURE THIS: One of my favorite Facebook groups is called My Home is California (MHIC) which displays some amazing citizen photographer. Enjoy this incredible shot of the Bay bridge shrouded in fog.

 * ... THE FOX THEATER: The historic Fox Theater in Bakersfield celebrated an anniversary the other day, the 70th anniversary of the Fox's interior remodel to Art Deco. The Facebook group devoted to the Fox said this: " In the late 1940s and 1950s Fox West Coast Theatres, headed by Charles P. Skouras, initiated a remodeling campaign of its theatres to attract audiences back to their big screens. On May 1, 1953, we opened our doors with a fresh new Art Deco design by architect Carl G. Moeller. The theatre went from an atmospheric Spanish Colonial design to an Art Deco one featuring gold scrollwork on theleft and right sidewalls of the auditorium with fanciful drapes. Now 70 years later, the Historic Bakersfield Fox Theater is one of the last remaining and best-preserved examples of this unique "Skouras-ized"  style! Photos by Mike Hume of historictheatrephotos.com."