Thursday, July 13, 2023

A former city councilman lashes out at Assembly candidate Andrae Gonzales, citing homelessness, Fentanyl use and his "perverse reverse racism" while the Soda Crackers woo the crowd at the Fox Theater and the FDA approves an abortion pill available via the mail

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.

 * ... ANDRE GONZALES: Politics makes curious bedfellows, and there are few better examples of that than the curious relationship between Andrae Gonzales and Leticia Perez. Gonzales is the city councilman for Ward 2, and Perez a county supervisor. Both progressive Hispanic Democrats, there has been no love lost between the two for years. In fact, they flat just don't like each other-until now. Why? The answer will either make you even more cynical about politics or leave you totally

bemused. It turns out that Gonzales is challenging fellow Democrat Dr. Jasmeet Bains in the 25th Assembly, and other Democrats (including Perez) have rallied around him. What deal did the Democrats cut to make Gonzales and Perez become pals again? Did Gonzales pledge not to challenge Perez for supervisor, a job he has pined for? So is this politics as usual or yet another example of how self serving politicians can be? Well here is a take on that from former City Councilman Mark Salvaggio, an advocate of open government, who took off the gloves to criticize Gonzales. "For years, the gross enmity of Leticia Perez toward you has been has not been some kind of best kept secret," Salvaggio wrote. "I always considered it mere political jealousy. But now, the two of you have become the proverbial strange bedfellows. This is revolting political chicanery. The rumor mill has several people telling you not to run against her for D5 Supervisor." Salvaggio didn't stop there, suggesting that racism may play a role. "Did they also tell you to run instead?'  he said. "This is also some kind of perverse reverse racism against a woman of Indian descent? It's not all about you Andrae. It should be about character and integrity. " (photo shows a smiling Gonzales and Perez)

 * ... MORE SALVAGGIO: And Salvaggio wasn't done yet with Gonzales, using his digital newsletter as a way to rally around Bains and the bipartisan work she is doing in the Assembly. Listen to Salvaggio's logic as he posed these questions to Gonzales: "What more would you have the County to do about homelessness? The County has the M Street Navigation Center AND the Safe Sleeping Camp. The City does not have the latter. The County is building the Tiney Oaks Village, while the City of Bakersfield sits back and lets the excess Bolthouse property sit vacant.  Where are the City’s shovel ready housing projects for the homeless? All the while our Assemblywoman Dr. Jasmeet Bains secured $2 million for your City of Bakersfield, $5 million each for McFarland and Wasco and more.... Bains is fighting the Fentanyl epidemic and Child Trafficking. Assemblywoman Jasmeet Bains works across party aisles. Bains has the support of fellow Assemblywoman and Dr. Akilah Weber. It is important to have someone in the State Assembly with medical expertise. Bains and Weber give the people a twofer. The proof is in the pudding.  From the Valley, for the Valley. She's one of us, for all of us."

* ... OPEN DOOR: The Open Door Network, formerly known as the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter, has secured a classic old restaurant and converted into an 11-bed facility for women in need of a safe surrounding. Open Door CEO Lauren Skidmore found herself surrounded by others this week in dedicating the new facility, located in an old restaurant building on 19th Street.

 * ... ABORTION PILL: There is good news for those who believe in a woman's right to choose. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a birth control pill to be sold without a prescription for the first time in the United States, a milestone that could significantly expand access to contraception. The medication is called Opill and will become the most effective birth control method available over the counter — more effective at preventing pregnancy than condoms, spermicides and other nonprescription methods. Experts in reproductive health said its availability could be especially useful for young women, teenagers and those who have difficulty dealing with the time, costs or logistical hurdles involved in visiting a doctor to obtain a prescription. How important is this? The New York Times: "Since the Supreme Court overturned the national right to an abortion last year, the accessibility of contraception has become an increasingly urgent issue. But long before that, the move to make a nonprescription pill available for all ages had received widespread support from specialists in reproductive and adolescent health and groups like the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Family Physicians."

* ... SODA CRACKERS: The Soda Crackers, a band of local musicians whose lively blend of Western swing and the Bakersfield Sound has taken our community by storm, performed before an appreciative crowd at the Fox Theater this past weekend. Local photographer Felix Adamo, who has two sons in the band (Cooper and Zane) provided these pictures of the Crackers in action at the historic Fox. (photos by Felix Adamo)


 * ... SOUTH HIGH REUNION: Heads up to your South High Rebels from the decades of the 1980s.


* .... MEMORIES: Who remembers Haberfelde Ford? The folks over at Kern County of Old posted this picture of a valuable Ford Shelby at the old car lot.