Columnists

  • Richard Beene

    BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: A blog about life, media, politics and people

    24Th STREET: City Councilman Terry Maxwell has taken a lot of heat for opposing the widening of 24th Street, and just last week he took a tongue lashing from former Congressman Bill Thomas who secured the funding for the project. And now former city Councilman Mark Salvaggio has weighed in,

  • Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: City animal programs small but steady

    Small, steady, and most importantly, successful. That’s how I would describe programs under the city of Bakersfield’s nascent animal welfare operations. The city took over the Mount Vernon animal shelter after an acrimonious split from Kern County in October 2013 and has been steadily building

  • Richard Beene

    BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: A blog about life, media, politics and people

    OIL The price of oil has dropped by almost 60 percent since its peak, but U.S. and global producers are maintaining production. In an analysis of the global oil glut, the Wall Street Journal noted that the world’s biggest suppliers have yet to curtail production, almost guaranteeing the price will

  • Herb Benham

    HERB BENHAM: Dad-in-chief makes an offer no one can refuse

    Dad called recently and said when he visited us, he wanted to have one-on-one meetings with people. “Those smaller gatherings work better for me,” he said. “I prefer talking to people alone.” One-on-one meetings. That’s a throwback. It reminded me of being a kid and being summoned to the new

  • Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: We don't need more misinformation about fracking

    Sometimes the only appropriate response I can muster to the idiocy that goes on in Sacramento is “Oh, brother.” We are a family newspaper, after all. This time, it’s a bill by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D- Burbank, that would require all food irrigated with oilfield water to be labeled, “Grown using

  • In this file photo, farm workers bring in buckets full of red bell peppers to a packing tent at a farm in the Bakersfield area, It's estimated at least 50 to 70 percent of farmworkers are in the country illegally. A proposed state bill would give certain undocumented workers a work permit.

    JOSE GASPAR: Bill rewards contributions of undocumented workers

    The value of crops produced in Kern County? More than $7.5 billion in 2014. The value of crops produced in Fresno County? Just under $6.5 billion in 2013. The value of crops produced in Tulare County? A record high of more than $8 billion last year. The value of undocumented immigrants who work

  • Robert Price is The Californian's executive editor.

    SOUND OFF: His name’s on it, but he didn’t write it

    This feedback forum is designed to give readers a way to voice criticisms and compliments or ask questions about The Californian's news coverage. Your questions may be edited for space. Reader: I was made aware that someone with my name went on a diatribe that was published in last week’s

  • The rib-eye steaks at Mike & Annie's McKittrick Hotel Penny Bar & Cafe are succulent treats. And if you're making the 40-minute drive from Bakersfield, the $18 entree price makes up for the cost of gas. The values here are astonishing.

    PETE TITTL: Stake your claim and claim your steak in McKittrick

    I’ll forgive you if you’ve never been to McKittrick. Most folks in town are there because they work in the oilfields or perhaps are just determined to see how far west they can go on Highway 58 before they need to stop for gas or a bathroom break. This tiny speck of a town with one hotel that

  • Bakersfield's Steve Dent caught this giant 70-pound White Sea Bass while angling out of Port San Luis early this week.

    MERLO: Bakersfield angler lands near-record sea bass

    Local angler Steve Dent almost got more than he bargained for when he recently hooked and eventually landed a giant 70-pound White Sea Bass.   Using 20-pound test and a live squid for bait, Dent caught his behemoth near the “Coke Plant”, a popular White Sea Bass area just south of Port

  • Richard Beene

    BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: A blog about life, media, politics and people

    BACK TO SCHOOL: The rush to get our kids back to school this week brings out the worst in some of us. Listen to this rant from reader Mike Glinzak: “This morning, the first day of school at Centennial Elementary, I witnessed the worst parking of many I have seen today when mommies brought their

  • Herb Benham

    HERB BENHAM: Zen and the art of hoofing it

    People will think you’re crazy. They’ll go home and tell their husbands and wives that you’ve turned into a lunatic. Get used to it. I’m talking about walking, something I’ve been exploring lately. It started on vacation as a dare. I was curious. Could I walk every day? I missed one, but walked

  • Approximately 11 of the 41 California Condors that assembled near the home of Dave and Penny Rivas in Bear Valley Springs.

    PEN IN HAND: A gathering of giants, the California Condors

    California Condor sightings in the Tehachapi Mountains are not uncommon — this is where the last free-flying condors were living when the species was facing extinction in 1987 — but on Aug. 11, a truly astounding number of these gigantic birds congregated in Bear Valley Springs. In fact, a United

  • Deejay Sidney Perry, who hails from Bakersfield, returns Friday night to perform at Sandrini's.

    MATT MUNOZ: It'll be 4/4 on the dance floor with DJ Sidney Perry

    Metro beats will reign supreme when several elite California house music experts make a rare joint appearance at Sandrini’s on Friday. The plan for the evening, headlined by renowned Bakersfield deejay Sidney Perry, is to take dancers on a trip through decades of historic hypnotizing house music,

  • Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: Reading success is only limited by the number of volunteers

    More than 11 percent of Kern High School District students drop out of school. That’s close 1,000 kids a year. Not only does the future dim for those 1,000 kids but some of them will also likely become a drain on society. If you could go back in time and spend one hour a week doing one thing that

  • Richard Beene

    BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: A blog about life, media, politics and people

    WALKING: If you needed some encouragement to exercise more, consider a new study from the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center, as reported in The New York Times. In a controlled study of otherwise healthy people who were put on a walking regimen, mild exercise not only improved overall

  • Richard Beene

    BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: A blog about life, media, politics and people

    SONYA It looks like the Kern Community College District’s trustees are encouraging Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian to seek work elsewhere, but there is a loud chorus of those who support her in our community. This note, from local historian Gilbert Gia, reflects how many folks feel.

  • The fish taco plate is a favorite at Mariscos Las Islitas.

    PETE TITTL: At Mariscos Las Islitas, you sea food and eat it

    In Bakersfield, our seafood restaurant options are largely limited to chains (Red Lobster) and Mexican restaurants (La Costa, Red Pepper). But one of the under-the-radar Mexican seafood places that’s steadily been building business over the past year is Mariscos Las Islitas. The restaurant is now

  • Columnist Valerie Schultz

    VALERIE SCHULTZ: More inclined to listen, but now trouble is hearing

    A tinge of irony in the air: As we humans age, we become better listeners, at least if we are aging gracefully, but just as we are more attuned to listening to another, we face the gradual loss of our hearing. Just as we are ready to listen, we strain to hear. If youth is wasted on the young, which