Columnists

  • Emily Bazar

    ASK EMILY: Obamacare tax already affecting worker health plans

    Another in a series of Q&A columns answering consumers’ questions about California’s new medical world. For the millions of Californians with job-based health coverage, this one’s for you. And it’s a doozy. Starting in 2018, a hefty Obamacare excise tax — known informally as the “Cadillac

  • Richard Beene

    Bakersfield Observed: A blog about life, media, politics and people

    SONYA CHRISTIAN: Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian may be locked in a dispute over extending her contract, but you wouldn’t know that when she appeared Thursday at the downtown Rotary Club. Christian received a standing ovation when she was introduced as the speaker, and her appearance

  • VALERIE SCHULTZ: We atone by caring for planet, each other

    By now, Pope Francis’s June encyclical, titled “Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home,” has been discussed and dissected by pundits, critics and believers the world over. The name, which translates to “Praise Be to You,” is taken from the Canticle of the Creatures by St. Francis of Assisi, whose

  • The ahogadas torta at Loncheria Otro Rollo. The sauce is tingly-in-the-mouth hot, and enough to make you slightly uncomfortable until the burn goes away.

    PETE TITTL: The potato taco at this food truck? Out of bounds

    Back in June, we wrote about the increased popularity of food trucks, especially Mexican taco trucks. But since this particular culinary delight is a moving target — literally — we enlisted our readers as we continue to search for worthy food trucks. What started the whole thing in the first place

  • Herb Benham

    HERB BENHAM: Watermelon in August - does it get better?

    It’s raining fruit. If it rained water like it’s raining fruit, Isabella would spill over the top of the dam, reservoirs would be full and Bakersfield would look like Ireland. In August, all I can think about is fruit. Gin too, but this column is not about gin; it’s about fruit. Summer squeezes

  • Herb Benham

    HERB BENHAM: No back-pedaling when you offer spare tire tube

    Last Saturday I rode to Enos Lane from Beach Park. The bike path was flush with bike riders, runners and walkers taking advantage of Bakersfield’s no-longer-hidden secret. For riders, August is notable for both the heat and goatheads (the scientific name is Bindii) the flat green weeds that

  • 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