I went back out to California City recently to catch up on what it is doing that no other city in Kern County dares to do. Chiefly, legalize the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and testing of medical marijuana for commercial purposes through a permitting process.

Rosa Jimenez was proud of her son. Martin Jimenez had just completed boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes in Chicago and was about to graduate. The 54-year-old mom made arrangements to take a few days off from her job at Grimmway Farms so she and two other family members could be there for…

Parents can shield their children from only so much before they catch on that something is amiss. Sooner or later parents must have a talk with their children about an issue that is usually kept quiet.

The other day I caught up with Bakersfield Police Chief Lyle Martin and we had an interesting talk as we walked around Jefferson Park. He's been on the talk circuit lately focusing on speaking to Latino students at various high schools around Bakersfield. Addressing a group of Latino student…

Just days into his presidency, Donald Trump wasted no time in signing two executive orders to reshape immigration policies. Combined with other actions, it was akin to taking a wrecking ball to the Statue of Liberty.

Kernville Union School District Superintendent Robin Shive breathed a sigh of relief after his school board split 2-2 last month on a vote to allow concealed weapons on district campuses and at school-related events. The tie meant people with Concealed Carry Weapon permits would not be allow…

Earlier this year I wrote about how difficult if can be for an undocumented immigrant who is the victim of a crime to get help from law enforcement when it comes to filling out a simple government document. It's a form that asks one question: Was this person helpful in cooperating with the i…

"Public commissions, boards, councils and other legislative bodies of local government agencies exist to and in the conduct of the people's business. The People do not yield their sovereignty to the bodies that serve them. The people insist on remaining informed to retain control over the le…

Remember the TV game "Password"? One contestant would give a one-word hint to a partner. The partner, in turn, had five seconds to ponder the meaning of that hint in the hope of being able to guess what the password might be.

You know that feeling you get when you've been away from home for a while either because you're on vacation, a work-related assignment or something else? You get tired and feel out of sorts sleeping somewhere other than your own bed. And if you have kids or elderly family members with you, t…

My wife and I recently went on vacation. We chose to go to a place that is often in the news, where reports of wild shootouts between gunmen and law enforcement or even the military take place in broad daylight.

The priest approached the podium as he does every Sunday ready to give a sermon. Except this time he did not. With a somber look and holding a document in his hand, the priest said, "Instead of a homily, I've been asked by the bishop to read this letter." I perked up a little bit, wondering …

Would you expect a 19-year-old to be a) in college; b) working full-time; c) partying at every opportunity; d) a homeowner? Thinking back to what I was doing at 19, answer c would likely be the top answer. But Brenda Ruiz is no ordinary 19-year-old.

If there's a positive side to working in the news business, it's that it can bring you to know people who have faced the most tragic losses and yet somehow are able to endure, achieve and rise above adversity. One such person is Nellie Martinez. Let me tell you a little something about her.

One year after schools in Wasco tried to create a new school district by unifying its elementary and high school districts into one, the same effort is brewing in Shafter. But the current process under way there has already dissolved into split camps with accusations of secret meetings by ce…

Kern County Superior Court Executive Officer Terry McNally is eager to dispel rumors that any court personnel is in cahoots with immigration officials by tipping them off about a person's legal status.

A McFarland police officer recently promoted to the rank of commander turns out to have a criminal record. Documents from San Bernardino County Superior Court reveal that in 2009, Steven Nieves was arrested by Fontana police and charged with six misdemeanor counts including exhibiting a weap…

This is a tale of two congressmen who came to Bakersfield last week. One's a Democrat, Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, and the other a Republican, Rep. David Valadao of Hanford. Their mission: to find common ground on the politically sensitive -- and divisive -- issue of comprehensive immig…

This is a tale of two congressmen who came to Bakersfield last week. One was a Democrat, Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, and the other a Republican, Rep. David Valadao of Hanford.

After months of contentious debate, the U.S. Senate has finally passed the first significant piece of legislation on immigration reform in years. The bill was crafted by a bipartisan group of four Democrats and four Republicans, hence the name "the gang of eight." It cleared the Senate with …

It takes political courage in this town to have a mayor publicly state that he supports comprehensive immigration reform to address the country's challenge of what to do with 11 million or so undocumented immigrants. That's what Bakersfield mayor Harvey Hall did when he was among a group of …

South High School graduate Maria Perez is one of the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants to be granted temporary permission to remain in the country and get a work permit and a driver's license. The 19-year-old applied for and was granted such status under the Deferred Action fo…

The cooler weather is here, and I welcome it. It means leaves will turn colors and brighten up the neighborhood. It will no longer be too hot to ride a bicycle in the middle of the afternoon or take a walk. No more shorts and sandals, although my friend Bruce will still wear shorts no matter…

The facilities at Believers of Jesus Church on Planz Road were teeming with young people eager yet wary of how to fill out a government form that could grant them a chance to remain in the country without fear of deportation. They came to get legal advice and help in filling out the form at …

During this time of the year, I've been covering an annual ritual in public schools. It's the dance of the layoff notices in which a school district issues a notice to teachers and other employees that they might not have a job next school year. And in every case, every year there are the us…