Columnists

  • Bakersfield Californian CEO Richard Beene.

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

    HISTORY: The political fracas over the Confederate flag has led to a new movement calling for the renaming of every street, school or county in the South named in honor of Confederate war dead. So where does all this end? If this country is going to embrace a long apology tour, we have a ways to go.

  • Californian columnist Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: How low can the river go? Don't ask

    The Kern River is so low, even dismal forecast models aren’t dismal enough. Dana Munn, the Kern watermaster, did a model last month trying to forecast river levels through the summer. The river is already trailing the model by 15 percent to 20 percent, he said. “When you do models, everything is

  • Herb Benham

    HERB BENHAM: Hard to get me on stage, harder to get me off stage

    Amy Adams sang first. You know Amy Adams. “American Idol” finalist Amy. Singer extraordinaire Amy. N-one-wants-to follow-her Amy. I have to go on after her? Sorry. My publicist won’t allow me to do that. This was last Saturday at the Crystal Palace for the Media Music Jam, a concert featuring

  • Bakersfield Californian CEO Richard Beene.

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

    SCAM: Gilbert Alemao shared with me yet another scam, this one an email from "The Internal Revenue Service" informing him of a $1,900 refund. The catch? It asked for all his personal information, bank account number, etc. "I wasn't born yesterday but I have to admit the

  • Olivia Garcia

    OLIVIA GARCIA: Paying tribute to law enforcement officers

    The past couple of days have been a trying time for the community as it mourns the loss of a young Bakersfield Police Department officer. Officer David Nelson died early Friday in a fiery crash at the intersection of Mt. Vernon Avenue and Panorama Drive, near Bakersfield College, while in pursuit

  • Californian columnist Lois Henry.

    LOIS HENRY: Water deal with SoCal district bears watching

    How does giving the Irvine Ranch Water District access to local groundwater, and Kern River water, leave us in a better water position? Yeah, hard for me to wrap my head around too. But the Rosedale Rio-Bravo Water Storage District insists that will be the outcome of its proposal to double the

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

    FLAG The controversy over the Confederate flag is resonating across the country, and it is nowhere as hot as on social media. When Amazon decided to stop selling the flag, I spotted this note on Facebook speaking to the hypocrisy of it all: "Amazon sells a huge variety of shirts, posters,

  • David Dennis, who introduced Taft High to the computer age and coached an Olympic athlete, has retired from the school where he had taught for 27 years.

    HERB BENHAM: The older the violin, the sweeter the music

    I like people who obliterate the idea of age. Ignore it, step over it and do what they do in spite of it. I appreciate the rest of you too but I want you to buck up. Take a walk to the stop sign and back. Start now. I’m talking about Albert Lee, who performed last week as part of Rick Kreiser’s

  • Steve Merlo

    STEVE MERLO: Taking TNT to task for its portrayal of pro bass anglers

    TNT Network's writers for a recent episode of the popular TV program "Rizzoli and Isles" need to be taken to task for the outright and untrue accusations the storyline made about professional bass fishing. Titled "Bassholes" (which is bad enough), the one-hour police/action

  • Dining Out with Pete Tittl

    PETE TITTL: La Colonia hard to find but worth the search

    There are restaurants in Bakersfield you can best classify as the culinary pioneers: Bill Lee’s, Rice Bowl, KC Steakhouse, Mexicali, Sinaloa — the ones dating to the ’70s or even farther back. They’ve inspired enough regulars to keep the doors open in what can be a very fickle business. A peer in

  • Herb Benham

    HERB BENHAM: Ice makers, like people, get tired

    The ice maker quit. Ice makers are like fountains. They’re temperamental creatures and would as soon quit on you as work with you. “They get tired,” said Dave the appliance man. “It should be making a rack an hour. If it isn’t, it’s tired.” “Tired?” I understand that. I get tired, too, and one

  • Percussionist Victorio Xavier. “I try to behave, so I usually carry a drum of some sort with me everywhere I go. I hate being stuck somewhere with time to kill and no instrument to practice. I suppose I'm a bit obsessed."

    MATT MUNOZ: Global-influenced drummer goes off the beaten path

    T­he beats never stop for percussionist Victorio Xavier. Drawn to concepts of time and rhythm that border on the spiritual, the busy Bakersfield musician has also been helping bring world beat sounds to those with a mutual affinity for global flavors. During a recent interview, Xavier was

  • Among the media personalities participating in the 2015 Media Music Jam are, from left: Steve Flores, Scott Cox, Norma Ontiveros-Gaspar, Matt Munoz, Rick Davis, Don Clark, Steven Mayer, Tracy Peoples, Herb Benham and Alissa Carlson.

    HERB BENHAM: Peaceful - and kind of uneasy - feeling about Palace debut

    I’ve been singing upstairs, in the garage, in my car. The concert is Saturday. I don’t want to blow it but if I do blow it, I want to blow it so big that when I crash and burn the fire will consume the audience and all the rest of Bakersfield. “He was awful but he went large,” somebody could say.

  • The parkway well near Stockdale Highway pumps water into the Cross Valley Canal recently.

    LOIS HENRY: Pumping like mad but whose water is it?

    Keeping your eyes on water around here is tricky, tricky business. Take the parkway wells, for example. Yes, I’m ranting about them ahhhgain. For those who didn’t read my article on this last year, let’s catch up. The parkway wells are five wells along the north side of the Kern River from

  • Richard Beene

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

    SOCIAL MEDIA: You can mark this one as a victory for the good guys. A neighbor's house downtown was burglarized this past weekend and later in the day the intruders came back to finish the job, eyeballing the home from a rear alley. This time the owner was home, snapped a couple of

  • Robert Price is The Californian's executive editor.

    SOUND OFF: An uptick in the atheist point of view in TBC

    Reader: The chatter surrounding the Shannon Grove comments ("Article quotes Assemblywoman Shannon Grove as blaming drought on God's anger over abortion," June 12) does seem to be part of a larger agenda. There seems to be a distinct uptick in opinions coming from the atheist

  • Californian contributing columnist Jose Gaspar.

    JOSE GASPAR: DA's office starts helping undocumented victims of crime

    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