• Richard Beene

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

    FREEDOM: Memorial Day is a time to reflect and appreciate those who gave their lives for our freedoms. But with those freedoms come responsibility, as Peggy Noonan cited in her Saturday column in the Wall Street Journal. Noonan was writing about the use of "micro aggressions" and

  • Even political jokes need bipartisan balance

    Mark Powell wrote a May 19 column about some of the, um, unique individuals around the country, including one in Bakersfield, who are running for president. His column, titled "Dreading Bush, Clinton? It could be worse," contained this line: "If you're paranoid about the White

  • Felix Adamo / The CalifornianRichard Beene

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

    FESTIVALS: How fat is your wallet these days? I'm asking because if you are looking for something to do this Memorial Day weekend, there are plenty of festivals and music acts that will be happy to take your money. You can start with George Martin's huge Rock & Country Music &

  • Steve Merlo

    STEVE MERLO: Take time this weekend to remember our fallen

    Memorial Day always has a sobering effect on me. The day remains a national holiday, a weekend off for most; plenty of time to just rest and relax away from the hubbub of urban life. Many people travel to enjoy the great outdoors perhaps by fishing, hunting or camping beneath the stars over that

  • Felix Adamo / The CalifornianRichard Beene

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

    ANIMAL ABUSE: If you want to get someone's attention, turn the conversation to how some people treat their pets. This note from Jean Hughes Gutierrez hit home: "Your recent comment on dogs being dumped on Breckenridge Road and being attacked and eaten by wild animals was typical of

  • Californian columnist Lois Henry

    LOIS HENRY: Bill aims to open up secret well information

    There is absolutely no good reason water well information should be secret. But it is. That's right. You can't go down to the Kern County Environmental Health Department and see well completion records. You can't even get that information if you're CSU Bakersfield Geology

  • HERB BENHAM: A meating of the minds for Dad's birthday party

    Dad's 90th is coming up and we're chewing on the menu. Food shouldn't be that important but given that people can be wild cards and turn on one another other like hyenas, food is something over which you have relative control, so why not fuss over it? People like to eat. It makes

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

    FOREVER YOUNG: The best of all of us was on display on Mother's Day, when folks took to Facebook and other social media to pay tribute to their mothers. So many pictures, many old photos in black and white taken in the war years of the 1940s, showing our mothers in their prime, smiling and

  • Janie Scott is surrounded by her triplets: Brooklynn, left, Cambria and Autumn in their front yard. Janie and her husband, John, have three older children as well.

    HERB BENHAM: Mommy & me, me, me, me, me and me - meet Janie Scott

    "Believe" is tattooed on her right wrist. It's not so much a statement of faith in the divine, but faith in herself no matter how tough life can get, and it can get thick. Every so often you meet somebody who not only renews your faith in humanity but in the charm and strength of an

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    LOIS HENRY: Your water rates are all about location

    This newspaper, along with most water agencies in town, has been bombarded with questions that no one ever asked P.D. (pre drought). Such as, "Why does my neighbor, with a big yard and a pool, only pay $20 a month for water when I pay more than $100 a month and I don't even have a pool?!

  • Robert Price is The Californian's executive editor. Email him at

    SOUND OFF: Where were blacks and Hispanics in 'Birth of a City'?

    Reader: With all due respect, with very few exceptions, The Californian's representation of the "Birth of a City" (a May 2 special commemorative edition) appears to only document and praise the achievements of "the white folk," with little or no mention of early residents,

  • Steve Merlo

    STEVE MERLO: Isabella awakening with warmer weather

    Finally! The recent warming trend in the Kern River Valley has finally started to move most gamefish into the shallows from their deep-water haunts. Up and down cold surface temperatures, combined with fluctuating barometric pressure and unseasonable weather, has at last settled, and the vast

  • Bakersfield Californian CEO Richard Beene.

    BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED A blog about life, media, politics & people

    TRAINS: When people share what they love about their neighborhood, it rarely comes down to the size of the homes or the expensive cars parked outside. It's usually the small things that matter most -- the kindness of the neighbors, that tall sycamore in the backyard, the quiet street. For me,

  • HERB BENHAM: Saving his smiles for gramps

    Sue emailed during a recent visit south to say that Andrew had smiled at her. I was happy for her. I think I was happy for her. "Andrew smiled at me," Sue said in her email. "Did he really?" I snapped in return. "Yes, he has the cutest dimple," she said. He

  • Columnist Valerie Schultz

    VALERIE SCHULTZ: A mother's life echoes phases of the moon

    Ever since I was a little girl, the sight of the moon has lured me. I remember tracking its mysterious monthly phases with my chin on the windowsill when I was supposed to be asleep; I still note its rising and setting in the night hours. I like the words associated with the moon: waxing, waning,

  • LOIS HENRY: County shelter has been exporting diseased dogs

    Kern County Animal Services strikes again -- exporting diseased animals. Yes, that's right. More than a dozen dogs from Kern County's Fruitvale shelter transported to out-of-state rescue operations were sick, and some died. And that's not even the worst part. At least