A great quote can really make a news story sing. A bunch of them strung together is a particularly fun read.
So here you go, the best quotes of 2016:
“I will be direct with you. Donald Trump was not my first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh choice.”
— House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, on then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, adding he was sticking with his pledge to support the party’s pick for president.
"It was like Jesus rose from the dead.”
— Bruce Irvin of the Oakland Raiders, after teammate Derek Carr, the team's quarterback, emerged from the locker room to loud cheers on Nov. 27, just minutes after leaving the field with a grotesquely (and painfully) dislocated pinky finger.
“He will be a tough act to follow. I don’t know of anything he wasn’t willing to do to help Bakersfield and help its citizens.”
—Kern County Supervisor David Couch on Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall, who hung up his ribbon-cutting scissors after 16 years.
“You don’t want to be sniffing around another man’s wife.”
— Defense attorney Kyle J. Humphrey, after the sentencing of three U.S. Marines who beat a man for carrying on a romantic relationship with one of their wives.
"A saint, I'm told. A saint, indeed. She's a pretty great lady.”
— Attorney Bobby Cloud on Ward 6 Bakersfield City Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan — whom he was trying to unseat.
"Oh, my goodness, I never heard of that. I’m very touched.”
— Sullivan’s response to hearing Cloud would seek to name a street after her if elected. (Sullivan won.)
“All we say is God gave you these parts — go to the restroom where you were born to go.”
— Community member Jeffrey Burns, during a Kern High School District board meeting debating transgender bathroom laws. It was met with applause.
“Let’s go in circles, let’s get this thing on.”
— Bakersfield’s Derek Thorn, a couple of days before a Spears Southwest Tour race on Oct. 29 at Kern County Raceway Park. Thorn won the race.
“I think the anger is even more today than it was two years ago. It’s anger against the establishment.”
— A prescient Ken Mettler, who was running in the primary to unseat House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield. McCarthy won re-election.
“There are a ton of extremely confusing and mixed messages coming out of Manhattan and Washington. I have no idea what’s going to happen on Jan. 20.”
— Clinica Sierra Vista CEO Steve Schilling on the future of Obamacare and Medicaid expansion given Donald Trump’s election as president.
“WELL OF COURSE! YOU TWIT!”
— An angry caller to Columnist Lois Henry when Henry pointed out that activists aren't concerned about the safety of produce grown with recycled oilfield water, they just want to stop oil production.
“We do need a PR firm. We need support. We've had a very bloody year with the chicken suit, the guns, the bathrooms. We need the help. I want to make sure we get the right help.”
— Kern High School District Trustee Jeff Flores, who objected to offering a $387,000 contract to Providence Strategic Consulting, for which former Trustee Chad Vegas’ nephew works.
“God had his hand on this house.”
— Bill Coughran, whose home in Squirrel Valley wasn't touched during the deadly Erskine Fire. Several of his neighbors' homes were burned to their foundations.
“I got my one and a half blows in and then it went downhill for me.”
— Squirrel Valley resident Joe Palme, who got into a fight with a CHP officer a few days after the fire when he sped past a barricade to go to his house, which had been destroyed. Palme is now facing misdemeanor charges.
“Our parents paid for this amazing infrastructure system in the U.S. and we’re letting it deteriorate before our eyes. Our children and grandchildren sooner or later will need to pay for it. Maybe it’s time for us to pay for it.”
— Ahron Hakimi, executive director of the Kern Council of Governments, on the poor condition of roads.
“A lot of eyes are out there looking for this bug.”
— Victoria Hornbaker, citrus program manager for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, on efforts to eradicate the Asian citrus psyllid.
“Turn yourself in and get help. There’s help for you still.”
— South Bakersfield resident Alicea Wallace, speaking to whomever shot up her home during a party, injuring 14 and — it turned out later — killing one.
“I'm sick and tired of law enforcement being blamed for what parents can't do. We can't do everything in law enforcement. We simply can't.”
—Sheriff Donny Youngblood, responding to the mass shooting. He blamed parents for allowing such a party.
“I don’t think anybody in America knows this stuff.”
— Vermont Sen. and then-presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders in Bakersfield after hearing thousands of local people can’t drink their tap water because of contamination.
“I would never enforce this law that California has given. I will do everything in my power to fight letting males walk into our girls restrooms or girls showers or girls locker rooms or play on a girls team.”
— Then-Kern High School District Trustee Chad Vegas on state-imposed anti-discrimination laws. He chose not to run for reelection because he said enforcing them would violate his religious conscience.
“When someone shoots themselves in the head, it’s hard to identify who it is.”
— Sheriff's watch commander Steve Williams on why sheriff’s officials maintained an hours-long standoff in Oildale with Christopher Gray, who they believed was barricaded inside a home but instead had killed himself hours earlier a few miles away.
“(Getting the two-year contract) played a huge factor, but we also knew what a great city it is. There are so many friendly people, and we were starting to meet people outside of hockey as well. Plus, the California living. It was a special opportunity to be so close to so many things.”
— Condors captain Ryan Hamilton on why he made Bakersfield his home over the summer.
"You have not scrubbed the budget. You, as the Board of Supervisors, cannot tell the taxpayers of Kern County that you've looked under every rock."
— Michael Turnipseed of the Kern County Taxpayers Association opposing a county tax measure to fund public safety and transportation.
“In one instance, the meal was partially consumed as served, however when salt and pepper were added it made an overall improvement to the taste of the food.”
—Kern County grand jurors when they investigated the quality of school lunch programs.
“We felt he was very qualified. Well, not qualified — scratch that. He has a lot of potential.”
— Lamont Elementary School District Supt. Ricardo Robles on his assistant superintendent, Jose Cantu, who was earning $144,000 annually despite not holding an administrative credential.
“He went ‘Uuuhhhhhhhnnn’ and he’d look up and say, ‘Kenny, you son of a b****!’ And I’d say, ‘Oh get your ass up, you ain't hurt that bad.’”
— Kenny Graham, former Chargers strong safety about sacking famous Jets quarterback Joe Namath back in the late 1960s.
“For a while I’d go to the cemetery and I’d just struggle with him not being there.”
— Tracy Martin on his son Trayvon, whose death polarized the nation and helped spark the Black Lives Matter movement, before speaking at CSUB in April.
“There are fewer people who are seriously interested in poetry than collect miniature jade carvings of vegetables. Having a poet laureate shows more people, 'Oh, such a thing exists.’”
— Don Thompson, Kern County's first poet laureate.
“I don’t know if there are five, six or seven people.”
— Lamont Elementary School District trustee candidate Ernesto Garay, referring to the number of trustees who serve on the board. He won his seat. He’s one of five members.
“When I talk about teachers being lazy, it’s not because they’re clocking in at 7:45 a.m. and drinking coffee all day. It’s because they’re not taking advantage of opportunities. They’re not giving 100 percent to their profession.”
—Vineland School District Supt. Matthew Ross, who publicly called his staff lazy in the middle of stalled contract negotiations, spurring 13 to resign en masse.
“I should have asked him if his mom knew what he was doing here.”
— Voter Dedre Brodbeck after 18-year-old West High senior Perrin Swanlund, who was running against Republican Vince Fong for 34th District assemblyman, asked for her vote. Swanlund lost to Fong in a landslide.
“Do you know why we started this church? None of the other churches in town wanted us.”
— Mary Stark, a Dustbowl immigrant and early member of First Southern Baptist Church of Shafter, while celebrating its 80th anniversary in May.
“No matter what, I'd trade everything just to have a full functioning brain.”
— Former Bakersfield High School student Mitch Carter after receiving a $10.5 million settlement in June over a brain injury he suffered when a mob of students pummeled him at a pep rally.
“These kids, of what you could call stupid parents, could have a right to an education, and we have an obligation to protect their right to make dumb decisions.”
— Kern High School District Trustee Mike Williams, on whether to provide protections to students whose parents object to immunizations.
“It was engulfed in flames for a while, more than normal. It was pretty hot. It took the windshield out.”
— Nostalgia Top Fuel driver Adam Sorokin after an engine explosion and flash fire at the end of a qualifying run during the 25th annual California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in October.
“It has nothing to do with politics, and the idea that we’re railroading an idea through to me is just not genuine. There’s nothing political about a school board. We’re not political.”
— KHSD Trustee Mike Williams, after allowing teachers with concealed carry permits to bring guns to campus.
"There was no backroom deal. I never once told one individual, and I never do, my stance on an issue until I hit that button"
- Mick Gleason, responding to accusations from companies that sell controversial green energy financing that the Kern County Board of Supervisors promised to vote against the program.
"We offered to pay for half of the cost if we pick the evaluator together. Turn up your hearing aid."
– Kern County Fire Fighters union president Derek Robinson to Kern County Taxpayers’ Association executive director Mike Turnipseed after Turnipseed called the union’s offer to help pay for a fire department audit a conflict of interest.