Keep an eye on Jose Gurrola, the young mayor of Arvin who has had the political courage to help broker a deal that will allow the legal cultivation of cannabis for the wholesale market. Gurrola is just 24, elected mayor last November after serving one term on the City Council. While the City of Bakersfield and the county have decided to turn their backs on any opportunities to regulate, and benefit, from legal cannabis, Arvin has chosen its own path. The city will outlaw the storefront sale of marijuana, but will allow indoor cultivation for the wholesale market. It's a shrewd compromise that could greatly benefit the taxpayers of Arvin, while giving the city more direct control over how the industry evolves.


A frustrated and angry Nancy Vide shared this: "Driving up Auburn Street on the way home, about 8 p.m, I came upon what looked like an accident in the road. I parked my car at home and ran across the street. There were four young adults and three of my neighbors and in the traffic lane was a beautiful brown pit/Lab mix. He was about 1 to 2 years old and severely injured and in shock. Everyone was trying to keep him calm. Long story short ... an evil, vicious, heartless person threw this beautiful dog out their red car/truck and then he was run over by a white car. While I am not trying to blame the people in the white car, I wish they would please come forward to help find these criminals. And to anyone that has a neighbor with a red vehicle that does not now have a (barking) dog ... please say something! I want to thank my neighbors Kathleen Snow and Daniel for taking this poor creature to the emergency vet on Easton Drive. And the young adults that stayed to help comfort the dog. I only hope karma jumps in big time for the evildoer."


Bakersfield is known for its generosity, in both big and small deeds, but the Virginia and Alfred Harrell Foundation (previously known as The Bakersfield Californian Foundation) has few peers. The foundation recently announced the winners of its fall grant cycle and they included $100,000 grants to both the Tree Foundation of Kern and the Mercy Foundation-Bakersfield. The two $50,000 grant winners were Garden Pathways and Recycling Lives. There were three $25,000 winners: Downtown Bakersfield Development Corp. (reducing trash), Rebuilding Together Kern County (the Carnation neighborhood projects) and United Way of Kern County.


"I have an awful lot of responsibilities for a guy who also has a sign on his door reminding him to zip his pants before he leaves."


"If everyone you admire keeps disappointing you with awful sex scandals, try admiring more women."


The next time you are in the Sequoia Sandwich shop downtown, check out the new indoor seating area featuring some handsome wood benches. It turns out the benches were built by Sam Ames, a local wood craftsman who specializes in tables and chairs made from reclaimed vineyard stakes. Ames provided four benches for Sequoia, made of a more traditional hardwood than the reclaimed vineyard stakes he normally uses. Check out his website at


And finally, Bernie Barman wrote to recognize a group of 60 Rotary and Interact Club members who spent a recent Saturday cleaning up the San Miguel Grove area where the bike path meets Manor. "In addition to picking up trash they also planted 10 oak trees donated by the Rotary clubs (to supplement the 100 trees the Breakfast Rotary planted several years ago) and cleared lots of weeds. Breakfast Rotary organized the event and was joined by members of other Rotary clubs, including Twilight Rotary and West Rotary, as well as 37 high school students from the Interact clubs at Liberty, Stockdale, Centennial, Golden Valley and Foothill high schools. City staff also participated by bringing in the trees and hauling away the weeds. The teamwork really paid off."

Email contributing columnist Richard Beene at His work appears here on Wednesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own. Read more on his blog at

(4) comments


Political courage or youthful inexperience?


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It is time to move away from Arvin, if you can. Any decent parent already knows how bad things are in the area. This is the tipping point and I am amazed Mr. Beene is encouraging the liberal mayor in trying to fix a financial problem by creating a bigger one by dealing in drugs. If you think outlawing dispensaries has kept drugs away from Arvin, Lamont, Weedpatch, and every school in the area, well then, you are beyond naive and perhaps complicit.

Inconvenient Truth

You're looking at this the wrong way.
There will be a financial BOOM in Arvin. Just think of all the Bakersfield stoners coming to Arvin to buy their "Medicine." They'll be stopping at local stores to use their EBT on snacks (for the Marijuana Munchies), patronizing local parks to self-medicate and filling up their gas tanks while lighting-up. Not to mention all the personal-injury attorneys who will be filing lawsuits for stoner-caused accidents on Highway 223, and all the law-enforcement revenue from tickets issued for driving under the influence of pot...

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