What's the fastest way for a Kern County Sheriff's deputy to get a raise these days? Answer: Get hired by the Bakersfield Police Department.

What's the fastest way for the Bakersfield Police Department to hire away a Kern County Sheriff's deputy? Answer: Have city voters support Measure N and county voters deny Measure I.

The two foregoing unfunny jokes were brought to you by reality, which will play out on Nov. 7.

If the city sales tax increase passes and the county sales increase fails, we'll have what Kern County Supervisor Mike Maggard calls a "nightmare scenario": The BPD, which already poaches Sheriff's deputies on a regular basis, will have something approaching carte blanche.

"It would devastate us," Sheriff Donny Youngblood told me Tuesday. "Twenty-five (deputies) have applications over at BPD now, already."

The sheriff hires them, trains them and seasons them in the field for a year or two and then, wham!

Each local ballot initiative would raise the sales tax by 1 percent within its respective area, from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent.

Voters who live within Bakersfield's irregular city borders will be asked to consider Measure N, which would fortify the city treasury with an additional $50 million per year. Voters who live in areas of county jurisdiction, including towns like Oildale, Lamont, Mojave, Rosamond and a big swath of unincorporated but densely populated Rosedale, will be asked to consider Measure I, which would bolster county coffers to the tune of an annual $35 million.

Because revenues from these taxes would go into the two general funds, the ballot measures will require just 50 percent of the vote, plus one, rather than the two-thirds required of taxes earmarked for specific departments or purposes. But in the case of both measures, law enforcement is likely to receive the lion's share.

If voters approve, both agencies would be able to hire new officers and possibly boost the pay of the ones they have on staff already. They wouldn't be doing it out of largesse. They'd be doing it to recruit, retain and remain competitive.

That'll be especially vital for the sheriff, who can't pay as much as Chief Lyle Martin, his counterpart at the Bakersfield Police Department.

"The primary place they'll hire officers from is the Sheriff's Department," Maggard said. "We need to pass this (measure) so they won't be tempted to leave."

The Kern County Taxpayers Association has already endorsed Measure N, but only after studying it thoroughly and asking city officials to do the same.

"We spent about four months and 13 meetings with various council members discussing this," KernTax executive director Michael Turnipseed said Tuesday. "We had three with (City Manager Alan) Tandy alone."

Before KernTax would issue that endorsement, "we wanted (to know) some specific things that were very nontraditional," Turnipseed said. "We needed to have a seat at the table with the city."

KernTax wanted assurances that the city's tax revenue would address "not just homelessness but the cause of homelessness, which is poverty," Turnipseed said. "We wanted to see funding for economic development. We wanted to see a focus on east Bakersfield because a lot of crime is just commuting from east Bakersfield to west Bakersfield. We need economic development in east Bakersfield."

In the end, KernTax was sufficiently satisfied.

Now, how about Measure I? Stay tuned. KernTax is scheduled to meet week after next to decide.

Youngblood, recently elected to a fourth term as sheriff, has already made his case to the influential tax-watching nonprofit.

"The last several years, we've gotten smaller and smaller," he said. "We would leave positions vacant to make our budget."

The department has already lost 52 employees this year after bringing on 64 new hires. In the last five years, 144 deputies have transferred to other agencies, with none coming in from other jurisdictions.

Youngblood decided he had to act, and Measure I is the result.

"I was the driving force," Youngblood admitted, somewhat reluctantly. "This has been coming on for several years. I wasn't going to sit back and let it happen."

Well, he could just sit back. And eventually, if he serves long enough, he might find himself running an agency made up entirely of K-9s and BPD rejects. No joke.

Contact The Californian’s Robert Price at 661-395-7399, rprice@bakersfield.com or on Twitter: @stubblebuzz. His column appears on Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays; the views expressed are his own.

(8) comments


I guess the problem I have with both measures is that the
taxes collected will go in the "General Funds", with no assurance
that the money will go the the BPD or Sheriffs people for pay raises.
I do understand that the rules for taxes to be added to the
general fund do not require the amount of votes that the rules for
tax money for specific uses require.But I have lived in Kern county
long enough to know that money in the general fund can be used for anything.
It is not earmarked for any specific use. So I think that both measures
have problems because of that. The money can be for other things and will
not be legally earmarked for the BPD or the Sheriffs department.


Moved to Lake Isabella in 2016. 3 days before New Year. A house on the corner of Balsam and Lupine. There were squatters and a lot of them. They packed a tiny home, a RV in the back yard and the garage. I won't say what we would see. July 26th it was red tagged. They never really left the property. The sheriffs use to show up before was red tagged a few times a week and on weekends. Few nights ago, all lights were on in the house. A Sheriff drives by and shines his light and shuts it off fast. All lights were on. Am so fed up. Us law abiding citizens cannot get by with losers like this. These squatters have no shame. Whose side are the Sheriffs on? My hubby and I will vote NO. NO NO NO. Maybe the citizens up here can be our own Sheriffs. Is a lot of good people up here. More good than the trash. Drugs are all over and crazy people that do not care. Love it up here. Not going anywhere. So, Youngblood cannot even clean it up here. I question the Sheriffs as well. Get them out of the property. Red tagged is vacate in 72 hours. My husband is a General Contractor. Yet, they insult our intelligence. Good luck Mr. Youngblood. I so truly admired you. Before I moved up here.


Once again, Bobbo, We thought you had it right . . . but no cigar this time either. Lisa Green is SOLID . . . ! And . . . THIS . . . is Donny's "NIGHTMARE SCENARIO" and not a penny more . . . ! And we STILL have the right to chose BY WHOM, HOW, WHEN and WHY the Sheriff's Department's NEEDS are to be met . . . ! POT needs to be so far away from the PERCEPTION OF EVIL for the County of Kern that it becomes only a dim haze of a memory (all the way back to 2007) . . . ! And Donny . . . next time you're up my canyon road, stop by and we can talk about it.



What on earth are you trying to say here? Please tell me so
I'll know!


Two things in this article jump out-“but in the case of both measures, law enforcement is LIKELY to receive the lions share of funds” and “both agencies would be able to hire new officers and POSSIBLY boost the pay of the ones they have on staff already. I thought this was originally all about making their pay more competitive? Now I see may & possibly work there way into the equation. Without guarantees I’m voting no.


Time for a single Dept of Public Safety, run by proven proven professional administrators, not old police officers or firefighters.


I don't see this area ever allowing such a thing to happen.

Concerned Citizen of Bakersfield

Vote NO! They have the money already! NO NEW TAXES TO FUND MORE DIRTY COPS

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