Three CEOs, two lawyers, a Stanford-educated engineer and a manager of more than $3 billion in pensions were among the women who applied for a seat on the Measure N Citizens' Oversight Committee.

None of them were selected.

In fact, of the roughly two dozen women out of the 82 total applicants, only one was selected for the nine-member board.

The committee will oversee how the city spends the additional $50 million it expects to bring in each year from the 1 percent sales tax increase that passed by less than 100 votes in November.

With such highly-qualified individuals, and with roughly 30 percent of the applicants being women, members of local women's organizations gathered outside City Hall Tuesday questioning how just one woman was selected to nine available committee seats.

They issued a letter to council members Tuesday morning demanding a revote. 

"Our local leaders have failed to lead and ignored the need to elevate female voices," the letter states. "Instead, they largely voted at the behest of — or appeased — the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce and selected eight men and a single female to serve on the Measure N Citizens' Oversight Committee.

"This is unacceptable."

The letter was written by Kimberly Kirchmer and Robin Walters, co-executive directors of Women's March Kern County. 

That group, as well as Latina Leaders of Kern County, American Association of University Women Bakersfield, ShePower Leadership Academy and League of Women Voters of Kern County put their names to the letter.

"We do not contend that those appointed are not qualified," the letter states. "However, when faced with a choice among many qualified applicants, that choice must better reflect the community — which includes women."

The Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce responded to the group's letter by noting that it nominated three women for the oversight committee in a letter it submitted in collaboration with local business and public safety groups.

"The implication that the coalition representing business and safety groups was 'appeased' in some way by only appointing one woman to the committee is inaccurate and a misrepresentation of the process and our slate of nominees," said Chamber President and CEO Nick Ortiz. "We recognize the desire for diversity on the committee, and that is why we tried to identify nominees that broadly represented ethnic, gender, geographical, and business sectors."

But frustration was apparent among those who stood outside City Hall during a sunny Tuesday afternoon, some carrying signs that said, "Women Unite" and "The Oceans Are Rising And So Are We."

Tracy Lopez, for one, is tired of women being an afterthought when it comes to the formation of committees overseeing things impacting the community as a whole. 

"I was frustrated and sad," Lopez, a member of Women's March Kern County, said of her reaction upon learning of the committee makeup. 

"We're taxpayers," she said. "We spend money. We're contributing to this tax."

Rachelle Carter, of Women's March Kern County and Democratic Women of Kern, said she hopes the lack of female representation is just an oversight by the board and not intentional. Regardless, she wants it corrected.

Those making the selections should know better, Carter said. 

"I think not being aware in this day and age is inexcusable," she said.

Seven of the appointees were recommended by a group of business and public safety organizations led by the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, leading to questions of whether the council had merely rubber-stamped the group's suggestions.

The city has said no seats were promised to any groups. Council members said they considered all 82 applicants equally. 

Regardless of how it happened, Arleana Waller of ShePower said more women are needed on the committee to fairly represent the voices of women in the community.

She said the board needs to look beyond its friends and truly represent Bakersfield.

"You basically slapped women in our community in the face," she said of board. 

(39) comments

Stating the obvious

I"ve always wondered how "marchers" and "protesters" get time off of work to be out their doing their thang.... Hmm.....


It was held during the lunch hour so working folk would be more likely to attend. And your point is a bit beside the point.

Tracy Lopez

So nice of you to inquire. And it was not a "protest" or "march," it was a press conference. It was thoughtfully and purposefully scheduled during the lunch hour because most of us taking part have full-time jobs.... but we can do our "thang" on our off-time.

Fram Smith

Good people of Bakersfield, ( and for REMUDA, St. Petersburg), may I remind you that being on this committee is like being the hall monitor for the day in kindergarten- it sounds powerful but has no real influence.What you should be spending your time talking about is how we change the Bakersfield City Council from a $100 a month part- time gig, into a real full- time professional job with offices and staff. If you want the city council to do something other than rubber stamp what the city manager and legal tell them what to do, we are going to have to have a city council that has one and only one job- to represent their constituents.We are being penny wise and pound foolish- the decisions the city council make can cost the taxpayers millions. And people make poor decisions when not give just the time and staff to fully understand the issues at hand- except, of course, the point of reference presented by the city manager. As is so offen the case, you get what you pay for. We pay our city council members $100 a month plus benefit- and we are getting every penny's worth!


Now why on earth would the City need an oversight committee to watch our mon..... Oh never mind.....


Councilman Ken Weir already warned us that the measure N sales tax dollars are going to pensions. That's why the City Counsel needs trusted "Yes" men on the oversight committee. If these unrepresented women started chanting "Repeal Measure N 2020," our City Counsel would re-vote our oversight committee without delay.


Corrupt Caucasian male in office . Shocking.


Bully, intimidate and maline until our definition of fair is seen. Great example copper.




Yep, they are missing approximately 1.7 women on that board, based on the ratio of applications. I'm sure they can find someone to represent that .7...

While I am sarcastic about it, sometimes, it is true that positions of power are not equally shared amongst the sexes. Females even being able to participate in such things is a relatively new phenomenon in America. It will take a lot of years - and a lot of adjustments on both sides - to form a society which is truly balanced. The pendulum tends to swing too extremely in an opposite direction before settling in the middle.


I say again, as before on 7 Feb >> "City council select mostly Biz . . . " :
REMUDA Feb 7, 2019 7:39am
" . . . amateur hour . . . ?” . . . WHAT ARROGANCE . . . !!!
City Council v Committee. . . ???
The 'business community' passes on the tax . . . while citizens pay it . . . !
Should be 5 Citizens, 4 Biznus . . . !!!

REMUDA Feb 7, 2019 7:53am
BTW . . . should be >> 2 M & >>> 3 F Citizen Taxpayers/Shoppers .>> >> . . 2 M & 2 F Biz CEO's . . . !
And show resumes . . . !


...... I !!!!! Don’t >>>>>>follow???????..........!!!!....>>>


The props are hilarious. Brand new clipboard, megaphone and signs from the “husbands got the wives out of the house for a day march.” Unfortunately, these gals want mod rule not equal representation. The best prop was all the, “i wanna be hillary wearing dark shades.” So staged and phony it can only be politics.


Oh yeah because women wanting equal rights and equal representation must be staged . These gals , little scared of strong intelligent woman boy, are doing the job that obviously still needs to be done. Why assume they are married ? BakoMark is a fine example of toxic masculinity with his sexist and deragatory remarks against women.


I belive the saying is,”smart,strong and beautiful.” As far as doing the job, they didn’t get it done. They didnt lobby liberal council members or those groups. One is a union, so stop gender baiting, and one got the job done. She got on the board. Im sure she worked 10 times harder than the others did. Toxic masculinity is not any opinion one doesnt agree with. Too soon for female toxicity?


Nice try again at dismissing and minimizing gender equality. It’s the name calling and out downs by BakoMark against women that are offensive. I feel sorry for any women in your life if in fact you have any.


Can I call you Richard?


Well this President knows the city councilman quite well , Funny that he’s allowing her to do this , Kim kutchner does what Andre Gonzales tell her to do , their buddies ,




Seems like this committee looks like the republican Congress members. Mostly Caucasian males. The committee should have fair and equal representation of the whole community. Much like the democratic members of congress. Come on Bakersfield you can do better get with the times and pull your collective misogynist heads out if your..


While this stuff is getting old, if it's not race its sex. Can someone explain me the amount of people being considered that were nominated by the Chamber? Seems kinda one sided.


Yes Mike it is old that is why women and people of color are refusing to take blatant sexist and racist antics anymore.


Yah good thing these people didnt live under real oppression. Like the womans sufferage movement. Those were woman who suffered beatings, forced hospitalizations and regulat beatings. Precieved emotional abuse does not equal what some went thru so women can walk a very short distance. Funny the womens walk was so short. Lets see some 10k stuff.


I happen to know 3 women who have ran the Boston marathon. So what are you saying women can’t compete athletically as well. Example 2 of Bakemark toxic masculine attitude.FYI emotional abuse is said to be even worse than any type of abuse there is. Do yiur research before you make stupid statements. THis current admistration has rolled back many progressive steps forward for women’s rights. I’m sure the protesting is just warming up. Thank you to all the fore mothers and civil rights activists who stood up to this type of dispicable and pathetic behavior , we obviously have more work to do. We can do it!


See its always about smearing, just saying if the organisers of the march wanted to show solidarity with woman that actually suffered, they would have made the march a longer. The MLK march was a decent schlepp. All the women in my life are produxtive tax paying members of society. They vote, but the rheortic that freedom has been rolled back is laughable. Travel the world, see how women, gays and minorties actually suffer and then try and make such a crazy claim. Women cant drive, can’t walk around uncovered, gays are thrown off buildings and beaten. Ethnic/gender minority’s are treated in ways inconceivable to anyone in America. But yes, women are so repressed, they can gather without fear of being attacked physically. Maybe this is trigggering so ill unfollow the thread updates. Just travel a bit, egypt, jordan, india or china and talk about how bad things are for the mostly white womens march. I might also add the womens marchs are organised by antisemitic board members closely tied with Louis Of the Islam Nation. No muslim i know even knows what the islam nation really is.


I bet women in India, Iran or any mostly middle eastern country would live to trade places with the repressed women of America.


Comparing apples and oranges . Until All women in the US have full and total equal rights as Caucasian males then yes we will continue to march and raise our voices against misogyny and oppression of women. Trump and his cronies have silently rolled back many advances for women and are actively attempting to continue to do so. Look at his cabinet his congress and his senate . How many women are representing ? Not many. Devos has taken away or is trying to take away college funding for female athletes. Trump has decrimianalied sexual assault, decriminalized and rewrote what domestic violence is and is trying to defund and takeaway access to birth control and reproductive rights. It’s a slippery slope to a handmaidens tale . This is why every single however some “men” might think it’s no big deal because well women in other countries have it worse. Well guess what women in other countries also have it better as well. We live here, we are citizen s here, WE,any self respecting woman will and should stand up say not on my watch and fight this misogyny in ALL its forms.


It's bad enough idiots have to pull the race card, now they want to pull the gender card. Grow up ladies.


What exactly are you saying? What idiots ? What race card? These ladies are grown highly intelligent and deserve a seat at the table. Sit down and shut up


But probably didn’t apply. The i want to protest bc i wanna relive/missed the 60’s is total lunacy.


Yeah because no progress was ever made in this country because of protests.


Mr. Whittington, how’s your cat?


Total bs. Everyone applied and now lets redo it.
Plato warned of mob rule.


Yes exactly redo it. Since it does not represent the community. It was false sounds like they Gand picked there buddies over highly qualified woman .

Stating the obvious

So if a community is 37% women it should have EVERY agency, board, group, gathering, appointment, etc, made up of exactly 37% women? That sounds sexist. They picked the best of the group- which contained a lot of qualified people. This is a form of sexism (which is not supposed to be on this blog) but it is a form of sexism society accepts.


Yes it should have a fair number of representation of make , females and people of color. You make no sense. What us sexist is having the group be made up if 99 percent men. Nice try at gas lighting though

Fram Smith

A friendly reminder- REMUDA is an out of area individual who is payed to make inflammatory comments. Be advised.
This is so confusing- how could all these really smart people not talk about the fact that the committee is advisory only. Alan Tandy's advice to our part-time $100 a month city council, supersedes the advice of the committee. This extra money will go to fund our underfunded pension liability because if we don't, we will be downgraded in our credit rating. We need the city council and city manager to be honest to the people of Bakersfield. There is no additional funds- and there never was going to be- except , of course, to keep our pension obligations.


True that Fram. Promoted as a 1% sales tax increase it is really a 15% increase in the sales tax (1 divided by 6.5 - do the math). Had the measure lost by 100 votes there certainly would have been a recount. Not when City Hall likes the results. Don’t expect an increase in services, but a stuffing of pension coffers and more mismanagement. Same old, same old...


Gosh, missed ya Fram-a-Dum . . . ! How'd ya know I was gonna speak here . . . ? Be careful not to let that lighter burn too much paper or fingers . . . or your nose . . .

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.