As a professional scuba diver, the oceans and the animals that live within have had a profound impact on my life. Although I love and appreciate the beauty of all marine wildlife, there is one species that occupies a special place for most divers – sharks.

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My recent speech at the Downtown Business Association’s Empowerment Breakfast elicited passionate discussion about several challenges facing our community and the Bakersfield Police Department. Increases in property crimes, pervasive drug usage, slow police response times to non-urgent calls…

In a going-away gift that delivered a rare victory to California’s pro-life forces, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed SB 320, legislation that would have required all UC/CSU student health centers to provide chemical abortions to students by January 2020.

Let me paint a picture many of us are familiar with, one that is usually in cartoon form. In this picture, a caveman is carrying a club in one hand while his other hand is clasped around the hair of the cavewoman he is dragging on the ground behind him. The implication is that the man has kn…

Kern High School District’s commitment to providing all of its students a multitude of opportunities is only possible with strong support from the KHSD Board of Trustees and the community. Two such great opportunities for KHSD students are to learn job-ready skills through Career Technical E…

I'm sure many of us can recall that special time in our life as teenagers when we could not wait to get our drivers license. That was before the information highway (Internet) when driving somewhere, anywhere just to meet friends, meant freedom.

One interesting tale of mythology is the Epic of Gilgamesh written in the late part of the second millennium BC. The Biblical story of Noah and the flood appears, to most scholars, to be influenced by the Epic of Gilgamesh.

I am a firm supporter of the Constitution of the United States. I love this country. As a master of arts student in social work at the University of Southern California, the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings have made me think of the long-term impact they will have, not only to society, but pa…

Among the great challenges in public service is having a list of things clearly in need of greater investment, with little to no ability to raise the bar on that investment. I want to recommend increasing the Sheriff’s budget by at least $20 million dollars, annually, to address recruitment …

This is in response to the column by Ms. Cecilia Castro, an education and policy director for the Dolores Huerta Foundation ("Hold the KHSD accountable", Sept. 20). She blamed almost everyone employed by the Kern County High School District for the dismissal of students who can't seem to fol…

As many readers may know, Measure N is on the Nov. 6 ballot within the city of Bakersfield. The City Council placed Measure N on the ballot after gathering extensive community feedback about its priorities for vital services, including over 25 community-based meetings and receiving input fro…

This is in response to Anna Smith's column ("We are in crisis mode") that appeared in the Californian on Sept. 24. I generally agree with the content of the article, but I think the author uses it to push Measure N in the upcoming election.

In my 56 years of American life, the one truth that we have always held evident is the right to due process. It does not matter if you are black, brown, white, female or male. All Americans are presumed innocent until proven guilty, period. That is unless your name is Brett Kavanaugh.

Mike Williams continues to amaze me, in a confounding and disappointing way. He is either pushing a personal agenda on concealed weapons ignoring prudent policy making, or he is truly ignorant of the dynamics of school shootings (despite being told otherwise). Either way, that makes him a da…

As Fire Chief of your Kern County Fire Department, I would like to discuss the importance of September as National Preparedness Month. Hopefully by now you have noticed the preparedness messages that have been promoted this month, and it has encouraged you and your families to take a serious…

More than 1,000 people have been tragically killed in school shootings since 1966, the year Charles Whitman, with an aggressive brain tumor affecting his emotional brain circuitry, climbed the clock tower at the University of Texas, Austin, and began shooting. Fifty-two years. Twenty-some pe…

It is undeniable that homelessness has increased in Kern County. Individuals with nowhere to live are visible in every corner of our city and county. We have heard a great deal from the voices of those who are uncomfortable with this truth because in Kern County, we don’t wish for our neighb…

We are notably young here in California, home to an estimated 13.5 million residents under the age of 25 — a number more than the total population of 46 other states — who will play an increasingly significant role in shaping the economic, social and political issues that affect us all as a …

In his opening dialogue at the Emmy Awards a few days ago, host Michael Che said, “The only white people that thank Jesus are Republicans and ex-crackheads.” Even more disturbing than the comment itself was that people laughed uproariously. In my mind, that comment perhaps gives us an insigh…

Small businesses have long been considered to be the engines that power the nation’s economy. In Kern County, where you see many small businesses partner with larger ones to provide products and services to government agencies, this is especially true.

In his Sept. 8 op-ed piece ("Community Voices: We all have a part to play in reducing homelessness"), City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales expanded on the reality that “we all have a part in reducing homelessness” – a totally correct statement (and challenge).

Ah, that we would do so. Actually open our minds and hearts to love’s bright voice. Today, as a nation, when we are torn with intolerance and anger toward neighbors who are different from us and differ with us, we must take seriously what it means to love our neighbors, each and all of them.…

It’s been one year since the Kern High School District (KHSD) settled a historic lawsuit that showed KHSD disproportionately expelled and suspended African-American and Latino students over the years.

What does it mean to be an ethical leader? For some, it means standing up in the face of injustice, especially when no one else will do so. For others, it means living one’s life with integrity, often without recognition. In essence, though, an ethical leader is one who takes action to serve…

Give Trump the Nobel Prize for economics? On what planet does Stephen Moore reside ("Give Trump the Nobel Prize for economics," Sept. 12)? Trump is not an economist. Other than perhaps a few college courses in economics, he is not a theorist of any kind, and he probably has not published any…

Tatiana Matta, a Democrat, is running against incumbent Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy in California's 23rd Congressional District. But you would not know this if you were to drive around Bakersfield less than two months from the November election.

When I saw our Congressman Kevin McCarthy on Fox News calling the anonymous op-ed writer a "coward," I could only think about how hypocritical he was. I agree, the writer should have put their name on the piece, but at least they had the courage to speak out about a problem known to most in …

In August 1942, during World War II, the United States and Mexico entered into the Mexican Farm Labor Program Agreement, better known as the Bracero Program. In Spanish, the word brazo means arm; bracero roughly translates into hired hand.

More riders are taking advantage of bike paths and transportation through cycling, but we are also seeing an influx of riders without knowledge of cycling etiquette and how to navigate traffic and bike paths safely.

The rumble, the horn and especially the tremendous boom when they connect two rail cars together here on Norris Road, which they've been doing since 1962. I can remember that TV show "Petticoat Junction." For us in Oildale, it was Oil Junction as the locomotive would round the bend from Robe…

If you use the Kern River bike path, you may have seen me. I’m the 68-year-old, never been an athlete, overweight guy who, weather permitting, cycles shirtless, usually between Highway 99 and Enos Lane.

I was moved by Jeremy Adams’ Aug. 20 essay in The Californian, "We must go to school," which addressed civics ignorance and poison politics. The Kern High School District government teacher’s observations about Americans' lack of knowledge about the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Federali…

We’ve heard a lot about truth lately. True truth, fake truth and, according to Rudy Giuliani, “Truth isn’t truth.” The word haunts us with its shifting shapes.

There's reality and there's mythology. Scientific naturalists don't confuse reality with mythology, but, unfortunately, religious fundamentalists, including Mark Quinn ("Community Voices: The origins of hate are ancient," Aug. 27), confuse their mythology with reality.

Their real agenda isn't informing people, even in their editorials, but bending the news to suit a leftist political agenda. The media indeed plays an important role in American society. Its function is to serve as the eyes and ears of the voting body so that the goals of our political syste…