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On Tuesday morning, as one of the Bakersfield Homeless Center work crews started their day cleaning the streets and storefronts of downtown, they noticed an older man lying in a doorway. When they went to wake him, they found that he had died on the street overnight.

In a few weeks, hundreds of Bakersfield residents will don tuxedos and gowns for the inaugural Mayor’s Ball. There’s a lot of buzz, and deservedly so, right now about this much-anticipated event. The evening promises to be an elegant affair benefitting the worthiest of causes: the needy and …

There is an important decision coming up in Kern County that tackles a critical "wicked problem." A wicked problem, of course, is what two political scientists, Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber titled a poli-social issue that is forever incomplete, contradictory and never requiring just one solution.

Soon, the impeachment ball will be in the Senate’s court. Leader Mitch McConnell has been working with the president’s attorneys, indicating he has no intention of creating a trial process that would lead to the truth. The “trial” is merely a game and McConnell is out to win it.

Some of you may remember my father, Vernon Valenzuela. He passed away in 2012 after serving as the first team leader for the Bakersfield Veterans Center. He was an ardent advocate for veterans and families, and just earned a distinct honor by having the new Veterans Resource Center at his al…

It’s time for a new year! A happy new year, we hope, not a grim Orwellian 1984, but a joyous 2020. Each January first begins a new year, but what does it mean to be new — a new dawn, a new day, a new year and now a new decade?

“We are currently in the midst of a Fourth Turing and the darkness deepens, with the ongoing coup attempt of a sitting president; a debt crisis being covered up by the Federal Reserve; ongoing wars in the Middle East; a new cold war against Russia and China; an overbearing dangerous surveill…

March 3, 2020, is the presidential primary election. In past years, when the California primary was held in June, the presidential candidates were often already decided, so turnout was sometimes light. With the primary in March, we anticipate many people voting who have rarely or never voted…

After reading the article in The Californian about Gov. Gavin Newsom’s visit to Bakersfield, all I can do is shake my head in disbelief (“Gov. Gavin Newsom visits Bakersfield in search of answers to homeless crisis,” Dec. 19). His agenda for California, which is all about social reengineerin…

The Christmas story of Joseph and Mary traveling through the desert to the town where Jesus was born has taken on a whole new meaning for me this holiday season for a specific reason: the 2020 U.S. Census is coming next April.

Jim Mayer’s idea of a strategy of developing an offensive game plan is critical to our economy moving forward to adapt to a more progressive approach to needed change ("Q and A: Go on offense, Cal Forward director urges Kern economic leaders," Dec. 11). Mayer tells us he is traveling on hydr…

California farmers are the largest producers of food in the United States. The Golden State’s unique soil and climate make it an ideal location for diverse agricultural production. In fact, California leads the nation in the production of more than 45 agriculture products, including strawber…

The progressive movement was born in the late-1800s and flourished until the Great Depression era. It was originally a middle-class and religious movement. The movement was in response to the industrialization of the United States. Corporations and government were in a corrupt relationship. …

I am a physician, and I believe we, as a nation, should strive for health care for all. I worked for many years at the county hospital and understand better than most the financial and human cost of delay in wellness and health care services. I am just not sure, however, that going directly …

Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative is to act according to the maxim that you wish all other rational people would follow, as if it were a universal law. There is much merit if everyone followed a more ascetic life. We would be reducing the amount of unnecessary manufactured stuff, thus r…

The president’s supporters complain that the impeachment inquiry has been unfair. Republicans were denied access to important “fact witnesses” like Hunter Biden and the whistleblower. The process was rushed and did not include enough first-hand testimony. The July 25 phone call was not “perf…

Thanksgiving is followed by the season of gift giving. The air is filled with seasonal sales and our obligation to buy the newest, most fashionable, most wanted things. These are the gifts stacked under a glittering tree, waiting to be unwrapped with merry glee.

If you research the definition of “pet peeve,” you’ll find this one among others: A pet peeve is a particular thing that bugs you every time . . . A peeve is an annoyance, and a pet peeve is an annoyance that’s nurtured like a pet — it’s something someone can never resist complaining about. …

Based on overwhelming scientific evidence, California is moving toward an inevitable transition away from the use of fossil fuels, a transition that will have profound impacts on “oil central” Bakersfield and Kern County. Because of the climate crisis, if we care at all about leaving a livab…

I watched every minute of the impeachment hearings and feel like I am one of the very few. Why did I do it? I am old enough to remember watching the Clinton impeachment hearings. I wanted to know how our country, which is known for due process and treating everyone equally, has come to a pla…

One summer in the village, the people in the town gathered for a picnic. As they leisurely shared food and conversation, someone noticed a puppy in the river, struggling and crying. The puppy was going to drown!

There is a very special community within our larger one. It is composed of those wild, crazy, amorphous groups of folks who meet at 6 a.m. at Hart Park on Thanksgiving morning. We meet for a few hours of pure unmitigated gratitude. We give thanks that we are there. Gratitude expressed with h…

All over Bakersfield, people have been complaining about the ubiquitous presence of the homeless. It seems that no matter where you are, a homeless person is located in close proximity to you.

Local advocates like myself with the American Cancer Society's policy affiliate were aghast to learn that the Kern County Board of Supervisors is backing away from efforts to pass protections desperately needed to keep our youth from a potential lifetime addiction to tobacco ("Kern superviso…

In Kern County, November is an extraordinary month. Not only do we, as a nation, celebrate Thanksgiving, but for the last 17 years, the Kern County Department of Human Services, along with our valued partners — Superior Court Juvenile Justice Center & Family Law, the CARE Foundation, Fos…

When I learned in the news the city of Bakersfield was going to build a homeless facility in southeast Bakersfield, I was heartbroken. I felt like everything we were working toward was thrown back in our faces. We weren’t asked whether we thought it was a good idea. We were told it was happe…

Californian staff writer Sam Morgen did an excellent follow up (“Fate of planned homeless shelter uncertain after the council meeting,” Nov. 8) on the Bakersfield City Council’s decision to delay purchase of a homeless shelter on Calcot Limited’s property in southeast Bakersfield.

The wildfires that have befallen our state might cause one to wonder why California? Why now? Other states have forests and nearby communities with electricity and they have not had these firestorms. California itself has had communities with electricity close to and within forests, but with…

Whenever discussions of American values arise in political discourse, there are certain phrases that have become synonymous with the very ideological existence of our nation. Words such as liberty and democracy. Phrases such as “the pursuit of happiness” and “created equal” have a weight and…