When Bakersfield voters head to the polls on Super Tuesday, March 3, they will be choosing their city’s voice for the next four years. That voice should be that of incumbent Mayor Karen Goh. She has represented the city with honor and distinction since 2017.
Without question, Goh, 64, has earned a second, four-year term as Bakersfield’s mayor.
In the tradition of Bakersfield’s longest serving mayor, the late Harvey L. Hall, whom she succeeded in 2016, Goh has brought energy, intelligence and commitment to an elected post that many consider purely symbolic. But in the symbolism, Bakersfield’s mayor helps create the city’s image throughout the state, nation and even, on occasion, the world. An effective mayor unites and inspires Bakersfield residents to be the best they can be. Goh has done that.
Her reelection is challenged by four candidates – two who are qualified for the ballot, and two who are running as write-in candidates. All lack Goh’s elective and community involvement experience.
Joseph Caporali, 88, who describes himself as the CEO of a film production company, qualified for the ballot. He ran for mayor against Hall in 2008 and was soundly defeated. Caporali told The Californian that if he is elected, he will be in the community every day working for the people. Caporali is a colorful character, with a controversial past. A Californian profile of Caporali published during his 2008 mayoral campaign contained a litany of marriages, remarriages, lawsuits and self-admitted battles with alcoholism. For the complete story, visit https://tinyurl.com/va9k5kf
Gregory Tatum, 60, the pastor of Change Community Church on Truxtun Avenue, is the other challenger on the ballot. Tatum ran for mayor in 2016 and finished sixth out of 25 candidates. In 2018, Tatum, a Republican, was defeated in the top-two primary for the 16th state Senate District race, which Republican Shannon Grove ultimately won in the November general election. Tatum told The Californian his focus will be on the city’s future, as well as homelessness, drug use and sexually transmitted diseases.
Mark Hudson, 62, is a write-in candidate whose name will not appear on the ballot. He told The Californian he has owned various janitorial, car washing and window-cleaning businesses. He said he wants to give Bakersfield voters more voice in deciding city issues. He also prefers building detox and rehabilitation centers, rather than shelters, to combat Bakersfield’s homeless problem.
Joey Harrington, 49, also is a write-in candidate. He said he operates several businesses under the name Express Enterprise, but declined to identify them. He said he was motivated to run for mayor because not enough is being done to combat Bakersfield’s homeless problem.
This endorsement of Goh’s reelection is not based solely on the apparent lack of experience or qualifications of her challengers. Rather, it is based on the leadership she has shown during her first term as mayor. Goh has led efforts to combat the city’s growing homelessness problem. She has championed economic and cultural improvements. She has tirelessly strived to unite the city and the region toward a common goal of opportunity.
Goh, who grew up in Bakersfield, is a former publishing company executive and current president of Garden Pathways, a local nonprofit organization founded in 1997 to mentor children and adults toward productive lives. She attended Bakersfield High School and earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in music from the University of Southern California. After graduation, she taught music at Bakersfield Christian Life Schools and then moved to New York City to work for McGraw-Hill Companies, where she held several positions, including vice president of publishing operations.
She returned to Bakersfield in 2005, volunteered at Garden Pathways for five years, and now serves as the organization’s president/CEO. In 2010, she was appointed to and briefly served on the Kern County Board of Supervisors to represent the 5th District when then-Supervisor Michael Rubio was elected to the state Senate.
If reelected, Goh said, she wants “to continue to embrace our community, increase opportunity for all, and encourage more good jobs with new and expanding businesses. … We face serious challenges that don’t stop at the city or county lines, but with more hard work, our streets and neighborhoods will thrive.”
Without a doubt, Bakersfield voters should cast their ballots to reelect Karen Goh.