Richard Beene

Sunday, Feb 02 2014 10:55 PM

BAKERSFIELD OBSERVED: A blog about life, media, politics and people

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    Bakersfield Californian CEO Richard Beene.

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By Richard Beene

Drought: If you are not paying attention to the California drought, you should be. A UC Berkeley professor says we are on track to witness the worst drought in 500 years, and already as many as 40,000 people in California communities are in danger of totally running out of water. Farmers are selling off cattle, thousands of acres of productive land is being left fallow and communities are considering water rationing and other methods to reduce consumption. Stay tuned.

Immigration: Gonzalo Santos is a Cal State Bakersfield professor who is active in the movement pushing for full immigration reform and a clear path to citizenship for those in the country illegally. This weekend, he circulated an essay on the history of immigration reform and noted that he was among a group of protesters who showed up when House Speaker John Boehner joined Rep. Kevin McCarthy for a press conference. Said Santos: "Recently, when Speaker Boehner came to Bakersfield, stealthily, I and others were there anyway, protesting by the road; and he and McCarthy had to pass us on the way out. As they roared past us on their armored SUV, they had their tinted windows up, leaving us in the dust. -- or so they thought, these mighty men in such abysmal denial of the lessons of history."

Snacks: I stopped by one of my favorite locally owned restaurants the other day -- Uricchio's Trattoria -- and was pleased to see they have a new happy hour menu that includes pizzas and other snacks at greatly reduced prices. Uricchio's was one of the pioneering local retailers that placed a big bet on downtown almost two decades ago, and it's good to see them filling the seats and trying new ways to please customers.

Retail: I hated to see that Hoggz Surf Shop didn't make it in the Town and Country Shopping Center. In the times I shopped there, the customer service was always first rate and the prices competitive. Local retailers now face not only the big box competitors but the trend to online shopping as well. Hoggz joins a growing list of local retailers not making it, including Russo's Books, Anna's Cards and Gifts at The Marketplace, Olcott's, and more.

Surgery: One aspect of human behavior doesn't change no matter what shape the economy. And that is the growing acceptance of cosmetic surgery and the use of Botox to fight the aging process. On Tuesday, I will be chatting with Dr. Joseph Chang of Empire Eye and Laser Center about eyelid lifts, Botox and how a man like Chang traded his native South and ended up in Bakersfield. Join us at 8 a.m. on "First Look with Scott Cox," broadcast live on bakersfield.com and KERN 1180.

Richard Beene is president and CEO of The Bakersfield Californian. He blogs at www.bakersfieldobserved. com. These are his opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian. Email him at rsbeene@yahoo.com.

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