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By Richard Beene
McCarthy: It is reasonable that people get passionate over immigration reform, but does it excuse threats and intimidation? In a meeting with local pro-reform activists, Rep. Kevin McCarthy was taken aback when CSUB sociology instructor Gonzalo Santos issued a veiled threat if real reform legislation doesn't pass within three months.
According to McCarthy, Santos said he would "make me feel the pain... make it difficult for me" by having his movements shadowed by protests if immigration reform doesn't happen. "He told me it would be like the 1960s again," McCarthy told me. "They already come by my house, and it makes my daughter feel uncomfortable... I don't like being threatened." My own views on this issue are probably closer to those of Santos than McCarthy, but I don't believe these kinds of threats are the least bit constructive. McCarthy also dismissed accusations that he refused to meet with pro reform protesters who showed up at his local office over Labor Day, saying he had been called back to Washington for the intelligence briefing on the Syria conflict.
Valley fever: House Majority Whip McCarthy may be in the crosshairs over immigration reform, but some of the most important work he is doing is trying to find a vaccine for Valley Fever. He has now gotten the attention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and two CDC directors will be in Bakersfield Sept. 23-24 for the first Valley Fever Symposium. McCarthy is invited all survivors of Valley Fever and their family and friends to a reception on Sept. 23 at 4:30 p.m. at the Hans Einstein Center at 1800 Mount Vernon Ave.
More valley fever: And speaking of Valley Fever, did you know that 97 percent of all Valley Fever cases come from Kern and three Arizona counties? It's the limited impact geographically that has allowed the disease to fly under the radar.
Spotted: On Truxtun Avenue headed east near Oak Street, a reader spots a Bakersfield police officer in an unmarked patrol car, stopped with his lights and flashers on in the left-hand lane. "He was out of his vehicle helping a driver push his stalled or broken-down car out of the road and into a nearby parking lot. I know it's something pretty simple, and I shouldn't really be surprised, but it was awesome to see one of our local officers offer a quick helping hand to a stranded motorist. And I think it shows you're never too busy to help someone."
Latination: If you have never attended a First Friday in the downtown arts district, this is the Friday to do it. The most popular art show in town opens today at The Metro Galleries when Latination premieres an impressive collection of more than 100 pieces celebrating the arts and culture of the Latino community. As usual, all of the other art galleries along 19th Street and around the Fox Theater will be open. Things get popping around 5 p.m.
Prostate cancer: There is a free prostate cancer screening for the uninsured or underinsured this Saturday. It's sponsored by the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center and local urologists and will be held at the CBCC on Truxtun Avenue. You can call now to make a free appointment at (661) 862-7136. The screening runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.