City Beat Blog

Thursday, Jul 10 2014 05:27 PM

CITY BEAT: Immigration, bikes, bikinis

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Californian city government reporter Theo Douglas.

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By THEO DOUGLAS, Californian staff writer tdouglas@bakersfield.com

THERE'S A BIKE APP FOR THAT: Can't find the Kern River Parkway bike trail? Looking for an east-west commuter street? Need help fixing a flat? There's a free app for that.

Local bike emporium Snider's Cyclery is a sponsor of the Bakersfield edition of a new My City Bikes cell phone app for iPhone and Android devices.

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ABOUT YOUR REPORTER

Theo Douglas covers municipal government for The Californian. He writes in this spot every Friday. Contact him at tdouglas@bakersfield.com, at Facebook.com/TBCCityGov or on Twitter @TBCCityBeat.

The app, which came out in mid-June, lists commuter streets with bicycle lanes, as well as more bucolic rides like the bike trail.

It also offers broken-down riders video help with problems like flats.

Given its historically bad air, and ongoing struggles with heart disease and diabetes -- plus its recently-approved bicycle transportation plan -- Bakersfield was a natural choice, a My City Bikes representative said.

"Those are all things that can be addressed by very simply biking more," said Ali Cena, a program coordinator for My City Bikes. "(Bakersfield) was one of the first cities that we prioritized."

Tina Chapa, sales floor manager for Snider's Union Avenue store, said spending about $1,400 to sponsor the app was about more than just being listed in it.

"This is the first time that the company Snider's has gotten involved with that," Chapa said. "I felt very strongly that it was an important advocacy tool for our community."

THIRSTY FOR RECYCLED WATER: Valley Public Radio listeners this week might have heard about the city of Clovis' recent foray into irrigating one of its parks with recycled water -- and Fresno's plans to do the same in the next few years.

Recycled water is huge, because of the record-breaking drought.

Bakersfield already uses recycled water -- tertiary-treated water, to be precise -- to irrigate State Farm Sports Village.

Water Resources Manager Art Chianello said the city's Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 3 has produced tertiary-treated, or triple-treated, recycled water since around April 2010. It's stored in tanks, then piped next door to water the sports park, which is immediately south of the plant at Ashe and McCutchen roads.

The city, however, would happily produce more if someone wanted to buy it.

This "could be a great opportunity for irrigation districts," Chianello said. "Maybe they should consider it."

The wastewater plant produces 1,000 acre-feet of water per year for the sports park, which is about as thirsty as a golf course.

That's nearly 326 million gallons -- though, again, if the city had some paying customers, Chianello said the plant could double its production.

Water could then be piped or sent via canal to agriculture districts.

As the name implies, tertiary-treated water is recycled water that has been cleaned three times.

"On the tertiary-treated water, what's unique about it is the third treatment. That's where it's disinfected," Chianello said. "That's what makes it recyclable, not only for use on a sports village, we could put it in a lake, or we could put it in a ditch and use it for irrigation."

IMMIGRATION TALK CONTINUES: Two Bakersfield councilmen joined local officials including Delano Mayor Grace Vallejo to renew the call for national immigration reform.

At a Thursday morning press conference, Ward 2 Councilman Terry Maxwell, a Republican, joined Ward 1 Councilman Willie Rivera, a Democrat, in calling on national leaders to do something about reform.

"They need to do something," Maxwell said of lawmakers, noting he's not affiliated with organizers Forward.Us and doesn't support the current immigration plan.

"I think the first thing they should do is follow the Constitution and close the border," said Maxwell, who thinks that could be a starting point for a discussion about reforming immigration.

BOTTOM'S UP IS BUZZING: Bottom's Up Espresso, the month-old southwest drive-through where baristas wear bikinis, is doing just fine, thanks for asking.

The business, which is across Allen Road from Bakersfield Christian High School, serves 300 to 400 vehicles per day, according to co-owner Alexandra Ireland, which makes it one of the Central Valley chain's best-performing stores.

Ireland, who is from Modesto, decamped to Bakersfield to open the store last month -- and said recently she was gratified when a group of BCHS parents brought their students by for fruit smoothies.

"I was pretty excited to see that. I think that's smart of parents to take their kids out and show them, hey, it's not a big deal," said Ireland, who is looking for another Bakersfield location. "It's better to bring them by yourself than to have somebody else do it."

SOUND WALL HEARINGS: The Bakersfield City Council and the Kern County Board of Supervisors will each have to approve recently proposed sound wall and fence improvements along Westside Parkway in southwest Bakersfield.

According to 4th District Supervisor David Couch and city Public Works Director Nick Fidler, both of whom announced the changes at a neighborhood meeting Tuesday, the two agencies will consider the issue in August.

WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: The City Council's support of personal-use fireworks generated some interest from The Californian's online readers:

iaz28girl: "I know the fire chief is trying to be safe and protect us. but there are on average over 100-plus (driving under the influence) fatalities in Kern County alone annually, yet I don't see anyone screaming 'Let's close down bars and outlaw alcohol!' That is not total DUI accidents....that is people who died from a DUI accident!."

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