Local News

Sunday, Sep 09 2012 02:00 PM

Ask The Californian: How can I get involved with the local political parties?

By The Bakersfield Californian

Q: Does the Republican Party have an office in Bakersfield? If so, where is it?

-- John E. Houser

A: The Kern County Republican Party office is at 4900 California Ave. in Bakersfield, and campaigns the party is helping with are run out of this office. But party organizers are working to set up a second office for election season to host events like viewing the presidential debates, said Karen Elizes of the party.

If you are interested in getting involved in Republican Party events, such as phone banking or helping with the KCRP booth that will be set up at the Kern County Fair, call the organization at 327-9321. And if you're at the fair, swing by the party's booth for more information, Elizes said.

If you want to get involved with the Kern County Democratic Party, you can visit its booth at the Kern County Fair, in the same building as the cinnamon rolls, said Candi Easter, chair of the Kern County organization. Another way is to join the organization's email list by signing up at www.kerndemocrats.org for its once- or twice-monthly newsletter outlining events, central committee meetings and club meetings.

The Kern Democrats don't currently have a headquarters, Easter said, but are operating out of the campaign offices of John Hernandez and Rudy Salas, two Democratic candidates in this fall's races. Hernandez's Bakersfield office is at 932 Niles St., and Salas' office will be at 912 Chester Ave., Easter said.

Q: I read an article stating that if you live close to a water treatment plant, you still inhale raw sewage particles, which cause health problems. Is the water treatment plant in the southwest doing anything to avoid such? Also, will they be doing something to minimize the smell, which is exaggerated at times?

A: Ralph Braboy, the acting wastewater division manager for the city, answered this one for Wastewater Treatment Plant 3 in southwest Bakersfield.

The risk of inhaling raw sewage particles from the plant is minimized, Braboy said, because the raw sewage isn't exposed to the air when it's being processed. Not all processes are done under a cover or lid, he added. But those that are uncovered happen closer to the end of the process, when the water is nearly clear and almost ready to be recycled for agricultural use.

As far as odor, Braboy said the plant does have an odor control system in place. "Those odors are transmitted to a biofilter, and that's how we minimize and mitigate the potential odors." Windy and hot days can exacerbate the odor from the plant, of course, but Braboy said the plant isn't always the culprit behind what you might be smelling.

"Heat doesn't only affect our process; it also affects other things in the vicinity," such as the dairy farms and fields occasionally spread with fertilizer that surround the plant, which is by State Farm Sports Village. "We're natural to look at, but we're not always the cause" of strong odors, he said.

Q: Is there an estimated time frame for the installation of off-ramps from Highway 99 to Hosking Road? And for finishing Hosking Road between Wible and Stine roads?

-- Carol Craig

A: Bakersfield Public Works Director Raul Rojas answered:

The interchange for Highway 99 at Hosking Road has been designed but the city has not yet secured funding for construction. So there is no anticipated timeline for that project. When that construction funding is secured, TRIP will be the lead department for the city.

The city has recently awarded a construction contract for improving Hosking Avenue for about 700 feet east and west of Wible Road. That construction will provide at least two lanes in each the westbound and eastbound direction. The Hosking Avenue at Wible Road project is scheduled to begin in late September or early October 2012 and should be completed by the end of the year.

The city's project will not construct all of the ultimate curb/gutter and all of the pavement; the adjacent property developers will be responsible for that.

The city has funded a project to widen the north side of Hosking Avenue for approximately 1,300 feet east of Stine Road. That project will add sufficient pavement width so there will be two westbound lanes. We anticipate this project will be constructed in Summer 2013. The ultimate curb/gutter and another lane of pavement will be the responsibility of the adjacent property developer.

Q: A short time ago a reader asked about all the earth movement at Fairfax Road north of Alfred Harrell Highway. The city answered that it was for covering of the old dump. This dirt is being moved from the east side of Alfred Harrell to the west side. The old dump is to the east of the removal area so it cannot be for the dump.

What is the dirt being used for since it obviously is not going to the dump as the city claims.

-- Bob Braley

A: Rick Millwee, city construction superintendent, responded:

In accordance with state requirements and regulations, the old city dump west of Fairfax Road, east of Panorama Drive and south of Alfred Harrell Highway, is what is being capped with the dirt being moved from the east side of Fairfax Road. There is also an old county dump east of Fairfax Road and south of Alfred Harrell Highway that may be what your reader is referring to.

The same "dirt capping" operation that is now being performed on the old city dump was performed on the old county dump in 2009.

Ask The Californian appears on Mondays. Submit questions to asktbc@bakersfield.com or to The Bakersfield Californian, c/o Christine Bedell, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302.

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