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Sunday, Mar 17 2013 11:00 PM

HITS & MISSES: Secretary of state is doing California no favors

By The Bakersfield Californian

MISS: Wasn't it just last month that Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a highly publicized visit to California in an attempt to lure business away from the Golden State? We were a bit smug then, pointing out that Texas had a few problems of its own, like fairly high unemployment and vague dissatisfaction among many who bolted to the Lone Star State.

Well, we keep finding ways to make California's business climate less friendly, an issue that will continue to make us a target for states looking to lure away business. The most recent example: the revelation that Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office takes a mind-boggling six weeks to turn around new business filings.

The backlog, currently around 122,000 filings, according to The Sacramento Bee, means new businesses can't seek licenses, hire workers or even file taxes until they are processed.

California uses a paper filing system. Texas uses an online system. California offers a work-around for businesses that can't or won't wait the six weeks, but it's expensive: Get same-day filing service by driving to Sacramento, filing in person at the secretary of state's office and forking over an expedited filing service fee of between $350 and $1,000.

That's sad -- and not the way to slow the exodus to Texas.

HIT: Here come more jobs

Kern County seems to have found a niche as home to large distribution centers for major manufacturers and retailers. Among the major companies with local warehousing and distribution operations are Ikea, Caterpillar and Famous Footwear at the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center, and a Target center in Roll Global's Paramount Logistics Park in Shafter.

Ross Dress for Less is joining the group, adding a 1.7 million-square-foot center near Target's in the Roll Global park. These centers provide something sorely needed in Kern County, which is struggling with an unemployment rate substantially higher than the national average: jobs. The new Ross facility is expected to add 1,500 of them.

HIT: Life gets easier on two wheels

Bakersfield will become a little bit more bike friendly this summer. The City Council's Community Services Committee will be incorporating changes to the city code that essentially require bike racks to be installed as part of additions and alterations to most buildings open to the public. This is in addition to a current state code that requires new buildings to have bike racks if the public can access those buildings.

Seems to us that someone who cares enough about his health and the environment to ride his bike should have a place to park it. This move makes good green sense.

MISS: SoCal can forget about NFL, again

It appears that Los Angeles is just never going to see the return of a National Football League team. How many times have we heard "encouraging news" that something is in the works, only to have it come crashing down?

The latest: Tim Leiweke, the driving force behind sports and entertainment giant AEG's efforts to bring an NFL team to Los Angeles, has left the company, and his former boss doesn't seem inclined to continue the pursuit with the same gusto. Plans on hold. Again.

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