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Thread: Police in the US Kill Citizens at Over 70 Times the Rate of Other First-World Nations

  1. #41
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    "Turn left at Greenland." - Ringo Starr


    Thanks for sharing the article, David. I'm going to take a look at it shortly - I used to live just north of Kern County.

    When I was in Army Recruiting, my battalion owned all of Central California, including Bakersfield and Kern County. The north-south running Central Valley (which includes the county at its southernmost portion) is not an affluent region. In fact, it has many of the markers of a third-world country, including, among other things, high food insecurity, high unemployment, and low education and health outcomes. It is dominated by the agriculture industry, which while labor intensive, does not produce a high number of jobs. There is a growing healthcare industry in Fresno (about 2 hours north of Bakersfield) but it suffers from a lack of available talent. An estimated 30% of the population is either an illegal migrant or has one in their immediate family. Needless to say, poverty is widespread. There are some projects to rejuvenate the region's economy, including the construction of a high speed rail from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The estimated train commute from Fresno to SF would be under an hour (compared to a 3 hour drive). Although the project has broken ground, there is widespread resistance from landowners and agriculture because of the loss of land and the fear of urbanization. Water is of course another major issue with the state responding to the drought by arbitrarily fining residents and municipalities for not decreasing usage by 25% but leaving the farms unregulated. Many in the ag industry have not upgraded their irrigation infrastructure to more efficient systems because of lack of capital (or lack of the desire to use it). This has raised basic cost of living for low income households. Lastly, the Central Valley is a transit corridor between Northern California (SF, Sacramento) and Southern California (LA, San Diego, with eventual stops in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Mexico). This brings through a massive amount of commercial, illegal, and transient traffic on I-5 and Highway 99. Bakersfield itself sits just north of wear I-5 and HWY 99 come together.

    Unsurprisingly for recruiting purposes, Kern Country was a high producer because many of the qualified candidates (granted, it was a smaller pool), had few other opportunities. There are many structural problems in California making this problem more pronounced, such as budget cuts to secondary education institutions and the increasing difficult (and cost) on attendance at a state college.

    All of Central California has experienced white flight in the last 5 years as well, leaving Kern County with a significant and rapidly growing Hispanic population. Politically speaking, the Central Valley is predominantly represented by Republicans in Congress. The Fresno police department, though serving a major metropolitan area, suffered from a lack of funds, especially after the recession and the self-imposed austerity measures that followed. Fresno PD response times are horrible and in many cases, they do not respond at all unless there is an immediate threat to life. I would think it's safe to guess that Bakersfield suffers from something similar.

    I suspect these structural factors all have a bearing on law enforcement and governance outcomes in Kern County.
    Last edited by AmericanPride; 12-03-2015 at 03:52 PM.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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