Facts speak loud and clear about living in Bakersfield

Keith Kaczmarek

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Bakersfield has a lot going for it, but at the end of the day this town needs to seriously rethink its priorities. There are several issues that need to be addressed before this area becomes a good place to live, or it can even be recommended for human habitation.

Let’s look at the facts.

In a 2010 survey later quoted in Forbes magazine, Bakersfield ranked as one of the worst places in the US to live in terms of air pollution. We ranked first in short-term particulate pollution, second in long-term particulate pollution, and second in ozone pollution in the United States.

The same article also quoted a preliminary 2009 Crime Report from the FBI stating that Bakersfield had one of the highest rates of violent crime in the US. A look at local statistics shows that 26-39% of those crimes are related to the drug methamphetamine.

Men’s Health magazine also lists Bakersfield in the top ten for drunkest cities in the US, and has the highest number of liver disease deaths per capita in the nation, and 40th in DUI arrests and 36th in binge drinking.

Up to a quarter of our wells are tainted by the banned toxic chemical TCP and the City of Bakersfield and the California Water Service have filed a lawsuit against Dow Chemical and Shell Oil in the hopes of getting the funds to clean it up.

Heck, even our housing market is terrible. The Bakersfield Californian reported that, according to the latest monthly report, Bakersfield has the fifth worse residential housing market in the US.

The Californian had yet another article quoting state statistics that Kern County has the highest expulsion rate of students in California.

According to the California Department of Public Health, we also have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in California.

In 2008, Women’s Health Magazine rated thirty different factors ranging from air quality to visits to the gym and found that Bakersfield was the worse city in the US to be a woman.

Put these statistics together, and we can see a picture emerge: Bakersfield is a dirty, dangerous, depressed, dumb and drugged-out city when compared to every other place in our fine nation.

In a very literal sense, going anywhere else in the US is an improvement in your lifestyle and health and if you plan to build a life or raise a family, this area is going to be one of the worse places in our nation.

Considering that California is one of the most beautiful states in the US, the fact that much of Kern County is an industrialized hellscape littered by oil wells and devoid of vegetation is another factor working against it.

Combined with the terrible Central Valley heat in the summer, a person could not be faulted if, in their heat delirium, they suddenly believed that they had fallen into a post-apocalyptic movie.

I’m not even going to talk about Valley Fever, a native fungus that we have here that makes the very soil dangerous to human life and turns every windy day into a chance to acquire a life-long illness that if untreated leads to a grisly death. That’s just too easy.

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