Students gear up for 21st annual Leaders in Life conference

Teenagers have a lot to juggle on a daily basis — school work, tests, extracurricular activities and a social life. Add on planning an entire daylong conference for students, and it seems nearly impossible to handle it all.

But after 20 years in the community, about 100 students involved in Leaders in Life show it is indeed possible, especially since they know their work directly affects their peers.

Leaders in Life will have its 21st annual conference from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. March 12 at the Mechanics Bank Convention Center.

For more than two decades, this event has given Kern County students in sixth through 12th grades the opportunity to discuss and evaluate issues they face in a positive environment through workshops.

This year’s conference welcomes A’ric Jackson as keynote speaker, whose mission is to teach, inspire and encourage youth and help others pursue their goals and dreams. Workshop topics include student leadership and advocacy, tobacco and drug use prevention, youth voice to improve school climate, college and career exploration and issues faced by teens (relationships, social media, stress, bullying, etc.).

The success of today’s conference can be tracked back to 1998, when businessman Morgan Clayton attended the Bakersfield Business Conference and wanted to find a way to inspire community youth. An idea popped into his mind: why not let students create a conference for their peers that tackles issues they care most about?

“In February 1999, 35 students came together, we brainstormed and had our first conference in 2000. It turned out to be fantastic,” Clayton said. Since that first conference, “we’ve helped over 40,000 students.”

With this year’s main event anticipating about 2,100 attendees, students have held several general planning and subcommittee meetings throughout the school year. Tuesday was their final full gathering, where students were busy putting together goody bags, going through speakers lined up for workshops and finalizing other details.

Many students have been involved with Leaders in Life for several years, which has allowed them to gain skills they’ll use later in life.

“I came from a really financially disadvantaged school district so it was mainly to give us more leadership skills on how to combat the issues we had in our schools and be a better example to other students in my area,” said Golden Valley High School senior Amariun Tyiska, who has been a part of the conference for six years.

Putting a focus on youth voice, a safe and supportive environment and diversity has been at the forefront. Because thousands of students from schools across the county attend the event, it’s important to hear from everyone and know what issues affect them most, explained Kylie Whitlock, a junior at Frontier High School. That comes into play when deciding what topics to cover during workshops. 

Vaping and drug use has become an epidemic that has affected their classmates, so student organizers felt it was necessary to hold workshops that teach their peers about the dangers of tobacco and driving under the influence. The organization Students Working Against Tobacco will also speak at the conference.

Anti-bullying, overcoming fears with public speaking and how to get a head start on career plans are other workshops students have designed.

“That’s definitely one of my favorite parts — listening to everyone else’s stories from other schools and comparing how different they are,” explained Whitlock. “I like knowing people from other schools and what’s going on in their lives and what issues they’re facing so when I see it coming up at my school, I can put an end to it as soon as possible.”

Other than having another conference under his wing, Tyiska said he is most looking forward to seeing all the diversity when thousands of students come together. It might even encourage other minority students like him to want to join the general and executive planning committees.

For Clayton, every year makes him look forward to all that is to come with these future leaders.

“They really step out and find their spark,” he said. “I think they’re the best model for us moving forward.”

Federal judge shortage ‘will seriously hinder the administration of justice’ in Kern

Take a self-tour through the multi-story federal courthouse in Fresno, suggests Bakersfield attorney Matthew Clark.

What you don’t find might surprise you.

“Walk through the halls,” he says. “There’s no one there.”

Clark is exaggerating, but just barely.

The U.S. Eastern District Court of California, the federal judicial district that includes Bakersfield and the southern San Joaquin Valley, has instituted a judicial emergency order that federal Judge Dale A. Drozd asserts “will seriously hinder the administration of justice” throughout Bakersfield and Kern County and other parts of the district.

“These are uncharted waters for this court,” Drozd writes in his order, signed Feb. 3. “The emergency procedures … are being implemented reluctantly.”

The emergency is already affecting hundreds of local cases and local families, possibly thousands, including cases The Californian has covered in years past.

The district, which serves 8 million Californians is supposed to have six full-time judges, although it has been recommended that the number be doubled to 12.

“We have one judge,” Clark says.

“We are the single most impacted district in the country.”

What does that mean for individuals and families with cases pending?

For William “Lee” Johnson and his family, it’s a matter of survival. Johnson, now 60, was nearly killed in a December 2018 explosion at a compressed natural gas fueling station in Buttonwillow.

The accident has made him unemployable, and his wife, Joan, has had to tap her retirement fund to keep the family stable financially.

Joan Johnson has penned letters to local elected officials, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Lindsey Graham, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, addressing the judicial emergency.

“Until this is handled, the danger is out there for everybody,” Lee Johnson says.

Others affected include the family of Nancy Joyce Garrett, who was killed in September 2014 when Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Clerico ran a red light and slammed into Garrett’s car. Nearly six years later, that civil case is ongoing.

Lee Johnson’s son, Jerrad Johnson, lays the blame squarely on politicians. Federal judges are nominated by presidents and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. But the job has not been getting done, and he’s frustrated, as is every family member affected.

“There are over 1,000 civil cases now on hold,” Clark says. “That’s a thousand more families going through the same thing.”

Says Jerrad Johnson, “And more daily.”

Trump supporters out in full force at Meadows Field Airport

Supporters of President Donald Trump waited in lengthy lines outside of Meadows Field Airport Wednesday morning to welcome the president to Bakersfield.

Excitement and pride were exhibited by many that sported their Trump gear and “Make America Great Again” hats.

“It means everything to us (that the president is visiting us),” said Diane Barnett. “We (Republicans) feel alone here in California, but we’re not.”

“I think it’s a great thing that we have our president visit our great town,” said Gurinder Singh Basra.

Trump is expected to address local farmers shortly on issues concerning supplying and delivering water to California and other western states, according to a statement from the White House.

“I think it’s important to have the president come here to have face-to-face interactions with his constituents,” said Audri Ediger. “I think it’s important our farmers and workers are heard. When you’re in the farming industry in California it can be scary.”

James C. Morrison, who works in the oil industry, feels that Gov. Gavin Newsom is “trying to hurt” the oil business in Kern County. He said that it’s “time to push back” against the state’s regulations on oil.

“There’s a lot of new regulations the governor is going to put on the oil industry. I want (Trump) here in Kern County. We need Kern County to be an oil and gas sanctuary,” Morrison said.

“I think (water) is a great topic to be discussed here with our farmers. But what’s going to power the tractors for the farmers without gas and oil?”

The local gathering is taking place on Boughton Drive just off of Airport Drive on the east side of the airport. Those interested in seeing the president speak in the JACO Hanger at Meadows Field had to RSVP ahead of time and have their backgrounds checked, according to Mike Mazzie.

“I’m out of breath from the walk but it was worth it,” Mazzie said. “It means a lot for (Trump) to recognize us when he has so much going on in the world.”

Vito Mazzie, Mike’s son, was most excited at the prospect of seeing Air Force One or Marine One during the president’s visit.

This story will be updated

Many low-income Californians don’t use credit cards. Should stores be required to accept cash?

Last May, Burger Patch first opened its doors in midtown Sacramento with a sign that said “No Cash Accepted.” The owners of the organic and vegan burger joint were worried that a cash register might invite theft.

But customers kept showing up with only cash. Sometimes the cashiers would accept it, working around the digital system; other times, they’d simply give the customer a free meal. About a month in, Burger Patch changed course, deciding to install a cash register after all.

“We want to be able to have everyone come and eat here no matter what,” said Zia Simmons, who has worked at the restaurant since it opened. “We don’t want to ever have to be like, well if you don’t have a card, you can’t eat here.”

A small, but growing number of businesses are no longer accepting cash. Owners say that accepting only credit cards, debit cards or digital wallets like Apple Pay is more efficient and lowers the risk of being robbed. Electronic forms of payments are gaining popularity with consumers.

But the cash-free trend has raised concerns that such shops exclude customers who rely exclusively on cash. Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat from San Mateo, says this amounts to discrimination against people without credit cards or bank accounts, who tend to be low-income.

“I don’t think it’s intentionally discrimination. But that’s in fact what they’re doing,” Hill said. Cashless stores “may be the thing of the future, (but) it’s not there yet.”

That’s why Hill introduced a bill to require that all brick-and-mortar businesses in California accept cash.

If passed, California would become the third state, after Massachusetts and New Jersey, to ban cashless businesses before they become widespread. San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York City passed similar ordinances in the past year, and Washington, D.C., is currently considering a ban.

California residents with limited resources are far more likely to use cash. While 7.4 percent of California households do not have banks, the rate among households earning less than $15,000 per year is 27.3 percent, according to a 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

People of color, immigrants and disabled people are also more likely to be excluded by a cashless economy. In California, 20.5 percent of black households and 14.5 percent of Hispanic households do not use banks, according to the survey data. The rate is 24.8 percent among households that speak only Spanish at home and 20.7 percent among adults with disabilities. Single mothers lack access to bank accounts at a rate more than twice that of single fathers.

“When retailers don’t accept cash, they’re effectively locking out workers in low-wage jobs, communities of color and our homeless neighbors,” Andrea Zinder, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council, which has endorsed the bill, said in a statement.

People between the ages of 25 and 44 pay with cash less often than people who are older or younger — about one-fifth of the time, compared with one-third, according to a 2019 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Under the proposed law, cashless transactions would be legal, but if a business turns away a customer who only has cash, it could face a civil penalty between $25 and $500. Online retailers would be excluded, as would car rental businesses.

No groups have filed opposition against the bill yet, but Hill expects that retailers may put up a fight. Around 10 percent of the nearly 100,000 businesses that use Square, a financial check-out service, are cashless, according to a recent national study from the company.

California Retailers Association has not yet taken a position on the bill, said President and CEO Rachel Michelin. An uptick in retail theft has spurred some smaller retailers to turn towards electronic payments to avoid keeping cash behind the counter. She said the bill might be “premature” given that she hasn’t observed a widespread trend in stores going cashless, other than in more techy areas like Silicon Valley.

Hill said the issue came on his radar when he walked into a restaurant in San Mateo last year.

“I saw there’s a sign there that said ‘we don’t accept cash.’ That kind of shocked me and surprised me,” Hill said. “That seemed almost like they were discriminating against those who did not have the ability to pay an electronic transaction, and for me that raised a flag.”

The store was Sweetgreen, a build-your-own salad eatery with a sleek tech aesthetic, where a typical bowl costs upwards of $10. The chain phased out cash transactions in 2017 but reversed course last year.

“Going cashless… had the unintended consequence of excluding those who prefer to pay or can only pay with cash,” the company explained in a blog post last April. “To accomplish our mission, everyone in the community needs to have access to real food.”

Amazon’s cashier-less automated convenience store, called Amazon Go, also decided to phase in the ability to take cash after facing backlash.

To Hill, that’s evidence that companies can transition back “without great difficulty.”

“I don’t know if (this bill) is as big of a deal for (retailers) as those who are now discriminated against because they cannot pay with cash,” Hill said.

Jackie Botts is a reporter at CalMatters. This article is part of The California Divide, a collaboration among newsrooms examining income inequity and economic survival in California.

Bakersfield poised to completely outfit BPD with body cams, aid Kern County’s shelter in budget update

The Bakersfield City Council could approve a spending allocation on Wednesday to outfit all city police officers with body cameras by the middle of the year.

Previously, the Bakersfield Police Department had planned to deploy body-worn cameras on officers in a three-year rollout. However, better than expected returns from the city’s recent 1 percent sales tax increase has allowed the city to fund the expedited rollout in addition to several other projects.

On Wednesday, the council will consider allocating $800,000 for 215 body cameras that will complement the 210 cameras already rolled out by BPD. The funds will also pay for two equipment specialists who will oversee day-to-day management of the cameras.

The city said in a memo included in the council agenda that improved fiscal circumstances and other significant benefits had already derived from the cameras.

The city hopes to completely outfit BPD by spring of this year, should the allocation pass the council.

The changes come as part of the city’s mid-year budget update, which officials use to alter financial assumptions after two quarters of tax returns have been received. In total, the council will consider allocating around $5.5 million in alterations.

In addition to body cameras, the council will consider dedicating $822,000 in additional funding to fight homelessness. According to the city’s memo, the majority of the funding will be sent to the Kern County government for its own homeless shelter off Golden State Avenue while the remainder will be used for the city’s shelter on East Brundage Lane.

Kern County will receive $500,000 for its shelter, which was part of a compromise the council reached when deciding on funding its own shelter. The city’s shelter would receive $322,000 if passed on Wednesday.

The council will also consider purchasing e-permitting software, city hall security upgrades and equipment for the Bakersfield Fire Department. The bulk of the spending changes will be directed toward a reserve fund.

The council will vote on diverting $3 million in unexpected funds to the city’s reserves. The city hopes to place $5.7 million in the reserves for the next three years in an emergency strikes the city and tax revenue dwindles to nothing.

Boots on the ground: ‘Street medicine’ team serving Bakersfield’s homeless

A pregnant woman living in a tent near the Kern River, a 66-year-old man suffering from asthma while living in a van, a middle-aged woman bedding down in a dark, cold abandoned industrial facility in east Bakersfield.

They all have three things in common: They are homeless. They have medical needs. And each one was visited Thursday morning by a team of medical professionals practicing a type of guerrilla patient care known as “street medicine.”

“There is a recognition that our health care system as it is currently designed is not accessible to a lot of people. We need to reimagine what that system should look like,” said Corrine Feldman, a physician assistant, who with her husband, Brett Feldman, are veteran street medicine practitioners from the University of Southern California who were in Bakersfield on Thursday providing technical support to the primary team from Clinica Sierra Vista.

Headed by Dr. Matthew Beare, the Clinica team met at 8:15 Thursday morning on Baker Street. By 8:45, they were walking into a hulking, abandoned corrugated metal structure in east Bakersfield — with Beare leading the way.

The bearded doctor approached gently and with respect, identifying the team as medical practitioners. He knows unsheltered individuals may react with fear or panic to groups of outsiders entering a dark, abandoned industrial facility like this one.

“This is a larger group than normal,” he had cautioned the team earlier. “We need to be cognizant and not overwhelm the people there.”

As he walked toward a group of makeshift tents deep in the cavernous metal building, he called out to residents.

“You guys need anything?” he asked. “We have dog food.”

Dog food is a way in. But so are first aid kits, hats, socks, feminine hygiene products. Corrine Feldman calls the small gifts “tools of engagement.”

“They really are a link to creating a rapport,” she said.

Even something as simple as shoelaces can help create a bridge between the people who need medical care and the professionals who want to provide it.

“Shoelaces not only lace up your shoes, they hold up pants, tents,” Feldman said.

“And pet food, it allows them to care for another living thing,” she said. “That’s really critical to feelings of self-worth.”

Especially when you’re feeling worthless.

But condoms are also handed out, as are clean syringes. If an IV drug user is going to use needles, he’s much more likely to avoid contracting HIV/AIDS or hepatitis C if he has access to “clean points.”

It’s not an ideal arrangement, Beare acknowledged, but neither is living in a place with not even the most basic of creature comforts.

The inside of the abandoned cotton gin looks post-apocalyptic, the smell of soot and wood smoke from warming fires assault the senses. A gutted vehicle squats nearby. Trash. Shopping carts. Discarded building materials are everywhere. The rustling and cooing of pigeons can be heard high above in the rafters.

There are three buildings, and as the team moves through them, each one cleaner than the first. Before the team departed, resident Victoria Rodriguez could be seen sitting on a portable folding stool as medical student Justin Martin-Whitlock knelt on one knee and measured her blood pressure. Rodriguez was able to fill a prescription for meds thanks to the team’s visits, which are weekly.

Street medicine is designed to deliver primary and urgent care to homeless people wherever they are. When the patients can’t come to you, you go to them, Beare said, under bridges, along creeks and rivers, in shelters, soup kitchens, on skid row. All care, including medications, laboratory tests and diagnostic studies, are free.

“I’ve volunteered two years with these guys,” said Scott Dopp, who accompanied the team Thursday. “Three and a half years I was homeless. I learned a lot during that time, how to approach people, how to survive on the streets.

“It’s not easy to gain their trust,” he said of the unsheltered, who are often victims of crimes, and even of well-meaning cleanup crews who will sometimes throw away the meager possessions of street people.

“Dr. Beare, he’s got a pretty good rapport with these folks,” Dopp said.

HOMELESS PETS ALSO HELPED

Thursday’s group was indeed larger that usual. It was joined by a veterinary team from the Street Dog Coalition, a nonprofit that provides free medical care and related services to pets of people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.

As veterinarian Allyson Hannan and veterinary assistant Evelyn Flesner provided a vaccination and deworming to a puppy outside the industrial facility Thursday morning, they talked about how important it is to protect and honor the bond between all people and their animal families.

The bond many unsheltered people have with their pets is strong, so strong that many will forgo shelter for themselves if their pets are not allowed in.

“This is our first time with this group,” Flesner said of the street medicine team. “But we’ve done visits to other shelters.”

As the team moved from the industrial site to the Kern River flood plain near Oildale, it was not uncommon to see pets with many of the unsheltered homeless.

BOOTS ON THE GROUND

When the team reached Riverview Park in south Oildale, they headed out on foot along trails that cut through riparian trees and underbrush near the river.

Brett Feldman, the director of street medicine at USC, was there to observe and provide technical assistance. Feldman has practiced homeless medicine since 2007 and founded two street medicine programs in Allentown, Pa., as well as USC’s street medicine program in Los Angeles.

He also is the vice chair of the Street Medicine Institute, which facilitates and enhances the direct provision of health care to the unsheltered homeless where they live — in dozens of cities and countries all over the world.

Feldman’s job Thursday was to provide the sort of guidance and support to help Beare and others in developing their own street medicine programs.

“The worst part of homelessness is not material want,” Feldman said. “It’s feeling unwashed, unwanted, uncared-for.”

One of the most common ways to help those who find themselves without a home, he said, is “harm reduction.”

Preventing hepatitis C, preventing infections, getting a homeless person in to see a dentist, and just showing you care are all forms of harm reduction.

“Just being present is the biggest form of harm reduction,” he said.

Beare was present all morning. The doctor and his team must have walked 2 miles of trails, engaging everyone they saw. As case worker Maribel Bautista kept track of every medical contact, and helped set up appointments — and even transportation to clinics — Beare approached loners under bridges and couples in tents.

Some of these temporary homes had an American flag flying proudly overhead, as if the residents wanted to say, “We’re still Americans! Despite our circumstances, we’re one of you.”

There was the couple with two dogs and a litter of eight young puppies. He was happy to take some dog food, condoms and hygiene kits, but he declined medical care — except for the puppies.

Steven Schiavone, 59, said he chooses to live in the bush. He works two or three days a week and says he has as much money as he did when he was working for a corporate wage — because he doesn’t have to pay rent or any number of other costs of living in a real house.

But Schiavone had kind words for the street medicine team, and for Scott Di Stefano, who works with a group called Broken Chains, handing out an opioid inhibitor designed to save the life of someone in the throes of an opioid overdose.

“This is God’s hands at work,” Schiavone said of the work volunteers and medical professionals are doing.

Beare and his team really got busy as they visited Church without Walls on Beardsley Avenue, where Ben Hanna is the pastor.

The team assisted several people at the church, patients with illnesses, possible infections, and one man who reported experiencing debilitating anxiety attacks.

Watching Beare’s approach, the way he forms relationships with patients who have nothing, and who may have little reason to trust a stranger, it soon becomes apparent why they do trust him. His empathy is close to the surface. His smile is like a father’s or a big brother’s. And his desire to help is draped across his shoulders like a stethoscope.

But he knows the need is great and that one street medicine team may not be enough.

“If others see the need and decide to join us in this effort,” he said, “that would be the greatest reward.”

Kern County Raceway could provide safe outlet for street racing activity

The Kern County Raceway Park is in the planning stages for providing a sanctioned outlet for local street racers, however they are in need of resources to continue moving forward, according to Steve Hughes, media and marketing director at the track.

The raceway has already received monetary commitments for the endeavor, yet is in need of equipment such as new barriers. Hughes also explained that the raceway will need to pay for the required levels of insurance as well as having money for an on-site EMT.

“Obviously our first priority is safety, for competitors and spectators,” said Hughes. “Monetary support is one thing, but if there are services that we could have donated, those would be a big help in closing the gap to making this happen.”

Hughes said that the raceway would be open to hosting events such as a “burnout box” and the potential for a drag race strip. There would be a small fee for participants, according to Hughes, which is not limited to only street racers.

“We want this to be open to anybody whether you’re a street racer or just want to bring your daily driver out to the track to race,” Hughes said.

Bakersfield City Councilmember Chris Parlier said that he’s committed to contributing $1,000 towards the sanctioned events, which he originally stated at the Jan. 21 public forum at Independence High School.

“We need a pool of money to host a few events,” Parlier said. “I think we’ve been pretty successful so far.”

Gurinder Singh Basra, president and founder of the Sikh Riders for America, has pledged to donate $1,000 to the raceway as well.

“Our intention is to help the community. I have seen it while on Stockdale Highway and they go crazy speeds and are driving very unsafe,” Basra said. “My mindset is that it’s completely wrong what they’re doing.”

Basra also said the Sikh Riders for America will be open to contributing additional funds if seen necessary, as well as some members volunteering for the events.

Hughes was extremely grateful for Parlier and Basra’s commitments.

“Anything helps, and it’s so helpful that a citizen — even though he’s a City Council member — would want to take 1,000 dollars out of his own pocket is amazing,” Hughes said. “Also, the entire Sikh community is so helpful to things like this. When they see a need, they’re always very generous.”

Curtailing the issue of illegal street racing is a topic that Basra is passionate about and feels this is a good opportunity to create a safer community and promote local businesses.

“First, our teenagers (who are involved in street racing) are all precious to somebody in their family. Having (street racing events) at Kern County Raceway Park is for their safety,” Basra said. “Second, (doing this) will help the kern raceways and will support a local business and help the community in a bigger sense and help get some teenagers off of the street.”

Both Hughes and Basra took further action in finding a solution to illegal street racing following the Nov. 24 death of Maria Blaney Navarro as a result of a street race on Old River Road. Leading up to the incident community complaints on street racing were prevalent, particularly from residents in southwest Bakersfield.

Hughes explained that he doesn’t think this will necessarily solve the street racing problem but it’s an opportunity to have some events open to street racers and other “outlaw racers.” He cited friends that own raceways across the country have had success with similar tactics.

“We already didn’t want folks doing burnouts on our city streets or doing it in my neighborhood,” Hughes said.

At a Thursday morning meeting of the Safe Neighborhoods and Community Relations committee, Bakersfield Police Department’s Interim Chief of Police Greg Terry presented heat maps from data compiled on illegal street racing in town since 2017. While a stretch of Gosford Road in southwest Bakersfield has been the hotspot of street racing activity over the years, activity has increased in other regions throughout town.

Terry said collaboration is currently underway between BPD, California Highway Patrol and Kern County Parks Rangers to continue monitoring the issue. Since Nov. 23, BPD has initiated 179 traffic stops, impounded 26 vehicles and written 130 citations pertaining to street racing.

Trump to visit, talk water with Bakersfield farmers Wednesday

President Donald Trump will make a stop in Bakersfield on Wednesday, a White House official confirmed for The Californian Thursday morning.

Trump will join House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy at an unconfirmed location in the city to speak to Central Valley farmers about efforts to improve the supply and delivery of water in California and other Western states, the official said, speaking on background.

In his first visit to the West since his State of the Union Address, Trump will also travel to Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado, the official said.

On Tuesday, the President will meet with members of the LA28 Olympic Committee in Los Angeles for an update on their efforts to prepare for the 2028 Summer Olympic Games. 

On Thursday, Trump will deliver remarks at the Hope for Prisoners Graduation Ceremony at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Headquarters, where he will highlight his administration’s efforts to provide previously incarcerated Americans with second chances, the official said.

Trump was last in the Valley when he visited Fresno for a 2016 campaign rally. Since then, Vice President Mike Pence has visited Lemoore and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has visited multiple locations in the San Joaquin Valley, the Fresno Bee reported.

Health Department shuts down Tehachapi’s Blue Ginger Pho for dead cockroaches, grease buildup

Blue Ginger Pho restaurant in Tehachapi was closed Tuesday after the Kern County Public Health Services Department observed violations during an inspection.

According to the department’s Inspection Violations Report, the popular restaurant, located at 1121 W. Valley Blvd., Suite D, was found to have dead cockroaches in numerous areas of the restaurant, “severe” grease buildup on the filters in the exhaust hood, on the floor and equipment, and a pot of soup on the kitchen floor without a lid.

In addition, a box of frozen raw meat was found sitting out in the kitchen prep area and no sanitizer was found in the three-compartment sink and no sanitizer buckets were observed in the kitchen prep area.

According to the report, the owners, manager and cooks did not demonstrate the ability to care for the facility and protect it against vermin.

Blue Ginger Pho received an inspection score of 67 percent. The restaurant was previously shut down last July after inspectors found no hot water for cleaning equipment and utensils or warm water for washing hands.