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Bakersfield College

POSTPONED to Fall 2020 - The Liberty Institute Presents A Democracy Dialogue: Oil (In)Equality

Featuring Mayors Jose Gurrola and David Noerr

Oil | Environment | Equality | Economy | Propaganda
Wednesday, March 25,2020
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. |Forum 101 BC Main Campus

Moderator: Olivia Garcia, Professor of History & Faculty Coordinator: Erin Miller, Professor of History

The Liberty Institute at BC invites the community to join us for a new series called Democracy Dialogues starting with our inaugural event "Oil (In)Equality?: A Controversial Conversation Featuring Mayors Jose Gurrola and Dave Noerr.”

Given the centrality of the oil industry to Kern County and increased regulation both at the state level and at the local level in Arvin, exploring the impact of petroleum on both our economy and on our quality of life takes on increased importance. Jose Gurrola (Arvin) and Dave Noerr (Taft) view the petrol industry and its impact on their constituencies with stark differences. For both mayors, however, the quality of life of their communities influences their stances not just on the oil industry, but also on the environment, equality, and justice. Mayor Gurrola, on the one hand, characterizes Arvin not as opposing oil but as the “David” to the oil industry’s “Goliath” working diligently to protect the city’s community from the injustice of “suffering the environmental burdens of pollution and water contamination.” Mayor Noerr, conversely, extols the numerous ways the oil industry benefits people’s lives “day-in and day-out,” the industry’s strategic importance to national energy independence, and California’s oil production as the most environmentally safe in the world. While Gurrola stresses the significance of Arvin’s “setback” ordinance requiring oil production to be at least 300 feet from sensitive areas like housing, schools, etc., Noerr takes issue with “misinformation” in the media and educational systems that undermines informed policy. These ideas, among others, should make for a lively, informative discussion, and with Professor Olivia Garcia as our moderator, the mayors will go beyond stating their own positions and will address challenges to their views including both perceived weaknesses and misconceptions.

So, please join the Liberty Institute at Bakersfield College Wednesday, March 25, 2020 in Forum 101 on the Bakersfield College Main Campus from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for this free and open event as Olivia Garcia, a professor of History and Journalism, engages mayors Gurrola and Noerr in an intense discussion about the impact of the oil industry on their respective constituents, their proposed solutions, and their opposing views.

The Liberty Institute Democracy Dialogues series aims to increase our community’s understanding of important topics by vitiating ideological conformity; reintroducing civility to political disagreement; addressing misconceptions; allowing participants to influence the contours of discussion; modeling intellectual inquiry; engaging students and the community in critical thinking; and complicating various media and educational narratives. Democracy Dialogues engages speakers in a moderated discussion that transcends talking points, avoids personal attacks, and addresses legitimate concerns on all sides, including the credibility of sources and methodologies employed as well as conclusions drawn. These events strive to deepen understanding and dialogue in order to create an empowered, engaged, and informed society.

The Liberty Institute Democracy Dialogues Series is always free, open to the public, and held at Bakersfield College's main campus on Panorama Drive. Parking is free on event nights in the lot at Mount Vernon and Panorama (solar panel lot).

Liberty Institute logo with liberty bell.

Dave Noerr Biography

Business Owner & Mayor of Taft

I was Born and raised in a military family & attended schools in 5 states and Puerto Rico. I Worked in the construction industry building houses and commercial buildings until 1981. In June of 1981 I was hired on at Sun Oil Company, I worked my way up & retired from Arco in 1991 to go into Business. I am Co-owner and President of Huddleston Crane Service, Inc. now for 28 years. I Served on the Westside Parks & Recreation District Board of Directors until being elected to the Taft City Council in 2004. I have been re-elected to Taft City Council 3 times and I am currently serving as Mayor for the second time.

Dave Noerr in front of Taft City seal.

Jose Gurrola Biography

Mayor of Arvin

Mayor Jose Gurrola is a lifelong resident of Arvin, a proud product of Arvin public schools, and a graduate of Bakersfield College and CSU Bakersfield. In November 2012, at the age of 19, Gurrola was elected to the Arvin City Council. In 2016, Gurrola was elected as one of the youngest mayors in the state of California. As mayor, he is committed to fighting for clean air and water, immigrant rights, equitable economic development, a just transition towards renewable energy, improved city services, and increased educational opportunities in Arvin. He is a member of the Young Elected Officials Network, Kern Council of Governments, and former member of the Kern Local Agency Formation Commission. Gurrola is also a second year law student at Kern County College of Law.

Dave Noerr in front of Taft City seal.

Olivia Garcia Biography   

Associate Professor, Bakersfield College

Olivia Garcia teaches world history, American history, and California history at Bakersfield College and is a part-time lecturer for the Communications Department at California State University, Bakersfield, teaching classes on media ethics, journalism and writing. She has taught journalism for 15 years now at BC and CSUB. Aside from her teaching career, Olivia spent 20 years as a professional journalist, working as daily newspaper reporter and magazine editor. Olivia is looking forward to the publishing of her first book, which examines the 50-year history of CSUB. The book is slated to be released in the fall of 2020. She is currently working with BC Journalism Professor Erin Auerbach on writing a book about mass communication in the digital age. Olivia holds a master's degree in history from CSUB and a bachelor's degree in mass communication and journalism and a second bachelor's degree in Chicano Studies, both from Fresno State. She is also a BC alumna, having graduated with dual associate's degrees in journalism and Spanish. 

Date & Time: 
Wed, 03/25/2020 - 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Location: 
Forum 101, 1801 Panorama Dr.

Kern Community College District