Supervisor candidate says county should address problem areas in Ford City, especially "Heroin Heights."
Fourth district supervisor candidate David Couch was campaigning on the Westside Wednesday with stops in Maricopa and Taft.
He was the guest speaker at the weekly Taft Rotary Club luncheon where the talk focused on cleaning up the Taft area and water issues.
Couch is in the second year of his fourth term on the Bakersfield City Council and wants to replace retiring Ray Watson as supervisor for the fourth district that encompasses all of the west side of the county.
Although his primary focus is the city of Bakersfield, Couch said he has served in other capacities that give him a foundation for a run at supervisor.
“I have experience on regional boards, which gives you a broader perception of issues than just sitting on the Bakersfield City Council,” he said.
He serves on the city’s water board and is a member of the Valley Water Alliance.
Couch said water is one of the key issues facing Kern County.
“There are efforts by the county to prevent the state from telling us how to use our water,” he said. “Water is probably the most fascinating thing I have to deal with.”
Couch wants to clean up the county – literally.
“I’d like to clean up Kern County. Driving over here I saw a house the county had red-tagged in 2008, and nothing has been done yet. That’s the kind of thing I want to focus on.”
He pointed to an area in Ford City commonly known as “Heroin Heights” – a cluster of two-story apartments on the northeastern edge of town that has turned into squalor.
“No one should have to live in those conditions,” he said. “And, no one should have to live near that.”
Couch applauded the efforts of Bob Hampton and Westside Waste Management for the job they do to rid the area of trash.
“Bob does a lot of extra things to help the community,” he said.
How to run county government also was addressed.
“People say government should be run more like a business,” he said. “I’m not sure what that means, but it shouldn’t take so long to do certain things. You can’t expect it to run like a business if it’s not structured like a business.”
He said the Board of Supervisors is taking a look at having a CEO type executive officer to oversee all county operations.
“I think it would be an interesting thing to try. Government needs to be more business friendly.”
Couch favors a quick turnaround for people seeking public office, favoring a system where people leave the private sector for a few years in government and then return to the private sector.