Experience in LAFCO, KernCOG and other agencies set him apart
In a little over two weeks Taft and the rest of the Fourth Supervisoral District will get its first new supervisor in 10 years.
To no one's surprise, it’s going to be a Bakersfield resident.
That's the way it goes. It's been four decades now since we had one of our own on the Kern County Board of Supervisors, and it may be at least that long again until it happens.
So we have to settle for the next best thing and ask ourselves: Who is best for our area and the county as a whole?
Harley Pinson has campaigned heavily in Taft, citing his experience in the oil industry as a counsel for Occidental of Elk Hills. He's never held elected office.
Couch, on the other hand, doesn't have that total connection to our neck if the woods, at least not yet.
But he does have a dual background in both the public and private sector. He's been a Bakersfield City Councilman for 14 year and spent 24 years a financial manager.
As a councilman, he has also served on LAFCO, the Local Agency Formation Commission, and KernCOG, which oversees transportation funding for the county. He has chaired both LAFCO and KernCOG.
Couch's experience in government and familiarity with the issues that Kern County is going to be facing, make him the choice for voters on June 5.
When the two met in Taft on April 24 for a candidate forum, something set the two apart.
Pinson said he feels that Kern County should be responsible for installing streetlights, curbs and gutters in South Taft, Ford City and Taft Heights, then turn them over to Taft through annexation.
That's a nice thought, but where is Kern County going to come up with the money to do that?
In the words of one former top county administrator, which park or library do you want to close down to pay for all that?
Couch had a much more pragmatic response. The City of Bakersfield, when it annexed areas that didn't have the curbs and sidewalks that city residents had, offered those who wanted them a chance to get them.
The taxpayers didn't have to pay for the curbs and sidewalks. The individual residents did. They paid off no-interest loans on their property tax for 9 years and the city installed the curbs and sidewalks.
It makes sense and it works.
That is the kind of approach we need if we are to grow in an orderly, cost effective way. Couch offers common sense, pay-as-you-go policy that gets the job done, not a promise that could probably never be delivered.
It's doubtful that anyone could persuade the Kern County Board of Supervisors to spend the kind of money in this day and age in any unincorporated area out in the rural areas of the county.
Kern County as a whole and the Taft area are facing major challenges, and we need the right people on the board to deal with them.
In this age of term limits we all too often want to reject experienced elected officials, but we shouldn't do so out of hand. Public policy experience like that Couch has is invaluable.
That's why we are endorsing David Couch to for the Kern County Board of Supervisors. As his campaign literature says, he is tested, trusted and ready.