It has been nearly 15 years, way back in the 20th century, since the real efforts to cleanup unincorporated Taft started.
Some progress was made, but not much.
Not nearly enough.
Since the the last days of the 20th century, there were probably more homes abandoned – or burned and abandoned – that there were refurbished or demolished.
Lip service was paid, and some superficial cleanups took place, but our last supervisor had a decade but did little to take a bite out of the blight.
Things are changing, however.
It's only been two months since David Couch took the oath of office as the new Fourth District Supervisor and we've already seen what can happen when a responsible leader follows up on his campaign promises.
Demolitions started this week in South Taft.
But the real news came out of Bakersfield, when the Kern County Board of Supervisors, at Couch's urging (and some encouragement from Taft City Councilmen Dave Noerr) voted 4-0 to approve the demolitions of two substandard and unsafe apartment buildings and two homes if the owners don't bring them up to code in the next 30 days.
The buildings have been left to sink, settle and rot for years, making it doubtful that anything meaningful is going to happen in the next 30 days, so the county will no doubt demolish them soon.
The two apartment building are a part of one of the biggest eyesores in Taft – and one of the lasting impressions people get when they drive through the area on Highway 119.
Call it what you will – Victory Square, Heroin Heights or just The Village – it's just ugly.
It's been described by many as Third World living standards down there.
People have talked about it for years. But no one has done anything about it until now.
Thanks, David Couch, and keep up the good work.