Mayor pleasantly surprised by experience in show with Arvin mayor and a different point of view
When Los Angeles based public television station KCET started inquiring about getting someone from the Taft community and local oil industry, people shied away.
They were worried about what they perceived as a liberal bias, and how there words and viewpoints would be used in a television show called Earth Focus.
Taft Mayor Dave Noerr said he felt the community and industry needed someone to speak for it, so he stepped up and ended up stepping in front of the camera.
Despite some early concerns, he very happy at the way the show turned out.
"I thought it was very pleasant and low key," he said after the show aired. "When you think about what channel it was on and what kind of audience they appeal too, it went pretty well."
Fears of being vilified or having words twisted were assuaged.
He was interviewed along with Arvin Mayor Jose Gurrola in a format that showed two contrasting views of the oil industry in a pair of small Kern County cities.
Arvin has passed an ordinance shaping limiting oil operations in that city, Taft, on the other hand, passes resolutions supporting the oil industry.
Noerr was interviewed at Jo's Restaurant and shown at his company, Huddleston Crane, and out in the West Side oilfields.
He talked about spending his entire working life in the oil industry, living in an oil town and having employees who live in Taft. He talked about the economic benefits of the oil industry for the county and the important role the petroleum industry plays in supplying not just energy but products for the nation.
Gurrola, too shared his viewpoint.
Houses in his city were evacuated for months because of fumes leaking from a pipeline, and the Earth Focus show carried images of a pumping unit and oil tank sitting adjacent to an occupied house.
Gurrola talked the problems in Arvin and his views about fossil fuels polluting the environment. Arvin has a few wells in and around it, but 95 percent of the people there work in agriculture, and Gurrola said the city has taken a stand.
"We have drawn a line in the sand" between the city and oil and gas", he said, "Arvin wants to go with renewable energy."
Renewable energy is fine, Noerr said, as long as it's a part of a comprehensive energy policy.
Too many people are ignorant about what the industry produces for a modern society, Noerr said, and we need to learn more before making a judgement.
"If people really understood what the petrochemical industry does and what the petroleum industry does, it would just absolutely blow up some of the misconceptions.