Truth & Promises: Supervisor Watson gives himself 'A-minus'

Truth & Promises: Supervisor Watson gives himself 'A-minus' »Play Video
Chairman of the Kern County Board of Supervisors, Ray Watson, represents the 4th District.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- At the heart of every political campaign is a set of voter promises. Politicians give their word to, somehow, make your life better.

Eyewitness News took a look back at the promises made years ago by Kern County Supervisors to find out if they kept their word.

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Chairman of the Kern County Board of Supervisors, Ray Watson, was elected in 2002 to represent the 4th District. During his time in office, he has helped improve water storage in Buttonwillow, built a new library in Frazier Park, added fire resources in Pine Mountain Club and merged fire services in Taft.

"I think I've had influence. It doesn't come as fast as you'd like," Watson said.

Uncut interview with Supervisor Watson >>>

A week before his election, he listed off his priorities to The Bakersfield Californian. Watson promised to push for public safety, a balanced budget, and to support the local concerns and efforts of the outlying communities.

Watson said, "I think they're very important. I am not the typical politician that spends a lot of time out in the field doing feel-good type things. I have a staff that is involved in all of the communities in my district."

When asked how he argued against critics who said he was out of touch from the outlying communities, Watson told Eyewitness News that he gets out to the communities often enough to stay in touch and then gets back to work.

Seeking re-election, Watson attended a town hall candidate's forum in Pine Mountain club in 2008. A member of the community asked him, "What do you project change if you're re-elected?"

"The issues of  snow removal on the roads and getting some kind of paramedic service available for the area," Watson replied.

Today, Watson admits, not much has changed.

"Just the fact that the roads department is focused on it.They're aware of the concern of the residents up there and they try to deal with it as best they can," he said.

As for the paramedic service, that changed last year. People in Pine Mountain Club are now paying an extra fee to have that service.

During that same forum, Watson told the voters that construction on a new fire station was set to begin that Spring. The funding was bonded out in 2008. But, the Pine Mountain Club fire station is still not built.

"It's up to the fire department and the general services department of the county  to go through all the architectural planning engineering and the environmental work. Those types of things, those are the types of things that are frustrating in government that you can't just snap your fingers and go 'Well, we agree that we want to do this on Monday  and that's how it's going to go."

Despite what he calls "frustrations in government," Watson says he's gotten a lot done and praises his own effort. He rated himself as an A-minus. Why the minus?

"Just because I'm modest," he said.

Watson makes almost $102,000 and funds his campaigns with the help of donors like Hall Ambulance, Castle & Cooke and The Law Offices of Borton, Petrini & Conron. He says he has no plans of seeking re-election.

Truth & Promises: Uncut interview with Supervisor Ray Watson