Congratulations and best wishes to a lifelong and dear friend, Jim Fitch, for his well-deserved retirement from his post as Kern County's assessor-recorder. Jim is the rarest form of a public official without self-promotion, without hype, while embracing accountability guided by enduring principles no less valid today than 60 years ago as a kid on Park Way Avenue. He brought loyalty, dignity and accessibility to his office, and applied simple wisdom in all situations. It's precisely why he is widely admired and respected by our citizens and leaders.

His priorities are and have always been correct: family, friends and faith. Well done, Jim!

Gary L. Hoetker

Bakersfield