Two recent articles caught my attention: One, Kern County may now be the largest agricultural producing county in California, and, two, home prices in the area have yet to recover from their highs in 2007. I have lived in this county since 1966 and in that time I have seen the county constantly struggling to meet its budget. I have seen cities like Shafter bring in new ideas while the rest of the county sits on its duff.

Oil prices will never reach those highs again. In fact, the future of oil promises further declines as the nation and the world weans itself off of petroleum. Agriculture has great promise as the population grows. People have to eat. What I keep looking for is action by the city and county for new ideas and fresh approaches that'll inject activities and monies into the county.

The City Council and the Board of Supervisors have got to begin thinking outside the box that has limited their vision for many years. They need to take off the blinders that has limited their vision to that related to petroleum and past practices. I know that can be done.

Robert Laramee, Bakersfield