Slow Growth Is Common Ground in Camarillo Council Election

Times Staff Writer

The absence of controversial issues and widespread community agreement on the slow-growth course of Camarillo city government will probably benefit incumbent City Council members Sandi Bush and Thomas S. Martin, who are running for reelection on Nov. 4.

But the city will get at least one new council member because Councilman Francis L. (Tad) Bowen decided not to run for another term.

In all, eight candidates are competing for three seats. The top three vote-getters in citywide voting will win four-year terms.

All the candidates agree that growth must be strongly regulated.

"The people in Camarillo approach issues such as growth very strongly," said Bush, who is serving as mayor, a position that is rotated among the five members of the council.

"We have tried to learn from what happened farther south along the coast, and we don't want it to be that way here."

As an example of the consensus on this issue, more than 100 Camarillo residents met for a full day last spring to air grievances and suggest future land use, housing and environmental policies for their Ventura County city of 45,000.

The group, selected by a consulting firm to be a representative cross section of the city, confirmed in its final report what all the City Council candidates are saying about Camarillo: there is no better place to live.

Five years ago, Camarillo voters passed a growth-control measure that limits new residential building permits to 400 annually. City policies are designed to keep Camarillo primarily a residential community, and the city's General Plan calls for a maximum population of 62,000 residents.

All the candidates said they oppose the use of the county-owned Camarillo Airport for scheduled commercial jet airline service. Although the county has no present plans to allow jet service there, many Camarillo residents say they are worried that $36 million in planned improvements at the airport will eventually be used to accommodate such a use.

The candidates are:

Bush, 46, was elected to the council in 1982 and also serves on the Camarillo Airport Authority, a local policy-making body that governs the airport. She is an 11-year resident of the city and does not work outside her home.

Martin, 59, is seeking a third term on the City Council. He teaches health and driver's education at Camarillo High School. "We need to preserve our agricultural lands, our rural atmosphere, open space and clean air," he said. Martin is a 26-year resident of the city.

Myrta Boyle, 42, is a city planning commissioner and was a member of the citizens' group that put the city's growth initiative before voters. "Outside of the two incumbents, I am the only candidate with an active knowledge of city programs," Boyle said. She does not work outside her home.

Charlotte Craven, 42, has been a member of the Ventura County Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee and the county's Housing Advisory Committee. Craven said she would like the city to improve traffic circulation. This is her second try for City Council.

Christopher Hoops, 36, is a minister and a teacher at two local private schools. He said he would investigate the city water because it "tastes terrible and has an odor to it." Hoops also said he would try to have a private firm run the city bus system to save money and end a city ban on television satellite dishes.

Arthur Lay, 73, is a retired cost analyst. Lay said he would initiate studies on existing growth controls, the cost of city services, future industrial development and traffic. "I would like to give the current council the benefit of the doubt and say they are doing a good job," he said.

Stanley Scesney, 58, is an engineer who has worked in the Navy for 20 years. He said that the city should stop using ground water and instead build reservoirs to collect rainwater because of the increased use of pesticides in nearby farms. "I'm running because I haven't been able to get the right answers from the city about our water," he said.

Bernie Barnes, 60, is a manager for a local electronics firm. He said that the city needs a long-range plan to solve future traffic problems and meet demand for affordable housing. Barnes said he would push for creation of a separate district for Camarillo on the Board of Supervisors. The city is now split between two supervisorial districts.

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