OJAI : Environmentalists Pick New Director

The largest environmental group in the Ojai Valley has elected a new director to replace Russ Baggerly, who resigned earlier this year amid concerns about a possible conflict of interest.

Baggerly resigned in January as director of Citizens to Preserve the Ojai after several members said there was a potential conflict of interest because of Baggerly's job as a paid consultant to Patagonia Inc., a Ventura clothing distributor that opposes developing Taylor Ranch into a California State University campus.

The Citizens to Preserve Ojai has urged the university to study developing the ranch as well as other locations for the four-year college.

Baggerly, an outspoken opponent of development projects countywide, remains a member of the group that formed in the late 1960s to successfully fight a four-lane highway through the Ojai Valley.

Robert Rail of Ojai, a civil engineer for the U.S. Navy's oceanography department at Port Hueneme, will serve the remainder of Baggerly's term, which ends in May. About 40 of the nonprofit environmental group's 700 members met Sunday for their annual election and awards dinner at Soule Park Golf Course.

Stan Greene, an Ojai air-conditioning installer who has led the group for nine years, was unanimously reelected as president for another two-year term.

Lewis Teegarden of Ojai, who served as a city planning commissioner in the 1970s, and his late wife, Eulalee, received the group's annual environmental award Sunday from Ojai Mayor Nina Shelley. The mayor cited the couple as models of citizenship and referred to their successful battle in 1982 to keep a motel complex from being built in Soule Park.

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