Advertisement

Pro-Business Candidates Try to Tip Balance in Ventura

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two years after the election of three slow-growth Ventura City Council members helped tip city government’s philosophy away from development, pro-business candidates are entering the council campaign in hopes of tipping it back.

With three filing days left, several local businessmen have joined the race for three council seats now held by Mayor Richard Francis, Deputy Mayor Donald Villeneuve and Councilman John McWherter.

Only Villeneuve is seeking reelection.

Francis announced three weeks ago that he will not run again, so he can spend more time with his wife and 7-month-old twins.

Advertisement

And McWherter, a 17-year councilman, decided last month to retire and spend more time with his family. He initially had said he would run for one more term.

Villeneuve, a Ventura Community College biology instructor first elected in 1987, has hewn to the general slow-growth policies the council has been following since 1989.

That year, Ventura residents elected council members Cathy Bean, Todd Collart and Gary Tuttle, whose slow-growth campaigns were backed by clothing manufacturer Patagonia Inc. and the Alliance For Ventura’s Future.

This year, the campaign season brings an apparent backlash.

Advertisement

One pro-business candidate is Marcum Patrick, a local mortgage banker and head of a group calling itself the Committee to Preserve Historic Ventura.

The group was formed to fight the council’s plans for an ordinance requiring downtown buildings to be made earthquake proof--an expensive process that many downtown merchants say is unnecessary.

But Patrick said he also faults the city staff with making it difficult for new businesses to settle in Ventura.

“I think it’s the misdirection of the city staff, which I think is the current root of the city’s sluggish economy,” he said. “The city continually throws roadblocks in our way. . . . Government is the only successful business in Ventura.”

Advertisement

Patrick said businesses often wait for weeks, and sometimes months, to get the permits necessary to open shop.

But Villeneuve disagreed.

“It’s an exaggeration,” Villeneuve said. “The guy’s only been here a year and a half, and he knows exactly what’s wrong with the city.”

Villeneuve said development in Ventura is completely blocked--except for three low-income housing projects--by a moratorium on new water hookups that the council passed because of the drought.

Advertisement

He added that permit applicants experience delays in the city bureaucracy because they sometimes don’t submit the proper paperwork.

The city’s business climate also has prompted the Ventura Chamber of Commerce to become involved in politics for the first time. Chamber President Gene Daffern said the group will seek to reverse what he called the council’s “anti-business” attitude by backing a candidate not yet chosen.

While the 1989 election focused on the philosophical battle over growth, the issues facing Ventura this year are more complex.

The drought is entering its sixth year. Low- and moderate-income housing is in short supply. And a steady influx of newcomers threatens to stretch the city’s resources beyond their limits by the next decade.

Advertisement

Other interest groups that have said they will back candidates who embrace their political goals include the Alliance for Ventura’s Future, the Voters’ Coalition of Ventura, the Council for a Quality Ventura and the Assn. for Quality Water Alternatives.

The groups advocate causes ranging from slow-growth to construction of a pipeline to bring state aqueduct water to Ventura for the first time.

Other candidates for the City Council on the November ballot are: Tom Buford, a labor attorney; Keith Burns, an author and publisher; Louis J. Cunningham, an operations manager for the Ventura Unified School District; Kenneth Jordan, a retired U.S. Army sergeant; Brian Lee Pincher, a student, and John T. Sudak, a children’s advocate who identifies himself as acting attorney general for the Democratic Union of American States.

Also running are: Jack Tingstrom, a personnel consultant; Bob van der Valk, an independent gas station operator, and Carroll Dean Williams, a manufacturing engineer and instructor.

Advertisement

Because Francis and McWherter are not running for reelection, the filing deadline has been extended from Friday to Wednesday, City Clerk Barbara Kam said.

Ventura’s election is the only city council race this year in Ventura County.

But a variety of other government agencies around the county are holding elections. They include the Camrosa Water District, where a petition drive by residents succeeded in placing three incumbent directors on a recall ballot. The incumbents are Jack C. Rogers, William Goth and Kenneth P. Gerry.

Municipal Candidates

Advertisement

Ventura City Council

3 Seats Open

Tom Buford, labor attorney

Keith Burns, author/publisher

Advertisement

Louis J. Cunningham, operations manager, Ventura Unified School Dist.

Kenneth Jordan, retired U.S. Army sergeant

Marcum Patrick, mortgage broker

Brian Lee Pincher, student

Advertisement

John Sudak, advocate for children

Jack Tingstrom, personnel consultant

Robert van der Valk, independent Unocal dealer

Donald Villeneuve (incumbent), biology professor

Advertisement

Carroll Dean Williams, manufacturing engineer/instructor

Special District Candidates

CAMROSA WATER DISTRICT

1 Director Per Division

Advertisement

Division 3

Carolynn Nicholson (incumbent)

Timothy H. Hoag

Division 4

Advertisement

Ronald J. Vogel

Deborah C. Reynolds

Camrosa Water Dist. Recall

Div. 1 Rep. Jack C. Rogers (incumbent)

Advertisement

Div. 2 Rep. William Goth (Replacement candidate Jeffrey C. Brown)

Div. 5 Rep. Kenneth P. Gerry

MEINERS OAKS WATER DISTRICT

2 Seats

Advertisement

Joseph Adinolf (incumbent)

Robert G. Branch (incumbent)

Don Wright

VENTURA RIVER COUNTY

Advertisement

WATER DIST.

3 Seats Open

Gene Daffern (incumbent)

Harold Parker (incumbent)

Advertisement

Marvin Hanson (incumbent)

OXNARD DRAINAGE DIST. 1

2 Seats

Ralph Borchard (incumbent)

Advertisement

John Dullam (incumbent)

OXNARD DRAINAGE DIST. 2

2 Seats

J.P. Dufau (incumbent)

Advertisement

Jesse DeBusschere (incumbent)

MEMORIAL DISTRICT

(Fillmore-Piru)

3 Seats

Advertisement

Charles W. Hanna (incumbent)

MUNICIPAL ADVISORY COUNCILS

1 Member Per Zone/Division

OAK PARK, Zone 1

Advertisement

John Kruer (incumbent)

Ramona L. Spradling

OAK PARK, Zone 2

Joyce Shimkus

Advertisement

VENTURA RIVER VALLEY

Division 1

(no filings)

Division 2

Advertisement

Gerhard Orthuber (incumbent)

Division 4

Joan Kemper (incumbent)

Lanie Jo Springer

Advertisement

SATICOY SANITARY DISTRICT

2 Seats

Jose Flores (incumbent)

Raul Morales (incumbent)

Advertisement

OJAI WATER CONSERVATION DIST.

4 Seats

(no filings)


Advertisement