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THOUSAND OAKS : Activist Group to Sponsor Candidates

Gearing up for a local election still 18 months away, four dozen Thousand Oaks activists have formed a quasi-political party called Our Town Forum to identify hot issues and sponsor City Council candidates.

Spearheaded by former Mayors Frances Prince and Chuck Cohen, the group aims to end the divisiveness that characterizes the council by promoting candidates who agree with the generally pro-development majority, member Julian Macdonald said.

“We don’t want this diversity to continue,” Macdonald said of the council, which often splits 3 to 2, with Councilwomen Elois Zeanah and Jaime Zukowski dissenting.

“We’re not looking for a 5-0 vote on everything going through, but we would want the opposition to be more constructive and more thoughtful,” said Macdonald, who works for a fund-raising and marketing firm.

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Zeanah, who is up for reelection in 1994, said she viewed the new group as a direct challenge to her outspoken critiques of the status quo.

“There’s a big difference between diversity and divisiveness,” she said. “Diversity is not only healthy, it’s essential for debate.”

Our Town Forum leaders insisted their group is not political, although it will sponsor candidates for the three seats up for grabs in the next election. The organization’s main goal, Macdonald said, is to unify the city.

Nonetheless, sniping between the two sides began immediately.

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“Elois Zeanah is going off on a tack of her own and bringing Jaime Zukowski with her,” Macdonald said, contending that the policies of the councilwomen will drive business out of Thousand Oaks.

Zeanah, who heads a group called the Citizens Q of L Action Alliance, responded, “I guess I should be flattered that they consider my voice such a threat to their entrenched interests.”


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