Confirming earlier remarks hinting at retirement, Ventura City Councilwoman Cathy Bean said Sunday that she would not seek reelection when her term expires in November.
The one-term councilwoman, who is the sole female and oldest member of the governing panel, said she hoped not just to retire from office, but from political activism as well.
"I'm 65 years old and I've led a very, very busy life--all of it contributing to the betterment of society," Bean said. "I think it's time to do some of the things I want to do."
Before joining the City Council 3 1/2 years ago, the former elementary school teacher wet her feet in Ventura slow-growth politics as a member of the Ventura County League of Women Voters and founder of the Alliance for Ventura's Future, a grass-roots organization that pressured the City Council to curb growth.
Bean surprised political insiders when she and Councilmen Gary Tuttle and Todd Collart won seats on the City Council on a slow-growth platform in 1989.
Bean's is one of four of the council's seven seats up for election in the fall. Councilmen Tuttle, Collart and Jim Monahan have said they will seek reelection.
So far, five challengers--all with pro-business platforms pushing tourism and development--have announced they will be candidates.
They are Nancy Cloutier, 61, publisher and editor of the Ventura County & Coast Reporter; Charles Kistner, 33, a political consultant; Dick Massa, 52, owner of a medical supply company; Clark Owens, 56, a real estate broker, and Ken Schmitz, 36, a certified public accountant.
Today is the first day for candidates to officially file their petitions for candidacy.
"It is going to be a very interesting race," said Monahan, adding that Bean's decision not to run again did not surprise him.
"It was very difficult for her," he said. "She was always complaining about the lateness of the council meetings and the closed sessions."
But Bean said the difficulties she faced were not the late-night meetings.
"If you think like I do, you don't get a lot of financial support and the letters to the editor aren't always complimentary," Bean said. "People don't feel like they want to put in this kind of work to get blasted or be totally unappreciated."
Ventura Mayor Greg Carson praised Bean as "a lady of great convictions."
"I've always enjoyed working with her," Carson said. "I just hope we'll see other women--and other candidates in general--coming forward."
Bean said when her term expires she plans to vacation in New Mexico, visit her son in North Carolina and stay out of politics.
"I'm going to do my best to keep out of trouble," she said. "But just when you think you can relax, something will pop up. It always does."