One of the most influential political groups in Ventura has announced its endorsement of four City Council candidates competing in the November elections.
The Ventura City Mobile Home Owners Coordinating Council, which represents residents from a dozen mobile home parks in the city, has endorsed Steve Bennett, a Nordhoff High School teacher; Nancy Cloutier, publisher of the Ventura County & Coast Reporter; Rosa Lee Measures, a former banker, and Councilman Jim Monahan, a welding contractor.
"We figured they would be the most consistently helpful to us," said Richard Schmittou, president of the mobile home council. He said the mobile home park owners are primarily concerned about the 1995 review of Ventura's rent control ordinance, which is aimed at curbing park owners' ability to raise rents.
"(The candidates) indicated that they would do everything in their power to keep it in place," Schmittou said.
Schmittou said he thinks the mobile home owners will be able to deliver about 3,500 votes--about 40% of what is needed to win, based on previous election results.
Ventura's mobile home owners became politically active in the late 1970s when they began to feel the pinch of increased space rents. Since 1979, they have been regarded by local politicians as one of the most decisive factors in city elections.
"We vote together or we go down separately," Schmittou said. Of the 24 council candidates that mobile home owners have backed since the 1979 election, 19 have won.