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VanderKolk Unlikely to Seek Reelection

Ventura County Supervisor Maria E. VanderKolk is expected to announce this week that she will not seek reelection to the seat representing an area that stretches from Thousand Oaks to Port Hueneme, sources said Monday.

Although VanderKolk declined to comment, a source close to the supervisor said: “It’s all over. She is not going to run. It’s pretty common knowledge.”

VanderKolk has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday to discuss her political plans. She was elected in 1990, narrowly beating incumbent Madge L. Schaefer in one of the biggest upsets in county political history.

For about a year, VanderKolk has hinted that she might not seek a second term. At times, she has told colleagues that she would like to return with her husband and young daughter to Colorado, where she grew up.

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She has also expressed frustration over the heated political battle she endured over her decision to compromise on the Ahmanson Ranch housing development, a project she adamantly opposed during the campaign.

VanderKolk suggested that developers of two giant housing projects consolidate their projects on Ahmanson Ranch in the Simi Hills, saying the combined project would preserve Jordan Ranch and nearly 10,000 acres of parkland. The Board of Supervisors agreed to adopt the consolidated project.

But many environmentalists who worked on VanderKolk’s campaign angrily scolded the supervisor for what they saw as a betrayal of her pledge to protect open space. They vowed to launch a bitter campaign against her if she sought a second term.

Rumors of VanderKolk’s departure has spurred interest among a number of potential candidates. So far, H. Jere Robings, president of the Ventura County Alliance of Taxpayers, is the only person to formally announce his candidacy.

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