VENTURA : Architecture Adviser Offers Resignation

Longtime Ventura architectural adviser Nicholas Deitch offered his resignation Wednesday because he is competing for a city contract and wanted to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The resignation came two days after the City Council told Curtis Stiles to resign from the Planning Commission to be eligible for a city landscaping contract.

Deitch, the principal owner of Mainstreet Architects and Planners and chairman of the city's Architectural Review Committee, tendered his resignation in a three-page letter to the City Council.

At the request of council members, however, Deitch agreed to postpone formally resigning until the council devises a conflict-of-interest policy in two weeks.

Deitch, who has volunteered on city committees for 10 years, is on a short list of candidates for a project that would make city buildings accessible to handicapped people.

"It's been tough enough around here with the drought and the recession in the last few years and I felt I had to make a choice," Deitch said.

Deitch's offer to resign followed the council's action Monday in notifying Stiles that he would have to quit his commission post or turn down a $25,000 landscaping contract with the city.

An infuriated Stiles quit the commission and turned down the landscaping contract, telling council members they had "humiliated" him.

Council members and city staff, however, called and wrote Stiles Tuesday and Wednesday, asking him to stay on the project to redesign California Street Plaza across from the Holiday Inn.

Wednesday, Stiles changed his mind and decided to accept the city contract.

"Some people say, 'Don't get mad, get even,' " he said. "I say, 'Get mad and then get over it.' It's a much more healthy thing to do."

Council member Gregory L. Carson said he was pleased, though not surprised, that Stiles had changed his mind.

"I had a feeling he was eventually going to take the contract," he said. "I know his feeling of responsibility to the city goes stronger than that."

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