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Voters Face Local Choices in 8 Cities

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Voters in eight of Ventura County’s 10 cities have local slots to fill on Election Day.

City council races in Camarillo, Fillmore, Moorpark, Ojai, Santa Paula, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks are on the ballot, as are mayoral seats in Moorpark, Oxnard and Simi Valley.

In Moorpark, residents may find themselves voting less for a candidate than for a position on a contentious issue that has occupied the community’s attention recently.

The 3,221-home Hidden Creek Ranch project has been 10 years in the making, but was not approved by the Moorpark City Council until July. The two leading contenders for mayor of Moorpark are divided on the development, the city’s largest ever and one that would increase the city’s population by a third.

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In the July council vote that gave final approval for Hidden Creek, Mayor Patrick Hunter was the only member opposed to the project, while Councilman Bernardo Perez was among its supporters.

Arguing that Hidden Creek is inconsistent with Moorpark’s General Plan, Hunter, who is seeking reelection, said the project would worsen traffic, increase urban sprawl and create a financial burden for residents.

Perez, who is challenging Hunter in the election, strongly supports the development because of the millions of dollars in fees it would bring for improvements to the cash-strapped city.

Perez gave up his council seat, leaving two council seats open in Moorpark. Six candidates, including one incumbent, are on the ballot.

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Other mayoral races around the county feature Simi Valley’s first open seat in 12 years and a three-term incumbent facing a onetime council member in Oxnard.

The Oxnard race pits Mayor Manuel Lopez against Andres Herrera, who was voted out after serving four years on the City Council. Bill Winter, who has twice run unsuccessfully for the council, is a long-shot third candidate.

In addition to picking a mayor, Oxnard voters will fill two of the City Council’s five seats from a slate that includes two incumbents and three challengers.

Simi Valley will have a new mayor for the first time in 12 years; Greg Stratton decided not to seek reelection after 19 years on the council and a failed primary bid for county assessor. Stratton will be replaced by either Mayor Pro Tem Bill Davis or retired engineering company manager Harold Fick.

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Simi Valley also has two council seats up for grabs, sought by two incumbents and four outsiders.

The ballot for Thousand Oaks City Council features a diverse baker’s dozen, two of them incumbents. Voters can pick three from a slate that ranges in age from 33 to 73 and includes a fire captain, a college administrator and a council-meeting gadfly.

Camarillo has three seats available on its council, with two incumbents and two challengers vying for the jobs.

In Fillmore, the council-appointed mayor, a former councilman and two past candidates are vying for the two seats up for grabs. Santa Paula voters will be asked to pick three council members from among as many incumbents and four challengers.

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And barring any strong write-in movement in Ojai, the three candidates on the council ballot--two current council members and one outsider--will all be elected.

Ventura does not have a council election this year, and because no one in Port Hueneme filed to challenge three council incumbents, all were reappointed.


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