Camarillo, completing first term on City Council I am standing for re-election at this time.
My career in public service, however, is more extensive. I served as city manager in five cities, including 11 years in Camarillo, retiring in 2000. I have extensive knowledge of municipal government, specifically finance and budget. I know how to get things done.
What are the major city issues of concern to you in the future?
The current drought has raised the issue of adequate water supply. The city of Camarillo is attempting to gain approval for the construction of a groundwater desalination plant, which we hope will happen this month. This will allow us to significantly reduce our demands on the State Water Project. During the past year, we have taken significant steps to further conserve water with changes in our construction codes and landscaping regulations. The city began to use recycled water for irrigation purposes and agricultural uses. Very importantly, the city now requires all new developments to supply their total annual water use in the form of permanent reductions in the water use on other properties in the city. In other words, new developments cannot increase the total water demand of the city as it now exists.
What issues in the past do you feel are not being addressed?
For a number of years the city of Camarillo has had a proactive City Council and staff that deals with issues as they arise. When we set them aside, it is for specific reasons and the Council has a system to periodically review them and determine further actions.
What are your thoughts on the state of local businesses in the city?
Since the 2008 recession, city businesses have made significant progress in recovering from the economic downturn. During this time, vacant retail spaces have largely been reoccupied. Our largest sales tax generator, the Camarillo Outlet Center, continues to remain totally occupied and continues its sales growth. Industrial and general commercial has recovered reasonably well with some vacancies. Office space lags behind the other land uses, due primarily to fundamental changes in office space demands being brought on by technology. Small start-up businesses are still locating in Camarillo. All in all, Camarillo has recovered reasonably well. The city and Chamber of Commerce continue to pursue new businesses to relocate to Camarillo.
What are your thoughts on current public safety issues?
Camarillo has long had a reputation for being a safe city, both in Ventura County and compared to other cities in California. The City Council strongly supports our Police Department, which provides an active police presence in the city. It should be noted, however, that the job of the Police Department has become more difficult because of recently passed laws which allow offenders to return to the streets more quickly, sometimes without any incarceration.
What are your housing concerns for the city? How will you address them in the future?
We have a well-maintained housing stock which offers a wide range of housing choices. Housing resale prices are high as a result of the lack of an adequate supply of homes to meet the demand for housing, but this condition exists throughout Ventura County. We are adding some additional housing through new construction at the present time. The city requires a percentage of all new housing to be affordable for low- and moderate-income persons. We have provided approximately 1,500 low- and moderate-income housing units over the past 20 years.
How important are the city’s natural resources to you and what are you doing about it?
Camarillo is surrounded by some of the most fertile farmland in the world. Because of that I support SOAR Urban Boundary Lines, which limit growth to inside the city limits. In 1998, when I was Camarillo’s city manager, I worked with the SOAR representatives and our City Council to come to an agreement on the details of the first SOAR approval. I continued to give that support as a councilman when the 2016 SOAR renewal was challenged by a property owner. I supported defending it in a lawsuit which attempted to overturn the city’s decision to place it on the November ballot. The court rejected the challenge and the issue will be decided by voters on Nov. 8.
Discuss other concerns you have with your city and what you will do to address them. This may include water issues, the state of your city’s school districts, the city’s financial stability, unemployment, etc.
Camarillo is in an enviable position by having two very good school districts serving our city school children.
The Pleasant Valley Elementary District and the Oxnard Union High School District both provide innovative education programs necessary in today’s technological environment. Further, the city is in good financial shape, having a substantial sales-tax base as well as exercising prudent financial management. All city funds have adequate reserves and we have a Capital Projects program that is meeting the needs of the city. Our unemployment rate is very low. We have active, involved-in-the-community citizens who love living in Camarillo. Compared to the problems in other cities, Camarillo is in very good shape.