After serving in the United States Air Force, where he was deployed in South Korea, Dave went back to school and graduated with a degree in accounting. He had a successful career as controller for manufacturing, aerospace and agricultural companies. He finished his career as vice president and product manager at Dole Fresh Vegetables.
Since retiring, Grau has been an active volunteer in our community, volunteering as a counselor for S.C.O.R.E., an organization of retired business executives who offer free guidance to small business owners and start-up companies. He also serves as finance officer for American Legion Post 339 and on the board of directors of the Ventura County Taxpayers Association, an organization that supports transparency, efficiency and taxpayer savings to local government.
Grau and his wife, Victoria, have been married for more than 40 years. Their son, Ryan, his partner, Laura, and 2-year-old grandson Lukas reside in Santa Barbara.
Why are you running for Council?
For more than a decade I have been advocating for accountability and transparency at all levels of government. Our city needs big doses of both but more important is common sense, which had to be present before the Council commits the city to million-dollar liabilities pursuing some impractical goal.
The citizens of Ventura deserve common-sense solutions tempered with economic reality and good business sense.
What has prepared you for the job of council member?
I grew up in Ventura. After serving in the United States Air Force I went back to school and graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach, with a degree in finance and accounting.
I had a successful career as controller in local manufacturing and aerospace companies, finishing my career as vice president and general manager at a division of Dole Fresh Vegetables.
I understand business and budgeting. I’ve negotiated labor agreements with Teamsters union, lease agreements with landowners, and sales agreements with customers.
What major goals are you hoping to achieve in your term on council?
Economic Vitality — A lack of industry expanding or moving into Ventura. As job growth lags behind other cities in the county, our working-age people give up and leave for better prospects and cheaper housing. Ventura needs to make it easier to start and grow a business. It is smarter to promote good-paying job creation than to increase tax rates.
Water — Common-sense solutions to supply issues. The city’s current water policy is failing our residents. Four years into a drought and Council finally proposed an expensive, long-term plan to develop new water supplies, including a desalinization plant — that will dramatically increase water rates throughout the city. Yet City Council appears to ignore State Water — a viable, less expensive new source of water and instead pays $2 million each year for the “right” to State Water — water we never receive. We need to fix our water supply.
How will your contribution benefit citizens?
Job creation and median pay for residents of Ventura lag behind Camarillo, Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley. Create good-paying jobs and everyone benefits. No sales tax increases.
What are your thoughts on the state of local businesses in the city?
About 21 percent of workers in the city work for government employers located within Ventura city limits. These generally consist of high median-wage jobs compared to private sector jobs in Ventura. The other 79 percent work in the private sector with median wages about half those in most government sectors. We need to attract companies that offer higher median-wage jobs.
What are your thoughts on current public safety issues?
We have the highest Part 1 per capita crime rate in the county. Our police department is understaffed and that needs to be addressed immediately. I believe the city budget has funds (without a sales tax increase) to correct staffing problem, but elected officials have not taken necessary budgetary steps to do so.
What are your thoughts on the housing shortage in the city?
The lack of housing prevents new in-migration into the city, and home prices continue to rise. The lack of new in-migration into the city slows down population growth. Slowed population growth makes it harder for new companies (job creators) to find qualified workers.
Does the city need more lower-cost housing? Does it need executive housing?
How important are the city’s natural resources to you and what are you doing about it?
Ventura is unique with mountains (hills), rivers and the ocean. We need to do whatever we can to preserve those resources.
How do you feel about changes to the city’s charter, election of a mayor, council by district and term limits?
I don’t believe our city is large enough to see any benefit from the proposed change to an elected mayor and council elected by district.
I support term limits.