John F. Johnston

73, Ojai, retired Ventura County executive officer

What are the major city issues of concern to you in the future?

Water, housing, governance

What issues in the past do you feel are not being addressed?

Transparency in government, unfunded liabilities and deferred maintenance.

What are your thoughts on the state of local businesses in the city?

Doing reasonably well but too dependent on tourism to be stable sources of income for city services in an economic downturn.

What are your thoughts on current public safety issues?

Fire and police doing an excellent job.

What are your housing concerns for the city?  How will you address them in the future?

Try to reconcile free-market pressure with affordability. Preserving and protecting existing residential inventory. Evaluate impact of additional housing units on infrastructure (water, sewer, traffic, etc.) and link/limit approval of new units, not otherwise entitled, to residential use at affordable rental rates.

How important are the city’s natural resources to you and what are you doing about it?

They are extremely important environmentally, economically and culturally.  I am engaged in regional discussions on long-term solutions to the water supply and what the city can do to play their part.  I have spoken up to protect city parks and city-owned open space. I am a member of the Ojai Land Conservancy and support the work of CREW.

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. 

I have included comments above on water and financial stability of the city.  The school district’s main problem is decreasing enrollments and downsizing in a timely and prudent way. The city can be of some help by doing whatever the law allows to preserve and add affordable family residences for young families. But demographics and economics require school and city administrators to re-prioritize in order to live within the revenues available and service demand or persuade the electorate to vote additional taxes. Ojai public schools have the additional problem of competing with several local private school choices.