Sylvia Muñoz Schnopp
City of Residence: Port Hueneme, CA
Port Hueneme City Councilwoman Sylvia Muñoz Schnopp was re-elected to a second, four-year term in November 2012. She has served twice as Mayor (2014-2015 and 2010-2011) and as Mayor Pro Tem (2009-2010), and also served as member of the city’s Audit Committee, Water Rate Committee and Branding Committee. Her leadership as Mayor encouraged Port Hueneme’s City Council as the first Ventura County city voting to display “In God We Trust” at City Hall November 2011. Her work alongside City Council colleagues and Assemblymember Jeff Gorrell led Governor Brown to sign several state bills that ensured Hueneme Beach shoreline protection October 2013 when federal funding was inadequate in providing beach restoration and protection.
She serves on the board of directors of the Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura County (EDC-VC), the California Joint Powers in Insurance Authority, Gold Coast Transit District, and the Ventura County Council of Government (VCOG). She is an ambassador for the CA Strawberry Society, was a CA GOP delegate, and is featured in “Living Legends” published June 2013 by local Oxnard historian Jeff Maulhardt.
She owns Schnopp Consulting Group, providing general and segmented business consulting, marketing, public and external affairs strategies. Her business leadership has impacted numerous entrepreneurs, small businesses, international corporations, government and notable nonprofit organizations. Ms. Schnopp is an adjunct professor of business and accounting at Oxnard College and has produced local television programming regarding Mexico’s Cristero Revolution of the 1920’s. She is also an outreach specialist in the Central Coast area.
Schnopp was active with the Ventura County Economic Development Association (VCEDA) and the Ventura County 2005 BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) Taskforce. She was a district delegate for Congresswoman Lois Capps, 23rd District, at the 2004 Congressional Small Business Forum on Capitol Hill, received the 2005 Community Advocate Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and was honored with other notable national and regional awards.
She spent eight years at AT&T Wireless Services and held a variety of regional, multi-state and national positions in marketing, public relations and external affairs, culminating as the National Director for Multi-Cultural Initiatives. Before AT&T, she was Marketing Director for United Way of Ventura County where she created and implemented the nationally-acclaimed “Day of Caring” volunteer campaign kick-off event, directed award-winning marketing campaigns, and is credited with launching the first issues-oriented donor choice program.
Schnopp earned an MBA from California Lutheran University; BS in Business Administration from Cal State University-Northridge, and Ministry Studies and Licensing from World Reaching Faith, Inc. She served on the St. John’s Regional Medical Center Community Board, The Museum of Ventura County Board of Directors and Ventura County Community Foundation’s Resource Center for Nonprofit Leadership. A published writer, guest columnist and lecturer, she is finalizing her first novel, Abandoned Angels, based on her family’s true story during Mexico’s Cristero Revolution and is a sought-after subject-matter expert. A native of Oxnard, she traces her Ventura County heritage to the early 20th Century.
Job: City Councilmember for Port Hueneme; Adjunct Professor of Business & Accounting, Oxnard College; Corporate Outreach Specialist, REI; Small Business Owner; Licensed Minister
Education: Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) – Emphasis in Finance, California Lutheran University, 1998; Licensed Minister, World Reaching Faith, Inc., 2006; Bachelor of Science, Business Administration – Emphasis in Marketing, California State University, Northridge, 1982; Associate of Arts Degree, Business Administration, Ventura College, 1979
Concerns regarding city:
I am running for re-election as Port Hueneme City Councilmember because I love this city and have the experience, fundamental understanding, and effective leadership necessary to help shape our future. Our city currently faces its greatest challenges and its greatest opportunities. As a business advocate with experience in the corporate sector and nonprofit field, we need revitalized economic development in order to generate new revenue, enhance community programming and build long-lasting partnerships. These programs and others will help the city balance its budget and enhance the quality of life. I believe the city needs an individual like me with institutional knowledge who is committed to integrity and honesty in each and every facet of business, in the community and in our government. I worked diligently along both sides of the aisle to acquire $2M in state grants that provided shoreline protection during our last beach erosion; created a sense of community by championing new, local programs including beach events, farmer’s market, and “Movies in the Park”; and signed a settlement agreement with Oxnard Harbor District on behalf of the city and council colleagues to end a four-year, $8M lawsuit. I am committed to supporting our military and families, and proudly served as a lead consultant to keeping our military bases open and local. I created the nationally- acclaimed “Day of Caring” United Way event that is now held in communities throughout the U.S., and branded an AT&T legacy through national Hispanic Marketing initiatives. I’ve lived in Port Hueneme for over 30 years, I’m an Oxnard native and my family has lived in the area for four generations. I’m of Mexican-American/Hispanic heritage and I speak, read and write Spanish. I’m the best qualified candidate for council, and I respectfully ask for your vote. I’m endorsed by GROWElect, the Ventura County Republican Party, Port Hueneme Mayor Pro Tem Jonathan Sharkey, former Port Hueneme Mayor Douglas Breeze, former Port Hueneme Mayor Norm Griffaw, Camarillo Mayor Mike Morgan, Greg Brown, Sheryl Malone, Penny Bohannon Boehm, Sharon Taylor, Donna Paulin, Pete Tafoya, Mary McClenning, Arlene Fraser, Liz White, Lynda Israel, Heidi Hoffman, and Angie & Paul Royle and many others.
Major issues of concern to me in the future?
We have several major issues facing the city. The most pressing issue we face is hiring a permanent city manager. The city manager is hired by the city council, responsible for setting the tone, hiring others, leading by example, and developing a well-functioning organization. We need a devoted, committed leader working with the council to institute best practices and implement current and future city initiatives that includes identifying new revenue and a balanced budget, sourcing reliable water, protecting our shoreline assets, right-sizing city resources, developing the management team, and enhancing collaborative partnerships. I support a sound process that includes identifying solid candidates, utilizing stakeholder input, and hiring the qualified applicant to begin immediately. This is critical for not only the city’s stability, but its survival. Along with the hiring of a city manager will come the hiring of several department directors, including finance, public works, housing and the police chief position.
Another issue we face is the discord among council members. I have over 30 years of management experience, I’m a true practitioner of working in unison with colleagues to provide a safe, nurturing environment that fosters creativity and encourages teams to be the best they can be. As Port Hueneme’s Mayor, I voiced concern regarding behavior of a colleague as staying silent was not an option. I initiated teambuilding efforts to develop open, constructive dialogue and identify solutions for working together. I continue encouraging a safe environment and serve as a champion for change to move the city forward. Together, we must find items we have in common instead of issues that drive us apart. When we do, we can begin to heal, develop trust, and enable our city and employees to thrive.
Another issue we face is that we need to reduce expenses and increase revenue for the city. This is not an easy thing to do as we are almost fully built-out, with the exception of a few parcels of land within our city boundaries. As City Councilmember I supported revenue-generating projects including: Ashkar proposed development along Victoria Avenue; Hueneme Road remodel/rezoning; in-fill housing; and joining Ventura County West, a TBID special assessment. These efforts will lead to increased revenue generated for the city, and as such, help fund programs and city services. I’m committed to finding new, long-term and unrestricted revenues through: developing city-owned property with positive cash flow; creating incentives to fill vacancies that boost sales tax revenue; and providing fast-track solutions to help entrepreneurs and businesses. New ideas include strengthening relationships with Naval Base Ventura County/Port Hueneme and Port of Hueneme to enhance investments and create local jobs, and targeting port cities by establishing a new sister-city program to provide strategic links to international trade. These ideas will improve the quality of life in Port Hueneme, enhance our economy, and underscore stakeholder benefits.
My thoughts on the state of local businesses:
Port Hueneme is a small city, and without direct access to a major freeway, we lack the ability to attract major retail which brings other sources of revenue. That being said, we have done well in attracting several retail tenants in the past six years that will provide some added sales tax, with new monies being added in 2016 and beyond. Our city boasts two of the largest employers in Ventura County: Naval Base Ventura County- Port Hueneme and Oxnard Harbor District; their efforts to expand and attract new tenants and business would be of benefit to the city, directly and indirectly through business license fees, business spending and perhaps housing of their personnel within the city. Our local businesses can also receive a boost through a planned tourism approach, with our strongest assets being the Seabee Museum, the Port Hueneme Historical Museum and Hueneme Beach. It will take some time to develop this effort but we have an attractive city with much to offer in the way of tourist destination services and need to develop a planned approach for this strategy. One of the critical components of this strategy is to ensure our congressional apportionment of sand replenishment every-other-year on Hueneme Beach, west from the jetty along the Promenade and including the beach to the east of the Hueneme Pier.
Thoughts on public safety:
Port Hueneme has its own local police force and lifeguard program, which are two very important things for our residents and visitors alike. I have supported both during my tenure as City Councilmember and I will continue to support a local force. We’ve ensured our annual revenue can support the necessary services of public safety for a city our size and have been fortunate to have a good and stable police force, but the cost to support a local force constitutes over 40% of our city budget. In addition, we currently have an interim police chief and in the coming year we’ll need to fill the position with a permanent employee. It will take key coordination, commitment, exchange of ideas, and sound levels of safety to continue to provide this important local benefit to our residents.
Housing concerns for the city:
Our city is almost fully built-out, with only a few parcels of land left within our city boundaries to develop. As City Councilmember I supported the Ashkar mixed-use development along Victoria Avenue; the Hueneme Road motel remodel/rezoning for temporary and permanent housing; and in-fill housing developments such as the one along Scott Street. The housing stock in our city is fairly equally spread out among owner-occupied and rental homes, with a mix of good, affordable and high-end inventory. We continue to evaluate the housing element necessary to pursue and contribute to a good quality of life for our residents and for the region as a whole.
The city’s natural resources:
One of the critical components of this strategy is to ensure our congressional apportionment of sand replenishment every-other-year on Hueneme Beach, west from the jetty along the Promenade and including the beach to the east of the Hueneme Pier. Several years ago when we were facing major shoreline erosion, I helped influence our then Assemblymember Jeff Gorrell who spearheaded a program with the governor’s office for several bills that ensured $2M in state grants to help provide remedy for our beach. It is absolutely critical to our city and residents that we on the council with city staff continue to stress the importance and process of ensuring adequate sand replenishment along our shoreline, that in turn protects the major assets of the Port of Hueneme, Hueneme Beach Park, Hueneme Pier and millions in infrastructure and homes along this area of the city.
The ability to receive reliable, clean and safe water is of major importance to the City of Port Hueneme. As a member of the Port Hueneme Water Agency, we are addressing both short-term and long-term needs and goals with an extension of our contract with Calleguas Municipal Water District and the City of Oxnard. We have not only residential customers, but key customers in the Port of Hueneme and Naval Base Ventura County that need quality water supplies. Our effort to provide water depends on the City being able to identify all reasonable sources of water, quality of water, costs involved in providing the water, in order to deliver to all our customers. At the same time, we need to continue providing incentives to help customers reduce consumption due to state restrictions and drought situation. Our best hope is to create and establish partnerships with others that will deliver not only the water we need, but sharing these costs to make it affordable to our rate payers.