Supporters of Thousand Oaks Councilwoman Madge Schaefer have formed a committee to test the waters for a possible campaign next June against three-term Ventura County Supervisor Edwin A. Jones.
The announcement of the committee's formation, made Friday, comes less than a week before Jones is scheduled to stand trial on misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure and lewd conduct stemming from an incident at a Studio City motel in June.
"I personally think he is more vulnerable for elective office due to his legal difficulties," said Joseph Leggett, president of Janss Investment Corp. and a member of the committee. However, Leggett added, "That's not the reason I suggested that Madge run."
Larry Hall, chairman of Schaefer's two past council campaigns, said the committee "was hashing this about long before Jones had his problems."
No Decision by Jones
Jones said he welcomes any opposition, but that he will not make a final decision about seeking a fourth term until November.
The 2nd Supervisorial District, with roughly 130,000 residents, stretches from the Ventura-Los Angeles County line near Thousand Oaks to the beach south of Port Hueneme. It takes in all of Thousand Oaks and small parts of Oxnard and Camarillo.
Hall said the committee will attempt to pinpoint support for Schaefer in the parts of the district outside of Thousand Oaks.
He said the effort would last six to eight weeks. Schaefer has said she will decide whether to run before the end of the year.
'Now It's Her Time'
"She has served her two terms and now it's her time," said Joan Gorner, Schaefer's appointee on the Thousand Oaks Planning Commission and a member of the exploratory committee.
Schaefer said she has considered running against Jones in the past, but decided not to for family and other personal reasons. Now, she said, she is looking harder at a supervisorial campaign because two council terms is enough and because "there has been a void" in the district representation.
The committee members contacted said they would not comment on the philosophical or political differences that separate Schaefer and Jones.
Among the 10 committee members who are well-known in the community are Hall, Leggett, Gorner, senior-citizen activist John Beyer and community activist Heinrich (Corky) Charles.