A group of Simi Valley residents who succeeded in qualifying two growth-limiting initiatives for the November ballot announced plans Saturday to run two of their members for the City Council.
David Penner and Mike Stevens, members of Citizens for Managed Growth and Hillside Protection, will seek election to the five-member council in November.
At a press conference called to announced their plans, Penner, 30, a certified public accountant for a Woodland Hills real estate syndication firm, and Stevens, 39, a high school mathematics teacher, accused the current council of being unresponsive to the wishes of Simi Valley citizens.
Poor Management Charged
"We've seen a lot of development in the last couple of years that has not been properly managed," Penner said.
"I think the primary thing we will do for the citizens of Simi Valley is we will be receptive to what they have to say," Stevens said.
The men are vying for a vacancy created by the resignation of Mayor Elton Gallegly, who is the Republican candidate for the 21st District congressional seat. In addition, incumbents Ann Rock and Vicky Howard are up for reelection. Rock has announced her intention to run again; Howard has not disclosed her plans.
Stevens and Penner are on the executive board of the Neighborhood Council, an advisory board to the City Council.
Citizens for Managed Growth and Hillside Protection, of which Penner is treasurer, was formed last year to seek to preserve the semi-rural flavor of the city of 93,000, which in recent years has experienced an explosion of housing development.
"I think the reason most people came to Simi Valley was to avoid some of the problems with traffic, noise pollution . . . and other problems found in Los Angeles and Orange County," Penner said.
Describing Simi Valley as a place of "great natural beauty," Penner said, "We don't want that taken away."
"We're committed to living and working here. We have children and we're concerned about what kind of environment they're going to face as they grow up," said Penner, who took his wife, infant son and two young daughters to the press conference.
The slow-growth group has about two dozen members and a treasury of about $1,000, Penner said. He said it is the first venture into politics for either candidate.
The group in May began a petition drive that gathered 6,500 signatures for each of two initiatives--one a growth-management plan, the other a plan to protect the city's hillsides. The group needed about 4,000 signatures to qualify the measures for the ballot.
The group's proposal to restrict housing development would place year-to-year controls on the rate, distribution, quality and type of housing that could be built in the city. Its hillside measure would prohibit grading of slopes steeper than 10% for industrial and commercial development and grading of slopes of 20% or more for residential projects.
Currently, the city does not limit industrial or commercial construction and forbids residential building on hillsides with grades of 20% or more.
The City Council responded to the group's proposals with two less restrictive initiatives, which also will go on the November ballot.