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Incumbents Win Vindication--but No Blank Checks : Simi Valley Votes for Familiar Faces

November 06, 1986|REGINALD SMITH | Times Staff Writer

Greg Stratton, the mayor-elect of Simi Valley, called it vindication. Councilwoman Ann Rock said it was a strong show of support.

However it was characterized, it was clear from the results of Tuesday's election that the present City Council was handed an overwhelming vote of confidence by Simi Valley voters--enough to quash the often-heard criticism of opponents during the campaign that the city's lawmakers were out of step with the people.

By impressive margins, voters elected one councilman to a two-year term as mayor, returned to office two veteran councilwomen who had been targeted for defeat and endorsed two growth-control measures that were strongly backed by the council.

Stricter Measures Rejected

At the same time, Simi's electorate snubbed a pair of stricter growth measures that had been proposed by a citizen's group and denounced by the city's political establishment. And they refused to elect two council candidates who formed a slow-growth slate and who had strongly criticized the council for its growth policies.

There was one blemish on the council's otherwise perfect record: Simi's voters, with one hand firmly protecting their checkbooks, said in two advisory-only measures backed by the council that, although they wanted the city to build a cultural arts center, they did not want to pay for it.

"I think the council was fairly well vindicated," said Stratton, who garnered 48.6% in a hard-fought victory over challengers that included a better-financed opponent, Tom Ely. Ely, president of the Ventura County Community College District board, received 40.8%.

Attack on Council Record

During the campaign, which grew increasingly snippy in the final weeks, Ely's strategy was to hit at Stratton's seven-year record as a councilman, saying voters were generally unhappy with Stratton's role in running the city. But it did not work.

"The council was strongly endorsed in the election and that indicates that we have been doing the right kinds of things," Stratton said Wednesday.

Likewise, Councilwomen Vicky Howard, who was returned to the council, and Rock say Tuesday's election results should silence critics of the city's governing body.

"This really is a show of support," said Rock, who came in second with 26% of the vote behind Howard, who received 34%.

Slow-Growth Advocates

Among the seven candidates in the race for the two City Council seats were Mike Stevens and David Penner, who were running as a slate of slow-growth advocates. The two were backed by proponents of the stricter growth control measures rejected by the voters. Stevens came in third with 16.6% of the vote and Penner was fourth with 12.1%.

In the one issue that overshadowed all others on the ballot--growth control--the council again emerged victorious after a bitter campaign.

Measures A and B, the two less restrictive proposals placed on the ballot by the council, won handily. Voters rejected measures D and E, which were proposed by a slow-growth group that argued the council's measures were not strong enough.

Stratton Succeeds Gallegly

The new mayor and councilwomen will be sworn in Nov. 18. Stratton takes over the job vacated by Elton Gallegly, who was elected to represent the area as the congressman from the 21st District.

In Simi, the focus has shifted to how the five-member council will fill the vacancy left by Stratton's election as mayor.

It appears most council members are leaning toward appointing a council member rather than calling a special election. But Stratton said he is not inclined to appoint any of the runners-up in Tuesday's election because most were critical of the way the city has been run.

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