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Candidates for Board Answer Query

May 19, 1988

With the primary election for the one contested seat on the county Board of Supervisors approaching June 7, The Times has asked four candidates for the position to respond to a questionnaire on issues crucial to the county's future.

Incumbent Susan K. Lacey, a former member of the Ventura Unified School Board, has served on the Board of Supervisors for seven years and is seeking her third term. While in office, she spearheaded county programs in juvenile justice and children's mental health and has consistently opposed development of county greenbelts.

Farmer and businesswoman Carolyn Leavens, a former president of California Women in Agriculture, says she believes that the board needs a representative mindful of business and agricultural interests. She has served as president of the Ventura County Taxpayers' Assn.

Writer and consultant Robert W. McKay is a former president of the California Wildlife Federation and is current chief administrative officer for the California Sportsmen's Lobby.

Real estate agent Herschel M. Johnson Jr. is retired from the U.S. Navy after 23 years and is a past honorary mayor of Oak View. He is active in local organizations such as the Oak View Lion's Club, the Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Oak View Civic Council.

All four are campaigning for the 1st District seat, which includes Ventura, the Saticoy-Montalvo area and most of the Ojai Valley.

Businessman Gary Wean, whose name also appears on the ballot, has not attended the public forums at which the other candidates have stated their views. He also chose not to outline his qualifications and general positions, as the four other candidates did, for inclusion in the sample ballot sent by county election officials to voters last week.

If no candidate receives 50% of the votes cast, a runoff between the two top contenders will be held in November.

The Ventura County Economic Development Assn. may try to get a measure for an additional half-percent sales tax on the November ballot. The revenues would be earmarked for county road and highway improvements. Would you support or oppose it?

SUSAN LACEY--I would vote to put it on the ballot provided that (a) the proposed road and highway improvements were not growth-inducing, were cost-effective and related to highway safety, and (b) provided that the measure contained a sunset clause so that the tax would not go on after the improvements were completed.

CAROLYN LEAVENS--For the past eight years, nearly nothing has been done to solve our transportation problems. The county blueprint for transportation, the Circulation Element, is only now being updated after a decade of being ignored. I would support it only if the funds are used for projects such as a new bridge over the river, or to widen Central Avenue, to ease congestion on Victoria Avenue and other areas within the county.

BOB McKAY--I am opposed to any tax increase, whether the derived funds are earmarked or not, until the budget and the budget priorities have been completely analyzed. At the current time, 25% of general-fund money--$70 million a year--goes to welfare, and 12% ($33.6 million) goes to health and sanitation. Twenty-three percent of the non-general-fund money ($49.45 million) goes to the hospital. Infrastructure funding, such as roads, has been a low budget priority.

HERSCHEL JOHNSON--I would support it only if the money were never used for anything but construction, improvement and maintenance of county roads and highways.

Within a couple of years, space will run out in current trash-disposal facilities in the west end of Ventura County. One new site under consideration is Weldon Canyon, but opponents claim a landfill at the mouth of the Ojai Valley would generate excessive traffic, air pollution and environmental damage. Would you support or oppose a landfill in Weldon Canyon? If you oppose it, where would you locate the area's next major landfill?

\f7 LACEY--Existing landfills are projected to be sufficient to at least 1993. Any proposed landfill in Weldon Canyon has yet to be subject to an environmental review. The county and cities are jointly reviewing additional sites and strategies such as recycling, to assure that the safest, most environmentally sound, economical solution is arrived at.

LEAVENS--I believe that if the environmental impacts on area residents are too burdensome, we must look at alternatives. If they are not, then we must consider Weldon. In either case, local residents must have direct input into this decision.

McKAY--While the opponents are correct, the best identified site appears to be Weldon Canyon. An application is on file for Weldon Canyon to be the next trash-disposal site. Opponents will have the opportunity to present their views when the county solid waste management plan is revised and reviewed. In addition, each new proposed landfill project requires its own separate EIR, which will address all pertinent issues.

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