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ELECTIONS / VENTURA CITY COUNCIL : Chamber of Commerce Endorses 4 Candidates

September 16, 1993|PEGGY Y. LEE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Ventura Chamber of Commerce--which helped catapult three successful candidates to the Ventura City Council two years ago--announced Wednesday its endorsements for November's council race.

The slate--three men and one woman--will receive a total of $16,000 in financial support from the chamber, officials said. The money will not go directly to the candidates, but will be spent on flyers, posters and advertisements endorsing the slate, officials said.

The chamber's political action committee selected Rosa Lee Measures, 56, a former banker; Clark Owens, 57, a real estate broker; Ken Schmitz, 36, a certified public accountant, and incumbent Jim Monahan, 58, a welding contractor. All are members of the chamber.

The chamber's endorsement was eagerly sought by all 14 candidates running for office. In 1991, the chamber spent more than $12,000 to help elect Mayor Gregory Carson, Councilman Jack Tingstrom and Councilman Tom Buford on a pro-business platform.

"I attribute 80% of my victory to them," said Tingstrom, a chamber member. The chamber has more than 1,350 members, officials said.

Tingstrom noted that the recession will be an advantage to candidates who run on a pro-business platform. "Now is the time for them," he said.

Bob Alviani, chairman of the political action committee, said the candidates were selected for their views of how government should help the business community.

"They show leadership and conviction in their ideas," he said in an interview before the chamber's public announcement. "They understand that business is the backbone by which government looks to for jobs and revenues to support services."

But candidate Nancy Cloutier, a chamber member, sent out a press release before the endorsements were announced, criticizing the chamber for not selecting more women for its slate.

"The chamber membership itself consists of at least 50% women. Instead, we have a chamber slate of three men and one woman," her news release said.

Cloutier did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday afternoon.

Schmitz said he believes the endorsements will increase his visibility in the community. In his acceptance speech, he called himself an unknown candidate. In 1991, he was treasurer for the chamber's political action committee.

In her acceptance speech, Measures told a roomful of chamber members, "I look forward to representing the business community the best I can."

Four seats on the Ventura City Council are open this year. Council members are elected at large for four-year terms. Incumbents Monahan, Todd Collart and Gary Tuttle will be defending their seats from 11 challengers.

Other candidates are: Steve Bennett, a Nordhoff High School teacher; Cloutier, publisher and editor of the Ventura County & Coast Reporter; Neil Demers-Grey, a secretary and gay rights activist; Charles Kistner, a political consultant; Dick Massa, owner of a medical supply company; Brian Lee Rencher, a Ventura College student; Virginia Weber, an educational grant administrator, and Carol Dean Williams, a local activist and gadfly.

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