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DECISION 96

Meet the Candidates : Santa Paula City Council

In all, there are more than 130 candidates running in key races in Ventura County this year. On the following pages, you will find capsule summaries of their backgrounds and their positions on key issues.

November 03, 1996

Four candidates are running for two council seats, while two candidates are contesting the vacant city clerk position. The shaky local economy and racial divisions within the community top the list of concerns. Incumbents Robin Sullivan and Al Urias are both seeking reelection.

Jim Garfield

Age: 59

Occupation: Real estate broker

Education: Attended Fenn College in Ohio

Background: Garfield is an outspoken participant in Better Living In Time, a community group that opposed a low-income housing project and proposed city efforts to clean up blighted residential areas earlier this year, igniting a controversy in the city.

Issues: Garfield supports greater municipal economic development efforts to attract businesses to the city. He favors a new code enforcement program to eliminate blight. He believes the city must focus more attention on race relations.

Gabriella Reeves

Age: 63

Occupation: Restaurant owner

Education: High school graduate

Background: The 43-year Santa Paula resident is a past Planning Commission member, former Chamber of Commerce president and past director of the city's Housing Authority. She is a board member of the Boys & Girls Club and Santa Clara Valley Hospice. She is married with four grown children.

Issues: Reeves said her bid for office is an attempt to forge unity in the racially diverse city and believes the "oft times cantankerous" City Council should set an example. She supports finishing proposed downtown improvements quickly to attract tourists and improve the local economy.

Robin Sullivan

Age: 47

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Law degree from Ventura College of Law

Background: Sullivan is seeking her second council term. A former two-term Chamber of Commerce president, she is active in several business groups and is a founding member of the Downtown Improvement Group.

Issues: Sullivan's focus is improving the poor economy, tarnished image and fractured unity of the community. She opposes the Toland Road Landfill expansion. She supports Project Clean & Safe, a municipal program to clean up residential blight proposed by Better Living In Time.

Al Urias

Age: 72

Occupation: Retired police officer and community college official.

Education: Bachelor's degrees in police science and administration from Sacramento State College.

Background: Raised in Santa Paula, the 20-year City Council veteran is seeking a sixth term. He is a member of the Ventura Regional Sanitation District board of directors and the Ventura County Economic Development Collaborative.

Issues: Urias said he is running again to ensure the city's redevelopment efforts come to fruition, so that residents have more jobs and blight is replaced by updated housing. He stresses efforts to eliminate divisions within the community. He favors retaining a municipal police force.

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