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DECISION 96

Meet the Candidates : Ojai 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

Six candidates will compete Nov. 5 for two City Council seats left open when incumbents decided against seeking reelection.

Paul Blatz

Age: 45

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Bachelor's degree from George Washington University, law degree from Ventura College of Law

Background: A 12-year resident of Ojai, Blatz is a member of the Rotary Club and the Ojai Chamber of Commerce and Ventura County Bar Assn.

Issues: Blatz advocates developing a partnership between the city and business community to improve the economy and boost tax revenue. He supports reopening City Hall on Fridays and opposes a traffic signal at Montgomery Street and Ojai Avenue.

David Bury

Age: 44

Occupation: Architect

Education: Bachelor's degree from Harvard University through an extension program, master's in architecture from the University of New Mexico

Background: A nine-year Ojai resident who owns his own architecture company, Bury first came to Ojai in the 1960s while attending Ojai Valley School. He is chairman of the city's Planning Commission and graduated from the United Way's inaugural Ventura County Leadership Academy.

Issues: Bury describes himself as both pro-business and pro-environment. He believes government should promote economic development, while maintaining a stewardship over the environment and the Ojai Valley's quality of life.

Brandon M. Chase

Age: 42

Occupation: Antique store owner

Education: Attended college

Background: An Oxnard native, Chase grew up in Ojai and is a retired senior deputy with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. Earlier this year he sat on a committee that reviewed and revised Ventura County School Board policies.

Issues: Chase supports policies conducive to small businesses and job creation. He advocates targeting substandard housing and offering such incentives as reduced permit fees and rapid permit approvals to rehabilitate homes.

Suza Francina

Age: 47

Occupation: Yoga center owner and health and environmental writer

Education: Received early childhood teaching credential from Ventura College

Background: A 40-year Ojai resident, Francina is making her second attempt at a council seat after an unsuccessful run in 1994. A well-known community activist, she is a founding member of the Ojai Bicycle Coalition and Ojai Traffic Calming Coalition.

Issues: Francina is a vehement opponent of Caltrans' plan for a signal light at Montgomery Street and Ojai Avenue and has proposed a "no signal" alternative that the state is studying. She advocates creating a diversified business base that would reduce traffic congestion and help maintain Ojai's village-like atmosphere.

Ellen Hall

Age: 54

Occupation: High school teacher and executive director of the nonprofit Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

Education: Bachelor's degree in communications from Antioch University

Background: A 16-year city resident, Hall co-founded the conservancy in 1987. Under the auspices of the group, which works to preserve open space in the Ojai Valley, Hall has organized such community service projects as restoring the stream in Libbey Park.

Issues: Hall believes "village planning" should be incorporated into the city's general plan update this fall including mixed-use residential and commercial zoning to preserve Ojai's small-town character. She believes Ojai must take a more active role in regional decision making.

Rhonda Short-Moore

Age: 39

Occupation: Seventh-grade science teacher at Blackstock School in Port Hueneme

Education: Bachelor's degree in liberal studies from Cal State Chico and a master's degree in family environmental science from Cal State Northridge

Background: Short-Moore wants to reenter local government after spending five years on the Planning Commission and stepping down in 1991. She serves on the Casitas Municipal Water District advisory board studying whether to expand public uses for the reservoir.

Issues: Short-Moore proposes the city reduce the valley's traffic problems by developing a weekend trolley service from Ventura and give hiring priority for local jobs to residents. She supports designating a site for laborers to meet employers to decrease loitering.

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