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VENTURA | VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS

Police, Fire Unions Back 4 for Council

September 30, 1997|HILARY E. MacGREGOR

Ventura's powerful police and fire unions Monday announced their endorsements for this fall's City Council election and pledged to throw their considerable manpower into precinct walking--one of the most valued commodities in a council race.

The unions endorsed five-term incumbent Jim Monahan as well as businessman Brian Brennan, attorney Donna de Paola and restaurateur Sandy Smith for the Nov. 4 election.

Ten candidates are running for four seats on the seven-member council. Monahan is the sole incumbent seeking reelection.

Following the announcements on the front steps of police headquarters, the candidates gave speeches in accepting the endorsements.

Monahan promised to make public safety his No. 1 priority and to rebuild Ventura's police and fire departments to their former strength.

Smith said his priority is to maintain a budget adequate to keep qualified police officers and firefighters in Ventura--so they are not lured away by higher-paying jobs elsewhere.

Like the Chamber of Commerce, the police and fire unions have their own political action committee and boast an impressive record of supporting victorious candidates.

Eight of the 10 candidates backed by the unions in the last three elections won, according to Quinn Fenwick, treasurer of the Police and Fire Political Action Committee.

They also have an strong influence in making sure people do not get elected.

In the last election, they campaigned against Todd Collart, who was considered a sure thing by many, and Gary Tuttle, who ended up being reelected.

"We took out one shoo-in, and another one nearly lost," Fenwick said, adding that the unions are not planning any negative campaigning this time.

Fenwick said the unions will have between $8,000 and $10,000 to spend on campaigning, if necessary.

Sgt. Ken Corney, president of the Ventura Police Officers Assn., said members, their friends and families will start knocking on doors for the candidates within two weeks.

The police and fire unions combined have about 200 members.

"This is the most influential endorsement you can get," De Paola said. "People are looking out for the safety of the citizens."

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