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Ventura County Perspective

Don't Forget to Vote

November 01, 1998

Voting may take a few minutes longer than usual Tuesday. The ballot is long and the decisions are many, ranging from choosing a new governor to deciding how best to control Ventura County's future development.

But don't let the extra effort scare you into staying home and leaving the job to your neighbors. The future direction of our cities, county and state will be determined in part by the result--and its successes or failures will be shared by all.

With a dozen statewide ballot initiatives, two hotly debated county ones, contested seats in both houses of the state and national legislatures and competition in seven cities, 11 school boards and numerous other local races, sorting out the choices has been a challenge.

The Times' endorsements in statewide races appear in today's Opinion section. Here is a recap of Times endorsements in Ventura County's key races:

Growth-Control Measures

How best to protect Ventura County's rich farmland and scenic open space from development has been debated for decades. This year has brought all that talk to the point of action.

The Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources (SOAR) campaign produced the proposal listed on the countywide ballot as Measure B. It would require a vote of the people for any changes in the county's General Plan open space, agricultural or rural land-use designations until 2021. Companion measures in five cities would draw urban boundaries and require a vote to change them.

In addition, the county Board of Supervisors placed Measure A on the ballot. In some ways it is similar to, even stricter than, the SOAR approach and employs similar tools such as urban boundaries and voter approval of zoning changes. The key difference is that it is an advisory measure, instructing elected officials to follow through on the proposals of the county's Agriculture Policy Working Group.

Voters can vote for either measure, or neither, or both.

We believe the best way to achieve the commendable goal of controlling urban sprawl is by reaffirming and reinforcing existing land-use policies, not by taking a step toward circumventing them. For this reason, The Times recommends voting yes on Measure A and no on Measure B and the city SOAR measures C in Camarillo, K in Oxnard, M and N in Santa Paula, O in Simi Valley and P in Thousand Oaks.

State Assembly

* 35th DISTRICT: For her long record of public service, her broad-based local support and her positions on issues that affect the district, The Times endorses Hannah-Beth Jackson.

* 37th DISTRICT: Because we believe residents would be better represented by a person deeply rooted in the issues and realities of the area than by a career politician who moved into the district just two years ago, The Times endorses Roz McGrath.

Countywide Races

* SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE: With two strong candidates to choose between, The Times endorses Gary Windom for his variety of experience in both civil and criminal law, as a law professor and in public service, and also because we believe a court on which two-thirds of the judges are former prosecutors could use more variety of perspectives.

* COUNTY ASSESSOR: For his well-rounded career combining eight years in the County Assessor's office with 16 years as an appraiser in the private sector, and for his innovative ideas for making the office more technologically up-to-date and consumer-accessible, The Times endorses Dan Goodwin.

City Councils

* OXNARD: Although the challengers would offer change, we are not convinced that any of them is better qualified or motivated to lead the city for the next four years than the incumbents. The Times endorses Manuel Lopez for mayor; Tom Holden and Dean Maulhardt for council.

* SIMI VALLEY: In this stable and well-run city, Councilman Bill Davis is the better choice to replace retiring Mayor Greg Stratton. Council incumbents Paul Miller and Sandi Webb have both earned another term. For the vacant seat, The Times endorses Glen Becerra.

* THOUSAND OAKS: The Times endorses the strongest member of the existing City Council, Judy Lazar. We also endorse incumbent Andy Fox while advising him to fully embrace the spirit of the city's new campaign finance rules and to ask some of his supporters to lay off the dubious campaign tactics. To replace retiring Elois Zeanah, The Times endorses Dennis Gillette.

We also recommend voting yes on Measure R, a scaled-down version of the Conejo Valley Unified School District's twice-defeated bond measure.

* CAMARILLO: We believe incumbents Charlotte Craven and Michael Morgan have earned another term. To fill the seat vacated by retiring Stan Daily, The Times endorses Jan McDonald.

* MOORPARK: The Times believes Mayor Patrick Hunter has fulfilled his pledge to work to restore a sense of resident participation in city government and has served as an important voice of caution on the controversial Hidden Creek Ranch project. We believe he has earned another term. We also endorse incumbent John Wozniak and former council member Clint Harper.

* SANTA PAULA: Primarily for their views that the city can grow and improve without expanding into greenbelts or canyons, The Times endorses incumbents Laura Flores Espinosa, John Melton and former councilman Al Escoto.

* FILLMORE: Key issues here include recruiting more employers and retailers and keeping a wary eye on the Newhall Ranch development. The Times believes incumbent Don Gunderson has earned another term and endorses former Councilman Michael McMahan for the seat being vacated by retiring Linda Brewster.

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