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53 People Seek Positions on City Councils Throughout County

Politics: Candidates includes attorney Ed Masry, one of the subjects of the movie "Erin Brockovich." Fillmore and Santa Paula consider growth-control measures.


More than 50 candidates are on the November ballot for council races in nine of Ventura County's 10 cities.

Additionally, two mayors are fighting to hold onto their mostly ceremonial posts, and a pair of farming communities are weighing growth-control measures.

Among the council races, the real-life boss of Erin Brockovich is campaigning for his first stint in politics.

In all, 53 candidates are vying for 21 council and mayoral seats, according to city clerks and the county elections office.

In Ventura, the only city in the county to elect council members in odd-numbered years, voters are being asked to allow construction of a regional sports park on a swath of farmland on the city's east side.

And Fillmore and Santa Paula, holdouts so far in a county known for its slow-growth laws, each has its own growth-control measure on the November ballot.

Among this year's council races, the highest-profile contest is shaping up in Thousand Oaks, where environmental and consumer lawyer Ed Masry, who gained fame as one of the subjects of Julia Roberts' "Erin Brockovich" movie, is one of seven candidates running for two City Council seats.

Other candidates are incumbents Linda Parks--who, like Masry, is a slow-growth proponent--and Mike Markey; Planning Commissioner Jim Bruno; businesswoman Chris Buckett, who was part of a push last year to stop the building of a golf course at Hill Canyon; Joe Gibson, a former planning commissioner who is now a member of the Conejo Recreation and Park District board; and homemaker Mary Harris.

In Camarillo, Councilman Kevin Kildee is running for reelection, and an open seat is up for grabs because Mayor Bill Liebmann is not running for another term. In addition to Kildee, candidates are Planning Commissioner Don Waunch; Les Meredith, a former planning commissioner; and Carlos Cruz, a tailor and retired California Highway Patrol officer.


In Fillmore, most of the seats on the five-member council could be filled by newcomers this fall. Mayor Evaristo Barajas is running for reelection. One councilman resigned earlier this year because he was moving outside the city. His seat, not up for another two years, has been filled. Meanwhile, two council members with terms that expire this year decided not to run for reelection.

In addition to Barajas, the candidates include businesspeople Ken Smedley, Patti Walker and Cecelia Corl Uber, crisis intervention counselor M. Cecilia Cuevas, computer consultant Albert Arroyo and retiree Arthur W. Brown.

In Moorpark, Mayor Pat Hunter faces a challenge from Michael H. Wesner, an attorney and county planning commissioner. Incumbents Chris Evans and Debbie Rodgers face challenges from Roseann Mikos, who co-wrote Moorpark's slow-growth initiative that passed in 1998, as well as Jonathan Robert Panossian, business owner Keith F. Millhouse, rancher Edward "Pete" Peters and Tim Kalemkarian.

In Ojai, Councilwoman Sue Horgan faces a challenge from businesswoman Rae Hanstad and automobile mechanic Bruce Roland.

In Oxnard, four-term Mayor Manuel Lopez is unopposed in his reelection bid. But incumbent Councilmen Bedford Pinkard and John C. Zaragoza face challenges from social worker Saul Medina, teacher Alex Escobell and retirees Joe Avelar and Martin Jones.

While mayoral posts are largely ceremonial in cities throughout the county, the post is elected separately from the council in Oxnard, Simi Valley and Moorpark.

Meanwhile, Oxnard Treasurer Dale Belcher faces two challengers in her reelection, Christopher P. Arevalo and Enrique Petris.

And City Clerk Daniel Martinez faces a challenge from Bill Winter, who lists his occupation as federal clerk and screenwriter, as well as from Jackie Rodgers, elected earlier this year as the first African American to chair the Ventura County Republican Central Committee.


The treasurer oversees the city's investments. The clerk oversees official city documents, such as ordinances, minutes from meetings, contracts and elections. Both offices have four-year terms.

In Port Hueneme, incumbents Murray Rosenbluth and Toni Young face challenges from dentist Duilio D. Pansini and retired contract administrator Helen McPherson.

Two council seats are available in Santa Paula. One is held by real estate broker Jim Garfield, who is running for reelection. The other is a seat being vacated by Councilwoman Robin Sullivan, who is challenging Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), whose district includes Ventura, Ojai and Santa Paula.

In addition to Garfield, firefighter and engineer Ray C. Luna, consultant Alfonso A. Guilin and electrician John Procter are running for the two council seats.

In Simi Valley, Mary Mikesell is taking on Mayor Bill Davis, who is seeking a second term as mayor after 14 years as a councilman. Council incumbents Steven Sojka and Barbra Williamson face competition from retired Simi Valley police officer Jack Greenberg, real estate consultant James B. Mackelburg, Charles Misseijer and Brian E. Wilson.

The deadline was Aug. 16 for candidates' qualifying paperwork to be postmarked, leaving only a slim possibility that any additional candidates could trickle in this week if mail was late in being received.

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