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VOTER GUIDE | VENTURA COUNTY

Candidates at Opposite Ends of Spectrum Vie for Supervisor

October 15, 2006|Catherine Saillant | Times Staff Writer

Voters in Simi Valley and Moorpark will choose between two divergent candidates for county supervisor next month, one a law-enforcement Republican backed by conservatives and the other a savvy Democrat who cut his political teeth on Kennedy liberalism.

Peter Foy, 50, entered the race for the 4th District supervisor's seat at the urging of his friend, Ventura County Sheriff Bob Brooks, and has focused his campaign on increased funding for law enforcement and opposition to illegal immigration. Despite being virtually unknown before the June primary, the businessman pulled off a surprise first-place showing.

His opponent, Jim Dantona, 58, is a career political consultant who has advised dozens of Democratic candidates. He says that his years of political experience qualify him for the supervisor's job and that his many contacts in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., will benefit 4th District constituents.

Foy and Dantona face each other Nov. 7 after voters ejected three-term incumbent Judy Mikels in the primary. While Mikels contends she was targeted by the conservative Republicans, Foy and Dantona say the results show that Ventura County's 4th District voters are ready for a change.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday October 19, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 4 inches; 163 words Type of Material: Correction
Voter Guide: An article in some editions of Sunday's Voter Guide, about Orange County's 5th Supervisorial District race, reported that Orange County candidate Patricia Bates' campaign had said that her opponent, Laguna Niguel Mayor Cathryn DeYoung, accepted campaign contributions from the county firefighter and deputy sheriff unions. DeYoung has not. Another article in some editions, about the Ventura County race for 4th District supervisor, said candidate Peter Foy entered it at the urging of Sheriff Bob Brooks. According to Brooks, he did not ask Foy to run but instead endorsed his campaign after the incumbent, Judy Mikels, was defeated in June. An article in the guide about the race for secretary of state said Debra Bowen was the only woman on the statewide ballot. She is the only woman from the two major parties running for a statewide constitutional office. Also, the guide's main story said Bowen's opponent, Bruce McPherson, was seeking reelection. He came to office through appointment by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday October 22, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 4 inches; 165 words Type of Material: Correction
Voter Guide: An article Oct. 15 in some editions of the Voter Guide, about Orange County's 5th Supervisorial District race, reported that Orange County candidate Patricia Bates' campaign had said that her opponent, Laguna Niguel Mayor Cathryn DeYoung, accepted campaign contributions from the county firefighter and deputy sheriff unions. DeYoung has not. Another article in some editions, about the Ventura County race for 4th District supervisor, said candidate Peter Foy entered it at the urging of Sheriff Bob Brooks. According to Brooks, he did not ask Foy to run but instead endorsed his campaign after the incumbent, Judy Mikels, was defeated in June. An article in the guide about the race for secretary of state said Debra Bowen was the only woman on the statewide ballot. She is the only woman from the two major parties running for a statewide constitutional office. Also, the guide's main story said Bowen's opponent, Bruce McPherson, was seeking reelection. He came to office through appointment by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The contest for the Republican-leaning district is the highest-profile battle on a ballot that includes dozens of school board, city council and special district contests, as well as a handful of local measures dealing with taxes and land-use policy.

The winner in the 4th District will replace Mikels on a five-person panel that sets policy and budgets in a number of critical areas, including law enforcement, healthcare and social services. The supervisors also play an important role in regulating development in the county's unincorporated areas.

A win by either man is not expected to alter a board majority that wields a disciplined budget and is left-of-center on social issues, a political analyst said.

But a Dantona victory likely would mean more of the same, said Jack Miller, a political science professor at Moorpark College, while a Foy win would usher a far-right influence onto the Board of Supervisors.

Foy has been active in the Christian Coalition and confirmed that he is a member of the Council for National Policy, an exclusive group of conservative activists who meet in private several times a year to lay out political goals.

He opposes most social welfare programs, strongly supports law enforcement and has said he will use his influence as a supervisor to drive illegal immigrants out of Ventura County.

"To me, 'fiscally conservative and socially moderate' is an oxymoron," Foy said, "because the socially liberal side causes the government to spend a lot of money."

Foy said his religious beliefs inform his views but that they would not cross into his role as an elected official.

"You're not bringing church into government itself," he said.

Miller predicted that Foy's platform will appeal to many voters in the district, especially his stance on the red-meat issue of illegal immigration.

Foy has said that while supervisors have little control over immigration policy, he would oppose providing benefits to those who are here illegally.

Despite the district's heavily Republican tilt, Dantona remains upbeat, insisting that voters will find Foy extreme. Moderates will reject Foy once they learn more about him, Dantona said.

Though he has a long history of working for liberal Democrats, including several members of the Kennedy family, Dantona describes himself as a social moderate and fiscal conservative.

He said he would make public safety a priority and push for a tougher ordinance banning hillside development.

One of his first acts in office, Dantona said, would be to call for an investigation into whether Rocketdyne officials deliberately covered up information about the health risks of radioactive contaminants released from its lab in the Simi hills. Foy has not returned calls to give his position on Rocketdyne.

Dantona's many years in politics will help him lobby for money for road projects, environmental programs and other services that 4th District residents need, he said.

"Ventura County should be a major league county as opposed to a triple-A team," he said. "You need someone who understands how government runs and how you can use your influence to solve those problems."

Dantona said he has raised just under $170,000 in the primary and general elections and will send out mailers to voters in coming weeks.

Foy has raised $360,000, and said he will spend much of it to send out 250,000 pieces of mail before election day. Both men said they have been walking the streets to meet voters and hear their concerns.

What they haven't done yet is debate. Dantona is willing but Foy has so far refused to set a date. Foy said his campaign "wants to keep clear with our message" and that a debate would be distracting.

Dantona contends that Foy's refusal to meet him in public is cowardly.

"Here's a man who's said nothing and won't debate," Dantona said. "Simi Valley deserves and expects better than that."

Foy, who owns an insurance brokerage firm in the San Fernando Valley, said he will continue the business if he is elected, although with a reduced role.

The 35-employee company has good managers, he said, and he will hold any meetings early in the morning before his regular duties as a supervisor.

"I'm the kind of person who is used to working 60 hours a week," he said. "They'll get a full-time supervisor."

Dantona said he would give up his consulting work to concentrate on his elected office.

"We need to be a player in making sure our county gets its fair share," he said. "That means meeting with state officeholders and staff members."

catherine.saillant@latimes.com

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