Monday, May 21, 2007

Brakes Put On Ojai Councilman Recall

by Nao Braverman
Sixth term Ojai Councilman Joe DeVito has begun to redeem himself in the eyes of several local council critics.

The group of Ojai residents who call themselves the Citizens Petition Committee announced Monday that they have stopped gathering signatures to recall the longtime councilman,

"We feel that with the council's vote on the formula business moratorium, Mr. DeVito has finally begun to represent his constituents on this important issue, " said Sean Keenan, a representative of the group.

The committee began circulating a recall petition after DeVito voted against the chain store moratorium when it was initially proposed on April 10. His deciding vote halted the heavily supported moratorium, and angered local residents who retaliated by circulating the petition. His decision to vote in favor of the moratorium on May 1 prompted proponents to suspend their recall efforts.

DeVito said that he initially voted against the moratorium because some business owners and community members had not been properly informed, not because he disagreed with the moratorium. He was pleasantly surprised to hear that the recall petition is no longer being circulated.

"The last thing this community needs is a recall," he said. "I'm glad its over and we can move on to focus on other issues."

Though Keenan has decided not to continue to circulate the recall petition, for now the committee still intends to keep a close eye on the council's future actions. Chain stores could open in the city if there is no permanent ordinance in place to stop them when the moratorium expires on June 14. Members of the Citizen's Petition Committee hope that the council will extend the temporary moratorium to prevent that from happening.

"The moratorium extension should be voted on by June 14," said Keenan. "We sincerely hope that Mr. DeVito's newfound understanding of the issue will hold."

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I signed on the petition as a proponent, not as the proponent, and had my name dragged through the mud by a couple of unsavory council members, yet, still look for civil discourse from these folks yielding
their precarious power. I would give them failing grade for ethics
and for putting on a negative spin. This community is larger than the sum of any parts and I pray often that the light still shine's through the fog. By the way does
any else notice the frenzy of traffic around town at peak hours and at lunch time? They seem like new comers who are in a mindless dash somewhere and not willing and able to slow down and take notice of where they are. PL

Pete Waydo said...

Another comment insinuating that Ojai's ills are due to the "mindless" newcomers. What makes one seem like a "new comer" as you say? Am I to understand that being born in Ojai makes one innately mellow, easy-going, and appreciative of all things around oneself? Certainly none of the obnoxious monster trucks, loud-pipe motorcycles, and speeding commuters are Ojai natives, huh?

I am a newcomer, "recruited" by my wife, who was born & raised in Ojai. I wanted to move here specifically because I appreciate everything about the place (except perhaps pretentious locals). We're active in the community, I do 100% of my in-town traveling by bicycle, and I care passionately about the environment. (I also don't hide behind "anonymous") Do I fit your stereotype of a mindless newcomer?

gypse bootz said...

yes, pete you do...

Pete Waydo said...

Curses!

Anonymous said...

And how would PL define newcomer? As someone who came one day after he did, not so long ago?

John Crowley said...

4/25 - OVN reports papers filed for recall.
5/1 - Council votes for moratorium.
5/21 - Keenan announces recall is recalled.

What happened in the three weeks between the vote and calling off the recall? How many of the 1,200 signatures were gathered?

Also, to PL 5/21/07 11:05pm, no I haven't noticed the 'frenzy'. You ran for City Council on the premise that Ojai was experienced unfettered growth, you presented no evidence other than your 'feelings', and the city census actually showed fewer residents.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Pete W and others for
joining in the very important
conversation of a sense of place
that is like no other.Yes I did run for council-for quality of life issues and not just unfettered growth-and feeling good about where you live is OK. The traffic is heavy everywhere now.I have close calls often on my bike- also ride it exclusively. Am also a newcomer
who knows better than to foul the place where one sleeps. I came here in 1990- now am happy to observe the chorus of activists involved in water, gravel truck and waching over local decisions.Sorry detractors, but the more mindful committed souls protecting the uniqueness of Ojai is a winner for all. PL

Pete Waydo said...

Geez...1990 isn't that much of a newcomer...does this mean I'll still be a newcomer in 2023? Curses again!

Believe me, I understand about wanting to feel good about where I live. For years I have been hearing stories of my wife's idyllic childhood in Ojai. Now we live in the very house her late father built and in which she grew up...just a handful of houses from the scene of the Drown Street shooting. My wife, her mother, and my daughter were sitting out on the patio when shots rang out not half a block away. Not the best feeling.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe there was any serious signature gathering in reference to the recall. At least by Keenan who started the recall. I believe it was more of a 'we will go get signatures if he continues to vote against everyone in the council' - in a hope that DeVito would realize how upset he was making the citizens in favor of preserving Ojai. I think it did drag on a little long, maybe to keep the pressure on DeVito. But, like I said, I don't think there was ever an actual plan to proceed if DeVito came around, like he did.

Anonymous said...

Devito did not "come around." He always supported the concept. The petitioners "came around."

Interesting how opponents went from criticizing the Ojai City Council as a 5-0 lock-step Council, to attacking one member who wanted to be sure the emperor was wearing clothes.

Pete Waydo said...

'we will go get signatures if he continues to vote against everyone in the council'

Funny how people's convictions about the above concept can vary depending on if they're on the short end of the stick or not. If everyone on the council were against your pet cause save for one holdout, you'd likely cast that one member as a hero, standing up against the man! Instead, it's "assimilate or be sacked!"

John Crowley said...

Today's (5/25) OVN states "Due to an internet security firewall breach, the Ojai Valley News web site was hacked last week, and the results of the OVN Internet poll are unavailable."

The question was "Do you support the recall of Councilman Joe DeVito?" and 334 votes were tallied with 58.4% supporting. Doubt it.

The recall supporters were reduced to hacking OVN. Lame. Both PL and Klaif have written letters distancing themselves from the recall, even though they were part of the 30 signatures submitted for official verification.

"Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan."

Anonymous said...

For the record, the OVN's website went down the week AFTER the poll about the Devito Recall. If you insist on living in the past, at least remember it correctly.

Lenny Roberts said...

For the official record, the OVN website was hacked late on the afternoon of May 16. The question posted May 10 was, "Should illegal immigrants be deported or given the opportuniy to become U.S. citizens?"
We are, however, investigating ongoing problems with the online poll count we know have developed since our home page was repaired.

John Crowley said...

Fair enough, I stand corrected. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

You stand corrected of falsely accusing people of wrongdoing. It doesn't reflect well on your reasoning or theories.

John Crowley said...

My reasoning or theories are based on information available. When I get new information, I adjust accordingly. What do you do?

4/25 - OVN reports papers filed for recall.
5/1 - Council votes for moratorium.
5/21 - Keenan announces recall is recalled.

What happened in the three weeks between the vote and calling off the recall? How many of the 1,200 signatures were gathered?

These questions could be answered. If new information is provided, maybe I will adjust. Or maybe it will confirm my reasoning.

Anonymous said...

JC your are both messy and fussy.
Why don't you run next time around
-with your methods you
would really compliment
current city hall politics...