Thursday, December 6, 2007

DeVito Takes Fifth Turn As Ojai Mayor

21-year council vet says this term is last

By Nao Braverman
Senior councilman Joe DeVito will take his seat as mayor of Ojai for the fifth time in his career on Tuesday.
It has been a long road and he has stuck it out for 21 years, but this will be his last term, he said. At this time in his life he wants to do some traveling and spend time with family. That doesn’t mean his efforts will wane, however.
“I’ll work as hard this term as I ever have,” he said.
Though the job pays a small stipend of $65 per meeting, $30 for serving on the Redevelopment Commission and $35 for City Council, with benefits, DeVito said it has mostly been an enjoyable experience to work with an exceptional staff and other council members who have the city’s best interests at heart.
He supports the council’s primary goal which is to keep up to par with finances, according to DeVito.
“We have been on track the past few years and we need to keep our reserves replenished,” he said. He will also prioritize adoption of an approvable housing element, and looks forward to seeing how the new chain store ordinance plays out in the years to come.
A longtime councilman who prides himself on being an available and accessible representative who always considers public concerns, DeVito took a blow in late April when a recall petition was circulated against him. Primarily due to his “no”dissenting vote, which stalled the initiation of a moratorium against chain stores; petition circulators changed their minds after DeVito subsequently voted in favor of the moratorium. Though the petition was retracted soon after, it was still an arduous experience.
“It was extremely difficult to deal with and I felt like I was personally attacked, like my reputation and character were being dragged through the mud,” he said.
The good that came out of the ordeal, however, was the multitude of supporters who came up to him and showed their appreciation for his work, he said.
“People who I had never met came out of the woodwork to thank me for my representation on the council,” he said.
DeVito has also been re-energized by chairing the Ventura Transportation Commission for the first time and the board of Gold Coast Transit, formerly known as SCAT, which he has chaired three times.
His involvement on those boards has enabled him to coordinate between the local trolley service and the Gold Coast bus, bring further funding to Ojai for transportation efforts, and keep local public transportation options attractive enough for people to use them, he said.
City manager Jere Kersnar said he is confident that DeVito will be able to effectively take on the role of mayor once again.
“He has been mayor before and he’s been the chair of VCTC, which I imagine is an even harder task. I’m sure that being mayor will be a lesser challenge for him.”


no more earth mamas!! said...

go joe! clean up city hall and
chase these progressive panty wasters out of town!!!

Anonymous said...

"...since it is notoriously hard to teach old dogs new tricks, I'd settle for a council that would just get out of the way. After all, sticks and stones may break
our bones(and chains and unchecked developers may wreck our town) - but names will never hurt us...This business of council members dismissing certain people as "crackpot" or "fringe element" has gone on way too long...Did anyone else notice Joe DeVito's chastising members of the public at the last council meeting for his perception that "some of you don't even have the gumption to salute the flag?"

mitt '08 said...

get out of the way you hairy heathens...joe devito represents the the moral majority.

ojai = bigger + chain stores said...

go sit on a leaf-blower!! moonbeam...

Anonymous said...

.This business of council members dismissing certain people as "crackpot" or "fringe element" has gone on way too long

Freedom of speech isn't just for you, my little closet totalitarian.

Furry Herbalist said...

Here, Here! It's time to start reminding some activists that freedom of speech does go both ways. Yes you can not salute the flag, but you don't get to whine when someone takes exception to your actions. Citizens stand at the podium and insult the Council, call them names and then pull out the "you're marginalizing me, you're dismissing me" argument when Council members dissagree or challege what has been said.

The recall petition was nothing more than a childish temper tantrum by a few who didn't get their way on their terms in their timeframe.

I have had my differences with Mr. DeVito over the years, but he has always been willing to take time for one on one meetings with me personally and as a Chamber member, listened and presented his view on the subject politely.

Kudos to any citizen who steps forward, puts their personal life slightly to one side and serves a Community as an elected official. It's not an easy thing to do.

B Dawson

Anonymous said...

You fascists never miss a beat. The
only thing missing in this thread
is James Hatch putting in a plug
for Arian brotherhood. You all suggest it is not late for Ojai to lean that way.

James Hatch said...


Grow up and quit the name calling. James Hatch stands for the truth, freedom of speech, the difference between right and wrong, and equality for all. In your twisted liberal mind, you think that this somehow equates to fascism.

progressive weenie -- not said...

progessive-fringe needs to grow a set. the moral majority of ojai care about schools, crime and infrastructure -- get a clue if you ever want to get elected!!

James Hatch said...

James Hatch stands for fiscal responsibility. James Hatch stands for better schools, is tough on crime, and better roads if it makes sense.

James Hatch represents the moral majority. James Hatch is your new leader.

Anonymous said...

Joe DeVito isn't the new mayor.
Sue Horgan is.

Anonymous said...

Will the real James Hatch stand up and step away from the community and take all your delusional followers with you? By the way, for there to be a moral majority doesn't there first come a moral?

James Hatch said...


Dare to dream. It's good to have an imagination. I thank you for the support.

takin' ojai back said...

james hatch! james hatch!!james hatch!!!

Anonymous said...

hey-progressive weenie -- not, you
might try having the courage yourself
to run for office, to truly promote
that you write and claim to care about. As you indicate, you have
no real sense of place or much
else to take a stand for...

moral highground said...

hey, whatever happened to the recall petition regarding joe devito?
weren't the panty wasters going to run him out-of-town??????