Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hanstad, Horgan Ready For Challenge

Former Mayor Suza Francina, four others in the race for two council seats

By Daryl Kelley
The race is on for two seats on the Ojai City Council, and voters will have a varied choice this fall.
Joining veteran Council-women Rae Hanstad and Sue Horgan on the November municipal ballot are former Mayor Suza Francina, small business owner Betsy Clapp, and federal government investigator Michael Lenehan.
Community activist Dennis Leary opted out of the council race, citing the “welcome choice” voters now have among the five candidates.
While the candidates said they were all running separate and independent races, incumbents Hanstad and Horgan each signed the other’s nomination papers, and challengers Francina and Clapp did the same for one another.
For his part, Lenehan, a coach and recreation commission member, said he thinks the current City Council is doing a good job and that he probably would not have run if the incumbents had not first bowed out of the race, then re-entered over the last month.
Both incumbents said initially that they would not run for a third full term, but eventually changed their minds, citing unfinished city business, such as construction of a new skate park and a decision on how to meet a state mandate that Ojai provide more affordable housing.
Most direct in her challenge to the incumbents is Clapp.
“We need a change,” Clapp said this week.
“We need to start implementing some programs to make us a model sustainable community,” she said. “And we need to mend the rift between the citizens and the city. Citizens feel very shut out by the current council, because they feel the council does not respond to them.”
Clapp, 56, and Francina, a 59-year-old author and yoga teacher, said they were running on platforms that include policies embraced by the fast-growing Ojai Valley Green Coalition.
“The Ojai Valley Green Coalition is advocating things I’ve supported since 1974,” said Francina, who served on the council from 1996 to 2000, and was derisively dubbed “Mayor Moonbeam” during her mayoral term in 2000.
“I smile when I remember that I used to be called ‘that bicycle lady’ and ‘Mayor Moonbeam’ by those who did not understand the issues I was raising,” Francina said in her official candidate statement.
“Now conservation is the watchword of every government and business around the world,” she added. “It’s time for the City Council to follow through in creating a truly sustainable Ojai.”
In fact, the City Council did endorse those principles in May, when it pledged to embrace an array of new strategies to make the Ojai Valley a “green” community that laces economic, social and ecological needs into the fabric of everyday life.
The sustainability concept is that a society should plan its activities so they meet its needs while preserving the natural way of life, and to maintain this balance indefinitely.
Hanstad and Horgan specifically said then that it was time to make such concepts part of government and community life. And they thanked the Green Coalition for its efforts.
“Ojai’s natural setting and magnificent environment must be protected,” Horgan, 53, said in her candidate statement. “Ojai’s small-town character and sense of community must be preserved.”
Hanstad, 56, stated similar views in her statement, saying her goals were to preserve Ojai’s “hometown character” while balancing its three primary assets: “a natural environment; a diverse character; and a healthy economy.”
Hanstad said she strongly backs “programs to support The Road Map to a Sustainable Ojai.”
Francina said she is running not so much as a challenge to the present council, with which she said she could work effectively, but because of the momentum that seems to be building to enact policies to foster a sustainable community.
“I’ve been watching the council, and it began to feel like this was a really wonderful time to be on the council,” she said.
Indeed, Francina cited as her main accomplishment from her first council term leadership in enacting the city’s bicycle-pedestrian master plan, which could be a key component of a larger plan for a sustainable community. But she said not much has been done to implement it.
As for her relationship with Clapp during the race, Francina said they support each other.
“Betsy understands the issues, the policies,” Francina said.
But both Francina and Clapp said they were not running as a team.
“We’re not running in tandem,” Clapp said. “These are independent campaigns. Some of our ideas are very similar, yes.”
One past issue on which Francina and Clapp agreed was the Los Arboles condominium project adjacent to Libbey Park on Montgomery Street. Both opposed it as too large in scale for Ojai.
“I don’t feel like I was heard about the Los Arboles project,” Clapp said. “It was overly huge.”
Hanstad and Horgan voted for the upscale project, calling it a welcome addition to the downtown area.
Meanwhile, Lenehan, 47, said the focus of his campaign will be improving youth recreational programs.
“If I had known that Rae and Sue had intended to run up-front, I might not have chosen to pursue it,” he said.
Lenehan, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, said he will be stationed in South Korea for the rest of August, but will campaign during the fall.
Locally, Lenehan has coached youth soccer, T-ball and hockey teams on which his five children have participated. He has also been an assistant varsity football coach at Villanova Preparatory School.
“I thought being involved in so many sports and having so many kids, I might as well contribute where I can.”
Leary, a frequent critic of the council, had taken out papers to run. But in an e-mail to the city he withdrew: “The recent change in candidates gives Ojai a welcome choice. I no longer feel the need to seek office.”
Also on the fall ballot will be seats for the board of directors for the Ojai Unified School District, the Casitas Municipal Water District, the Ojai Valley Sanitary District, the Meiners Oaks County Water District and the Ojai Valley Municipal Advisory Committee.
Ojai City Clerk Carlon Strobel will be unchallenged on the ballot, as will City Treasurer Alan Rains.
There are competitive races for two Casitas water board seats. In the first district, representing Ventura, incumbent Jim Word is challenged by retail salesperson David Norrdin and, in the third district, incumbent Pete Kaiser is challenged by fire crew worker Jeff Ketelsen.
For the Ojai Valley Sanitary District, two seats are contested: incumbent William Stone is challenged by state license contractor George Galgas in Division 1; incumbent Kaiser is challenged by Ketelsen and Frank McNerney in Division 3.
On the Ojai Valley MAC, incumbent Alan Saltzman is challenged by Gerald Kaplan in Division 7.
For the Meiners Oaks Water Board, incumbents James Barrett and Karol Ballentine are challenged by retired business owner Norm Davis.


Anonymous said...

Voters should look closely at Hogan’s views, ties, and voting record!

As stated in the article, she voted FOR the upscale Los Arboles project calling it a welcome addition to the downtown area. This certainly is not my vision to preserve “Ojai’s small-town character” as she says in candidate statement!

She voted against the temporary chain store moratorium that prevented subway & others from coming into Ojai before a permanent ordinance could be written.

She was the only vote against the final chain store ordinance that was supported by nearly all of the community.

She Voted to sue an Ojai Citizen for submitting a chain store and affordable housing voter initiative – The Court threw the case out … costing the city $83,000+ paid to city attorney & his law firm and they are still spending OUR MONEY to appeal it.

She flimflammed the City Council saying she was not running again and asked passionately to be mayor in her final year in office – when they made her Mayor, she announced she changed her mind and will run again.

She discredits respected Ojai citizens at council meetings that oppose her by calling them the “fringe Element”.

Although not a conflict of interest, on the Board of Directors for Ventura’s County Commerce Bank is:

o Husband Gary Horgan,
o City Attorney Monty Witters partner L. Rogers Myers – the same firm that benefits from suing the Ojai Citizen
o Jeffrey Becker from the Becker Group that owns Mallory Way cottages that will soon be up to be converted from low cost rentals into condos.

It appears the only thing Green Sue supports is the dollar.

Let’s take back our City!

Anonymous said...

I like her. She's a good Ojai citizen, and I have no problem with her decisions; does anyone remember the shambles where Los Arboles is today? She has my vote.

Anonymous said...

I remember where those shambles used to be and I prefer the shambles to that horrid development. The developers of Los Arboles where required to mitigate that huge development by restoring sections of the Ojai Creek that borders it and runs through Libbey Park. Did they fulfill this mitigation? Of course not! Those developers are money hungry people with no vision other than how to make a quick buck and that kind of thinking is not invited to Ojai. Horgan is infused with the same logic and it's time she moved on to new waters.

Anonymous said...

Added bonus to this charming circle from C.C. Bank whose specialty is real estate development, Jeff Becker's brother
Troy is seated on the planning commission. Just another strange coincidence I guess...

Anonymous said...

I agree that Horgan is too intertwined and should retire from the City Council scene.

Anonymous said...

In case people have forgotten, the Evergreen Cottages where the Los Arboles condos are now located were low cost housing long before the slum –lord developer Smigel bought them. If you don’t think Smigel’s purpose was to let a property become an eye-sore and a slum to get a City to approve development, you might want to ask the citizens of Carpinteria what they think of Smigel – same tactics.

Check out the history of the Ojai Creek Village at 119 and 201 S. Montgomery St., near Libbey Park and the Ojai Art Center that Smigel has before the planning commission (Ref. OVN article Dated August 7, 2008). Some say the city was going to take over the property but the owner was able to sell it to Smigel at the last minute who has ties with some with those in the City – another coincidence where a developer gets favored treatment by our elected officials.

gypsy bootz said...

I am voting for former mayor Suza Franzina because...
She’ll abolish pledge of allegiance at city council meetings instead have Rutting Buck lead attendees in the antler dance...

Anonymous said...

Does anyone here ever actually know anyone who lived at any of the Evergreen Cottages during the last 12 years they existed? I had a friend who lived on the top floor of the center house, and there was a soft spot surrounding a hole in the kitchen floor that we had to avoid stepping on or near or else we'd wind up visting the guy who lived downstairs. It took almost 10 minutes to fill the bathtub, and almost as long to drain it except for the time that one of the rusted drain pipes gave out and the water drained into Hugo's place on the first floor.

The only nice thing this place had when I last saw it was the trees. The rest of the property would have been a slum in Calcutta. The people who lived along the barranca threw all of their trash into the stream bed, and the City and various volunteers had to clean it out every year before the rains started. I worked on this cleanup 3 times, and we were told to watch out for used hypodermic needles and human feces. It became almost impossible to get people to volunteer for this cleanup, yet the trash continued and the City had to continue to clean it up. Law enforcement refused to do anything about it, saying that it was a code enforcement issue, and the City couldn't fine the people who were throwing the trash because there was no way to catch them doing it and proving in court that they had done it, and even if they'd caught them doing it, the DA would have laughed at the idea of filing charges. The landlord didn't care what happened as long as the rent got paid.

I once visited a woman who lived in one of the cabins. Her son was a famous rock musician in the old group "Spirit". Had I been a code enforcement officer I would not have allowed her to remain in the building. She was using a freestanding unvented gas heater. She had no hot water. The bathroom walls had been torn out and the toilet was in the living room along with the single counter and sink that passed as a kitchen. She had no shower or bath tub. I never understood how she came to live there, or why she seemed to be receiving no help from her family. My friend was the only person who looked in on this woman as far as I could tell.

Genevieve, the "manager", was not there to make repairs. She collected the rents and sent them off to the absentee landlord. Tenants either did their own repairs and their own gardening or these things didn't get done. Most of the repair work that was done was not to code, and I saw garden hose and hose clamps used as 1/2" water pipe, and automotive wiring used to bypass the ancient knob & tube household wiring. When a feral cat died in front of my friend's house, it lay there for 3 days until I got back from Northern California and buried it for her. The woman who lived in the other half of the downstairs property had put a cardboard box on it, and that was it. Nobody was going to to anything else about it.

You could buy drugs at the Evergreens 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year long, Christmas day included, and people did. People who had never scored there before would walk around knocking on doors at any hour of the day trying to figure out where a dealer lived. Fights would break out in the middle of the night, and when my friend called the cops one night all 4 of her tires got slashed some time before she had to go to work in the morning.

I could go on. Maybe these places had a heyday, but by the time I first saw them 22 years ago, they were worse than some big city projects, except for the trees. At least they had the trees, but that's about all they had.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I know of two families that lived at the Evergreen cottages. Their children went to Topa Topa School with my son. I felt sorry for the young boy as his parents had little money. I bought the boy a Boy Scout uniform and took him to the scout meetings with my son. The other was a Hispanic family, and despite all of the filth she always went to school in a freshly washed and ironed dress. When the cottages were shut down, the young boy and his family moved to Camp Comfort. I don’t know what happened to the Hispanic family. I agree it was not an environment I would like to raise my children in but that is no excuse for the landlord not to keep the place up. Mallory way could be the same but thank god the Becker Group has higher values than Smigel.

The issue however is that both of the incumbents gave praise for the Los Arboles project but has done nothing to replace the low cost housing – all they do is talk-talk-talk and use buzzwords like the “housing element”, etc,. etc. Heck, this issue has been on the minds of people long before Jeff F submitted the voter initiatives and the incumbents have done nothing to solve the problem.

Anonymous said...

Affordable housing is just a lot of talk.

Anonymous said...


Sue Horgan asking the City council to make her Mayor because she was not going to run again, then her filing papers to run again after the Council made her the Mayor is a slap in the face to our City and the Citizens of Ojai and may be illegal.

It would be different if there were some extenuating circumstances beyond her control, but there were none. It appears it was an outright lie.

Are these the ethics we want to teach to our children?

It seems the City Council must censure Sue Horgan otherwise a new standard is set for accepted practices in our City Government in the future.

Anonymous said...

The mayoral designation is the choice of the Council, which voted unanimously to appoint Sue Horgan. She has served the City well and now has her colleagues' support for reelection.

Is this the blogging content you want to teach to your children?

Anonymous said...

Los Arboles was built after the City approved and built the Sycamore Homes affordable family houses. Ojai needs homes for everyone.

Anonymous said...

As much as I may disagree with Horgan's politics, the appointment of Sue as Mayor this go-around was better than having to listen to Joe "Time to Go" DeVito. Let's think about how little these decade-long politicians have done for the community on the issues that they say are important to them and concentrate on getting some new ideas downtown. Listening to the incumbents talk about what they want to do now is hollow campaign speak.

Anonymous said...

What new ideas do you have in mind?:-)

There is a reality that many dreamers never have to face, because they don't have the credibility to get elected. Horgan and DeVito have given generously of their time and effort to make Ojai better. They don't personally profit from any of the decisions, they are acting on their principles and what can realistically be accomplished.

I thank them both for their service.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:01 PM I am carefully
considering my reply to this for
two reasons- to save you anymore
embarassment to you than you
have written, and to make sure
I am reading your post correctly.
Is this really your take on
Horgan and DeVito? PL

Anonymous said...

Oh, Pete, knock it off. We know you couldn't find a nice thing to say about the Council if you were dying and they all took turns giving you CPR and saved your life. Your bias is an illness. Anyone who can't find anything nice to say about anyone has some serious problems. You're free to talk and write all you want, but if you could see yourself through the eyes of others you'd probably spend more time thinking and less time making putting other people down. Right now, you represent everything I hate about the campaign process, regardless of who's running.

Anonymous said...

Pete, 3:01pm here. You are exactly who I am thinking of when I say, "...because they don't have the credibility to get elected."

You have no skin in the game. You don't even live in Ojai. Your offer of leadership has been weighed, measured, and found wanting. You spend your time putting down those who are truly in the arena. But your ideas revolve around telling others what they CAN'T do, and spending other people's money.

Some refer to you as "9% Pete", and it fits. Accomplishment = credibility, Pete. Instead of lecturing everybody, why don't you try to learn something yourself? Like with CMWD? Or Meiner's Oaks Water District? Get away from your computer, and visit a retail store in Ojai and find out what obstacles they face (hint: it is not landlords).

Stop embarrassing yourself, and clue in to reality, Mr. Blueblood Trust Fund baby.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:01, if the shoe fits...

You might consider that you are the problem in Ojai, not Pete, whatever names you might call him. You reveal your bias by your phrase, "skin in the game." I bet you do have "skin in the game." Pete has pointed out for years how members of this council, and people who are supposed to serve the city and public like our city attorney, have far too much "skin in the game."

What we need are people WITHOUT "skin in the game," whose only interest is their love of this great town and their desire and ability to bring new and fresh ideas to keep it great and make it better.

I know, for some, that is hard to imagine, and just not realistic. For me, I much prefer the no "skin" "idealists" you deride to what we have today. The bankruptcy of your position is revealed by your inability to counter the comments in this blog showing the terrible voting record of Sue Horgan, for example. Instead of calling Pete names, why don't you share with us any examples of actual accomplishments of the incumbents? As best I can tell, the platform of the incumbents is shaping up to be fear, division, and don't risk the "fringe element." I doubt there will be much public comment on the incumbent side about making sure the council is stacked in favor of those with "skin in the game," but the rest of us can see pretty well what it is all about.

I look forward to an opportunity to vote for change.

Anonymous said...

Sooooo, those of us who own businesses and homes (ie, those of us with "skin in the game") are not qualified for Council under your rules?!

B Dawson

Anonymous said...

Have already discussed my background and it is not blueblood trust fund, but green, as in the royal order of the transcendental avacado society. When I ran for council last time, not for fun by the way, I was sickened by the corruption culture and real life villans who occupy city hall. They physically threw me out of chambers, violated my civil rights to speak and assemble,smeared my name and character
in a manner I can only take pride in coming from this winner's circle, and have made me lose faith in representative governance. B and you other anonymouse here, I assign this MO to you as well. To say it has been a true pleasure is the understatement of the 21st century. What is next for you all, a place on the GB Imperialist Wall of Shame in DC? PL

Anonymous said...

Oh and B, sorry your Highness but you're confusing me with your prattle. You say in one respect I am on public assistence spending other people's money, then in another I am "Mr. Blue Blood
Trust Fund Baby" which is sort of the opposite, yes? About my not living in Ojai, I believe you've written of living outside city limits so you are unable to hold office. Me too! Should we both stop
weighing in about a sense of place we care greatly about? You first! PL

Anonymous said...

Oh Pete, your Ignorance, I am not the poster who has called you those things or raised those issues. I do NOTHING that is anonymous. My first post on this thread was 17 august 12:02.

Just to refresh your selective memory, I state that you are hypocritical. Those who have money, own property or have a profession you deem to be detrimental to YOUR vision of Ojai is corrupt, greedy and unfit for office, yet all you offer about yourself is some distant past deeds by a relative. You whine about being called names and marginalized, yet inside of two weeks, you called me a Republican wannabe, a facsist and a capitalist.
Back to the civics books for you, sir!

As to this topic, Rae and Sue are far more qualified to be in office than the majority of people who are currently opposing them. The jury is still out (for me) on Ms Clapp.

B Dawson

Anonymous said...

sOuch-you really hurt my feelings with that last one! For you not seeing the humor of my avacado society (did I exclude citrus?) and I know plenty from city hall being quite humorless,
I refer to Green as in Coalition, one of the more pleasing and proudest developments coming out of civic minded Ojai group dynamics. It really stands out as a progressive force in town and I am praying and meditating on it's transfer into political capital!

Anonymous said...

B Dawson get a life will U--U must be one unhappy lonley person in this life to write such nan ne nan na stuff about Pete

Anonymous said...

B just because you're a businesswoman in Ojai at a doggie store gives you no right to make derogatory statements to a kind heart like P L
[Just to refresh your selective memory, I state that you are hypocritical.
Read what the bible tells us

<< Matthew 7:5 >>
You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you will see clearly enough to remove the log from your own eye

Right on said...

Thanks, B, for your honesty and integrity.

Anonymous said...

Pete, what have you ever done for Ojai? I'm not asking you what you talked about doing for Ojai or what your vision is for Ojai, I want to know what you've actually done. I'm not trying to make you feel bad, I just want to know and I want to hear it from you. How have you out performed all of the people you seem to hate so much?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for asking. I have been visiting or living here since the early 90's.
Have always been car free and explored
everywhere I could on foot. I have watched the moon rise at night and illuminate the valley like a Japanese lamp. Have picked everything that grows in season there is to be picked. Have attempted truth in politics between the hours of nine and five and at many
city council meetings in evening, both of which remain scarce.
Been a fan and booster of Help of Ojai.
Been a friend, confidente and employee
of small business. Enjoyed interacting
with fellow pedestrians and tourists
on foot. Taken the bicycle path everywhere. Visited and sought wisdom from varied spiritual complexes like
Ojai Retreat, Krotona and Meditation Mount. Sold at farmers market, friend and grateful customer of small farming. Attended various civic meeetings- Green Coalition, Stop the Trucks, FLOW Golden State Water response, Ojai Community Network crime response, and Save Ojai Group. Participant of Watershed Protection Group.Have many published editorials on valley growth and pressing social issues. Been arrested for speaking up. Lastly,have lengthy involvement in political process receiving the stains and slanders contained therein. Have formulated solutions and alternatives which are on public record. Don't really hate anyone in valley except hatred and corruption.
Where can I find them to hate? A very
secretive shadow culture has entrenched
designs and interests and will stop at nothing or no one to maintain reigns of
control of future of valley. Biggest
threat on horizon I feel is water politics of valley growth, and incorporation of outlying areas into the city for commercial and residential expansion and developmet. PL

Anonymous said...

A very
secretive shadow culture has entrenched
designs and interests and will stop at nothing or no one to maintain reigns of
control of future of valley.

No disagreement there, but there's more than one such group, and they may not be who you think they are.

Good luck.