A real competition, continued
Ventura City Council candidates get candid about local politics
By VCR Staff 10/17/2013
For the last two Ventura City Council election cycles, it’s been quite a circus, with as many as 16 candidates, all of whom seemingly split votes among themselves when perhaps the best man or woman could have been seated on the Council. This year, however, we breathe a sigh of relief as only nine candidates vie for four seats, including three incumbents.
As we have in the past, the VCReporter gave out questionnaires with five questions to all of the candidates, with their responses revealing, we hope, all voters need to know when it comes time to cast their ballots. Due to time and space constraints, we will be running all of these online in our news section at www.vcreporter.com, starting Oct. 10, but we will provide equal space for each candidate, running three candidates per issue until Oct. 24. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.
This week, we continue with incumbent Jim Monahan and candidates Paul Meehan and Erik Nasarenko. Go to www.vcreporter.com for the full interviews.
Candidate Paul Meehan
Senior programmer analyst
What will be your top priorities as a City Council member?
• Quality of life is a big issue for me. My friends, my neighbors and my family have all been recently affected by crime. One friend came home in the afternoon to find a guy ransacking her house. He ran off and ended up getting away. Between 2011 and 2012, there was a 45 percent increase in auto thefts (282 incidents) and a 21 percent increase in residential burglaries (500 incidents).
I want to work more closely with the police department to provide what they need to do their jobs better.
I am also dedicated to enhancing the quality of our surroundings. That means the upkeep of services like trees being trimmed, roads being paved, libraries open and accessible, parks clean and well-kept.
• Economic stability is a major issue for me
On my website, www.paulmeehan.com, I’ve set some lofty goals for various projects around the city. But there is no way we can achieve them until we achieve fiscal solvency and responsible spending first. A starting point is for the city to provide a more clear, and easy to read budget. Remove all the acronyms. Make the “account names” less mystical and much more detailed. I want the average person to be able to look at that document and know how money is being spent. My goal is to uncover wasteful spending. I’m confident that in a budget as large as ours that there are many ways we can conserve. I don’t want to simply cut line items. I want to improve the efficiency of our spending. I would advocate a system that rewards city employees and citizens for watchdog-like behavior. I will not pass any unfunded liabilities on to my children.
• Environmental issues are core for me
An important limiting factor for the health of our city and economy is water. Our reserves are limited. I want the city to offer incentives to conserve. For example, there are very low-cost ways to implement gray-water recapture hardware for houses. The water that comes from your dishwasher, sinks and laundry machines can very well be used to water landscapes. That saves us money and the city water.
The flow of traffic around town can be improved. Stop-and-go traffic reduces fuel efficiency and reduces air quality.
As a coastal town we have a responsibility to be sure the ocean is clean and safe. I want to work towards reducing toxic storm water runoff.
Incumbent Jim Monahan
What will be your top priorities as a City Councilman?
The future of our incredibly beautiful city is very important to me. As a mayor and councilman, I have worked hard to make sure our quality of life is safe from overcrowding and our limited resources are secure for the future. My life has been committed to improving and promoting this city, which I love. I was born here, where I have lived my whole life with the exception of military service in Korea.
I returned and attended Ventura College, married and raised my family while working in my father’s business on the Avenue, which he started in 1928. In the 53 years I owned the business, we employed hundreds of workers so I understand administration, finance and budgeting. I believe that the city should be run like a business.
My top priorities are: financial stability, public safety, a clean and well-maintained city, creation of more jobs, protection of the environment, responsive and transparent government, business retention, senior services, cultural enrichment and a well-planned community.
I ask for your vote to assure that the voice of the people will be heard. Call me at 643-4275 or visit my website at jimmonahan.com.
Candidate Erik Nasarenko
Deputy district attorney
What will be your top priorities as a City Council member?
Identifying a funding source to build and operate a third Ventura public library, a much-needed community resource that was sadly taken away when Wright Library closed in 2009. Libraries are not only a source of community pride and shared enrichment, but also important crime-prevention tools.
Reducing crime and improving our quality of life by bringing more economic vitality to the city through responsible growth, job development opportunities and increased travel and tourism.
Completing Kellogg Park on the Westside and fully implementing the Sports Fields Master Plan at Ventura Community Park, which called for picnic tables with shade pavilions overlooking the barranca, a multipurpose community center and several children’s playgrounds, among other community benefits.
Working with businesses, nonprofits, conservancies, landowners and government entities to create the 16-mile Ventura River Parkway Project; and helping the Ventura Botanical Gardens to begin to fulfill its vision of creating Mediterranean gardens above City Hall.
For the full interviews, go to www.vcreporter.com.