A real competition, continued

A real competition, continued


As we have in the past, the VCReporter gave out questionnaires with five questions to all of the nine candidates and then publish their responses. Due to time and space constraints, we have run all of these online in our news section at www.vcreporter.com, wrapping up our coverage this week.

This week we finish with candidates Brian Lee Rencher and David Swaffar and incumbent Mike Tracy. For the full interviews and VCReporter endorsements, go to www.vcreporter.com. Don’t forget to mail in your ballots; Election Day is Nov. 5.

Candidate Brian Lee Rencher

What will be your top priorities as a City Council member?
The Ventura City Council’s top priority right now (yesterday in fact) should be to create high-paying jobs through intelligent economic development. And I’m not talking about the ongoing petty little “get rich quick” land deal schemes the Council members currently do with and for their benefactors in the back rooms. I’m talking about a real world-class economic plan and program that actually enriches the entire community. The five focus areas (properties) in their current “plan” are emblematic of these ongoing shenanigans. Instead of helping my pals make quick profits at the expense of the rest of the citizenry, I would apply real econometrics to develop a workable plan backed up with supporting policies, ordinances, zoning and public funding where and if needed.

Candidate David Swaffar


What will be your top priorities as a City Councilmember?
Open access to the governing process, integrity in leadership and a movement towards a direction that reflects a responsibility to preserves Ventura’s uniqueness.

What do you think is lacking on the Council now?
There is a lack of connection to our youth. One of the most valuable resources we have is local youth. They are faced with the reality every day that Ventura is unaffordable and the local businesses support groups spends more time courting out-of-town corporate business as we stand by watching the things that make Ventura unique slowly be stripped away. Local government and special-interest business groups have created a sense of alienation for our young entrepreneurs. We are turning a blind eye to some of the best and brightest to ever come out of our local schools. Our City Council has spent the last several years focusing on turning us into xyz insert whatever city the last Council member/city manager/ or dvp lackey is touting as the greatest thing since peanut butter. We need to look inward local first. We need to focus on and give resources to, our kids, our long time local businesses, lifelong residents, and the guy down the street that wants to start a new business that may not fit into the current model. We as locals need to be reminded that we are the voice that needs to be heard. We need to be engaged and excited. We need to know we can be the difference between what we desire and what others tell us we can have. We hold the key to promoting a sustainable future for the unique community that is Ventura. We don’t need to sit back and wait for the same old candidates to tell us they will make it better next time.

Incumbent Mike Tracy (current mayor)
Former police chief (retired)

What will be your top priorities as a City Council member?
When I became Mayor, the entire council agreed to focus on four priorities:
• Economic development
• Public safety and core services
• A safe and clean Ventura
• Restoring public trust
During my time as mayor, the Council has adopted a six-year economic development strategy to help every sector of the business community be successful. We have added to our police and fire resources and we are coming to grips with our water resources to make sure limited development is practical. We have completed a variety of significant public works projects

We have strengthened relationships with criti cal social service agencies, and implemented a community intervention court to deal with homelessness and vagrancy. Our Safe and Clean Initiative has helped us deal with graffiti, trash, abandoned shopping carts and other public nuisances.

Under my leadership, this Council has made a successful transition to a new city management team under the leadership of city manager Mark Watkins. For fiscal year 2013-2014, we have balanced our budget without using reserve funds for the first time in several years.

If re-elected I will continue to work on these four priorities and seek support from the rest of the City Council to further these efforts.  

For the full interviews, go to www.vcreporter.com.


A real competition, continued

A real competition, continued


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.






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