President

Donald Trump has done what no other candidate in modern times has been able to do. He has risen against all odds and is now legitimately vying for the position of president of the United States without ever having held office, without outspending his competitor, without even having the backing of much of his own party. Despite his best efforts to sabotage his own campaign with wrongheaded statements and positions too long to list here, he did so well in the polls because he has tapped into a festering sore that many Americans share: the loss of blue collar jobs, the fear of terrorism, governmental over-regulation and unaccountability to name a few. His voter pool clings to the rhetoric that Trump can bring back what America might have been like 75 years ago — a white male-dominated, oversimplified culture, one that is no longer appropriate or possible.

Hillary Clinton, for her part, may be one of the best-qualified candidates in modern history — a former senator, secretary of state, attorney, volunteer — yet she is disliked and untrusted by many.  In some ways, she and husband Bill are to blame.

When it comes down to this most important item on your ballot, we endorse a proven commodity over a candidate whose tactic seems to be to say whatever will get a rise on any given day. Not only does Trump not espouse the values that helped to make America great, he also has no logical or realistic plan for moving his party’s agenda forward.  If George Bush was known as the flip-flop candidate, then Donald Trump is the man on the high wire, a wire that is unsafe and dangerous for America.

Vote for Hillary Clinton.

U.S. Senator

Democratic California Attorney General Kamala Harris has a proven track record for environmental and social justice, plus her long list of endorsements span the gamut from advocates for gun violence prevention to farmworkers, teachers, safety unions, minorities and more. She’s the right fit for California.

Vote for Kamala Harris.

26th Congressional District

Congresswoman Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, continues to do good work in office, voting in favor of affordable health care, women’s rights, veteran benefits, a balanced budget, gun control measures, improving education, etc. We expect her to continue down this path. 

Vote for Julia Brownley.

19th Senatorial District

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, has been a staunch defender of the environment, access to the best education, women’s issues, immigrants welfare, gun control and more. She’s predicable in her pursuit of a better quality of life for California residents and the constituents she serves.

Vote for Hannah-Beth Jackson.

27th Senatorial District

Henry Stern served as Democratic Sen. Fran Pavley’s right hand-man as her senior adviser for the last four years as she took on corporations and lobbyists over fracking, the Aliso Canyon natural gas leak and more. He can fill those big shoes she’s leaving behind. 

Vote for Henry Stern.

37th Assembly District

S. Monique Limon has spent the last several years serving her community on the Santa Barbara Unified School Board, currently in her second term. She is an advocate of education and women’s rights. Our only hope — she will come down to Ventura more often to bend an ear for local issues outside of Santa Barbara.

Vote for S. Monique Limon

44th Assembly District

Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, is a mover and a shaker. She likes to get things done, from taking on better security in the cyberworld to veteran issues and raising the minimum wage. We aren’t clear why she sat out the vote on overtime for farmworkers — an explanation wasn’t forthcoming — but that’s doesn’t mean all the work she has done thus far is lost.

Vote for Jacqui Irwin.

Ventura County Supervisor, third district

Carla Castilla brings solid political experience, working as Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson’s district director, to the Ventura County Supervisor seat and an ideological platform that follows her predecessor, Kathy Long. She understands the need for jobs and environmental regulations, etc. While she fits the status quo Democrat, we especially like the fact she is in her late 30s, which is relatively young for such an important seat. And while she didn’t follow voting rules to a T — her husband’s home was in Camarillo and she continued to vote in Oxnard elections, where she had been based before she got married — the fact that she was so dedicated to voting in her home city indicates that she has the passion that has been missing in so many other candidates. We can look past her indiscretion and hope she brings that fervor and concern with her to the supervisor position.

Vote for Carla Castilla.

OXNARD

Mayor

When Tim Flynn was elected as Oxnard mayor in 2012, he was a force to be reckoned with. He had served on the City Council during a highly contentious time from 2004 to 2008 and then again from 2010 to 2012, before being elected mayor. Flynn has never been scared to challenge the status quo, especially when it came to the city’s business operations and fiscal responsibility. In 2010, the Ventura County District Attorney launched an investigation into those issues in particular; and while no one was prosecuted for wrongdoing, it led to a disintegration of top leadership in Oxnard, whether voluntarily through resignation or retirement or otherwise. Since Flynn has been in office over the last four years, he has led the effort with Council’s approval to allocate $30 million for repaving every residential street in the city, along with the city taking over operations of the trash facility, estimated to save ratepayers $2 million, and ended no-bid contracts. While there is no argument that Flynn has been especially tenacious in trying to move Oxnard forward, there, however, have been consistent frustrations and concerns about Flynn’s temperament and inability to work effectively with people from the city to the dais and the general public. Certainly, when Flynn is on your side, he is a fierce ally, but when he isn’t, finding solutions seems to be an arduous task, at best.

Miguel Lopez, on the other hand, the former community affairs officer for Oxnard Police Department, is a fledgling politician who went straight for the top elected office of Oxnard for mayor. At 34, that’s quite an ambitious goal for the largest city, but we have some concerns. While we can appreciate what a man of Latino heritage might represent for the city of Oxnard, given Lopez’s deeply rooted ties to Oxnard’s safety and fire department during a volatile time when both departments are unhappy, we are uncertain that as mayor he would be able to make decisions without bias. Further, he has six endorsements connected to fire and safety. He may have the temperament and the passion to help Oxnard residents, but he may have overshot his election chances by not trying to run for City Council first and proving by example how he, as an elected official, would work with the rest of the City Council and be able to prove he is balanced.

At this time, Flynn and Lopez are the top competitors in a contentious race for the seat, with Armando Sepulveda also in the running but he doesn’t necessarily have support that the familiar Flynn name has or the various union backing as Lopez. Many Oxnard residents are grateful for Flynn’s fight to clean up City Hall while others want Lopez for his experience in community affairs — and he clearly did well in doing so, being named Employee of the Year in February.

In the end, though, it’s the various people and groups who support Lopez that speak for his ability to be a good leader: Ventura County Supervisor John Zaragoza, David Rodriquez, state director of LULAC, a major labor union, members of Latino organizations and more.Finding Flynn’s endorsements beyond friends and family who have donated to his campaign has, thus far, been unproductive. It’s time for a change.

Vote for Miguel Lopez.

OXNARD

City Council

Bryan MacDonald has been the voice of fiscal reason on a City Council that has voted to cut expenses — as in public safety — and raise income in the form of wastewater rates. He is one of the few candidates for City Council who actually understands how a city government is financed and how its budget works, and has consistently worked with his constituents to solve problems during his eight years on the Council.

Vote for Bryan MacDonald.

Among a slate of candidates that ranges from clueless to crazy, Planning Commissioner Steve Huber stands out as the candidate with both leadership skills and business experience. As a former commanding officer at Port Hueneme Naval Station, he has been responsible for large staffs and large budgets; as a business consultant, he has the know-how to jump-start Oxnard’s ailing downtown. Further, in 2014, he lost his bid for a seat on the City Council by 10 votes. He’s clearly a candidate Oxnard voters stand behind. And we can too.

Vote for Steve Huber.

OXNARD

City Clerk

We don’t traditionally endorse city clerk candidates but we were glad to see Michelle Ascension running for the position. She is more than qualified, given her near 10-year tenure with the city of Port Hueneme and her recent move to Ventura Regional Sanitation District. She’s a shoo-in.

Vote for Michelle Ascension.

Port Hueneme

City Council

With two seats open, we can only endorse one candidate at this time though we suggest avoiding incumbents.

Will Berg has done good work as public information officer with the Port of Hueneme for many years. We feel he is sufficiently competent and even-keeled to serve on a longtime dysfunctional City Council and to do his best for the residents and city staff as well. We feel confident he will recuse himself from issues involving the Port of Hueneme as necessary to avoid conflict of interest. He is the right person at the right time.

Vote for Will Berg.

Ventura

City Council

This election can be seen as a referendum on the direction of the city.

If you are happy with the decisions made and direction taken in the recent past, vote for the incumbents.

Both Christy Weir and Cheryl Heitmann have put a lot of time and effort into their work and should be applauded for such. And for the most part have done a good job representing a segment of Ventura that wants slow growth and a focus on the granular instead of the big picture. For this, Ventura is now starting to feel the pain. It is losing businesses to other areas in and outside of Ventura County. The cost of housing vs. the wages offered makes Ventura one of the most expensive places to live in the region.  As boats rise in other cities, Ventura is now asking citizens to pay more to keep the city’s infrastructure intact (more on that topic — see Measure O). The pace of government does not mirror the requirements of the private sector. When that happens, problems should be expected.

If you feel it’s time for a new direction, then vote for new leadership.

Matt LaVere has a combination of clear focus, knowledge and understanding of the problems facing the city of Ventura. An attorney with a local practice, he has served on the boards of of the Ventura College Foundation, Project Understanding and the Downtown Ventura Rotary Club. LaVere’s professional experience in working with small businesses in the city of Ventura comes in especially handy, given all the bureaucratic red tape that business owners have to get through in order just to get established. His service on the various nonprofit boards gives him a well-rounded view of different economic classes in need. Because of his congenial nature, we feel he would be an asset to the citizens of Ventura.

Dave Grau, a retired business executive, could be viewed as more of the same on the Council (retired, white) but for his pro-business, anti-tax positions.  Grau garnered 40 percent of the vote in a bid to unseat Steve Bennett for Supervisor of District 1 and was a latecomer to this City Council race. His business experience and stance on keeping public employee pensions in check could change the outcomes of Council decisions in the future.  Note: We think he’ll again run for Supervisor when Bennett terms out.  While we may not agree with all of his positions, he will serve as a decent watchdog over city spending and will provide balance with pro-business and –growth stances that the current City Council seems to be lacking.

Ventura

Unified School Board

Sabrena Rodriquez is the president of the Ventura Educational Partnership and has been a longtime VUSD volunteer. Her top priorities are for every student to achieve grade-level reading in elementary school by reducing K-2 class sizes, and providing resources to struggling students — supporting them before they fall behind.  We agree that these are important priorities.

Vote for Sabrena Rodriquez.

Don Wood is a former president of the Educational Partnership and has over 22 years of supporting schools in a variety of roles in Los Angeles and Ventura.  We like his goals of ensuring that every student has a clear path to success after graduation, whether college-bound or not. We need to provide strong technical and vocational training, in conjunction with both Ventura Adult and Continuing Education and Ventura College.

Vote for Don Wood.­