Out with the old, in with the new, say most county voters who will gaze in awe at the sample ballots arriving in their mailboxes ahead of the November elections.
The city councils of both Ventura and Oxnard will look very different, as both cities have adopted district-based elections after threat of a lawsuit forced the cities’ transitions.
In September of 2017, CAUSE (Central Coast Alliance for a Sustainable Economy) alleged that the city of Ventura’s at-large voting system underrepresented minorities, and in particular the city’s Westside, where no current council members reside. Rather than take the battle to court, the city decided to adopt district-based elections and in November began taking suggested district maps.
Oxnard followed suit, the City Council voting in February of this year to transition to the district-based election system, and to add two more seats, bringing the total number of councilmembers up to seven, including the mayor, which will remain an at-large, citywide vote.
Both councils have several familiar faces who have decided not to seek re-election, or aren’t able to due to ditching the at-large vote.
On Nov. 6, Ventura and Oxnard voters will be able to vote for a candidate who lives within their own district for the first time. Ventura has seven districts, but this year, only districts 1, 4, 5 and 6 will vote; the rest will vote in 2020. Oxnard’s vote will have a more significant effect on the makeup of the council as two more seats will be added, to bring the total number of districts to seven. Districts 1, 2, 5, 6 and the mayor will be up for grabs, the rest in 2020.
City of Ventura candidates
Both Mike Tracy and Neal Andrews, who would have been up for re-election this year, will instead lose their seats because they reside in Districts 2 and 3, respectively, which are not up for election. Christy Weir in District 2 and Matt LaVere in District 3 will simply retain those seats. Cheryll Heitmann lives in District 7.
Councilmember Jim Monahan announced that he would not seek re-election, having served since 1977.
Note: a candidate statement costs $775, and thus not all candidates have statements. Candidate occupations were taken from forms submitted to the city clerk.
District 1 covers the Ventura Avenue area as well as portions of downtown Ventura on the west side of the city. The challenge for district-based representation made note of this area, as many residents have claimed that the City Council lacks representation of the mostly Latino community.
Qualified for the ballot: Irene Henry, business owner; Kevin Clerici, executive director of the downtown business improvement district; Sofia Rubalcava, translator; and Marcos Cuevas, student.
To read District 1 candidate statements, visit https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/13444/District-1-Candidate-Statements.
District 4 includes the community known as Juanamaria.
Qualified for the ballot: Eric Nasarenko, current councilmember and Ventura County District Attorney’s Office senior prosecutor; Spencer Noren, small business owner; Mike Marostica, senior police officer for the city of Oxnard; Ed Alamillo, environmental health/vector control; Alec Gasca, student of education; and Wayne Morgan, retired engineer.
To read District 4 candidate statements, visit https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/13445/District-4-Candidate-Statements.
District 5 includes Saticoy.
Qualified for the ballot: Jim Friedman, small business owner/financial planner; Marie Lakin, nonprofit president of ArtsVentura; and Jack Selby, student.
To read District 5 candidate statements, visit https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/13446/District-5-Candidate-Statements.
District 6 includes the community of Montalvo.
Qualified for the ballot: Lorrie Brown, municipal assistant/certified substitute teacher; and Charles E. Kistner Jr., campaign manager.
To read District 6 candidate statements, visit https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/13447/District-6-Candidate-Statements.
For a complete map of the City of Ventura’s districts, visit https://map.cityofventura.net/java/ccvd/.
City of Oxnard candidates
Five seats will be open for the Oxnard City Council race, including the mayor’s seat, which remains a citywide vote. The rest will be up to the residents of each particular district. Districts 3 and 4 will vote in 2020, but residents within these districts will vote for mayor with the rest of the city.
Running for mayor are incumbent Mayor Tim Flynn, businessman/accountant Aaron Starr and Mario Quintana.
Candidate titles are taken from statements submitted to the city, if available.
District 1 encompasses a swath of the city from Victoria Estates to Hollywood by the Sea.
Qualified for the ballot: Incumbent Bert Perello; Ambrosio Casanova Jr.; Kenneth Oplinger, regional non-profit executive; and Kari Cryder, Oxnard small-business woman.
District 2 includes the Riverpark community, Auto Center area and south toward the Fremont and Carriage Square neighborhoods.
Qualified for the ballot: Incumbent Carmen Ramirez; Tai Hartley, businesswoman; and Lance Ralston, teacher/pastor.
District 5 stretches from Lemonwood Eastmont down to the Oxnard Beach commercial area.
Qualified for the ballot: Elizabeth White, nonprofit CEO; Larry Stein, insurance premium auditor; and Gabriela Basua, housing manager.
District 6 begins in the Cal-Gisler neighborhood and ends at Ormond Beach.
Qualified for the ballot: Luis Garcia-Moreira; Francine Castanon, Oxnard commissioner/businesswoman; Carolina Gallardo-Magana, chief management officer; and Vianey Lopez, trustee of the Hueneme Elementary School District.
The city of Oxnard does not post candidate statement forms online, but they are available by request. To see the Oxnard district map, visit www.oxnard.org/districts.
The 2018 election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6.