The Ventura City Council Fiscally "Green" Conservative Candidate Forum brought William M. Knox, Carla J. Bonney, and Kenneth M. Cozzens. to us at Carrows Restaurant (at Seaward and Harbor) 2401 Harbor Blvd (good food and reasonable). Organized by PeopleProtectingFreedom.com
Fiscally Conservative candidates Ken Cozzens,Carla Bonney and Bill Knox. More photos start HERE
Emphasis was on fiscal responsibility, protecting Liberty and safety of citizens and their property.
The audience consisted of many long-time residents (one of 73 years) who are deeply concerned about the community and its future. People Protecting Freedom cherry-picked the candidates who seemed most concerned about fiscal management and protecting private property and liberty.
I was told that all 11 candidates weren't invited, and all issues weren't discussed, because:
1. PPF wanted to concentrate on the candidates who could best bring desired change to Ventura
2. PPF wanted to focus on fiscal, property rights and public safety issues
2. They wanted to be able to spend more time on each candidate and issue, rather than have 30-60 second superficial sound bites.
All three are deeply involved in civic affairs, but with their own unique approaches and priorities.
Ken Cozzens is a retired VC sheriff's Dept. Captain, , owns Secret Place salon downtown and is deeply involved in civic affairs. He is very strong on public safety, saying that is government's most important mission. The other candidates were with him on that. Ken wasn't on my radar initially, but after studying his background/record, community participation and hearing what he had to say and how he said it, I understand why he was invited to this event. He doesn't seem like the guy to wave a "Don't Tread on Me" flag, but definitely the Stars and Stripes.
Carla Bonney is an art and frame dealer, runs "Meeting Watch," which attends and documents local governmental and related meetings and is a co-founder of Ventura County Tea Party Patriots (not to be confused with our Ventura County Tea Party). Carla believes in smaller government, responsive and accountable to The People. She is also very well known for taking a stand opposing the ridiculous parking meter debacle, hated by downtown merchants and the public alike. She promised to obey the will of The People, even if it didn't always match her priorities.
Bill Knox is an attorney, who is heavily involved in civic organizations, the Ventura County Taxpayers' Association, United Way and has extensively delved into city fiscal affairs and operations.
He impressed me as a very intelligent, competent person, fairly nonpartisan, while fiscally Conservative. Opponents have accused him of being a "Tea Party Activist," as if that was a bad thing. However, we never even met him until he came to us for support a few months ago.
All are longtime residents of the city and heavily involved.
Budget "is not a pretty picture," "hard to analyze the way it is written ... misleading."
Meeting watch has revealed that spending money is sometimes unauthorized, borrowing money from one account to another, confusing accounting system often not specific enough about budget and expenditure line items. Needs clarification/improvement/accountability. Too many "of-budget" expenditures.
Plastic bags are now mostly recyclable, provide American jobs, should NOT be banned.
Stop ICLEI (an unaccountable non-governmental end run to force through its own brand of sustainable development.)
Various district rules/commissions inside and outside of city impose their rule on the city. Legislating away our rights and freedoms.
Ballot measure for parking meters shut down, solution is to change composition of council. Meters are symptomatic of greater council problems, priorities, approach to governing. Parking meter money has not made city cleaner as promised. She will work to keep downtown clean.
Oil fields, auto dealers are good revenue source, could be much better. Incumbents want to end that, get people OUT of their cars. Players club is big $ revenue.
Want to de-emphasize fees as source of revenue, concentrate on getting more business and helping ensure success of those businesses.
New public works computer system may be an unwarranted expense.
New City Mgr. $125-150K, was this done at the expense of a closed fire station?
5 year plan top pay back meter project, but no budget line items that address it, Typical of Council. Same thing with golf courses.
Water settlement- no one's talking about it, but it is bigger than mist think- $55MM?
Opposed to "snitch system" of informers for code enforcement.
You can't even plant what you want in your yard. Only approved "low water plants."
Investor influence on city council members must be exposed to the light of day." FOI requests.
Public should know what's received, spent.
Less govt., less taxes, less regulation.
Need to bring more "balance" to the council to make needed improvements
It appears that all crimes are not written up. Trying to dress up crime statistics? (Even so, Ventura is the worst violent crime city in the county). She can cite examples.
People must feel more "secure" when attempting projects, with respect to approval process, rules, probability of success.
Eliminate some energy compliance jobs.
Reduce, but not necessarily eliminate, pressure of the VCOOL type.
City employees offered lo-cost housing with outstanding terms in preference to ordinary citizens. Disapproves of this. $680K/unit. These are too expensive.
Granny flats to be grandfathered, permits for new ones. Check safety, wiring, etc.
Actually, 90% of council votes are OK, 10% are contentious, based upon different orientations, interests Need to change the makeup of council for better balance. But, "we need to turn against the machine" in some of those 10%.
Would be "user-friendly' Council member, solicit opinions, respond, change mind if warranted, be representative of people, do hat is best for people. "We have been shut out. They don't want to hear our opinion." Local press is compliant. Advertising revenue?
As a businessman and citizen, he is "tired of getting nickel and dimed to death."
"Big Brother" is here. We need a balanced council.
City wants to be known for arts- good. He'd like it to be known for business and jobs, as well. But, govt. is chasing out business. We should make business welcome in town.
Want jobs, not just arts, not just green, not just high tech. Plenty of low tech labor unemployed. Need industry.
Ideal climate here, housing under $300K. Attractive to Sr's/retired. Don't need $700K "affordable" housing built here.
People are getting hassled in the streets by homeless vagrants, mentally ill. Violent crime and theft.
20% of all police, fire calls downtown. Liquor, drugs, gangs, parolee releases, movement of state prisoners to county jails (*especially north of "Avenue.")
We need to organize Neighborhood Watch, not just let it happen. OK to call in suspicious things.
Getting development approvals drags on.... and on. Too many can deny.
Planning system "stinks." Why have consultant?
To many decisions delegated to commissions, so "They (Council) don't have to decide.
Retirement system funding will NOT sustain payout commitments. MUST be reformed.
Police, fire, public works are core city govt responsibilities which are prime focus
This is not the 80's anymore
Type of dense housing favored by city= future "tenements." Hard to patrol, more crime potential.
No "brownshirt," headhunting, pitting neighbors against each other.
Granny flats should be regulated mainly on safety factors and not interfering with neighbor's rights. He can "lead volunteers to help people get them up to code, if they can't on their own." Wow.
Will listen to ALL of Ventura, at least 2 sides, listen and respect, get facts. Not afraid to say "no" when warranted.
Stressed job creation, business development, lower business tax thresholds, and advocates establishment of enterprise zones. He wants to streamline development and permit processes. Out of area people will dictate what to do with sewer, water.
Main city revenue sources are sales, tax, hotel taxes, car dealerships, property tax allocations. Key is to help business to be successful and generate more revenue, rather than raising taxes, which will only further hurt citizens and alienate business.
Hands off business, except for really necessary regulation. He will promote and help realize economic vitality for Ventura- Help businesses prosper, help citizens prosper. THAT is the key.
Plenty of labor available. Market this to business.
Bill is for "green jobs," but economically sustainable jobs. He is for all color jobs, as long as the money is green. Obviously doesn't want bad neighbors, but only "green" jobs will be insufficient. Good green jobs example: paving systems. Bad: Solar panels- market saturated, prices falling, China rules market.
Favors direct election of Mayor, rather than via Council.
Fire station: public safety #1 priority, however outside grants are only temporary- how do we finance after year 2? Possibly supplement FD with trained volunteers, as most communities do very successfully.
Employee housing deals low or no interest. Disapproves. Not on tax rolls?
Property rights unenforcible
Granny flats approved if safety, wiring, walls, etc., OK. Grandfathered. Pay fees for new ones.
The People are busy trying to survive and live. They can't watch everything. That is Council's job. Council should provide review time for people to digest agenda materials, provide better council discussion of issues at hand, go to area civic meetings to learn issues, concerns, beliefs.
Not only were the candidates outspoken and informative, but so was the audience. We had known local personalities speak up, such as Bob Worthley, retired manufacturing executive and head of Crimestoppers Ventura, who I've known professionally for over 30 years, Debra Tash, of PPF and CAPR; Harry Copeland, retired Republican activist and WWII vet; Bob Smith, Susan Kline, area Tea Party leader and more.
Harry Copeland, 44+ year resident, WII veteran: When he came here in 1957, Ventura was an attractive oil and business town, business oriented government, nice stores. But, over the years, the town "evolved into something else." Downtown became horrible, free food and housing was offered. We don't want Ventura to be known as a handout haven to attract those types of people. High crime city now. Gang fights at Pacific View Mall- stabbings. Oil projects require 34 agencies for approval- 2yrs- unpredictable results. Ads in papers are for massage and tattoo parlors. We have a $160K/yr. + perks "Water Czar," who lives in Santa Monica. He wouldn't move here today, but will stay and fight at this point. Hmmm, FIGHT. Remember- Harry's a WWII vet from the greatest Generation!
Bob Smith complained about City Manager hiring, unvetted by Council, seemed to be Bill Fulton project. Also complained about emergency response time, which Cozzens disputed. It was noted that there are far more emergency medical calls than fires.
I can't remember who first mentioned this, but the need was stressed to govern a city that has elements of both "Berkeley and Bakersfield." East Ventura is badly underrepresented on the council ("Bakersfield?")
Bob Worthley_ Ventura resident since 1938. "Renters trash the neighborhood." He is "putting in time to help" out. But, "neighborhoods are going to hell."
Denny Armstrong (?)- Ventura has highest violent crime rate in the county. Yes, higher than Santa Paula. Higher than Oxnard!
Mona Hansen- NO thanks from city for Ken C. projects. Must have "skin in game... pay taxes, own property."
Debra - hates the idea of neighbors turning in neighbors.
Candidates asked for help in precinct walking, making calls and financial donations. They also asked each attendee to tell as many people as possible to vote for them, why and pass the word along.
It would be very good if we could put some or all of these people on the council, to bring it their level of experience, judgment and real world business experience and civic affairs participation.
Not only did the crowd respond very well to these candidates, but the candidates did to them too, all agreeing that this group was more oriented to "what can we do for Ventura, " rather than what can Ventura do for them.
Non-Venturans: Since this is the most important election in the county this year and since the council is sorely in need of an overhall, outside support would really be helpful!
I was very impressed by the Candidates statements specifically Bill Knox's knowledge of the Fire and Police and his commitment to staying within budget. I liked Carla Bonnney's statements about being an "investigative council person" and finding and eliminating waste and abuse of the City governing process. I was very impressed by Ken Cozzen's commitment and ideas regarding volunteers to accomplish many of the things the City needs to be kept clean and running smoothly.
I think the crowd was well matched to the philosophy and sentiments of all the candidates and that it was almost as restorative as a vacation for the candidates. In a city the that appears to be enduring the schizophrenia of being a wannabe Berkley with a large segment of the population having a conservative Bakersfield mindset, it appeared that the candidates and audience were well matched on goals and processes(or lack thereof).
It seemed, as it often does at meetings, that everyone was revved up and wanted to do something to support the candidates. Only time and the candidates will know it that will happen.
I think that the meeting was excellent, except the usual not enough showed up…..
I am even more agitated with my City than before the meeting
Yes Lana I would like to help with the weekend flier passing out.