City Council: Araiza, Russell reappointed to SP Housing Authority Commission

April 07, 2000
Santa Paula City Council
It had been delayed again and again but the City Council was finally able to appoint Santa Paula Housing Authority Commissioners at the April 3 meeting. Six year commission veteran Bob Russell and Rick Araiza were reappointed; Araiza has served the authority for a total of 16 years.Commission appointments had been delayed since last year due to a majority of council members declaring conflicts of interest that precluded their participation. Just two members - Mayor Rick Cook and Councilwoman Laura Flores Espinosa - had been left with the authority to appoint but the issue rested while it was researched.Councilman Jim Garfield and Vice Mayor Don Johnson both declared conflicts of interest and stepped down; Councilwoman Robin Sullivan said a past conflict was now resolved and she could participate.Other applicants were were Dee Dee Chambers, Nancy Malvasio and Marybeth Power.Upon questioning by Espinosa, Araiza said the authority has gone through many positive changes since 1982 and commissioners are primarily policy setters.Sullivan asked what authority policy is regarding tenants that are “disruptive to others in the neighborhood.”The loss of housing eligibility, said Araiza, “immediate termination. . .and there are harsh penalties for those who don’t report income.” The landlord can be notified that a tenant will no longer be subsidized although eviction is up to the property owner.Espinosa asked Araiza why he sought reappointment.“It’s my special service to the community at large,” he noted, and the authority’s influence has grown. The director, Ramsey Jay, has become a leader in the western district, Araiza added.Cook asked if affordability or quality is stressed, and Araiza said “Our whole mission is to provide not only habitable but affordable housing.”
Chambers said she is an employee of the Ventura Housing Authority and explained program options offered. New rules and regulations for housing authorities are looming, she noted, and her experience would be beneficial.Chambers also said Santa Paula would “do well” to have more authority owned housing, as it would be “asset to the community.”Malvasio said she would like to learn how tenants are qualified as well as follow up procedures for any reports of negative neighborhood impacts.Espinosa asked if she had ever voiced her concerns and Malvasio said she had, but was not totally satisfied with the response.Power said she has experience with housing groups both as a tenant and commissioner in Oxnard. “I really want to be involved in the community and have a strong passion for those unable to find housing,” based on her own negative experience.Russell said when he first was appointed “I didn’t approve of those on welfare and subsidies. . .I changed my mind,” when he became familiar with the programs and those they serve.The four-year waiting list has about 100 families and “I would like to see that change,” with more opportunities, he noted.Helen Butler, the only applicant for tenant representative, was reappointed.

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