To slate or not to slate: Council candidates discuss whether tickets exist

November 03, 2006
Santa Paula News

To slate or not to slate was the question for many of the candidates for City Council who were asked during recent interviews if any were co-mingling campaigns.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesTo slate or not to slate was the question for many of the candidates for City Council who were asked during recent interviews if any were co-mingling campaigns.All the candidates questioned said – despite instances of wide advertising touting a ticket and a joint campaign kickoff event – there is no formal line-up of candidates.“We’re not running as a slate,” said Fred Robinson, whose name along with other two first-time Council candidates, Ralph Fernandez and Bob Gonzales, has been featured prominently in print and billboard ads.Robinson, the longtime executive director of ARC Ventura County, said that he and fellow candidates Fernandez and Gonzales “share similar positions” on issues such as land-use Measure L6 and support of public safety.And, he added, “None of us are anti-growth” rather more for smart growth. “I would have supported Fagan Canyon but I think 2,147 homes was too much.”Robinson said that although not a formal slate, he, Fernandez and Gonzales “think alike…and I respect both of them and think we would make a good Council.”“I don’t like running on slates,” said Dr. Gabino Aguirre, a one-term Council veteran and high school principal.“To me that really limits the understanding of the community, individual talents and abilities. What happens with a slate is that they usually want to ramrod something through.”Slates are often used to dovetail support of one candidate to another Aguirre added, which “Doesn’t give the community a true view of a person’s capabilities. By running on a slate you have to restrict individual opinions and have a party line to follow.”“We’re not running as a slate,” said Fernandez, also a first-time candidate. “People are supporting us,” and the linking his name to Gonzales’ and Robinson’s is being done by the Citizens Voter Guide, a Political Action Committee creation by Richard Main, the co-author of Measure L6.Fernandez, Gonzales and Robinson have been listed as buying advertising through the Citizens Voter Guide and Fernandez’s campaign committee has loaned the PAC funds.“They are the ones who are supporting us as a group, we’re not running as a slate,” said Fernandez, an architect and college instructor. “…there’s a possibility all of us or some of us might not get elected” and those that do attain a Council seat would “have to work together” on issues affecting all Santa Paulans.
MAKCouncilwoman Mary Ann Krause, a retired urban and regional planner, said that although the incumbents are not running as a slate, “I do feel that the existing Council team works well together. I would like to see the same team returned to the Council,” to continue efforts on various projects and programs.“We have some critical issues on our plate including the wastewater treatment plant and making sure we meet” all the state imposed deadlines “so we don’t incur new fines. I believe that keeping the current Council would ensure that we meet the timeframes and that the right, cost-effective project is constructed.”Mayor Rick Cook, seeking his third Council term, said that there hasn’t even been the “Appearance that Gabino, Mary Ann and myself are on a slate, the same ticket. I feel we can, and do, stand on our individual records,” of accomplishment.Cook, retired SPPD Sergeant and Ventura County Public Defender’s Office investigator, noted that, in fact, he and Aguirre and Krause have had – and would probably continue to have - differences.“There have been many nights where we had 3-2, 4-1 votes…one of the biggest issues that separated us in the past was that I have always been for development in Adams Canyon.”Not that his stance means that he is exclusively tied to high-end housing, added Cook: “While million-dollar homes I would also like to see workforce housing for our police and firefighters, teachers and nurses. We’re fair in Santa Paula and want everybody to have opportunities.”Gonzales, the city’s retired police chief, said he is not running as a slate with Fernandez and Robinson and that the campaign kick-off party at the Santa Paula Airport for all three was the choice of the sponsor.“I’ve been at one with Mary Ann also,” he noted.When it comes to the Citizens Voter Guide’s campaign linking the three candidates, “If they want to put my name on their signs, I tell them fine, go ahead, it’s free advertising,” Gonzales noted.“We have separate campaigns…I’m sure Ralph and Fred have issues they feel strongly about and I don’t” and the other way around, he added.Two other Council candidates, Sergio Hernandez and Damien Shilo, have conducted low-cost and low-profile campaigns.

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