City Council: Two pull papers,
one other readying for November election
July 25, 2014
Santa Paula News
The filing period for three open seats on the City Council opened this week and two potential candidates already pulled papers while a third has announced he will run for the office.
Political newcomer Pastor Jenny Crosswhite and former Councilman Fred Robinson, defeated two years ago when he ran for a second term, pulled nomination papers Tuesday, according to Deputy City Clerk Lucy Blanco.
Former City Councilman John Procter, who declined to run for a third term ended his council service in 2008, has announced he is running again running for a seat on the five-member panel.
None of the three council incumbents, Rick Cook, Ralph Fernandez or Bob Gonzales, have yet announced their intentions or pulled the nomination paperwork.
Procter said his concern over “ridiculously high” utility rates, specifically sewer costs stemming from the design/build/operate/finance model used to construct the facility - that as a councilman he voted against - is among his top reasons for running.
He is also concerned about setting council direction noting the council is “Now like a rudderless ship” no longer setting formal goals and priorities.
Crosswhite, Pastor of First Christian Church, is fully bilingual and known for her community-wide activism: she said among her top priorities are public safety, utility rates and economic development.
Crosswhite said she is concerned that tackling the sewer plant issue - including potential purchase by the city - has been delayed or the public is not informed of progress or options. The rates “Are punishing,” and she said action for relief is long overdue.
Robinson was appointed to the Planning Commission a week after he left the council in November 2012 and in recent months was asked to be the volunteer CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.
In recent months he addressed the council, including one heated exchange regarding sewer and water rates. Robinson said he is considering a return to the council, as the city needs to address such “critical issues” including street repair and police and fire services.
City Council is a position that pays a paltry $300 a month stipend but offers a much healthier $1,000-plus monthly payment that can be applied to the city’s cafeteria health insurance plan or pocketed. The Council also receives an annual expense account of $2,000-plus for city-related business.
Fernandez and Gonzales have each served two four-year council terms and Cook served on the council in prior years, was defeated in a bid for reelection and later, in 2010, again elected to the panel.
Council candidates will be able to pull nomination papers at any time until the filing period closes on Friday, August 8 at 5 p.m., but the sooner the better: the filing must include the signatures of at least 20 registered voters that will be vetted by the Ventura County Elections Division.
If an incumbent declines to seek reelection, candidates will have an extra five days to pull and return nomination forms, as the filing deadline will be moved to August 13 at 5 p.m.
For more information about filing for the Santa Paula City Council race, call Deputy City Clerk Lucy Blanco at 805-933-4208.
Nomination forms are available from Blanco at City Hall, 970 E. Ventura St.