Cook opts out of reelection,
filing deadline for Council extended

August 08, 2014
Santa Paula News

With one incumbent officially declaring he will not run for reelection the filing period for City Council will be extended until Wednesday, August 13.

So far four of seven potential candidates have returned the paperwork signaling their ready to run and the County Election’s Division has qualified three.

Mayor Rick Cook, who could have run for a second four-year term said Wednesday he would not seek reelection.

Cook, who served two terms before losing his bid for reelection in 2006 but was returned to the dais by voters four years later, said, “I just decided that after 12 years I’ve done what I set out to do,” including what he promised during his 2010 campaign, to examine water and sewer rates and issues.

“It’s time to let other people apply their wisdom... I think a good cross section of people have shown their interest and I always said I thought 12 years total is good enough for anyone.”

But Cook said he plans on remaining engaged: “I’m a lifelong Santa Paula resident and people will probably see me up there in front of the council talking,” about current issues as a private citizen.

 So far, two-term council incumbents Ralph Fernandez and Bob Gonzales, former Mayor John Procter (who in 2008 declined to run for a third term), former Mayor Fred Robinson (defeated in 2012 in his bid for reelection to a second term), and political newcomers Jenny Crosswhite, Ginger Gherardi and John Demers have pulled nomination papers.

The filing deadline was Friday, August 8 at 5 p.m. but with Cook declining to seek a second term the deadline will be extended five days, to Wednesday, August 13.

Deputy City Clerk Lucy Blanco said Procter returned his nomination papers Wednesday; Fernandez, Gherardi and Gonzales have been qualified for the run by the county elections division. Still outstanding are filings from Crosswhite, Demers and Robinson.

The council race is shaping up to one of the largest in city history. And, with Cook’s announcement triggering the extended filing date, newcomers still have a chance to pull nomination papers and gather the signatures of the required 20 verifiable registered voters. 

Each council term is four years; council members receive a $300 a month stipend plus approximately $1,000 for the city’s cafeteria healthcare plan, a payment that can be pocketed if the council member has health insurance. The council also receives a small expense account.

The General Election is November 4. 

For more information about pulling nomination papers to run for City Council, call Deputy City Clerk Lucy Blanco, 933-4208.

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