Election 2022: Voter guide to the Camarillo City Council race – VC Star

Editor’s note: This story is one in a series on the Nov. 8 general election. For more coverage, visit vcstar.com/news/elections.
Eleven candidates are running for three seats on the Camarillo City Council in November.
Each candidate to receive the most votes in Districts 1, 2 and 5 will serve a four-year term.
Charlotte Craven, who has been part of the council since 1986, will not run for reelection in District 1. Three candidates — Vishnu Patel, Sylvia Schnopp and David Tennessen — are running for the open seat. The district represents northwest Camarillo.
In District 2, Vice Mayor Susan Santangelo, who was first elected in 2018, will defend her seat as the only incumbent in this year’s City Council race. Challengers Sylvia Garcia, Dirk Lay and Jeff Walker are vying for the post. The district covers southwestern and central Camarillo.
In August, Mayor Shawn Mulchay announced he was not running for a second term in District 5. The open seat has four candidates: Bill Camarillo, Martha Martinez-Bravo, Charles Sandlin and Timothy Sprinkles. The district covers the southeastern portion of the city.
The Star asked each candidate questions inspired by feedback from the public. Below are their responses in their own words, which have been edited for clarity and space.
Age: 61
Occupation: Registered pharmacy manager at Ralphs
Education: Master’s in pharmacology
What do you intend to do to attract more high-paying jobs to Ventura County?
I will work hard to create policies that attract new businesses and retain existing ones.
What three ideas do you have to address housing affordability and homelessness in your community?
Here are the three areas I will work to help:
How are you going to combat divisiveness in politics?
I believe in harmony by working on the concerns of our constituents. As a pharmacy manager who serves over 5,000 customers, I’m always meeting with people from all walks of life. I have always enjoyed discussions with residents about their concerns and advising them appropriately.
Age: 62
Occupation: College professor and business executive
Education: Master’s in business administration
What do you intend to do to attract more high-paying jobs to Ventura County?
We need to continue attracting more high-paying jobs to Ventura County for immediate results as well as long-term involvement and commitment. This in turn provides the safety net and vitality to sustain and improve our quality of life.
Job growth in a region results from having a workforce of skilled, potential employees that can fill these roles. By developing a collaborative that includes business and industry, economic development organizations, municipal and regional leadership, educational institutions, the military and defense communities and students, we can lead by example, identify and nurture key careers, and implement strategies that enable net job growth.
As a college professor of business and accounting, I know firsthand the importance of building and executing a viable framework of education coupled with career offerings that empower students to gain knowledge, launch successful professions and encourage many to start or grow their own business
I will be a champion for building key alliances in order to create and grow disciplinary pathways and degrees based on the educational institution’s expertise, encourage community connections for students through training and internships that lead to permanent jobs, advocate among businesses the need to provide quality, high-paying jobs and support a business-friendly environment at City Hall.
By having a skilled, dynamic workforce aligned with business-ready opportunities, we can help create high-paying jobs now and in the future.
What three ideas do you have to address housing affordability and homelessness in your community?
Three ideas to address housing affordability and homelessness include: scaling projects to promote lower building costs by building up (+1 story) or consideration of infill strategies and encourage mixed-use/redevelopment that promote safe and livable neighborhoods, working with the county of Ventura to continue their execution of the “continuum of care” approach to help the homeless with transitional and emergency shelters including considerations within Camarillo’s sphere of influence and encouraging the city to provide down payment assistance funding via Community Development Block Grants to help individuals and families purchase affordable homes.
A regional initiative and priority identified in the Ventura County regional consolidated plan adopted by all jurisdictions describes supporting the acquisition of affordable housing through homeowner assistance programs. The report shows 45% of Ventura County renters pay more than 35% or more of their household income for gross rent, resulting in housing cost burden.
I understand the importance of providing down payment assistance while serving as an executive with the Ventura County Community Development Corp., whose mission is to empower low- to moderate-income individuals with financial resiliency that ultimately leads to purchasing a home.
Creating homeownership helps increase educational outcomes for children, confers health and social benefits to families and individuals and enables communities to become more resilient. When we assist Camarillo residents with a new home purchase and help our homeless population find housing, we provide and improve quality of life metrics that are important for all.
How are you going to combat divisiveness in politics?
Once elected to the City Council, I am committed to represent my constituents as well as the entire community of Camarillo. As a 12-year veteran who has served in local city government, including roles as mayor, mayor pro tem, and council member, I understand what it takes to lead a city, develop collaboration with others on the council, offer solutions to challenges, achieve consensus without violating the Brown Act and cultivate successful working relationships among city staff.
My past elections as mayor and mayor pro tem from the body of council members represents their acknowledgement and support; serving the majority of my public service in leadership capacities shows that I serve with integrity, perseverance, diligence, as well as earn the respect from colleagues to get the job done.
I consider public service to be my calling, and my role as a convener, collaborator, manager, and colleague is to empower others in order to make the best decision possible for our constituents. As an elected official I seek ways to promote city teamwork, and in particular through the city manager and city attorney who are key to implementing council-adopted policies.
In my current role as chair of Ventura County’s Climate Emergency Council I have earned the respect of a 10-member council who collaborate on quantifying the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
I am committed to being inclusive and will seek first to understand in order to build strategic collaboration and sustainable relationships with others even if we have differing views or opinions.
Over the course of my career, I have been involved in coalition-building and creating legacies that have lasted decades for United Way and AT&T. My experience speaks for itself and I am committed to ensuring we achieve consensus in order to make Camarillo even better.
Age: 65
Occupation: Retired sheriff’s chief deputy
Education: Master’s in public administration
What do you intend to do to attract more high-paying jobs to Ventura County?
The city of Camarillo recently created a position of economic development manager. I will work diligently as a council member to work with staff and be an ambassador for new businesses looking to come to Camarillo.
The Economic Development Collaborative and Small Business Development Center are based in Camarillo. I will engage with them to determine the best practices to attract new and high-paying jobs for Camarillo. I believe that CSU Channel Islands existing in our backyard is a resource we need to continue to develop.
What three ideas do you have to address housing affordability and homelessness in your community? 
I have studied best practices from across the state and the country.
The county and all 10 cities have signed a memorandum of understanding to create dialogue and efforts to address homelessness regionally. I’m inclined to believe that a “housing first” philosophy may be the best start in addressing homelessness.
I believe we need to have all services — medical, mental health, veteran’s affairs — available to better create a continuum of care to help have a chance to get off the streets and into housing and jobs.
How are you going to combat divisiveness in politics? 
In September 2021, the Camarillo City Council approved a resolution spelling out “City Council norms.”
I fully support the protocols adopted in this document. City Council is a nonpartisan elective office. I’m running to represent the residents of this great city, not to further a political party agenda.
I respect differences of opinion and I believe we will have them. I also believe we can do so in a courteous and nonjudgmental way. I will always treat my fellow council members the way I want to be treated.
Age: 45
Occupation: College student
Education: Studying for bachelor’s degree
What do you intend to do to attract more high-paying jobs to Ventura County?
Other states are luring companies out of California with lower taxes and business regulations. Hopefully, the state program CalCompetes will bring back some of those companies.
At the city level, we can do our part on other driving forces driving companies out, such as drought, housing costs and natural disasters. Camarillo has a high ranking of safe places to live, so I think that is an incentive we can advertise to businesses. We also need to address our water shortage by considering a reservoir or other methods of capturing water.
What three ideas do you have to address housing affordability and homelessness in your community?
Camarillo needs affordable housing. Many workers are working remotely and are leaving California because of the high cost of living.
Looking at micro units for single people and housing developments that will bring families back to Camarillo are some solutions. Orange County is developing housing for teachers, and I think we need to do the same here.
Some people live out of their cars, and if we don’t provide a safe place to stay with facilities, they will continue to park in neighborhoods or industrial complexes.
For those severely mentally ill, I believe Governor Newsom’s CARE Court will do what Laura’s Law and diversion court couldn’t do: a clear and funded pathway to mental health services and conservatorship if needed. As a council member, I want to be active with subcommittees that address homelessness and do my part to ensure the new care plan is in use.
How are you going to combat divisiveness in politics?
I plan to combat divisiveness in politics by talking to our constituents; we can do more to scale back on national politics by focusing on issues in our communities.
Social media has made our society more narcissistic. We need to bring humanity back into public discourse, and the first step is to get off social media and talk to people.
Age: 63
Occupation: Sales and account manager
Education: Master’s in business administration
What do you intend to do to attract more high-paying jobs to Ventura County?
Attracting high-paying jobs to Camarillo and Ventura County requires a vigorous and proactive approach from local governments.
Over the nearly 30 years I have worked in sales to support local businesses, I have met many business owners who moved to Ventura County from Los Angeles County because the cost of doing business was lower and the ease of doing business with local permitting agencies was much better.
As a City Council member, I would work with city staff to actively invite businesses that provide high-paying jobs to relocate to Camarillo. By “actively,” I mean real engagement and following through to get them here, especially in vacant commercial buildings.
Also, I will work with our city permits groups to “lean toward yes” when working through permit applications. We as a city need to be responsive and help provide a way forward; not saying simply “no”, but more like saying “yes, if you can do A and B.”
What three ideas do you have to address housing affordability and homelessness in your community?
Housing affordability and homelessness are two distinct and separate issues. 
Housing affordability is a function of supply and demand and interest rates. Inflation caused primarily by excessive government spending and unnecessary COVID-related business restrictions and supply chain interruptions makes buying a house infinitely more difficult and is quite cruel to potential home buyers.
The current default policy of allowing homeless human beings to live in filthy and dangerous conditions is the worst possible solution I can imagine. 
The homeless population comprises three main groups: addicts need rehab; mentally ill folks need mental health treatment; and the unlucky need a job. The first step should be similar to triage in a battlefield hospital to determine which group each individual is in and what they need first. We should provide temporary shelters while their individual plan of treatment and assistance is in place.
My parish, Padre Serra, and my Camarillo Knights of Columbus support a project called RAIN in Camarillo, which is an excellent example of a public-private group that successfully and long-term supports the return of homeless families to independent living.
My former parish in Simi Valley, Saint Peter Claver, and my Simi Valley Knights participated in a privately funded program run by churches called the “Apostles Kitchen” to feed the homeless; every night a different church would provide a hot meal, other essentials like socks and underwear and coats and a little fellowship.
The “housing first” policy only enriches the developers and friends of powerful politicians to build tiny homes at outrageous cost to the taxpayer, and until you treat the underlying cause of each individual’s homelessness, housing them will not help in the long term. 
How are you going to combat divisiveness in politics?
Divisiveness in politics is an interesting subject. 
I recommend everyone read before every election George Orwell’s novel “1984”. It was written in 1949, in response to the horrors of totalitarian Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, and deals with the loss of freedom of speech and even thought, and the role of truth in politics and how it is manipulated, and how censorship dehumanizes us all.
I think the core problem is too many people no longer respect other people’s First Amendment right to free speech. 
If I disagree with you, or decline to support your position, that is not hate. Demanding that everyone accept our positions reminds me of a toddler throwing a tantrum. There are about 9 billion people on planet Earth; not every one of them needs to agree with you or me.
I encourage everyone to show real courage and support the right of people to say things with which you personally and sometimes strongly disagree. I also humbly recommend we think more and emote less. Just know that when you start calling someone names, you have effectively surrendered your position.
I like to see people as unique individuals, so I reject woke identity group politics. Reducing human beings to helpless pawns in some weird racial conflict is dehumanizing and wrong.
Age: 54 
Occupation: Registered nurse 
Education: Master’s in nursing
What do you intend to do to attract more high-paying jobs to Ventura County?
Multiple approaches are needed to effectively attract high-paying jobs to our county. In Camarillo, if elected, I will continue to robustly implement our economic development plan.
We now have research and data to show that Camarillo is a desirable location for specifically the life science industry. I will work to modify our city ordinances to allow for more streamlined permitting processes and building modifications. I want to ensure that Camarillo City Hall is proactively working to make it easy for these companies to plant roots here, hire residents and boost our local economy.
To foster the next generation of employers in Camarillo, I will explore partnerships with local incubators and startup accelerators, such as Foundry 805, which is currently going through permitting in the city.
Over my last term, I proposed and saw to fruition the creation of a $2 million grant and loan program for our local small businesses. I will work to expand that program to help more local businesses grow and utilize larger local workforces.
I will develop internship programs with CSU Channel Islands, the city and our local businesses. I will introduce students to high-paying local jobs and persuade them to build their future in Camarillo.
What three ideas do you have to address housing affordability and homelessness in your community?
To address housing and homelessness, we need comprehensive approaches that utilize long-term, sustainable planning. As a sitting council member for the last term, I have already started to work on these issues and will continue my work on them if reelected.
Increasing the housing stock: I will look for infill and multiuse opportunities for new homes. I will seek out public-private partnerships to develop affordable units, such as the Stock Building Supply project in Camarillo that I supported on the council. It will consist of 100% affordable units, some for ownership, some for veterans and some for people with disabilities.
Support affordability programs: I will continue Camarillo’s Affordable Housing Repurchase Program, in which the city buys back homes originally sold as affordable, extending the affordable covenant by 55 years. We should expand our down payment assistance program utilizing CDBG funds. I will continue offering incentives to developers for adding affordable housing to projects. At the same time, I will continue to push back against one-size-fits-all state legislation regarding zoning and housing.
To address the unhoused: We must always start from a place of compassion for those struggling when discussing new policies. Solutions must go beyond providing just physical shelter; we need to provide services aimed at helping lift people out of homelessness. I will work with neighboring cities, the county and private organizations on regional, compassionate and comprehensive approaches to this very real issue. If re-elected, I would work to expand the frequency of the Homeless One Stop events. Under my leadership, Project HOPE (a team of a Ventura County Sheriff’s Office deputy and a Ventura County Behavioral Health social worker, who work directly with our homeless population), was expanded to full time. I would build on programs like these and will continue to prioritize this issue.
How are you going to combat divisiveness in politics?
The truth is that we need diverse perspectives on the council. I recognize and value diversity in thought. Additionally, the residents of Camarillo are diverse and have different perspectives and lived experiences that need to be represented in our leadership. When people with different backgrounds and beliefs come together with respect and the desire to make collaborative decisions, amazing things can happen. The most creative, thoughtful and innovative solutions come from inclusive collaborations. Sustainable planning that meets the needs of all of our residents can be achieved, when more voices are heard and represented.
Robust and sometimes difficult discussions have led to decisions and solutions that best serve the residents. As your council member, I will rely on data, community input and best practices to champion responsible and sustainable solutions. I will continue to listen to our community and my colleagues with an open mind and meet people where they are. 
Age: 58
Occupation: Accountant/restauranteur
Education: Bachelor’s in business administration
What do you intend to do to attract more high-paying jobs to Ventura County?
Ventura County already has many attributes that attract jobs to a region. We have a great climate, quality universities and junior college system, access to the greater LA market and a naval base. What we lack is housing for employees as growth in housing costs has drastically outpaced growth in wages in the county. Traffic becomes an issue as employees priced out of housing must commute into the region.
We need to develop our commuter rail as a convenient option to get to jobs in Ventura County. In Camarillo, we should encourage development near the Metrolink station and make the adjacent neighborhoods safer to walk and bike in. 
We should look for opportunities to retain the educated workforce that already resides in the county. Increase investments in business incubators so next generation businesses startup here. Publicize initiatives like the Department of Defense program that subsidizes the internship of Navy vets at companies like Amgen.
Housing costs will continue to thwart high-paying job growth until we find ways to build more homes in the county.
What three ideas do you have to address housing affordability and homelessness in your community?
More people are equating quality of life with the number of places they can safely walk to from where they live. We should make our downtown neighborhoods more walkable and bikeable so more daily tasks can be done without a car. Traffic and parking issues from new housing can be minimized in these types of mixed-use neighborhoods.
In order to preserve our farmland and open spaces, I favor redevelopment projects that enhance economic development and recreational opportunities as well as add needed housing. 
Our housing crisis compounds homelessness; we must ensure we have adequate transitional housing. We also need compassionate and robust addiction and mental health outreach programs in our community.
How are you going to combat divisiveness in politics?
At the local level, politics should be about finding common ground to improve our community. I will draw on my experience in collaborating with groups of people of all political stripes that make Camarillo a better place to live. I will continue to use social media to cultivate ideas and solutions to local issues, not to post the latest partisan meme. I find political conversations in real life are much less divisive than those on the internet.
Age: 59
Occupation: Chief executive officer for Agromin
Education: Master’s in business administration
What do you intend to do to attract more high-paying jobs to Ventura County?
Spend more resources to promote the strategic location of the city and available resources to attract businesses with higher-paying jobs. Support the corridor developing for high tech manufacturing jobs. Companies are attracted to Camarillo because of its business-friendly attitude, public safety, good schools, parks and a sense of community. Remove the DURT (delay, uncertainty, regulation and tax).
What three ideas do you have to address housing affordability and homelessness in your community?
Affordable housing: preserve existing housing, plan for a variety of sites for new housing and streamline permitting and entitlement for new housing development.
Homelessness: support Project HOPE and other county and local nonprofit programs while also identifying the needs of the homeless population in Camarillo. Plan and measure the effectiveness of the city’s efforts to reduce homelessness and adjust as needed.
How are you going to combat divisiveness in politics?
City Council for Camarillo is a nonpartisan seat. I chose not to seek endorsement of a political party to position myself as representing all of Camarillo’s interests. I hope the council can agree on ground rules that are focused on the future, economic vitality, sustainable growth, public safety and innovative ways to secure needed resources such as water, energy and land. These issues should unite us.
Age: 44
Occupation: Nonprofit executive director
Education: Doctorate in clinical psychology
What do you intend to do to attract more high-paying jobs to Ventura County?
A primary goal of a city’s economic development policy should be rising income for all wage earners. There are two avenues for this: increasing the wages of the current workforce and attracting industry sectors that offer high-paying jobs. 
Wage erosion has been a major problem over the past two decades. Unions continue to be an investment in our community, as seen with the recent railroad workers’ successful negotiations. In Camarillo, we can support family-sustaining wages through requiring unionized labor for public capital improvements and repairs, such as the proposed phasing of the wastewater treatment facility, and setting standards for all project labor agreements. 
We can also attract industry sectors that offer high wages. The city of Camarillo economic development strategic plan already provides the framework for work in this area, with a focus on seven industry “clusters” and specifically targeting biotech, advanced manufacturing and information technology. The key to success is funding all of the plan’s strategies to achieve its objectives. We will need to modify business and building permitting to allow for life sciences and biotech businesses to put roots in Camarillo.
Green energy initiatives and climate-focused initiatives will ramp up in the future as our world adjusts to increasing threats and emerging new industries. We need to make sure some of those businesses are located here.
Finally, we should expand the city’s $1 million revolving small business loan program, through the Economic Development Collaborative, to help our small businesses grow and employ a local workforce.
What three ideas do you have to address housing affordability and homelessness in your community?
I believe in the dignity of all people in our community. We can support individuals who are unhoused or face housing instability with both intervention and prevention strategies.
Members of the unhoused community face a range of complex issues. Smart interventions such as wraparound services can make a big difference in outcomes. Current programs are already working but lack the funding to best serve our community, often relying on “soft money” that can change from year to year. The City Council can address this by securing hard funding for these crucial programs. Simply paying mental health workers better salaries would also help keep our most talented and dedicated individuals in the city and county.
One example of success in our community is Project HOPE. This initiative combines a full-time social worker from Ventura County Behavioral Heath with the Ventura County Sheriff’s to address an individual’s needs. I have been a supporter of Project HOPE since Deputy Dyer was leading the program. 
Prevention is the second prong. Many factors lead to housing instability: personal life changes, job loss, predatory lending and normal monthly expenses can result in eviction and home foreclosure. Job security and job opportunities are key to keeping people in their homes. Public transportation, affordable childcare and better wages for service industry jobs can go a long way in addressing this issue.
To crack the affordable housing nut, the rent for newly-built apartments must be within the range of our residents’ ability to pay. Many builders offer a few units in housing developments that are categorized as affordable, but the supply frequently does not meet the demand. We need dense, infill, mixed-use developments. If we want our Camarillo teachers, public safety workers and future generations to live in the community they serve, we need to work with builders to make this happen. 
How are you going to combat divisiveness in politics?
While I understand there exists divisiveness in politics, my work as a community leader provides evidence of how we can overcome it. 
Having served as executive director of Ventura County nonprofits, as board director of kidSTREAM, catechist/ministry leader at Padre Serra Parish, leadership with Las Colinas Middle School PTSA and my involvement at La Mariposa School PTA, I have found that ultimately it is important to bring people together to work toward a common goal. When our purpose is centered, we realize that in spite of our differences, we can work together toward achieving success. 
I value different perspectives and I find joy in working with people who are different from myself. I believe it is important to celebrate our differences, as our uniqueness is what adds to the overall health of our community.
Many times, fear is at the root of divisiveness. We fear things that are different from us and such a sense of threat can lead us to withdraw or attack; we start to think with an “us versus them” mindset. Talking to each other and experiencing each other’s company is one way to alleviate these fears and break those barriers. 
When our Camarillo community was deeply impacted by past multiple murder-suicide incidents or when we were faced with the Borderline mass shooting, we came together to support each other, regardless of our political affiliations. We as a community have the capacity to come together in good and bad times. The more opportunities for personal connection, the more willing and open we are to value each other and our differences.
If elected as Camarillo City Council member, I will ensure that opportunities are available so that we can come together to learn from each other, work toward common goals and value our differences. 
Age: 43
Occupation: Insurance broker
Education: Master’s in business administration
What do you intend to do to attract more high-paying jobs to Ventura County? 
The most competitive places for economic development are those with the large talent concentrations. Location attracts talent and talent equals economic growth.
We have many local assets in and around Camarillo, like the 30,000 square miles off Point Mugu for aerospace and defense testing of drones, but we have no aerospace degree programs in the area to attract the talent needed to utilize these assets. I would coordinate with the local universities such as CSU Channel Islands and California Lutheran University to implement bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in aerospace/space studies so we can train the next generation of entrepreneurs and labor to create and maintain high-paying jobs.
Human-capital assets are central to an area being economic development competitive and we need the correct programs to build. I believe in public-private partnerships to create places where people want to live and work. We need more space for biotech labs to attract the firms that need more lab space to get their biotech products to market.
What three ideas do you have to address housing affordability and homelessness in your community? 
Time is money and the longer it takes to deal with bureaucratic processes the more money it costs to develop housing at an affordable cost. Streamlining the permitting process at the city will reduce time and costs for not only the builders of homes but the entrepreneurs wanting to open their businesses in Camarillo to bring more jobs to our community.
We need our own Ventura County Behavioral Health Center right here in Camarillo to get ahead of the homelessness problem before we have a homelessness problem like Los Angeles. We need proper shelters and treatment programs that include back-to-work to help people get back on their feet again. 
How are you going to combat divisiveness in politics? 
I follow the Golden Rule — do unto others as you wish them to do unto you. We don’t have any place in Camarillo for Washington, D.C., politics. What is right for our community and environment is right for Camarillo. 
Age: 72
Occupation: Retired attorney
Education: Juris doctor
What do you intend to do to attract more high-paying jobs to Ventura County?
During the past 20 years Camarillo has failed to aggressively leverage its many assets and pursue manufacturing and the clean industries of the future. The largest employers have moved away and Camarillo continues to replace its high-paying manufacturing jobs with service jobs paying minimum wage. The projected trend suggests the gap will accelerate in years to come.
According to recent economic studies, Camarillo experienced continuous negative economic growth over the past 10 years and is in a recession. The projections for Camarillo are 82% of all new jobs will only require a high school diploma or less, 70% of all new jobs will pay minimum wage, annual medium income will drop below $45,000 and the cost of living will continue to skyrocket. This economic scenario condemns most of Camarillo’s young people to a bleak future of economic stagnation and dwindling financial resources. A high cost of living coupled with anemic economic growth is not a recipe for prosperity.
Camarillo would benefit from a deliberate effort to be more business friendly and pro-growth. I will push Camarillo to (1) aggressively pursue a city-wide economic development strategy designed to attract companies in industries with the brightest future (2) promote workforce development by partnering with the education and business sectors to develop intern and apprenticeship programs, career pathways and specialized education for children and young adults (3) reduce city regulation and provide a liaison to assist businesses and residents seeking to comply with city rules, licensing, permits and procedures (4) provide more affordable housing and (5) make Camarillo more attractive to business by increasing culture and entertainment venues.
What three ideas do you have to address housing affordability and homelessness in your community?
The city of Camarillo needs a balanced strategy to increase housing. People of all ages struggle to fulfill the most primary need for their families: the shelter of a home. If we want to meet the demand for housing we have two choices: increase the allowable level of density of land already urbanized or rezone rural land for urbanization. Developing rural land decreases the amount of open space and could harm the local environment. Refusing to develop rural land puts pressure on existing urban spaces and public officials frequently reject increasing density.
Camarillo continues to wrestle with balancing environmental concerns and our desire to preserve open space with the need for affordable housing that is available for a range of incomes against economic priorities to attract good industries with high-paying jobs.
In order to resolve its growing housing crisis I will push Camarillo to (1) develop a balanced housing strategy to increase the inventory of low, moderate and high value homes (2) promote infill housing development within existing neighborhoods (3) create a mixed use commercial-residential improvement zone in the city’s core area which is currently under-utilized (4) create a citywide low-interest home repair loan program to assist seniors, disabled persons and others to safely remain in their home (5) preserve the city’s designated open space to prevent its loss to urban sprawl and (6) advocate for grant funding at the local, state and federal levels that can be leveraged to create more affordable housing for struggling families.
Homelessness is increasing and it will require the expansion of local programs and the expenditure of additional resources. The causes of homelessness are varied and I will support programs to treat mental illness, physical disability, alcoholism and drug addiction. I will also support job counseling and training for persons desiring to reenter the workforce.
How are you going to combat divisiveness in politics?
Politics is the art of using persuasion to influence the management of government. Members of a political party generally hold similar ideas and promote specific ideological or policy goals. Divisiveness between individuals engaged in politics arises when they prioritize political party goals above the welfare of their constituents. Camarillo City Council members are supposed to be elected as nonpartisan advocates for the city acting without fealty to party dogma or even public designation of party affiliation.
As an elected member of the City Council I will represent and serve the constituents of the entire city of Camarillo. I will work with other council members to forge a long-term plan for Camarillo’s future. It is important for council members to work together to develop a vision for Camarillo’s future and commit to fulfilling that vision. In all things, the council’s goal should be to make Camarillo the best it can be now and in the future.
My first principle for council governance is to do no harm. There are diverse areas within Camarillo; each has an important role to play. My second principle is that every issue, project or decision that comes before the council must be examined in the context of how it makes Camarillo better and fulfills an element of the council’s vision. It is each member’s duty to work together to form a consensus and find the best solutions for the common good.
I am committed to working full time on behalf of Camarillo during my term in office as an elected member of the City Council. I have the ability and experience to research issues, present compelling facts and lead the council by example, putting aside party politics in order to represent and serve the best interests of all of Camarillo.
Jeremy Childs is a breaking news and general assignment reporter for the Ventura County Star. He can be reached at 805-437-0208, jeremy.childs@vcstar.com, and on Twitter @Jeremy_Childs.


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