Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ojai City Council election

Which candidate(s) would best govern the city of Ojai for the next four years— incumbents Joe DeVito or Carol Smith, or challengers Lenny Klaif, Pete LaFollette, Dennis Leary or Steve Olsen — and why?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carol Smith, Lenny Klaif, Steve Olsen

10/28/2006 4:33 PM  
Blogger LJ said...

When I first moved to Ojai in 1989 my first substitute teaching job was for Joe DaVito. That day I was a 6th grade teacher, the principal of San Antonio and the MAYOR of Ojai (who was at an awards ceremony and the reason I was substituting)! At the time it was so "little town", so "Ojai". But I think it is time to change the guard - Steve and Joe can find other things to fill their retirement years. I will be voting for Lenny or Dennis and a fresh, honest approach to the problems Ojai faces. Say farewell to the "good old boy" network.

10/28/2006 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Olsen and Devito. Time to get some of the good ol' boys back to make things right again.

10/28/2006 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

vote your power

it is time to remove all incumbants, period. america's so-called democracy is going down the toilet in favour of freedom. they are not the same thing. the only power we may have left is at voting time, and i suggest people exercise it and make a statement. experience is not so necesary these days, as good advice on technical issues can be paid for. we need new representatives and perspectives in all spheres: local, state, national. VOTE YOUR POWER

10/28/2006 5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DeVito because of senority from the ten cities on the county level, perhaps Carol Smith.

Olsen is as bland and visionless as his bureaucratic background would suggest.

Klaif, Leary and laFollette are radical socialists and a clear menace to the town for their anti-business bias and lack of knowledge of the proper role of government.

10/28/2006 6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would not put Carol Smith and Joe DaVito in the same category!

I will vote for Carol for sure. Of the other candidates I believe I will vote for Lenny Klaif. I don't see him as necessaryily part of a opposition "gang of three" but as a reasonable, un-self-interested, and energetic person who cares about Ojai. I know this to be true of Carol Smith. I hope people don't forget her long-time progressive contributions (she's certainly not a "good ol' boy") or forget to vote for her.

10/28/2006 6:06 PM  
Blogger km said...

I would not put Carol Smith and Joe DaVito in the same category!

I will vote for Carol for sure. Of the other candidates I believe I will vote for Lenny Klaif. I don't see him as necessaryily part of a opposition "gang of three" but as a reasonable, un-self-interested, and energetic person who cares about Ojai. I know this to be true of Carol Smith. I hope people don't forget her long-time progressive contributions (she's certainly not a "good ol' boy") or forget to vote for her.

10/28/2006 6:07 PM  
Anonymous The Ojai Post said...

At The Ojai Post, we have posted Vision Statements from the four challengers. The incumbents elected not to participate. Perhaps they are trying to run out the clock?

10/28/2006 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe it's time for a change. None of these incumbents are putting the concerns of the Ojai people first. When there are large groups of citizens protesting the moving in of chain stores, the closing down of local landmarks, the development bias on the part of the city council, and the suing a member of the populus for his attempt to institute a votable proposition that reflects what is the mainstream desire (not a fringe element), then the city council cares not that it is a representation of the people any longer. It seems we have the developers and bankers whispering in the ear of the council members and that they have more influence than the citizens of Ojai. The council members need to go.

10/28/2006 6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I support Klaif, LaFollette, and Leary because they oppose the "sue first, ask questions later" policy supported by our current council. I believe the current council’s policy on litigation results in unnecessary litigation that is both an unconscionable waste of city resources and divisive to Ojai's citizens.

10/28/2006 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I received an email from the paper asking my opinion. I live outside the city limits so cannot take a valid stand, but can give an outsider's view. The incumbents seem to be destroying the Ojai to which most of us are accustomed and love. The new development is abysmal!! Franchise and chains are bad enough ... but those hideous buildings on Matilijas Street. Was the builder color blind with a taste for clumsy looking structure ?? ARRRGHHHH !!!

10/28/2006 7:19 PM  
Blogger OrganicGeorge said...

Ojai residents have been told by our elected officials and government employees that little that can be done to protect our unique small town life. Can’t prevent chain stores from coming in, or stop big buildings sprouting up on small lots and not much can be done about loud motorcycles.

A quick ten-minute internet search reveals the following.

Martha’s Vineyard and the island of Nantucket have banned all chain stores to preserve their unique small town atmosphere.

Chevy Chase MD passed a moratorium on infill building, oversized houses that engulfed the entire building lot, that were destroying the neighborhood feeling of their town.
Many counties around the country have enacted similar legislation to stop this type of development.

Washington State has a website to assist towns in crafting noise reduction codes so residents can reclaim their quiet neighborhoods.

All this begs the question: Are the City Council, Planning Commission, City Manager and City Attorney incompetent or complicitous when it comes to the issue of preserving the small town ethos of Ojai?

10/28/2006 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will vote for Lenny Klaif as I believe he will be a good city council member as well as the fact that he will not renew Monte Widders contract. I will vote for the other two incumbents simply as a measure against the re-election of Joe Devito and Carol Smith.

10/28/2006 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would vote for lenny klaif - i think he has the best values of the lot running - carol smith has done a good job as well.
but i am terribly annoyed by the candidates signs on the old rv in downtown ojai - one of things i like best is that downtown ojai has always been free of political signs

10/28/2006 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DeVito, Olson, and Klaif.

10/28/2006 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carol Smith. She is the only candidate who looks at the issues from all points of view and then makes a decision. She does not seem to have her own agenda, truly serves the people and looks for what is best for Ojai. I did not vote for her last time she ran but she will be the only candidate I vote for this time.

10/29/2006 7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is Steve Olsen running again? He retired once and we had a party for him. Maybe if he told us why he is running instead of what he did in the past....

10/29/2006 7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DeVito loves the sound of his own voice too much! If we all would attend a council meeting just once, he would NEVER be re-elected. Too bad it's not required before voting.

10/29/2006 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the candidates have similar goals for Ojai. But Smith, De Vito and Olsen bring experience, common sense--and civility. Preserving Ojai should mean more than a concern for buildings and small businesses. It should also be about having a town in which residents treat each other with mutual respect and can disagree without being disagreeable. The intemperance of the insurgents (Klaif, La Follette and Leary)would inevitably produce an era of divisiveness-and a town not very pleasant to live in.

10/29/2006 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe needs to go-let him go play power and puppet politics somewhere else. Let Joe take his cohort Steve with him.

10/29/2006 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lenny Klaif would be a good replacement for Joe DeVito. He seems to understand "the gig".
Carol Smith and Steve Olsen are highly qualified to serve.

10/29/2006 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Robert A SkankeyMD said...

Joe DeVito is one of the most outstanding men I have known in the Ojai Valley. He is quite knowledgeable as to the needs of those who live here. This has been very evident by the remarkable dedication and service he has rendered. In my experience I have seen him use sound logic and thoughtfully evaluate all aspects of needs in the valley. I vote is for Joe and Steve.
I also feel Steve olsen has a long record of service, both in the schools and in our government and can be trusted to guide our city efficiently as he has done in the past

10/29/2006 9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be voting for Lenny Klaif. He is educated, articulate, and sees what's really going on. I wish there were some better choices of candidates for my other two votes. I'll probably vote for Carol Smith just to keep votes away from DeVito and Olson.

10/30/2006 7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ojai is in desparate need of innovative leadership to preserve the unique small town character from chain stores and cookie cutter development, while improving the financial position of the City. That said, I don't believe that Klaif, Leary and LaFollette are even remotely qualified. They focus on small, miniscule issues instead of large community wide problems. For example, all we hear is rhetoric about the loss of Ojai Frostie but not a single one of these individuals have even addressed the loss of the second largest revenue source, Ojai Ford, or how they expect to offset the loss of this revenue or try to balance the City's budget. I would be terrified to put the City's business and fiscal responsiblities in the hands of individuals who don't have real experience with the complex business and financial issues of running a City.

Most importantly, their negativity, disrepect, rudeness, and contentious interactions with the public is even more telling of the type of leadership we could expect if they were elected. Ojai needs positive, innovative leaders who can inspire and motive the community through positive interactions and communications.

Carol Smith, Steve Olsen, and Joe De Vito have the education, background, and skill set necessary to help lead the City and address the myriad business and financial issues facing Ojai. They will all get my vote.

10/30/2006 8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see how we have any other choice but for the three new comers. With the recent events that have happened that have shown how the city council doesn't care what its constituants say. I have to vote for the three new comers. The path we are on now is going to take us somewhere we don't want to be, like every other city. So I say vote for a change.

10/30/2006 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe Devito and Carol Smith voted to sue a local citizen who proposed initiatives. This was neither "civil" nor smart. It has created division, destroyed the credibility of city hall, and is certain to cost the city a fortune before all is done. Joe Devito did it because, as he says repeatedly, how can he question the advice of the city attorney? Carol Smith did it, incredibly, because she says she did not understand that she was approving a lawsuit.

Len Klaif, Dennis Leary and Pete Lafollette oppose the lawsuit and will change the thinking that led to it. They each have a strong vision for the preservation of Ojai that is completely supportive of improving and enhancing our present character. They are not unfriendly to local and independent business, they are for helping these businesses. They are not against building and renovation consistent with our small town character, they want to encourage enhancement of our existing character. They promise to try to slow down the influx of national chains and consider the views of the community before giving the green light to developers.

How many potholes could have been filled with the taxpayer money Joe Devito has paid to the city attorney's law firm over the years? How many swimming pools, library expansions and skate parks that Carol Smith is so passionate could have been built with the money wasted on needless lawsuits under the incumbent's watch?

It is time for a change. The issues are preservation and common decency, vs. hyperdevelopment and lawsuits. Lenny Klaif, Dennis Leary and Pete Lafollette deserve your vote becuase they at least offer the possibility of still having a recognizable Ojai twenty years from now.

10/30/2006 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those of you who seem to think that the existing City Council is running around "suing" citizens, are blowing everything out of proportion. This appears to be a legal procedure that is necessary to clarify something. Anyone with any business or legal sense should understand this.

Again, not one of the three new comer candidates (Klaif, Leary, LaFollette) have addressed how they intend to balance the City's budget and fill the gapping hole of the loss of sales tax revenue from the closure of Ojai Ford. How do they intend to solve this significant financial dilemma?

10/31/2006 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With respect to anonymous' comment regarding the city's current action against Jeff Furchtenicht, you are correct that it is a "legal procedure." It is a legal procedure called a "lawsuit" (aka declaratory relief). This is a lawsuit of choice by the city against one of its citizens. As the facts in this case plainly demonstrate, the lawsuit could have easily been avoided. I support Lenny Klaif because, unlike the incumbents, he opposes this unconscionable waste of city resources.

A good resource for information on both sides of this divisive issue can be found at

With respect to anonymous' concerns regarding the closure of Ojai Ford, I too share the concern reagrding the remarkable number of business closures and vacant spaces that have occured during the incumbents' tenure.

10/31/2006 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To quote the post above re the lawsuit: "This appears to be a legal procedure necessary to clarify something. Anyone with any business or legal sense should understand this."

Pray tell: What is the "something" supposedly being "clarified"? Does the anonymous poster even know? And since when is "business or legal sense" based on willful blindness? One might expect knowledge and sound judgment to be better foundations for success, whether in business, law, or the city council.

10/31/2006 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One way I hope the newcomers intend to help plug the financial gap is to stop the heavy drain of scarce funds into needless lawsuits. That alone is reason enough to vote for change.

10/31/2006 3:40 PM  
Blogger Len Klaif said...

Several people have criticized me for not having spoken about the closing of Ojai Ford and not having proposed a solution to the lose of tax revenue.

First, to my knowledge none of the candidates have spoken to this issue.

Second, prior to last Tuesday's City Council meeting I spoke with Jere Kersnar about this situation. Mr. Kersar advised that his most recent information was that the owner's had sold off the inventory so that they would have the funds to purchase inventory as dealer for a product other than Ford. Mr. Kersnar also advised that he would give this report at the Council meeting.

Based upon this information, I could see no reason to grandstand by saying anything at this time.

Len Klaif

10/31/2006 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, what specifically do these candidates intend to do to balance the City's budget? I am still not hearing any specific strategies or recommendations (i.e. "I as a city council candidate intend to xxxxx to increase revenue by xx% to ensure full cost recovery" and this is how I will accomplish this).

Why would I vote for anyone who can't come up with an overall strategy for replacing lost revenue? This doesn't provide voters with confidence that the candidates have the financial background to manage the City's finances, which is the basis for providing essential City services. If these candidates don't have a grasp on the overall financial position of the City and can't explain how they expect to manage THE most important element of the City, how can we feel confident that their decisions will be in the best financial interest of the City and will ensure a balanced budget? For example, do you know what are all of the City's revenue sources, what percentage of each make up the entire revenue stream, and do you believe that the revenue stream is adequately diversified?

Again, I ask what specifically do you intend to do about the City's financial situation? I sure would like to know how you intend to manage my hard earned tax dollars.

11/01/2006 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Pete L said...

Anonymous, I would start by tracking down the several million $
in redevelopmet funds- a substantial amount to you? Followed
by ending the frivolus lawsuits draining the city trust fund, now
a regular practice along with the closed council session meetings.
Also, I would stop the vanishing act of traffic and EIR funds such
as Bryant Street Industrial Plan.

11/01/2006 11:54 AM  
Blogger ben said...

Pete, if you ever provided even one iota of proof for your accusations and assertions, people might take you a bit more seriously.

I can say anything about you I want to, but unless I can prove any of it it all it amounts to is slander and libel masquerading as free speech and campaign rhetoric.

11/01/2006 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Pete L said...

ben, I go to the long meetings
take careful notes and save Valley
News clippings- want to see? I
have better things to do than
fabricate unsubstantiated facts,
so I invite you to take a close
look at how Ojai has been mismanaged for a while now- common knowledge!

11/01/2006 10:05 PM  
Blogger ben said...

Pete -

Suspicion and proof are two different things entirely.

However, if you believe that you have enough proof of malfeasance to interest the District Attorney's office or the Grand Jury, take it to them.

That should clear the matter up once and for all, shouldn't it?

11/01/2006 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Shallow Pockets Water Ratepayer said...

Why is everyone seemingly ignoring the election for Casitas Water Board?

The incumbents are spending the people's money on endless lawsuits and anti-environmental stances and are ignoring water conservation as the real need.

At least one challenger is taking on the very old school incumbent. If elected, Rich Handley will be the third vote on the Casitas Board to stop this insanity and dump the ever-destructive management staff who lead the incumbents around by the nose.

11/04/2006 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Ken said...

Why is everyone seemingly ignoring the election for Casitas Water Board?

Maybe because this thread is about the Ojai City Council, and they have nothing to do with the Casitas Water Board?

I\'ll be voting for Devito, Olsen, and Smith. It doesn\'t even matter if I like them -- I\'d vote for one of the park transients before I\'d vote for any of the other three.

11/05/2006 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The discussion of "issues" has been more emotional than analytical.

11/05/2006 3:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if this town will ever recover but it seems to me all in the city council welcome the illegal invasion i remember when you could see the buildings from the street now just Field and stone workers as well as wannabe gangsters every day at ultra mar gas in ojai a fight or robbery happens beer runs general intimidation large groups of these wannabes gather in clusters of 5 or more back in my day 3 kids loitering anywhere in the city limits you would be cited at least that's what the cops would tell me and everyone else i don't know if it s true. A car stereo noise ordinance (too much to ask for a warning sign) is in place but the low riding cars of today hit harder and louder. I remember when you would get pulled over for the chassis of the car being to low or tint on windows or big stickers on the windshield i cant help noticing its all cool now no one is doing anything about it i think its their job to keep our town safe i think they suck at it.

5/17/2007 1:05 AM  

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