Blatz makes second council
by Chris Wilson
Ojai Planning Commission Chairman and local attorney Paul
Blatz is taking his second shot at a City Council seat.
Sitting at a conference table in his North Signal Street law
office he explained that he's been an Ojai resident for 18 years,
grew up in a small town in Connecticut and ran for Ojai City
Council the first time in 1996. As a lawyer, he practices general
law with the exception of worker's compensation. This can include
handling criminal defense cases, family law and personal injury
In the past, Blatz has served the community on the Redevelopment
Commission for two and a half years and spent the past three
years serving on the Planning Commission.
After moving from the East Coast to the Los Angeles area where
he focused his efforts on sports law, Blatz said he wanted to
find a good small town to raise his son. He found just that in
"One of the things I love about Ojai, is that you can put
your arms around it," he said. "You just can't find
that anywhere in L.A."
He said he appreciates that Ojai provides a general acceptance
of open thought, varied political persuasion and different outlooks
"Ojai has the true feeling of a small-town village,"
he said. "I want to keep it that way."
With the experience of service on these commissions, Blatz said
he feels he's ready to step from a body that administers predetermined
laws - the Planning Commission - to the City Council where he
can have a direct effect on the local ordinances that affect
Ojai and its citizens.
"One reason I'd like to be on the City Council is that it's
a legislative body, that has an impact on the laws, whereas the
Planning Commission is charged with regulating the laws established
by the City Council," he said. "The decisions to be
made are based on a cookbook of city ordinances. We just apply
it." Moving up to the council is a seemingly natural progression.
"It's the next level to go to."
On his list of important issues are concerns over traffic and
uncontrolled growth both inside the city and throughout Ventura
County. Community division stemming from these issues is a concern
that he'll look to overcome and provide leadership that brings
groups back into a working, mutual accord.
"I would hope that we could work to bring the city and community
groups back together rather than think the only way to solve
anything is to take it into a courtroom."
As an attorney, Blatz said he believes he'll bring an important
and needed analytical mindset to the council. Though he said
he'll rely on the city's legal counsel for direction, as he does
now on the Planning Commission.
"When I'm sitting on the planning commission, I'm not there
as an attorney," he said. "I don't independently research
to determine the legality of what we do."
Since finding Ojai, Blatz has worked to serve the community with
his talents and expertise. Ultimately, if he's chosen for a position
on the council, he said he'd work to reduce the divisions, real
or perceived, that exist in the community.
"A key to my race is providing leadership," he said.
"Someone has to take the first step to do it. There is a
very strong common thread love for the Ojai Valley and a strong
desire to keep it as a great place to live."
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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