EDITORIAL on OPINION PAGE: Weirick for Ojai mayor

10 2 Bill Weirick

Ojai Valley News endorses Councilman William Weirick for Ojai mayor.


When elections work as they should, dedicated, caring, informed citizens volunteer their time and ideas to improve he communities they call home.


That is the case this election season in Ojai and is exemplified by the two candidates running for mayor in the Nov. 3 election.
The mayor’s position is the only one on the Ojai City Council voted on by all Ojai citizens, unlike the rest of the council seats that will now be determined by district elections.
When Mayor Johnny Johnston announced he would not stand for re-election, current Councilman William Weirick and first-time candidate Betsy Stix decided to run for mayor, resulting in energetic campaigns that are promoting positive ideas for the city.
The Ojai Valley News endorses William Weirick for Ojai mayor based on his experience and participation in local governance, his excellent track record on the council over the past six years, his engagement with residents, his fiscal responsibility, his commitment to protecting the environment and his style of informed decision making.
Councilman Weirick has a doctorate in economics, and, fortuitously, his expertise and experience in environmental quality, public utilities and town design are in line with several of the city of Ojai’s challenges.
Along with his years on the City Council, Councilman Weirick chaired the city’s Building Appeals Board in its first year. He also assisted with Ojai FLOW (Friends of Locally Owned Water), the citizen group that successfully switched the water purveyor in Ojai from Golden State Water Co. to Casitas Municipal Water District.
The former economics professor also served as a university administrator, responsible for eight university departments, running multimillion-dollar capital construction programs, overseeing budgets and operating the physical plant.
And because this is Ojai, after all, Councilman Weirick will bring to the job of mayor more than know-how and experience. He has the heart and passion for the job that observers of the council appreciate.
When Councilman Weirick talks about his “motivation for public service,” he says: “Protecting and preserving the unique and precious character of our community is my bottom-line commitment.” He gets Ojai when he says: “Ojai has a unique history of incorporating some of the most progressive and constructive philosophical, cultural, and artistic movements of the last century into its DNA.”
And he gets how local politics is a vehicle for helping realize the community’s ideals. Few candidates, for example, grasp the importance of the city’s general plan. A successful and comprehensive general plan, Councilman Weirick explains, “lays a foundation for maintaining the small-town character of Ojai.” He recognizes the importance of the general plan in supporting “what we want our town to be in the future” and he cares to ask Ojai residents what they think.
He understands the challenges of diversifying the city’s economy and, as he puts it, provide support for families to “combine livelihood with living in the Ojai Valley.”
Councilman Weirick will also bring to the mayor’s job an important grasp of facts about Ventura’s groundwater adjudication lawsuit that has ensnared thousands of Ojai Valley residents. He has studied this issue thoroughly and is working to protect Ojai Valley residents’ interests as demonstrated most recently by him negotiating for the city of Ventura not to saddle Ojai residents with its attorney costs for its outrageous water lawsuit.
Councilman Weirick is the person Ojai most needs in the mayor’s seat at this critical juncture.
Ojai is fortunate to have a person of Councilman Weirick’s caliber to help guide the city as its residents cope with a pandemic, Ventura water grab and fire threat.
Now, more than ever, deep study and knowledge of the issues, along with experience, matter.
That is why Councilman Weirick is the very best choice to be Ojai’s next mayor.

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