Time for Ojai City Council to prioritize climate action
Judging by the voting results, 48.08% of Ojai voters want climate-change action as a priority policy in Ojai.
Let’s hope that Mayor Anson Williams and the new City Council will heed their wishes.
Clive & Marion Leeman — Ojai
Ojai voters energized, they are not confused
Re: the Nov. 11 article, “Williams leads for mayor”:
Our outgoing mayor’s parting shot at her opponent for not being “civil and honest” in his campaign was a remarkably efficient insult. In one sentence, she was able to smear both her rival and the majority of Ojai voters who, in her opinion, succumbed to his siren song.
Personally, I resent the implication that I am naively susceptible to negative campaigning and rumor-mongering. But more than that, it is fundamentally wrong to ascribe one’s defeat at the polls as a function of anything other than the expression of the collective will of the voters. If, as she alleges, her opponent’s campaign was underhanded, she had ample opportunity to point that out during the campaign.
We all have our individual points of view, as evidenced by the close results of the election. But Ojai voters are not the type to be fooled. We pay attention and we turn out. In fact, Ojai voter turnout in this election was 9 percentage points higher than it was in Ventura County overall — by far the best comparative spread for this statistic going back more than a decade!
The bottom line is this year’s mayor election didn’t confuse Ojai voters, it energized them. If we can now translate that enthusiasm into action plans to improve our city, then it will have been a wonderful civics lesson for everyone.
Clay Creasey — Ojai
Voter majority intelligence insulted
Re: the Nov. 11 article, “Williams leads for mayor”:
Mayor Betsy Stix’s acknowledgement of election loss in the Nov. 11 Ojai Valley News was missing one key element, which she herself has repeatedly espoused: kindness. Kindness and its corollary, graciousness. Political campaigns should be about contrasting strengths and records, then hopefully being gracious when the voters have made their choice. Candidates should focus their disappointment on reflecting on what has been lacking in their content and messaging, not what is wrong with the opponent’s supporters.
Mayor Stix claims Anson Williams and his supporters behaved in “a way that is counter to the core values of Ojai” and then claimed a primary value violated was “kindness.” The tone of the mayor’s statement seemed to be more akin to “getting even” clothed in sanctimony.
This is an insult to the intelligence of the voter majority. Ojai tries to have open debates and transparency on contentious issues, not disparaging the character of opponents nor advancing referendum petitions to overturn council actions the mayor does not like. None of us running for elected office should exhibit the hubris of this level of voter disrespect.
Remember that the mayor refused to participate in actual one-on-one debates with Mr. Williams. That would have been the opportunity to counter claims of negative campaigning and rumor-mongering, with well-articulated arguments consistent with facts. The best way to counter negative campaigning is to mitigate by getting the facts out fast — get your version of the story out there in the public arena. This never happened.
There were ads and OVN reporting on factual votes made by the mayor over her two-year term. Supporters challenged these votes as not being helpful to the best interests of the Ojai community.
A proper, very “Ojai” response would have been prominent ads from the mayor correcting these challenges or accepting a debate challenge. The mayor certainly had the campaign funding to publish another side of the story.
There was certainly time to debate. Neither ever happened. That is not the fault of Mr. Williams nor his supporters making the case for their preferred candidate.
Bill Miley & William Weirick — Ojai
(William Weirick is an outgoing Ojai councilman who did not run for re-election in the Nov. 8 election.)
Time for new mayor to take inventory
So, Anson, it looks like you have won, or may win, the seat you set out for.
Now may be a good time to take inventory of what you believe is unique and worth preserving about the Ojai Valley.
Have you taken a leisurely ride on the Red Trolley and felt an unhurried sense of place … noticed many riders are older, poor or disabled, not simply tourists, although they ride, too … walked the crosswalks — flashing or unlighted, that most of the locals stop for pedestrians … seen the number of bicycle riders somehow blending into the daily heavy traffic on Ojai Avenue — how many of them are tourists, families, or couples getting a peaceful experience not to be found that many other places in SoCal region … known of the freeway project that was denied access into the valley some years back … counted the number of hotels with bike rentals to explore the bike paths, how you don’t have to go too far off the main drag to catch the condition many long-timers call the Spirit, Heart, Nest of Ojai or Valley of Peace … felt the stillness from the East End, many open spaces, or the trails on Shelf Road leading even farther into the mystique of the mountains and National Forest ... gone up the canyon to the flowing water or where you are able to to see to the ocean or diminishing Lake Casitas … noticed the HELP of Ojai program that serves, so many of whom 40% are the poor, elders, working class or otherwise struggling in today's eroding middle-income economy … identified the housing stock — not gated luxury-home condos that so many other cities have ... seen the regular day laborers without whom local agriculture or construction would not succeed ... looked at the many heritage historical or potential landmarks … talked with the many businesses providing small-town-feel shopping not found in big chain stores with their parking lots ... watched the restaurants close only to open another in the same building … chosen to walk around the Arcade stopping to talk or simply saying hello … had an ice cream or soda noticing all the locals walking their pedigree dogs … taken in the Ojai Pops or sentimental summer concerts in the park or the many thrift-store fashions that can be had for a song … stopped in the never-ending garage sales … taken in the many events, music, theater, art shows, regular farmers’ markets … visited the spiritual foundations or world-renowned private schools numbering many for a town this size or the many yoga studios ... seen the number of helping organizations serving others so lovingly with compassion … wondered about the longtime shuttered bowling alley … participated in the eventful City Council meetings — observing them permit another new restaurant with alcohol sales … visited with the unusual residents here that dress, act, and look like a hip version of Mayberry RFD … watched the summer hot rods cruise or people setting their Fourth of July Parade chairs two weeks in advance … discovered the nature preserves or open spaces including the citrus groves...seen with your own eyes the neighbors, civic groups, and professionals helping out in a crisis … known of the famous — residents or visiting, who are so low-key they would never say it to worldly wise locals who wouldn’t care anyway because of the wide cross-section of class, ethnic, religious, international folks living here for the oh- so-many delights and discoveries awaiting your experience provided by and for all Ojai Valley residents’ Happy Days?
Pete LaFollette — Ojai