CLU Thousand Oaks City Council Candidate forum

CandidatesCornerBy William Hicks

There were two candidate forums held by the Conejo Valley Chamber last night at CLU. This article covers the TO City Council Forum.

The forum was held at the CLU Lundring Events Center. It was sponsored by Cohen Begun & Deck LLP, The Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce and Waste Management. Dr. Gooch of CLU was the moderator.

There were candidate opening statements followed by questions and finishing with a closing statement by all candidates.
My previous article regarding the Thousand Oaks City Council election had some questions that were either identical or similar to the ones asked last night. I will do my best to abbreviate those questions and go more into depth. Some questions were not fully answered because the candidates ran out of time.

Opening Statements
Al Adam – Thanks for this opportunity. I was elected to the City Council in 2012 and served as Mayor last year. Thousand Oaks is the most efficient city in Ventura County. I am a fiscal conservative. I will, like I always have, save taxpayer dollars. I am a proponent for business. The Ventura Star selected me as a most efficient politician.
Anne LaFianza – I’m proud to be here tonight. I have been a community volunteer and oak tree regulation proponent. I served in The Social Services Committee. I come to the City with common sense solutions. I’m a proponent for SOAR and a low density population.
Billy Martin – I’m a Thousand Oaks lover; a resident for 40 years. I have been involved in the Jungleland Project and Conejo Valley Film Festival.
Rob McCoy – Thanks for coming to the forum . Like Dr. Gooch I have a History Major. I’m honored to be here tonight. I would appreciate your vote come November 8th. Like Al Adam, I was selected by the Ventura Star as a most efficient politician.
1. If elected, how would you encourage private enterprise?
McCoy – I would encourage the Green Corridor and consider tax breaks to employers. We must be business friendly at the City and County level.
LaFinaza – I believe in maintaining quality of living. I would grow tourism that has increased by 87%.
Adam – Currently local business has a 5% advantage when bidding for contracts in Thousand Oaks. I would consider a 10% increased advantage for local businesses. Affordable housing for millennials would increase employees for business.
Martin – I will make a great city greater. I would increase the stimulus for new businesses. We need affordable housing for future employees.
2. What do you think about public transportation in AA?
LaFianza – I support AA. It has the potential to increase employment through contracted work. We need a trolley system like other cities for Thousand Oaks.
Adam – In Thousand Oaks City we have good roads. I support the Transit Master Plan. Rideshare and uber are reasonable ways to reduce traffic. AA is not visionary and I don’t support it.
Martin – Local sources of transportation are underutilized; Dial A Ride is an example. I’m opposed to AA. Thousand Oaks takes care of itself.
McCoy – I’m opposed to AA. Our local public transportation is underutilized.
3. What do you think of the Thousand Oaks Specific Plan?
Adam – The Thousand Oaks Blvd. project is essential. Thousand Oaks population is 30% Seniors. There is no place for our children to live in Thousand Oaks and that’s why we need a mixed use zoning.
Martin – I support the Specific Plan. But the plan is too far in the future and we need answers now for existing businesses.
McCoy – Mixed use zoning is moving forward. We need to attract millennial’s with employment and affordable housing.
LaFianza – We need to protect existing business and have slow sustainable growth. Thousand Oaks Blvd. should be a gathering place.
4. Where do you stand with the  land use proposition; C,F and W?
Martin – It’s a county issue but I would support either SOAR or SUSTAIN VC.
McCoy – I support SUSTAIN VC. We need to protect our Farmers. W will protect Thousand Oaks open Space.
LaFianza – I support SOAR. It’s a quality of life issue. It’s why we are rated so high among cities. It keeps home values high.
Adam – I support SOAR. It’s why we’re not like Los Angeles. We are a built out community and must develop inward.
5. What is your proudest accomplishment?
McCoy – We have a diverse group of people in The City Council. We may disagree but we have no enemies; only opportunities. This is a wonderful place to live.
LaFianza – I want a tolerant, supportive environment that supports seniors.
Adam – I consider myself a citizen legislator. I look forward to walk the distance of Thousand Oaks Blvd, when the project is fulfilled. We have stayed in fiscal good shape.
Martin – In all the cases but one Council Members have come from the Planning Commission until the last special election. I have a can do attitude and I’m a problem solver.
Closing Remarks
LaFianza – Thank you all, including those watching on the T.V, for listening to us. First I’m a Mom, Wife and Friend; not a politician. Thousand Oaks is an amazing place to live in. Our project are chronically underfunded. We must protect our Oaks and Open Space. I will be accountable to all.
Adam – In government wheels grind slowly, but I will push for the Thousand Oaks Blvd project. I will push for infill  for affordable housing. The Rams need a permanent home in Thousand Oaks; they are a revenue producer. I will continue to support a safe community.
Martin – We can provide affordable housing with infill.
McCoy – I will support affordable housing for seniors and millennial’s. It’s been an honor to serve the city for the last 17 months. This is a marvelous city. Thanks.
My own Closing Remarks:
All candidates support some form of Open Space. All candidates support affordable housing.  Questions I have are:
1) How can we both have affordable housing and open space that will not be developed when we are near our full level of developed property?
2) The planning Commission has approved mixed zoning for the Thousand Oaks Blvd. Project. What other area’s might be considered for mixed zoning in the future?
I moved to Newbury Park from The San Fernando Valley in the 1970’s. Newbury Park was unincorporated at that time. I moved here because the housing in The San Fernando Valley was unaffordable for me. I didn’t purposefully move here for open space. When we began to have an open space policy homes started to gradually become unaffordable. Does anyone else see the connection?
I’m not suggesting that all open space be put under the grader for development but I’m also suggesting that there might be some give if we really want affordable housing for seniors and our children. I have two daughters who couldn’t afford to stay in Thousand Oaks and moved where they could afford to live where they worked. One went to San Diego County where there is less open space policy to limit affordable housing while the other moved out of state. It’s a shame that this is not just my story. I hear it frequently.
Are there others that have the same story that would like answers from the Candidates before the November election? Maybe this article should be continued with some follow-up articles where I can do some investigating reporting.

William Hicks is a long time resident of Newbury Park and is retired from the Los Angeles Unified School District

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