William Weirick On the Issues
Issue statements by candidates are quoted from public media statements either direct or edited for brevity.
Ojai should be a community, not an enclave. People who work in the Valley should be able to live here. The current decline in the number of school age children needs to be reversed. Having sufficient affordable housing availability is part of achieving these goals. There is more than one path towards this availability. The Building Appeals Board is working on recommendations for reforming the Second Unit Ordinance to increase the supply of permitted, affordable second units. City Council should be open to creatively designed, mixed use developments inclusive of affordable housing consistent with Ojai’s scale and character. Council should also be sure that its stance on vacation rentals is not detrimental to affordable housing supply.
First, the city should insist that the Ojai Basin Groundwater Management Agency (OBGMA) strictly enforce its ordinance mandating that each operating well within its boundaries be registered, have an accurate metering device and file six month total extraction reports. Without accurate and comprehensive extraction reports, we cannot even be assured of a accurate baseline for analysis and predictions.
Second, the city should encourage and assist the OBGMA in developing local water management plans in compliance with laws regarding groundwater resources. The people of the Ojai Valley should insist that this plan be developed far in advance of mandated deadlines and that we aspire to develop a model plan for others to emulate.
Third, the City should assist everyone involved in concluding the eminent domain buyout of the Golden States Water (GSW) company as soon as possible. The Ojai Valley’s water resources need to be managed in an integrated, unitary fashion. All our water comes from our watershed’s rainfall. We do not get water from anywhere else. GSW has not been a good steward of these resources.
I wholeheartedly support the current ordinance regulating chain stores. It serves the unique character of Ojai, which must be preserved and promoted. There is a direct lineage connecting the fight against extending the freeway decades ago into the Valley and measures such as these strict regulations against chain store development. The Council should make sure city regulations encourage and enable local entrepreneurs to take advantage of the anti-chain store ordinance. We want succession and expansion of business ownership by Ojai Valley people for Ojai people as much as possible.