Carl Morehouse will not be seeking re-election

Ventura to get at least one new councilmember.
Ventura to get at least one new councilmember.

“I am announcing that I will not be seeking re-election this Fall.  I am honored, humbled and grateful for the confidence voters have had in my ability to help guide this amazing city we call home since I was first elected in 1999.  However, seventeen years is a long time and I wish to take a break.  I am now the second longest serving Council Member behind Jim Monahan; not a record I imagined when I started this rewarding adventure.  I have enjoyed my tenure on the City Council but, at this point, I am looking forward to spending time traveling with my wife and addressing other priorities that are on our “bucket list”.

“When I think back over my years as your Council Member, I am proud of the things that this community has achieved.  Among those are:

  • The purchase and beginning of both the Community Sports Park on Kimball Avenue, and the more recent start to Kellogg Park on the West Side.
  • The development of an integrated paving program, wherein we evaluate the conditions of all of our streets in conjunction with the evaluation of our underground utilities, so that when we repave a street, we do it, literally from the underground up, including curbs, gutter and sidewalks and street trees.
  • That we now have better public noticing of projects with signage at the location of the proposals so that all of the community is aware of them.
  • We now have public art on utility boxes; a program that I instigated.
  • We made progress on dealing with plastic bags, although state law has trumped those efforts.
  • We undertook efforts to restore Surfer’s Point; a project I was proud to help support.
  • I’m grateful for the opportunity to have used my position as Mayor to aid the development of farmworker housing by bringing Kris Kristofferson to perform two benefit concerts.
  • And, most recently, I am proud of that the fact that the current Council has finally taken a positive step forward to deal with the homeless issue.”

“Perhaps even more than these local achievements was the opportunity to represent Ventura for over 15 years on the regional and statewide level.  I have been honored to be President of the Channel Counties Division of the League of California Cities (Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties), which lead to the opportunity to serve on the state Board of Directors of the League for three years – a body looking out for city interests versus State and Federal laws.  It also afforded me the opportunity to serve for 11 years on the League’s Housing, Community and Economic Development Policy Committee (which reviews pending legislation affecting cities’ Planning concerns), including chairing that important committee in 2012.”

“I have also had the honor of serving as Ventura’s representative on the Ventura County Transportation Commission for 9 years, and the Gold Coast Transit agency for 5 years, including chairing that body as it legally transformed into a District in 2014.  These bodies are crucial to good transportation planning and transit opportunities in Ventura County. “

“Additionally, I have had the pleasure of serving for the past 9 years on the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) (which oversees annexations by cities and district formations), including chairing that body this year.  And I have served as the city’s representative to the Ventura Council of Governments (VCOG) for 15 years, including as chair in 2007.”

“Finally, and most honorific, my Council seat afforded me the opportunity to serve as President of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) during 2014 – a seat never held previously by a Venturan in SCAG’s 50 years of existence — after having been on that body for 15 years, including chairing one of their important policy committees.  This body is the largest transportation planning agency in the U.S., representing 39,000 square miles of Southern California, six counties, 190 cities and 18 million people.  This truly was an honor.”

“And in all of those capacities, I have been proud to represent Ventura and to protect our interests as both a charter city and in a regional context.  For all of that, I feel a bit guilty pulling the plug because it takes a great deal of time to build those relationships and earn the respect of my peers, many of who I know in those organizations who are still begging me to stay.”

“There are many things still to be done.  Most regrettably, I’m sad that we did not make better progress on capping the freeway.  But, as that is a long term project, I am committed to remain active however I can to take the next steps in that direction.  And the continuing refinement of our growth/no growth issues, including development standards and process refinement will proceed, although this will deprive me of a vote on that issue.  I’m also saddened that we couldn’t have found a more sensitive way to deal with medical marijuana issues than simply criminalizing everyone.  But state law may soon define that for us as well.”

“But that being said, I will be taking a slight break from politics for a while to refresh myself and enjoy quality time with my wife.  This doesn’t mean I’m going away, or becoming any less interested in politics or Ventura’s future, but it does mean that I will have far fewer staff reports to read every week, and more freedom in my schedule to actually travel and not worry about missing meetings.”

Again, thank you all who have endorsed me and voted for me in the past.  I will still be with you on those causes that are important to this city, just not right out in front.  It has truly been both an honor and a privilege to serve both as your Mayor and as a Councilmember.  Peace.

Carl E. Morehouse, AICP

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