Venturan’s approve all local ballot measures, including tax increase

Matt LaVere is Ventura’s newest City Council member.

Almost 60% of the city’s 65,265 registered voters  took part in the Nov. 8 election. In our last council race, in 2013, roughly 26% of registered voters cast a ballot.

The increased voter turnout was due to the fact that this was the first time residents could vote for City Council in an even year and it also coincided with a presidential election. In 2014, the council asked voters to decide whether they wanted to switch from voting in odd years to voting in even-year elections and Venturan’s said yes.

The council race featured 10 candidates for three seats, which included incumbents Weir and Heitmann. Council member Carl Morehouse did not seek re-election.

City Council Winners:

  • Matt LaVere – 16,607 votes
  • Christy Weir -12,816
  • Cheryl Heitmann -11,469

School Board Winners:

  • Sabrina Rodriquez – 14,121
  • Jackie Moran or Don Wood


Sabrena Rodriguez won a Ventura school board seat, but who will fill the second open seat still remains a question. The votes counted for Jackie Moran and Don Wood change every time they are re-counted. The latest tally shows Moran leading by 12 votes (12,357 to 12,342).

Seven candidates ran for the two open seats for the school board.

Measure O, the city’s initiative to raise the sales tax, was approved 58% to 42%. It establishes a ½ cent sales tax increase for 25 years, expected to provide approximately $10,800,000 annually. To alleviate fears that the money will be spent on unapproved items, the measure requires independent audits, and a citizen’s oversight committee.

Attempts at a tax increase failed in 2006 and 2009 but this year’s voters recognized the need for improvement in city services.

Voters easily approved Measure Q, 82% to 18%, which sets term limits for City Councilmembers. The measure states that members can serve three full four-year terms (12-years), but then is not eligible to run for the City Council, or to be appointed to a vacancy, unless a period of four years has elapsed since they last serviced on the City Council.

The passing of Measure N, says that the selection of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor will occur in even-number years following regular City Council elections. It also eliminates the Ventura Unified School District’s election process from the City Charter.

Even though it was very confusing because of several open-space initiatives, Measure P (SOAR) – extending open-space, agriculture, and hillside land use changes only by voter approval until 2050 – easily passed.

The city’s Measure P, which is separate from the county measures, combined the current SOAR (initially approved in 1995) and Hillside Voter Participation Area (initially approved in 2002) and extended it from 2030 to 2050.

Ventura Unified School District’s Measure R, which continued the District’s existing $59 parcel tax for another four years passed, as it did in 2012. The tax is expected to bring in $2.2 million a year.

Measure R would aid in preserving and improving academic programs, including music and art, along with expanding career and technical training.

It also requires an independent citizen’s oversight committee to be formed and all funds are to be spent on neighborhood schools. No money is to be used for administrative salaries or be taken by the state.



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