Jim Friedman’s new perspective on serving the Ventura people

“I like seeing results and I like to make people happy whenever possible.“

by Maryssa Rillo

Jim Friedman served as a member of the Ventura City Council from 1995-2002. He also served as mayor in 1998 and 1999. Now, 15 years later, Friedman is back and was reelected in 2018 to represent District 5.

According to Friedman, money is a bigger issue today than it was the first time he served. The break he had from serving on the Ventura City Council gave him the opportunity to gain a new perspective of the city and see what was going on from the outside in. Friedman said that with this new perspective he has been given the “opportunity to hit the ground coming.” I spoke with Friedman about his reelection and how he plans to execute the goals he has in place to serve the Ventura people.

Q: What are your major goals while serving District 5?

A: I ran on enhancing our basic core services which is: public safety (police and fire), fixing our streets, sidewalks and trimming our trees and/or replacing them. I spoke to hundreds of people, so I feel like I have a pretty good pulse at what the community, at least in District 5 want and they want what I was running on: enhanced essential core services.

My other goal is to help streamline our economic development process. Whether that means new businesses coming into town or businesses wanting to expand. I think there are way too many bureaucracies in our city and the city is at times too involved. There are simpler ways of doing things that the council can initiate if there is a will of the council to do that.

Q: Why do you think it is an important issue to help businesses in Ventura?

A: My biggest concern is that Ventura is becoming a retirement community that ultimately will not be able to afford itself. There are many young people who are born and raised here that will not be able to live here because there aren’t houses in a price range for them to afford.

How do you solve this issue? It’s simple, more money. We won’t be able to tax and fee ourselves into prosperity. The way I see it, it’s only going to come from economic development. That’s why I hope we have at least four members of the city council that believe that way, so we can start doing things to make it easier for people who are trying to do business in our city. We will all ultimately benefit from this through the increased revenues that we will get from them.

Q: How do you plan on making it easier for new businesses and current businesses wanting to expand in Ventura?

A: Businesses don’t know what the city’s expectations are of them. It seems like a never ending cycle and I know for a fact Ventura has gained a reputation of a city you want to stay away from because they’ll drive you crazy with these additional requirements, opposed from having a system set up where you know what you need to do from the very beginning and that can be changed. That will be the will of the council saying ‘city manager we need this streamlined. We have to change our reputation in the regent. We need to be known as being business friendly opposed to at times being very difficult to deal with.

Q: What are your plans on executing your goal of enhanced public safety?

A: As far as I am concerned the number one priority is public safety. If you don’t feel safe in your community then you don’t have quality of life in your community. The only way we can deal with that is prioritizing the budget so that there are resources available to keep the community safe. We won’t be able to generate any real income by raising fees. That’s why I think economic development is going to be the absolute key to getting just about anything done in our city that we want to get done.

Q: What do you enjoy most about serving Ventura City?

A: To be in a position to really be able to make a difference to the community. Whether that be a resident in District 5 or a resident/business owner anywhere throughout the city.

My task is to help solve a problem for a constituent or a resident and I really enjoy doing that. I like seeing results and I like to make people happy whenever possible.

Note: The Breeze also asked new council members Sofia Rubalcava and Lorrie Brown to also have and article in the Breeze but have not heard back from them. Hopefully we will.

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