The tug of war between maintaining a status quo and accommodating real changes in a city is a clear and present issue in our current city council elections. It has come to my attention that my point of view and values have been distorted in the numerous exchanges on this topic. Neither I nor anyone in Ventura that I know wants our City to resemble anything like the San Fernando Valley or Orange County. I have fought on many fronts for thirty years to preserve and enhance what we love about Ventura and maintain our uniqueness. Change stands all around us, and we must guide and manage it to create the prosperity our community needs.
I have fought hard to revitalize our City, preserve our history and amplify our unique and rich culture. I have also fought hard to preserve at least 80% of our hillsides, spaces owned by long time families who wanted to divest but also wanted to do the best thing for their families and our community. This was far before the establishment of the Ventura Land Trust and the Atmore’s Rancho conservancy.
Responsible development for Ventura must first meet our needs and allow our community to prosper. It’s essential that we save our farmland and reuse our urban fabric. A thriving city needs entry level affordable housing and executive housing; both are needed for a community to be sustainable. We do have a solid base of middle-income housing, but limited opportunities for people to earn that income.
While others restate our community vision, I sat on the 1999 Vision Document committee for two years. I started my own businesses to showcase what was possible in our renewing downtown and midtown, served as chair of the Chamber of Commerce and worked to support the living wage as the first Chamber in the country to do so. I encouraged businesses to not give up and helped them work through an arduous City process to expand a business or stay in business. On an average, it takes fifteen to twenty years for a commercial project to be approved in Ventura. City Hall still can’t answer four easy questions; What can you do with your property, what is the process, what is the timeline, and what will it cost? Why would investors enter that scenario with their lives’ savings?
I invest in the community because of one core understanding. We can leave our world better off with our unique contributions. To that end I’ve not only have participated on numerous boards to improve Ventura, but have founded or helped establish many such as the Downtown Community Council, AIDS Partnership, Social Justice Fund, CAPS broadcasting, the Ventura Music Festival, the Rubicon theater and the Ventura Botanical Gardens.
I am proud to say that my candidacy to represent you on Ventura’s City Council is endorsed by both the Police and Firefighters Associations.
We need change, bold leadership that has proven knowhow, to take ideas through to get results. I will be that leader.
For more information please visit: www.DougHalter.com