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Articles

Council May Appoint Candidate

On Tuesday, Ojai City Council members will be deliberating on applicants for the vacancy created by the resignation of Joe DeVito last month.
As of press time, five men had applied for the position, four of whom have previously been featured individually in the OVN: Paul Blatz, Demitri Corbin, Leonard Klaif and Mike Lenehan. Ojai Planning Commissioner John Mirk submitted his application Wednesday evening, and so is featured in today’s issue.
On Dec. 8, the Ojai City Council voted 3-2 in favor of appointing a replacement for the position vacated by Joe DeVito, whose term would have naturally expired in November of this year. At that time, it was the council’s hope that they would have enough qualified applicants from which to appoint the replacement on Jan. 12, but they would also be within the appointment time line if a choice was made at the Jan. 26 council meeting.
With DeVito gone, who voted with the majority for appointment, there is a possibility that the seat will go to special election. The council has not yet established dates for such an election. If embedded in the June primary ballot, the city has estimated the cost to be about $6,000. As an independent ballot, the cost to the city could be as high as $36,000.
“The choices are there, it’s now up to the council to decide what to do,” said city manager Jere Kersnar on Wednesday. The council meeting will be held at Ojai City Hall, 401 S. Ventura St., Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Following are the applicants, listed alphabetically.
Paul Blatz, age 58
Occupation: attorney
Education: George Washington University, B.S.; Ventura College of Law, J.D.
26-year Ojai resident
Affiliations: Rotary Club of Ojai-West; Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce; Ojai Valley Living Treasures board; Ojai Performing Arts Theater Foundation; Ojai Pergola Committee; California and Ventura County bar associations; and Ventura County Superior Court Judge Pro-Tem
Concerns: Assuring fiscal responsibility while protecting the character of Ojai through preservation of open spaces, addressing traffic impacts and supporting youth programs.
“I felt the council, in terms of who they appoint, should have as many applicants as possible. And I truly believe that my presence on the council would help assure the sustainability of the community.”
•••
Demitri Corbin, age 48
Occupation: Professional actor
Education: Illinois State University, B.S. in theater; Chautauqua Professional Actor’s Studio
Eight-year Ojai resident
Affiliations: Ojai Arts Commission; Virginia Avenue Project; Peachtree Theater Company; Cardboard Fairytale Theater; Ojai Playwrights Conference; Ojai-Ventura Film Festival; Theater 150; Ojai Shakespeare Festival; Ojai Performing Arts Theater Foundation; Ojai Valley Youth Foundation; and Ojai Library After School Homework Lab
Concerns: Better utilization of the city’s nonprofit status in applying for public and private funding for artistic and educational projects to help promote tourism to Ojai.
“I want to be on City Council because I think I would bring insight into the arts community when decisions are made. All of these things lend to the profile that Ojai has as an artists community.”
•••
Leonard Klaif, age 61
Occupation: criminal attorney
Education: University of Iowa College of Law, J.D; State University of New York at Buffalo, B.A. in economics; Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing, massage technician certificate
17-year Ojai resident
Affiliations: Ojai Art Center; Theater 150; Ojai Film Society; California Appellate Project; California State Bar; California Appellate Defense Council, South Bay and Ventura chapters; and Los Angeles County Juvenile Bar Association
Concerns: Fostering the arts, supporting local businesses and protecting the valley’s beauty and open spaces.
“I believe that I can make a valuable contribution as a member of the City Council. I am familiar with the issues as I regularly attend council meetings … We have incredibly interesting, smart, caring people in our valley and the city needs to better harness this most valuable resource.”
•••
Mike Lenehan, age 49
Occupation: federal investigator
Education: University of California at Santa Barbara, B.A. in law and society; Santa Barbara City College, A.A. in law and society; U.S. Army Command and General Staff College graduate
Nine-year Ojai resident
Affiliations: Ojai Parks & Recreation Commission; U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, retired; Ojai American Legion; Veterans of Foreign Wars, Ojai; Knights of Columbus, Ventura; Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association; Emerald Society of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies; Santa Barbara Irish Festival; and Nordhoff High and Villanova Preparatory schools, coach
Concerns: Promoting youth recreation programs while offering a conservative perspective to the collective decisions made by the city.
“I have a common person perspective that I think appeals to people who are in a like situation.”
•••
John Mirk, age 58
Occupation: IT support technician
Education: William Marsh Rice University, B.A. in architecture
16-year Ojai resident
Affiliations: Ojai Planning Commission; Housing Element Task Force; Ojai Public Art Review Committee; Libbey Park Public Art Selection Committee; Ojai Raptor Center; Theater 150; Patagonia Environmental Grants Committee; Nordhoff High School music department; Volunteers in Service to America; and Channel Islands Bike Club
Concerns: Affordable housing and developing standards and programs to enhance the city’s future while maintaining Ojai’s special character.
“I’ve enjoyed my service on the Planning Commission and am ready for new challenges. I consider service on the City Council to be one of the most demanding duties in our town, and see the chance to be directly responsible for the well-being of Ojai as one of the most rewarding opportunities in public service.”

By Sondra Murphy

On Tuesday, Ojai City Council members will be deliberating on applicants for the vacancy created by the resignation of Joe DeVito last month. As of press time, five men had applied for the position, four of whom have previously been featured individually in the OVN: Paul Blatz, Demitri Corbin, Leonard Klaif and Mike Lenehan. Ojai Planning Commissioner John Mirk submitted his application Wednesday evening, and so is featured in today’s issue. On Dec. 8, the Ojai City Council voted 3-2 in favor of appointing a replacement for the

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