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Articles

Council Welcomes Newest Member

By Mary Long

Cheers and applause greeted the swearing in of Paul Blatz, Ojai’s newest City Council member. Finally filling the seat vacated by the departure of Joe DeVito, Blatz lost no time in removing his jacket and settling into his position.  “He’s rolling up his sleeves,” joked Councilwoman Sue Horgan, to the amusement of fellow councilmen and members of the audience. With Blatz beating out Leonard Klaif in the June 8 special election with a vote of 1,019 to 710, the long process of certification of the vote was over and Blatz was ready to get down to business. After a noisy moment of congratulations the council reconvened with only Councilwoman Carol Smith absent from her seat.
Klaif congratulated Blatz on taking office, and joked that there was a certain irony in being sworn in the day after they both pulled papers to run in the November City Council election. He ribbed Dennis Leary about his “awful poetry,” but observed that Leary raises some very important questions about the lack of affordable housing in Ojai. Klaif also pointed out that in his opinion the council has exhibited a double standard in how they have treated the Libbey Bowl project as opposed to their treatment of the Skate Park or Mallory Way issues.
E.J. Harrison & Sons was approved for their proposed rate increase of their waste collection services which they provide for the city of Ojai. This will be a 1 percent increase for residential accounts, and a 2 percent increase for commercial accounts. For the average homeowner this will mean an increase of about 30 cents per month. For a 3-yard trash bin it would be an increase of between $2 and $3 per month. Horgan thanked them for their services and commented on their generosity to organizations in the community.
Public comment then opened for the closed session topics. Horgan informed those in attendance that there had been some confusion over versions of the proposed lease for the Libbey Bowl to the Ojai Festivals. “The lease that was in our packet on the 22nd of June was the correct version,” said Horgan,  who stated that the provision requiring the city to bear the cost of relocating the festival if the bowl rebuild wasn’t completed in time for the 2011 Music Festival had been removed.
Kathy Richards, a resident of Ojai, spoke about her concerns with the lease.  Her first caution was the wisdom of “diving into a 99-year lease,” when the city has no experience with this type of situation. She pointed out that the Ojai Festivals are only bound to the lease for 10 years at which point they may terminate it “without cause.” She also noted that the lease had required the festivals to have construction money in place, which has not happened and felt that the lease “was too favorable for them under those

Cheers and applause greeted the swearing in of Paul Blatz, Ojai’s newest City Council member. Finally filling the seat vacated by the departure of Joe DeVito, Blatz lost no time in removing his jacket and settling into his position.  “He’s rolling up his sleeves,” joked Councilwoman Sue Horgan, to the amusement of fellow councilmen and members of the audience. With Blatz beating out Leonard Klaif in the June 8 special election with a vote of 1,019 to 710, the long process of certification of the vote was over and Blatz was ready to

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