3 vie to represent Ojai in 1st District

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Austin Widger, Ojai Valley News reporter
Trevor Quirk, Jeff Ketelsen and Matt LaVere are vying to represent the Ojai Valley on the county Board of Supervisors in the March 3 election.
If one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, he will be the next supervisor. If any candidate fails to get 50 percent plus one, there will be a runoff between the top two vote-getters in November.
The 1st District includes the Ojai Valley, Riverpark, northwest Oxnard, Ventura, Montalvo and Saticoy.
The seat is open since Supervisor Steve Bennett is termed out and is running for a 37th Assembly District seat.
LaVere and Ketelsen qualified by the filing deadline in December to be on the ballot.
Quirk joined the race as a write-in candidate in response to the Ventura City Council’s vote in September — revealed only in January — to include thousands of Ojai Valley residents in its water lawsuit.


Trevor Quirk
Ventura County Board of Supervisors 1st District write-in candidate Trevor Quirk says he is in a unique position to return the government and power back to the people. 
Quirk is a local attorney in Ventura. He grew up in Sacramento, but now makes Upper Ojai his home. Quirk fought the Thomas Fire alongside his neighbors while starting Upper Ojai Relief. 
The organization continued to assist in several area natural disasters, including the Montecito mudslides and Hill and Woolsey fires. 
Quirk said: “I think I am the only one with this unique ability to bring people from all different backgrounds together and inspire them to do great things. I’ve demonstrated that from these natural disasters that I’ve been a part of, and these teams that we’ve formed for months.”
If elected, Quirk said his focus would be on homeless issues, natural resources, affordable housing and the Ventura River adjudication lawsuit.
Quirk said: “The homeless population has risen every single year for the past at least three years consecutively — 18 percent last year. That needs to return back to earth. The headlines say it’s skyrocketing, that rocket’s got to come down.”
He said the homeless problem is also causing the Ventura River to serve as a dumping ground and place for homeless encampments. 
These issues are interrelated to the affordable housing issue, Quirk added. Redevelopment is his solution. “They’ll only be redeveloped by developers and people who are interested in business if the economy is there, if the people are there,” Quirk said. “The people don’t want to be places where it’s unattractive and not a fun place to be, where you can’t even take your kids out and walk down to a river because you’re afraid of stepping on needles or running into a homeless encampment.”
He said his goal is to build bridges to bring communities and cities together under the Ventura County umbrella. He said the cities of Oxnard, Ventura and the county of Ventura should all have the same goals in mind — the best interests of the people.
On the subject of the Ventura River Watershed adjudication lawsuit, Quirk said he does not want it to be extended for six months. “That is taking the pressure off the city to dismiss the lawsuit, which should’ve been done in the first place,” he said. “That’s a Band-Aid over a bullet wound. That’s a PR stunt meant to appease the people.”
As to why people should vote Quirk, his answer is simple: “I’m the most qualified to do the job. I’m the most trustworthy candidate on the ballot, and I don’t have a political agenda. I’m not beholden to any special interests.”
For more information about Quirk’s campaign, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit


Jeff Ketelsen
Jeff Ketelsen has lived in Ojai for more than 30 years, and says that gives him a firm understanding of the issues and people he would be serving if elected to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors 1st District seat. 
“I’ve lived in Ojai more than 30 years and I’ve been fighting for mobile homeowners’ rights here for more than 30 years,” said Ketelsen, who is a hardware clerk and has been a substitute teacher. 
Ketelsen said he chose to run because he is opposed to the urban renewal program of Matt LaVere, Ventura mayor and supervisor candidate. 
If elected, Ketelsen said he would work to bring more funding for the Ojai Recreation Department and improved health and nutrition services to the community. “I think the 1st District needs better health and human services for everybody,” he said.
On the subject of the Ventura River Watershed adjudication lawsuit, Ketelsen said he would like to see it end now, rather than be extended six months. “Because Ventura and Ojai, they’re both kind of in paralysis right now. Because in Ventura, a lot of the streets are in disrepair. A lot of the people in Ventura believe that’s because of the $4.5 million that the mayor has spent against the Ojai Valley on the water lawsuit.”
Having lived in Ojai most of his life and raised his children here, he said: “I have real depth on the streets with the working people of the 1st District. I actually go out and handle my own campaign and meet people personally, person to person. They find out what I think and what I believe.” Ketelsen does not have a candidate email address or website, but he is campaigning in Ojai, Oak View and Ventura. 


Matt LaVere
Matt LaVere said he is running for the Ventura County Board of Supervisors 1st District because he wants future generations to inherit a county even better than it is currently. “That means balancing respect for the county’s unique history, while also having a bold vision for its future,” LaVere said.
A local attorney and mayor of Ventura, LaVere attended Ojai public elementary schools and Villanova Preparatory School.
While on Ventura City Council, LaVere has served on the Ventura City Council’s Economic Development, Homeless & Affordable Housing, and Finance/Budget subcommittees.
As supervisor, LaVere said he would work to create living-wage jobs, build affordable housing, and protect open spaces and the environment. He said: “We must continue to be a leader in providing care and wrap-around services to our county’s homeless individuals, while at the same time significantly increasing funding for mental health and behavioral services. We also need to allocate additional resources to improve the usage of our public transportation system and bicycle accessibility. Not only will this create additional jobs, but it will also benefit our environment by reducing vehicle emissions.”
For the Board of Supervisors as a whole, LaVere said the biggest issues are “completing the General Plan update, lack of affordable housing, lack of high-paying jobs, stabilizing and increasing regional water supply, (and a) lack of funding for mental and behavioral health services.”
As chair of the Ventura City Council’s homeless subcommittee, he worked on the homeless shelter recently opened by the city. “It will make a hugely positive impact because it provides critical services on-site,” he said. “From mental health treatment, to drug and alcohol treatments, to workforce development, our homeless will get access to each and every treatment necessary to help them get off the streets and into housing.”
On the topic of the Ventura River Watershed adjudication lawsuit, LaVere said: “Everyone is in agreement that those who received notice should be granted a six-month extension to respond in order to allow the parties to finalize their draft settlement. This litigation should be over shortly.”
For more information about LaVere’s campaign, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit

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