As you may already know, the nominations are now open for those seeking election or re-election to both the Las Virgenes Unified School District, and the City of Westlake Village City Council. The Nomination Period runs from July 13, 2009 – August 7, 2009, but there’s an expected extension for the LVUSD Board until August 14th, 2009.
If the positions are un-contested — in other words, that the number of candidates matches the number of seats for each organization — the school district, and the city can each choose to not hold their election. (If the seats open equal the number of candidates, then all the candidates would automatically win the seat.) This could save the City of Westlake Village an estimated $25,000; and LVUSD over $200,000.
Currently, all incumbents in the City of Westlake Village are expected to run, and there are no challengers. If all incumbents do file, then the nomination will for City Council seats will conclude on August 7th.
LVUSD’s Board is more complicated. Already Dave Moorman, Gordon Whitehead, and Lesli Stein have filed to run for the 3 four year seats up for election. Cindy Iser has filed for the single two year seat that will be vacated by Pat Schulz who temporarily took the position after Terilyn Finders resigned. With all of this, it’s expected that the LVUSD filing date will be extended until August 14th since not all current incumbents are expected to file.
About the City of Westlake Village Election
Bob Slavin, Mark Rutherford, and Sue McSweeney’s seats are up for election this coming November, with the office starting in December. The other seats are not up for election until 2011.
Contrary to popular opinion, those that enter the race are not running against another candidate for a seat, candidates are instead running for one of the available seats. In this case, the three candidates with the highest number of votes would take the three seats.
Mark Rutherford and Bob Slavin have already “pulled” their papers, but have not yet *filed* papers to seek re-election. While there are some in the community that say that they are running, none of that matters until the papers are actually filed with the City Clerk.
If there aren’t more candidates than seats, the City Council may choose to avoid the costs of an election that wouldn’t change the outcome. In other words, if there are exactly three candidates for three positions, all candidates win by default. The City did this in 2005, and saved an estimated $25,000 in election expenses.
What do City Council Members Do?
First off, regardless of any positions on an issue, all of the city council members should be commended for the hard work they do in serving the city’s residents.
While the city staff is responsible for running the city on the day-to-day basis, the council members (typically through a majority vote) guide the overall direction of the city, and decide on major issues. Think of the city council as a “Board of Directors” for the city.
The council meets typically twice a month, and subsets of the council are typically involved in a variety of committee meetings. There is more time involved than meets the eye on Channel 10.
Contrary to public opinion, no more than two council members are allowed to meet unless it is in a public forum, or a public event like TGIF, or City Celebration. This is part of the Brown Act to keep discussions in the open. There are some exceptions to this such as skill workshops, and team building, but these are relatively rare.
The council members spend a good deal of time talking with constituents, meeting with staff, committee meetings, and at the city council meetings. There are also other meetings with others governmental agencies such as the school district, the water district, environmental agencies, etc… But, this is not a full time position. In fact, all of our current members have full time careers.
Many people think that council members are paid. While this is true, the $300 stipend per month is obviously not why they do it. They do so out of dedication to serve the community we live in. There are other benefits that all city employees receive, and the council members fall under this as well.
How does one run for city council?
If you are truly interested in running for the council, you should contact Beth Schott, the City Clerk at 818-706-1613.
That said, here are some of the things you need to know. Applications for city council must be submitted during the nomination July 13 – August 7. Included in the application, you will need the signatures on a minimum of 20 verifiable registered voters within the City of Westlake Village to sign your nomination papers.
The election itself is on November 3, 2009 (first Tue in Nov), and there are rules governing how one runs for office which you can get more information from the city on.
Again, if you are interested in running, you should contact contact Beth Schott, the City Clerk at 818-706-1613 for details of how the process works.
Las Virgenes Unified School District Board
Similar to the City Council positions, the Board of Education is nearly a volunteer type position (there is a stipend and some benefits, but they are minimal).
The five member board of education is typically four year terms with a wide variety of duties, and a considerable time commitment. Like a board of directors for a company, the board of education directs the senior management of the school district as well as partakes in decisions of certain characteristcs.
Those interested in the school board positions should contact LVUSD for information on the position, and the LA County or Ventura County registrars (based on which county ones lives in) for information on filing an nomination application.