Posted by: twotrees | December 21, 2009

Joe Howry got it half right

Joe Howry is an experienced newspaperman and political observer.  Howry, editor of the Ventura County Star, wrote in the Sunday paper that Ventura’s City Council was petty in not voting in Neal Andrews as Deputy Mayor.  Instead of following the tradition of tapping the council member with seniority to this position (which then ascends to the position of Mayor after two years) they voted for Mike Tracy.  I too felt it petty for council members (with the exception of Carl Morehouse) to ignore Andrews and then to anoint Mike Tracy into the Deputy Mayor position.  Tracy, endorsed by the VCReporter in the last election, is well qualified and popular in Ventura but had all of five minutes of council experience before being kicked upstairs into the DM position.  I guess that’s politics in small town America.

Howry also lamented the Ventura County Board Of Supervisor’s decision to add qualifications to the job description before hiring a new county treasurer, citing the timing of Kathy Long’s motion to adopt such minimum standards.  While the timing would lead one to think this move was strictly political, I beg to differ.  Regardless of whether Audra Strickland or Paul Volcker applied for the job, this vitally important position, which pays in excess of $150,000 per year, should be held by someone with training and experience in the field.  When I read the comments on the topic  from outgoing county treasurer Larry Metheney, I almost spit out my OJ.  Said Metheney ““Between having the instinct for how to take care of the public and the other technical aspects of the job, one you can teach and the other you cannot.”   Matheney said state law requires only that candidates for treasurer-tax collector be over 18, registered to vote within the county “and, presumably, have a pulse.” 

That’s when I had had enough.  Good public skills and on the job learning ability does not give me the confidence that millions of taxpayer dollars are being properly managed.  Joe Howry thinks the Supes did it on account of politics.  I think they did it because it makes financial sense and that they didn’t get around to it before, having not followed through on criteria established by the state in the 1990’s.  Now is an excellent time to change that, before we hire again.  Shame on them for not attending to this earlier as there are few positions that they oversee of greater importance than this one.

And to Joe Howry I say thanks for having the bollocks to speak your mind, even if we disagree on some things.



  1. Agreed Bello. Joe nailed it on Neal. AND that’s precisely why the ancient document of a Charter needs to occur…Rolling out the first press in January…..

    And the Supes are, and were, reacting. BUT…is that their job to do “job jescriptions” or better yet, who does that ?

    Regardless…late to the part, but they made it….it should’ve been done long before now….

  2. The city council and board of supes could learn a thing or two about why the need for experience, whether professional or political, is absolutely essential in determining if one is suitable for a leadership role.

    It’s an undervalued thing these days, and the Ventura City Council just serves as a vehicle to exemplify any situation where an underqualified, though well-meaning official obtains more authority than their more knowledgeable, experienced counterpart.

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