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Richard Francis
updated: Oct 15, 2013, 11:16 AM

By Tim Pompey

The Ventura Breeze is publishing a series of interviews in the coming weeks with non-incumbent candidates who are campaigning this year for four open seats on the Ventura City Council. This in an effort to provide information to voters throughout the city who may be less familiar with candidates who are not currently sitting on the council. The Breeze also encourages city residents to attend at least one of the many community debates that will be held throughout the city this fall or watch them on CAPS Chanel 6.

Richard Francis is no stranger to local politics. A Ventura resident since 1979, Francis served on the city council from 1987 to 1991, including a stint as the city's mayor.

Beyond his time on the council, Francis has kept quite busy the last 22 years, not as an elected official, but as someone working diligently to influence policy change in local government.

A self-described public policy wonk, Francis' involvement in this area seems as natural to him as breathing. "I have always enjoyed participating in the public policy process," he said.

Francis holds a B.A. and a Masters degree from UCSB in rhetoric and public address. He received his law degree from Hastings Law School in San Francisco and has been a practicing attorney since 1976. His office, located in downtown Oxnard, specializes in personal injury, bankruptcy, labor law, and real estate.

In addition to his involvement with law and politics, Francis has been active in other community initiatives. He was one of the founders of the Friends of Channel Islands National Park, served as a trustee with Venturans for Hillside Preservation, and sat on the board of the Ventura Hillside Conservancy.

He has also volunteered with Community Action Ventura County and was appointed by Supervisor Steve Bennett to the county's mobile home rent review board.

Francis sees his success in implementing SOAR as a model blueprint for what eventually became the city's progressive growth policies in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

His concern, however, is that some members of the current city council have expressed their desire to implement a "change in direction." He thinks this might mean a move away from what he considers progressive public policy. "I have chafed at the current council majority's newly announced change of direction," he said.

Francis wonders why the council needs to change its approach. "We've had twenty-five years of establishing the vision and now all of a sudden, we're going to change that . . . to what?"

He lays out what he thinks the city should focus on. "I envision a vibrant downtown, an economically viable agricultural industry, and an ability to live within the carrying capacity of our urban footprint," he said. "I believe our future can fulfill that vision."

Within that vision, he lists three important elements. "I think we need a better tourist oriented environment in the downtown. We need a more family friendly and sustainable approach to development in the east end, and I would like to start a discussion about how we acquire the hillsides for the public benefit."

Francis credits his family for adding to his experience and helping him see what's really important in life. "The rewarding experience has come - with my wife Nancy's stalwart efforts - in raising Hannah and Dillon, twins of notable distinction each," he said.

Ultimately he thinks that what is most important about his candidacy is his experience and his accomplishments. Francis believes they're indicative of his personal values. "I accomplish things," he said. "Promises are easy. Doing it is the hard part." He sees this ultimately as an expression of his care for the city of Ventura. "I want to be sure that the city is doing its best to make life here a pleasant experience," he said. "I have dedicated my adult life to doing things that attempt to achieve that end."

 

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