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Lifeguard, Homemaker Join City Council Race

Two candidates who will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot have no prior political history. The nomination period for this year's IB City Council race ended Friday at 5:30 p.m. Five candidates will seek two seats on the city council this fall.

Though the rest of the city was closed on a Furlough Friday, City Clerk Jacqueline Hald waited at her office Friday until 5:30 p.m. to receive papers from candidates who want to run for the Imperial Beach City Council. 

Councilmembers Jim King and will seek re-election, but the incumbents will face candidates Erika Lowery, Bobby Patton and possibly Valerie Acevez.

Two of the three candidates said they have never sought a public office before.

Erika Lowery calls herself "a simple mom just trying to do what's best for her community."  

The mother of three's campaign will emphasize the acronym of REEF–redevelopment, economic, environment and family.

She said she has always thought about running for an elected office, but was inspired to throw her hat in the ring last week after reading which stated no one had declared candidacy for the IB City Council.

If elected, Lowery said she would like to see reform of the city's permit process.

"Just going through the paperwork, it seemed not only redundant, but more a hindrance to people," she said. "It's more of a struggle than anything."

The city should also seek to better support its small businesses, she said. 

"If businesses are thriving, the city is thriving. It's the revenue source," Lowery said.

Bobby Patton has been a lifeguard in Imperial Beach for three decades and established the city's Imperial Beach Junior Lifeguard Program. 

He is running for city council, he said, because he feels it is important that IB keep its small town environment and be a place his kids can be proud to live decades from now.

With limited staff and budget, there's only so much that can be done, Patton said, but the city can do better.

"We're doing an OK job here and I think there's always room for improvement," he said.

Like Lowery, if elected Patton wants permit processes made simpler for home owners and business owners in order to attract and retain small businesses. 

"Speaking to people around town, what I'm hearing is one, homeowners are saying it's so hard to get permits. It's not as efficient or easy as it can be," he said.

Patton advocates taking lessons from others cities for best ideas for IB's future. 

"I don't think we necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. Look at other successful communities that kind of fit our image, and see if that will work for our city," he said.

Other important issues to Patton include "wise use of taxpayer's money," championing good water quality and supporting local sports leagues and children.

"Keeping the parents happy and keeping the kids happy, you have a happy community," Patton said.

Patton emphasized that he wants to run a clean campaign and hopes other candidates do the same. 

Valerie Acevez did not respond for comment by the time this story was published. She picked up a candidate packet from Hald's office Friday and returned them the same day. Signatures that accompany her packet have not yet been verified by the County Registrar of Voters. 

Veteran Dante Pamintuan also picked up a packet this week, but decided not to run for office. Pamintuan was heavily involved with opposing an at Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach last year.

The Imperial Beach Chamber of Commerce will again invite the League of Women Voters to moderate a debate between candidates at the Boys & Girls Club this fall ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

Curmudgeon August 11, 2012 at 09:57 PM
This field would seem to indicate the electorate is essentially happy with the council's general direction. The permitting process is always an issue when the city is healthy and people would rather stay and improve rather than move on. But no one knows until the votes are counted... that's why we have an election!
TaterSalad September 01, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Seems the democratic mayor of L.A. has only 4 black friends. The Democratic Party is so lame on this issue and here is why! http://therealrevo.com/blog/?p=82324

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