On November 8, the City of Santa Paula held its General Municipal Election. Following the conclusion of the Ventura County Registrar’s Official Election Canvass period, the elected City Council members were seated during the Council meeting on December 7. The newly elected members of the Santa Paula City Council are:
- Jenny Crosswhite
- Pedro A. Chavez
- Carlos Juarez
Before the new members took their oath of office, the City recognized outgoing City Councilmember Rick Araiza for his longstanding dedication to the Santa Paula community. Araiza was born and raised in Santa Paula where his family has lived since the early 1900s. He started his law practice in 1982 and joined the Fire Department in 1986. He retired as Santa Paula’s Fire Chief in 2018 and was elected as a Councilmember shortly after.
“After 40 years of public service, I am looking forward to being able to step down and spend more time with my family,” said Rick Araiza. “It’s been a pleasure working alongside a great Council, and it’s exciting to see new talent, like Pedro Chavez, come in eager to serve the Santa Paula community. This is a small town, but we produce great people.”
Following Araiza’s recognition, the incoming Council Members were sworn into office, led by City Clerk Julie Latshaw.
“It has been an honor serving as Santa Paula’s Mayor as we work to create a safe space for dialogue and conversation for both members of the city council and the community,” said Councilmember Jenny Crosswhite. “I would like to thank everyone who is here and everyone in the community. Regardless of who you voted for, thank you for your involvement and for all of the ways that you work to make our community a better place. It takes all of us to move Santa Paula forward, and I’m looking forward to what the five of us, along with staff and the community, will achieve.”
“I have 3,477 reasons to be grateful to the Santa Paula voters for electing me as the newest member of our City Council,” said Council Member Pedro A. Chavez. “Especially our volunteers and our coalition of supporters who worked tirelessly to make this election and my candidacy possible. Government is for the people and by the people, and I’m excited to find ways to increase civic engagement and inspire Santa Paulans and their families to get more involved.”
“I’ve worked with Rick Araiza, both in public safety and on Council, and I wish him a great retirement,” said Councilmember Carlos Juarez. “I’m excited to see what this Council can accomplish, and I hope this past election inspires more community involvement.”
After the council members were sworn in, the Mayor and Vice Mayor appointment process was completed. Andy Sobel and Leslie Cornejo were unanimously appointed Mayor and Vice Mayor. This procedural process ensures the members selected have experience on City Council.
“It’s an honor to be named Santa Paula’s 120th Mayor and part of this long line of succession,” said Mayor Andy Sobel. “Thank you to my wife who brought me to Santa Paula and to my family for their continued support. To our residents, it is truly an honor to be part of this community, and I am humbled to serve as your next Mayor and be a true public servant.” Additionally, Mayor Andy Sobel added, “En pocas palabras, para todos que me apoyaron, gracias. Hemos logrado mucho juntos. Estoy aquí para servirlos.”
“Thank you to the Council for their confidence and for carrying out this procedure of Mayor and Vice Mayor appointments,” said Vice Mayor Leslie Cornejo. “It’s been a pleasure to serve under Jenny Crosswhite as Mayor because she allowed everyone to be heard. Because of that, we have made better decisions. I’m looking forward to carrying on the work of the City with this Council.”
The November 2022 General Municipal Election marked the final at-large election as Santa Paula is currently going through the district formation process. Beginning in 2024, voters will vote for one City Councilmember who lives in their district. This will replace the current system of at-large citywide elections in which voters have the ability to vote for all City Councilmembers.
Public hearings and community workshops will be held through spring 2023 and Santa Paula residents are encouraged to participate to provide input throughout the process. For more information on the district formation process, visit www.DrawSantaPaula.org.
For more information on municipal elections in Santa Paula, visit the City’s website.