2011-02-03 / Family

Rancho Simi introduces new Oak Park planners

By Sylvie Belmond

About 40 people participated in a Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District election on Jan 25 to select members for the Oak Park Recreation and Park Planning Committee.

Rancho Simi manages parks and recreational activities in Simi Valley and Oak Park.

The advisory committee meets quarterly at the community center on Kanan Road to advocate for Oak Park residents and address park planning, development and recreational programming within the unincorporated county region.

The committee has seven members: one appointed by the Oak Park MAC, one appointed by Oak Park Unified School District and five elected residents.

In the past all five elected members were selected at once, but Rancho Simi officials have decided to stagger the elections, with three members elected one year and two the following year.

Since all five members were elected Jan 25, the two elected individuals receiving the lowest number of votes will serve oneyear terms. Eight candidates ran for the five available seats.

Susan Bender, Lenore Lewis and Derek Ross received a majority of the votes.

Drew Fine and Michael Sklar, who received fewer votes, will serve a one-year term with the option to run again next year.

Lewis said she’s honored to have been reelected.

Last year the committee participated in the opening of a new splash pad and Oak Canyon Dog Park.

“I look forward to continuing to work with community members regarding concerns they have with maintenance and programs,”

Lewis said.

As a member of the committee, Lewis said she came to appreciate the hard work of Rancho Simi officials and employees.

“We are fortunate indeed to have the beautiful parks and trails that we all enjoy,” she said.

Lewis said new programs introduced at the Oak Park recreation center have been successful and attendance is increasing.

Incumbent Fine, who has been involved with youth sports and teaches classes at the recreation center, said “Rancho Simi is a fabulous organization.

Other candidates, who were not elected, were Ross Bolton, Ronald Rishe and Harry Medved.

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