A notice of intention to circulate a recall petition against Supervisor Linda Parks (District 2) was filed with the Ventura County Clerk/Recorder’s office on February 23, 2021. District 2 includes Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Newbury Park, Las Posas Valley, Oak Park, Hidden Valley, Somis, Lake Sherwood, California State University Channel Islands and portions of eastern Ventura County.
The effort began after Parks and three other supervisors — Matt LaVere, Kelly Long and Carmen Ramirez — voted on January 12 to initiate litigation against 18 businesses for repeated violations of State and County closure orders that were enacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bob Huber, District 4 supervisor, did not support the initiation of the litigation. Parks and the three other supervisors claimed they supported the lawsuits as a last resort to assist the slowdown of the spread of COVID-19.
Proponents also intend to initiate recall bids against LaVere, Long and Ramirez.
The proponents of the recall seek to unseat Parks because she supported local and State restrictions and shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporters of the recall said the County had unfairly targeted small businesses. The proponents’ recall notice claims that Parks is not “serving our neighborhoods” and that “her votes to sue members of our community” and other actions “are destroying them.” The document says that Parks’ aim is for residents to close schools, stay locked down in their homes, limit social gatherings and shutter their businesses and churches.
Matt Brimigion, the owner of Mrs. Olson’s Coffee Hut in Oxnard, is one of the leaders spearheading the recall effort. His was one of the businesses sued by the County, and he says the County unfairly targeted small business establishments. Brimigion said County health officials had never proved that it was hazardous for small businesses to stay open.
In a recent Facebook video post, Brimigion queried Parks, “Just explain how on December 9  we were in the purple tier and you shut everyone down, but then on January 27  you reopen everything, and we’re quadruple the numbers [total deaths 197 to 564 in Ventura County].” Brimigion goes on to say, “They are using the law to scare people, and they let Walmart stay open with people everywhere, but they are going to close small businesses in their regions. Who are they representing?”
The State decision deemed big-box retailers “essential businesses” because they sell groceries and other necessities, according to Rigoberto Vargas, County public health director. Vargas claimed restaurants and gyms are not considered essential businesses. However, Ventura County Recovers website clearly labels “Grocery and Food Service” essential workers in the chart “Vulnerable Populations and Essential Workers.” The number of cases in this category totaled 442 in the last year, representing 0.6% of the total cases, 78,406.
Parks filed a response and warned voters not to sign the recall petition because she says the petitioners are not telling the truth. She claims it is an unwarranted recall that will cost the taxpayers $500,000 in a wasteful special election. Parks labels the proponents “extremists” who have refused to follow federal guidelines to keep people from getting sick and dying from COVID-19. She says they have engaged in rallies that slowed traffic on Highway 101 and ambushed grocery store shoppers and staff with maskless protests.
Sheriff Ayub says, “Supervisor Parks has been there for our community in our darkest days. Please reject the recall … Do not hand over your signature, your personal, private information to this destructive recall scheme.”
The effort, however, is bipartisan. Karen Meyer, a 27-year resident of Thousand Oaks and a registered Democrat for 48 years, is heading up the “Conejo Valley Cares-Recall of Linda Parks” movement. Meyer recently retired from the Conejo Valley School District, where she was employed for 15 years and worked as a receptionist at Westlake High School.
Meyer’s choice to lead the recall is due to Parks’ decisions to authorize lawsuits against local businesses and churches.
“I can no longer stand silent while the United States I love is being torn apart and our Constitutional rights are being ripped from our grasp to further the current push towards socialism,” Meyer says.
She goes on to explain, “I have never met Linda Parks. She is probably a nice person. I think I even voted for her in the past. Ms. Parks seems to have lost sight of the fact that all governments in America are elected of, by, and for the people, not for the politicians. She has abused her position by voting to approve and pursue costly lawsuits against Ventura County citizens, businesses and churches, for simply exercising their legal and constitutional rights. Parks is a public servant and was elected to safeguard the rights of her constituents, not to blindly follow the dictates of Sacramento. The needs of Ventura County are vastly different than Sacramento and Los Angeles. Ventura County deserves leadership that will put the needs of all its residents first.”
Signatures will be gathered in Parks’ district. Circulators must obtain at least 11,067 valid signatures of registered voters in District 2 to put the recall measure on the ballot.
Supervisor Bob Huber (4th District) responded to the request for comment with the following; “For many business owners, their lives have already been turned upside down. I did not support initiating legal actions outside of that which the County District Attorney can take, especially when it would make an already bad situation worse. As for the recall, I do not support it. I respect my colleagues. Certainly, as it concerns the pandemic, we are making very difficult decisions. Our differences of opinion of how to combat a pandemic and protect lives does not rise to the level that should trigger a recall.