As the County of Ventura prepares to welcome two new faces to the Board of Supervisors at the January 10th meeting, the focus now lies on honoring Supervisors Linda Parks and Bob Huber for their distinguished service to the County and its communities. While they have collectively served as members of the Board for 24 years, their commitment to Ventura County extends well beyond their time at the helm of local leadership.
Elected to represent District 2 in 2002, Parks immediately tackled issues related to fiscal policies and environmental justice. She was no stranger to the needs of Ventura County, having previously served as Planning Commissioner, City Council member, and Mayor for the City of Thousand Oaks. Her most noted accomplishments include leading fiscal policy to establish a 15 percent reserve fund that has taken Ventura County from no reserves in 2002 to $160 million in reserve funds today.
Parks worked to reinstate the County’s Ethics Commission to further establish transparency and openness in government, accomplished getting campaign contribution limits, and created the Mental Health and Safety Task Force to provide a blueprint to reduce gun violence and increase services for people in crisis. Parks also worked to expand access to quality health care, which led to the opening of a 250-bed hospital wing, a mental health rehabilitation center, and a children’s crisis center. Additionally, she worked to make transportation safer and easier by ending gridlock at the 118/Somis Road intersection, adding a signalized crosswalk for school children in Newbury Park, starting a free popular bus service in Oak Park, and establishing a bike lane to Potrero Road in Hidden Valley that is designed to protect cyclists and commuters.
Parks was the driving force behind the Ventura County Library Bookmobile targeted to serve disadvantaged communities, students, and older adults. She is also responsible for creating several Countywide Senior Summits, all designed to plan and prepare for the needs of the growing population of older adults in Ventura County.
Among her most notable accomplishments was Parks’ work to establish more sustainable environmental practices which, in part, led to securing $2 million from a landfill operator for purchase of parkland and creating a first-of-its-kind Wildlife Corridor Zone. She also developed a requirement for the County to oversee the planting of 1,000 trees a year to combat global warming and established some of the strongest environmental justice policies in the nation by requiring 2,500-foot setbacks between oil wells and schools.
Huber joined the Ventura County Board of Supervisors in 2018 after being elected to represent District 4, and immediately focused his work on his campaign promises to be a “leader that listens,” making public participation easier in County government, protect public safety, and improve access to County mental health services.
Upon taking office, he requested the County hold several Board of Supervisors meetings in East County. Huber also committed to quarterly townhall meetings where directors from various County departments and agencies were on hand to present topics of interest and answer questions of concern. Huber was also instrumental in the growing participation of County programs at outreach events throughout East County, ensuring that County resources and services are as accessible as possible to all Ventura County residents.
Huber played a critical role in the County securing funding for a Behavioral Health facility in East County, and in the creation of an ombudsman position with Ventura County Behavioral Health. He also worked to secure funding for a comprehensive needs assessment for the County’s behavioral and mental health needs. Huber’s commitment to the community continued with his request for improvements to the Simi Valley Free Clinic so that the clinic’s team could more adequately provide medical and dental care, and counseling and legal assistance to individuals and families in need.
As a County representative, Huber hosted 10 blood drives, partnering with the American Red Cross to provide nearly 400 units of life saving blood. Additionally, Huber hosted a blanket drive for Ventura County Animal Services, and numerous blanket and socks drives for local homeless service providers.
Huber played a vital role in helping to guide the County through the COVID-19 crisis, particularly with regard to ensuring that all affected County businesses were eligible to receive grant funding.
The Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce and Simi Valley Rotary Club recognized Huber in 2019 for 50 years of service to the community.
It has been an honor to work with Supervisors Huber and Parks. Both have been champions in improving many aspects of our County including mental health and wellness services, economic stability, and environmental responsibility with a consistent focus on community engagement. Supervisors Huber and Parks tirelessly served as true public servants to their districts and their advocacy and passion will be remembered.
The County is slated to welcome Jeff Gorell (District 2) and Janice Parvin (District 4) at their first Board of Supervisors meeting on January 10, 2023 following the retirement of Parks and Huber.