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Council Candidate Q & A: Jody Thomas

The long-time Calabasas resident and volunteer is running against the mayor and two councilmembers for one of their seats when their terms expire in 2013.

 

An award-winning member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences by trade, Jody Thomas is also well versed in local issues.

The freelance foley artist who was awarded an Emmy for her work on the Stephen Spielberg/Tom Hanks production of The Pacific has long translated her skills of working on a team into working on behalf Calabasas residents since the founding of the City.

A self-described "voice for the rural community" as President of Old Topanga Homeowners, Thomas has served on several committees and believes in uniting the city and community. The mother of a Calabasas High graduate/valedictorian, Thomas was a long-time volunteer both in the Las Virgenes Unified School District and elsewhere in the community.

Calabasas Patch: Why are you running for City Council?

Jody Thomas: I am running for City Council because I have been an active member of the community for more than 20 years. I am running to represent the voice of our community, to protect what makes our city so unique and to assure our council is more transparent so that citizens can see how and why it makes decisions.

Patch: What are some of the achievements of the City Council during the last year?

Thomas: In my opinion, the most major achievement of Council over the past year has been a recent one. The Savvy Seniors were formed by a group of residents who organized and fought hard to create the programs that were important to them. Council recognized and acknowledged this citizens' effort, rewarding them with the promise of their own Senior Center. A Senior Center in Calabasas is long overdue.

Patch: What are some of the major issues facing Calabasas that you hope to address in your next term?

Thomas: The major issue facing Calabasas is the future of our City's financial health. Over the past several years, the City's reserves have been dwindling while council has increased staff and expenses.

Patch: How do you think Calabasas can bring in more revenue?

Thomas: Poor budgeting choices and pet projects are unsustainable and must be addressed. It is important to promote our local businesses, but we must earn the trust of our residents by bringing our budget under control.

Patch: How can we make Calabasas a greener city or are we doing enough in that regard?

Thomas: Is Calabasas "green" enough? Personally I believe we can always do a better job being a little bit "greener." We don't need more ordinances, but Calabasas should lead by example. We can show more initiative like the City of Santa Monica, where sustainability is embedded into how the local government functions.

Patch: What’s your favorite aspect about Calabasas living and how do you plan to maintain it?

Thomas: There are several reasons why I've chosen to live and raise my family in Calabasas. It was the natural beauty and scenic open spaces that first drew me to the area. However, the unexpected surprises discovered once we had settled, have kept us here. First and foremost, the people and neighbors I have met along the way have enriched my life beyond measure. My daughter was educated in the first-rate LVUSD and is currently thriving at Cornell University. Our schools' health and future is a mirror for that of our children. It is important we continue to nurture our schools and the programs that enrich the lives of all Calabasas residents of every age and economic means.

Patch: What needs to change to keep Calabasas healthy?

Thomas: Calabasas does need change. Important issues concerning every resident have been "swept under the rug," or ignored, during this election year (ie. the building codes). Under our current leadership, the voice of the residents and participation in our local governance has been limited and often discouraged. Our city's founders intended a "small town" environment where every voice would be heard and represented. Unfortunately, I believe we have strayed from this ideal. Our Open Spaces and scenic corridors are under constant threat. Development must be tempered in a more responsible manner to protect the way of life that every resident cherishes.

Patch: What is Calabasas’s best-kept secret?

Jody Thomas: The best kept secrets (and ones that need protecting) are those representing the rich historical presence of Calabasas. From the 1920's Park Moderne fountain nestled in the Bird Streets to the relatively untouched trade route of Old Topanga Canyon Road, our cultural significance and links to the past should not be lost. The unique character of our neighborhoods is as diverse and culturally rich as the people who call Calabasas home.

Terry Stobie January 03, 2013 at 03:39 PM
You go Jody, This just highlites the need for term limits. What new ideas are james and marysue bringing to the table?All it does is scare anyone from running Two new canidates for three seats. Thats a joke. If you want to be fair, give them two terms and put the election in november with the general, you would get a very different result
Kal A. Basas January 03, 2013 at 04:07 PM
Patch: How do you think Calabasas can bring in more revenue? Thomas: Poor budgeting choices and pet projects are unsustainable and must be addressed. It is important to promote our local businesses, but we must earn the trust of our residents by bringing our budget under control. Typical politician...not answering the question....
Geri Berger January 03, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Jody is for all of us living in Calabasas..she truly cares about the importance of safety, the local enviornment and the uniqueness of our community ..I am tired of all the back door policies that go on without the knowledge of the residents...I feel Jody is upfront and HONEST....I look forward to a fresh and genuinely great council member...Jody Thomas...go Jody!!!...:)
Hal Helsley January 03, 2013 at 08:00 PM
The poll of Calabasas residents for the General Plan indicated that Calabasas has and wants to keep its rural character. Yet, the rural areas are currently under represented and always will be as that is the urban way ... More voters are located in the urban zones! Jody gives the residents of Calabasas the opportunity to have a rural representative with an urban understanding. Keep Calabasas the unique city it incorporated to be ... a rural lifestyle, with lots of open space to enjoy - visually, as well as physically.
Brittany January 04, 2013 at 06:36 AM
James has been in for 16 long years, Mary Sue for 8 long years and David Shapiro was a crony appointment by James and Mary Sue. Jody will bring "change" with fresh new ideas and much needed enthusiasm.
City of Bell February 06, 2013 at 08:22 AM
Ms. Thomas was not being evasive in her answer, rather, she was being "polite" with regard to her choice of words, "poor budgeting choices". Take a look for yourself. You ask how can the City bring in more revenue? For starters, it can stop spending money secretly and significantly litigating against its senior citizens: http://listencalabasas.com/2013/01/city-of-calabasas-spent-867000-in-legal-expenses
City of Bell February 07, 2013 at 11:40 PM
Vote for just one candidate, and show the others what you really think: http://listencalabasas.com/2013/02/what-this-election-is-really-about
Rhonda February 08, 2013 at 11:51 PM
I personally find your Facebook video ad attacking another member of the council to be despicable. You have lost all credibility with me as well as those I have discussed this with. Why can't you just talk about yourself and what you have to bring to the table without attacking someone else. You lost my vote.
Marci February 09, 2013 at 06:19 AM
Agreed. Saw it on my Facebook page too. Bloomfield lost my vote after he attacked Waxman. Why cant you run a clean campaign? I will vote to keep Shapiro in office.
Doug R. February 10, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Can you name ONE thing about the ad or the video that is false? Just one. It's not dirty to point out the documented facts of a candidate. If the ads were lies then you would have a point. But, everything about David that is being said is true. Facts. Clean facts. Don't voters have a right to know the truth? I think so.
Doug R. February 10, 2013 at 07:48 PM
To put it another way, if you knew that someone had committed a crime, would you tell people about it (the police perhaps)? Or would you walk away. The city application Shapiro filled out was a sworn document and he clearly didn't put down the truth on it. Why is it bad to point that out? It's a public service. Finally, it is sad that no one from Shapiro campaign or his supporters has disputed the "conflict of interest" in question. If you feel so strongly about it, prove it. Shapiro can't answer the question because he has no other answer than he didn't tell the truth. He has to live with that.
City of Bell February 15, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Respectfully Rhonda and Marci, ... because things have to change: Mary Sue Maurer Dumped By LA County Democratic Party Over Association With Shapiro: Jody Thomas Is Sole Candidate to Receive Democrats’ Endorsement http://listencalabasas.com/2013/02/mary-sue-maurer-dumped-by-la-county-democratic-party-over-association-with-shapiro/
Stacey Calabasas February 22, 2013 at 09:47 PM
David Shapiro is a fine individual who has given back to the community for many years. You don’t have to vote for him, but to call him a corny appointment is just wrong. His community service is outstanding!
Stacey Calabasas February 22, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Any of the incumbents who are doing a good job should be allowed to stay in office. If the residents don’t like what they are doing, the residents will vote them out. Just like Michael Harrison and Lesley Devine; two incumbents who lost due to voter dissatisfaction. James Bozajan has been a wonderful city council member and any city would be lucky to have him for as long as would like to provide his services. We don’t need term limits.
James H February 24, 2013 at 01:10 AM
I am certainly okay with different points of view and I appreciate Jodi Thomas running so we have a true election. However, the negative campaign is really troubling to me. Even if Ms. Thomas wins, she can’t fill all three open seats. After all of the bashing of the incumbents and including the bashing of one council member who is not running, she will have to work with a minimum of three council members who probably have lost respect for her and her supports.
Brittany February 24, 2013 at 06:28 PM
Miss Stacey, I did not call him a corny appointment, you did! So Freudian Slip or not, clearly we both feel he might not be the right candidate to vote for in this election. I believe I said it is cronyism that he and James Bozajian have a personal relationship that was never disclosed.
Brittany February 24, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Telling the truth and exposing lies that have been told to the voters is part of running a campaign. Rhonda: Ms. Thomas is talking about herself and what she will bring to the table. What she brings is a choice to this election and honesty and integrity to the city council. I am sorry if you disagree with the truth, but I want voters and residents to be informed when they choose who will be helping to run our city for the next four years. Marci: A vote to keep Mr Shapiro in office is a poor example in taste because it is a vote is to keep lying and fraudulent behavior in office. I would urge you both to research all the candidates and make an informed decision.
Stacey Calabasas February 24, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Brittany, With all respect, read your post on January 3, 2012 at 10:36 pm; you stated that "David Shapiro was a crony appointment”. I respect all opinions and I encourage all residents to vote on March 5th for whom they believe is the best candidate. Thank you for your response.
Brittany February 25, 2013 at 06:34 AM
With all due respect, please read your post again. I did state it was a crony appointment, you stated it was a corny appointment. The fact is Mr. Bozajian nominated and appointed his own personal attorney to sit next to him on City Council. The fact is David Shapiro lied on his city application. The State Bar has also found David Shapiro guilty of misrepresenting facts and put him on probation. None of this was disclosed to the other 21 applicants who also applied for the open City Council seat. Ms. Thomas' "Right to Vote" initiative lets the people vote for open city council positions, not 'we' the City Council. The City Council will not even put the initiative on the agenda. That proves they would rather appoint a friend, then let the residents vote for the most qualified candidate. I also respect opinions but I consider myself an informed voter and will cast my vote based on facts. I encourage everyone to vote for the most qualified candidate on March 5th, whom I believe to be Jody Thomas.
Stacey Calabasas February 25, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Please keep an open mind, do your research on all four candidates and then cast your ballot. I have confidence that the residents of Calabasas will see through all of the angry posts regarding the candidates and elect three individuals who can work together in a positive and constructive manner.
Doug March 01, 2013 at 11:17 PM
The candidates' performances at last night's candidates forum (hosted by Calabasas' Chamber of Commerce and the Salt Restaurant) convinced me to vote for David Shapiro and NOT for Jody Thomas. In fact I even posted a Shapiro yard sign in my front lawn last night.
Howard A March 02, 2013 at 09:27 PM
I just received a Jody Thomas mailer from some trumped up PAC with the most ridiculous lies that I have ever seen. This type of dirty politics are so unsavory that she should be ashamed of herself. Anyone that could even consider voting for such a candidate should have their mind examined, And I will use my real name!
Daniel S. March 03, 2013 at 01:35 AM
David Shapiro is such a fine candidate and I agree that this person Jody has no class and should totally be ashamed of herself. All she can do is twist the truth. Pretty sad for her. I feel the same as you and if she gets any votes it would be from a crazy minded resident. Everyone knows David Shapiro is an awe-inspiring individual. She can take her embarrassing dirty politics to another city. David Shapiro is an outstanding positive qualified candidate and he should continue as our councilman. I am grateful for all the work he does to make our city a wonderful place to live in. My vote is for incumbent David Shapiro who I would be proud to call our councilman and future mayor.
Doug R. March 03, 2013 at 03:50 AM
What "ridiculous lies" are you referring to? Those are official files from the Bar Association. Please be specific and back up your claims.
Ginger March 05, 2013 at 10:27 PM
Send a message! Please use your voice and only VOTE ONCE for Jody Thomas! She is the best candidate for Calabasas City Council!! Please vote today!! Vote smart! Vote once! Vote #1 on the ballot Jody Thomas!!
Mark Shane March 06, 2013 at 03:02 AM
One hour left to vote for David Shapiro. He has what it takes to keep our city the top notch place it is. Cast your vote for David.

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