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Lompoc Council, Mayoral Candidates Air Opinions About Motorsports Park, New Fire Station At Forum

The two candidates for mayor and three City Council candidates speak out at public forum

Candidates for Lompoc mayor and City Council gathered for a forum on Monday night. Pictured are Councilman De Wayne Holmdahl, challenger Jenelle Osborne, Mayor Bob Lingl, Councilman Jim Mosby and former mayor John Linn. Click to view larger
Candidates for Lompoc mayor and City Council gathered for a forum on Monday night. Pictured are Councilman De Wayne Holmdahl, challenger Jenelle Osborne, Mayor Bob Lingl, Councilman Jim Mosby and former mayor John Linn.  (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

With a standing-room-only crowd, two candidates seeking the job of Lompoc mayor and a trio vying for a pair of seats on the City Council showed their differing and sometimes similar opinions on the Lompoc motorsports park proposal and other topics at a forum Monday.

The event hosted by the Lompoc-Vandenberg Branch of the American Association University Women included questions from organizers and a few from the approximately 100 audience members who filled Grossman Gallery at the Library.

Lompoc Mayor Bob Lingl and former mayor John Linn are running for the two-year term.

Councilmen DeWayne Holmdahl and Jim Mosby, who was appointed to fill a vacancy two years ago, are being challenged by businesswoman Jenelle Osborne for the two four-year council terms.

Forum topics focused on ethics, agriculture, parks and more, but the proposed motorsports park came up frequently including a question about what city funds should be used for the project.

Candidates gave their initial responses to the question and all of them said no city funds should be used on the project.

“My main objective is that city not pay for any of this,” Mosby said. “They might have to loan it in advance.”

A subcommittee of the Lompoc Recreation, Parks and  Pool Foundation has proposed the project for 38 acres of airport land near the Santa Ynez River.

The plans calls for a phased development of off-highway vehicle tracks, pit areas, motocross arenas, grandstands, a 1/8-mile drag strip, and a permanent structure for vehicle storage.

Lingl had a question for Linn and Mosby, both active proponents of the project.

“I’d ask them, ‘Why, at the first sign of trouble, the foundation canceled the $10,000 check that they’d given us the night before? Why are there late payments and when asked about the late payments I’m given the response, 'Why are you concerned?' I’m concerned because it’s your money,” he told the audience members. 

Lompoc Mayor Bob Lingl and former mayor John Linn participated in a candidate’s forum along with Councilman Jim Mosby, center. Click to view larger
Lompoc Mayor Bob Lingl and former mayor John Linn participated in a candidate’s forum along with Councilman Jim Mosby, center. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Linn said the check was canceled when the City Council stopped work on the project in the wake of a new requirement for a federal environmental study. Work later resumed when Councilman Victor Vega changed his vote.

“In fact we did stop the check after the project was canceled. We figured we would need legal defense,” Linn said. 

Supporters have said the motorsports facility would bring visitors to town, but Osborne disagreed.

“It is not economic growth,” she said, adding she is concerned about property values and quality of life impacts due to its proximity to hers and other homes.

“It’s a great concept,” she said, adding she participates in motorsports. “It’s at the wrong location.”

Holmdahl said he doesn’t support the motorsports parks at the location because of the chance it might prompt Skydive Santa Barbara to leave the Lompoc Airport and move to the Santa Maria Public Airport.

“I’m getting tired of losing anything to Santa Maria,” Holmdahl said. 

Another question asked candidates to name projects, aside from the motorsports project, to make the city more attractive to residents and visitors.

Councilman DeWayne Holmdohl and challenger Jenelle Osborne participated in a Monday forum for Lompoc mayor and City Council slots. Click to view larger
Councilman DeWayne Holmdohl and challenger Jenelle Osborne participated in a Monday forum for Lompoc mayor and City Council slots.                    (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Mosby pointed to work needed at the River Bend Park soccer complex. 

“It’s a travesty what’s going on down there … Don’t worry about the gophers, worry about the squirrel holes and it’s getting bad down there,” Mosby said. 

He also called for the removal of the old municipal swimming pool he maintains is a blighted building.

Several candidates called for revamping Ryon Park, home to many of the community's big festivals and gatherings including the annual dog shows.  

Osborne suggested the park become for events only, and that the city create a sports complex elsewhere to generate revenue with visitors who would stay for weekends for various tournaments.

“If we consolidated some of our parks at a tournament-style sports complex, it would really generate revenue, with good access, good parking and a concession stand, and get people in the area not only at our hotels and our restaurants and buying gas, but showing what a great community we are live in,” she said.

In addition to parks improvements, Holmdahl said he also wants to see the new fire station built, instead of “kicked down the road again.”

Mosby contended the fire station proposal with a $29 million price tag for the 24,000-square-foot building was bigger and costlier than needed.

Candidates for Lompoc mayor and City Council gathered for a forum on Monday night. Pictured are Councilman De Wayne Holmdahl, challenger Jenelle Osborne, Mayor Bob Lingl, Councilman Jim Mosby and former mayor John Linn. Click to view larger
Candidates for Lompoc mayor and City Council gathered for a forum on Monday night. Pictured are Councilman De Wayne Holmdahl, challenger Jenelle Osborne, Mayor Bob Lingl, Councilman Jim Mosby and former mayor John Linn. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

”Nobody was opposed to a new fire station, what was opposed was an all or none,” Mosby said.

Osborne said staff presented the project multiple times and did not receive any concerns about the size until the eleventh-hour. 

“There were plenty of meetings and and plenty of time where new direction and new input could have been given and it was not,” she said.

Lingl said he proposes an overhaul of the city’s parks system and development of a new fire station, adding both projects will benefit all residents in addition to helping lure new businesses to the city.

Linn said he will support the space museum and science center development and spoke about the 40-acre business park proposed near the airport, promising to find new tenants.

TAP TV will record the evening forum for later viewing on public access TV.

AAUW plans to host an Oct. 5 forum for Lompoc Unified School District board members in Grossman Gallery, Lompoc Library, 501 E. North Ave., Lompoc.  

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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