2008-04-03 / Front Page

Mayor discusses finances, facilities, priorities of the city

By Nancy Needham nancy@theacorn.com

By Nancy Needham  nancy@theacorn.com

Jacqui Irwin, T.O. mayor
Mayor Jacqui Irwin will now be the face of Thousand Oaks when she attends ribbon-cutting ceremonies around the city or meetings in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento.

"I'm enjoying being mayor and focusing on the interests I have--the youth, the environment and public safety," Irwin, 46, said.

Many may know her as an involved homemaker and mother of three who's been a political activist through her work in children's football and school associations. Now at the helm of Thousand Oaks as the city faces budget and growth issues, Irwin has long seen herself as a leader.

She graduated from UC San Diego with a bachelor's degree in systems engineering and a minor in political science before she moved to the East Coast to work at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. At the lab she did post-flight analysis of the Trident 2 missile. She returned to California to work at Teledyne in Northridge, where she focused on software for cockpit displays.

In 1986 she married Jon Irwin, whom she met while attending college in San Diego. When the first of their three children was born, she decided to stay home to raise her family.

The Irwins moved to Thousand Oaks in 1996, and Jacqui became involved in the PTA and her children's sports activities. She served as president of the Thousand Oaks Titans Football Association.

In 2003, she tackled city government, asking the City Council to improve the sports facilities for high schools. The efforts of Irwin and other sports enthusiasts netted about $3 million for new fields, tracks and bleachers from the city's Dos Vientos Ranch development funds.

That same year she was appointed to the city's planning commission. In 2004 she was elected to the City Council.

Her three teenage children--Matthew, 17, Kathryn, 15, and Luke, 13--are a constant reminder that the city needs more activities for young people. A former competitive swimmer and water polo player during her high school and college years, Irwin is pleased with the plans for the new community pool at California Lutheran University and the city's work to develop a family recreation area in Newbury Park.

Irwin said she loves trees and the outdoors and looks at her leadership time in Thousand Oaks as an opportunity to explore the use of renewable energy sources.

Public safety has also been a priority for Irwin and continues to be a priority, she said.

The city has always been financially conservative, she said, which will help Thousand Oaks as it faces budget challenges.

"This is not going to be a big crisis," she said.

Irwin did express concern about financial problems that could result from the upcoming vote on the Measure B Land Use Traffic Initiative on the June ballot. A city consultant has reported that adding an extra vote before certain developments are able to begin construction could disrupt future projects in T.O.

As far as city employees are concerned, there are no plans to cut jobs at this time, she said. The city is undergoing a hiring chill. Two police were added to the budget because public safety is so important, she said. "We don't spend more than our budget. The city is in a good position," she said.

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