INTERVIEWER: What’s your background as a Venturan?
SPENCER NOREN: Yeah um, background as a Venturan—I’m a four generation Venturan; my grandmother was born here, her father Orville Thillemore lived off of Foothill Road above Seton Hall and had a grocery store downtown off of Meadow, which was called Santa Clara Market and Foothill Market at one point. It’s right by Cabrillo Middle School and that’s kind of where my roots start. I’m a really proud Ventura County resident—a lot of my generations came here early—at an early time in the 20’s and 30’s and 40’s and so Point Hueneme was another landing spot for my mom’s dad’s family, so a lot of different lineage has been here, most notably known, though, is for Noren’s Market which is just on this property, which used to be the Curtis family property. If you know that, this land at one point was owned by the Curtis family and they leased land to where Mavericks Gym is, called Noren’s market! And it was a grocery store that my family owned for 35+ years, and it was the most successful grocery store east of Ventura: it fed this community, gave jobs to this community, for about 35, 40 years at the East Side of Ventura. That’s what got me this unlimited passion and knowledge and love for Ventura—was growing up in this market, on this exact property where we’re at right now, talking about Foothill High School, and it’s great to have a school here. I love what’s going on and so I’m excited to be here to talk about Ventura.
INTERVIEWER: Which measure on the ballot are you most passionate about and why should students and their families support it?
NOREN: Which measure on the ballot? You mean towards Ventura? I’m unaware of any measures on the ballot right now for Ventura that I know of—that I’ve I guess I’ve seen for—that I’ve been in the process with. Can you give me an example of a few measures?
INTERVIEWER: We can just go on to the next question
Nationally, in California, there are a lot of props and measures going on but I’m running for Ventura City Council and so that’s what I’m here to talk about. There’s Ventura topics that I need to know about that I’ll be educated about that, but for me right now I’m all in on Ventura, and Ventura first and that’s kind of what I prefer to talk about.
INTERVIEWER: Two state propositions that would likely prove to be significantly impactful if passed in the election are Prop. 2 and Prop. 12. Do you support either, both, or neither of these measures and why?
NOREN: Interesting. Once again Prop. 2 and Prop. 12 are state code—state voting, but I’m not here to talk about state elections and where I stand on that. This is a bipartisan race that’s on Ventura topics, and so without having the questions ahead to kind of adhere and research these props, I can tell you I’ve been focused on Ventura and the hands that hear on District 4 and for this election.
INTERVIEWER: How do you plan to strengthen the partnership between the school district and the city and involve more students in local government?
NOREN: Absolutely, I love that. Some people think that City Council and schools don’t work hand in hand because there’s not a lot of decisions made by City Council, but I disagree greatly because it’s all community, right? The future of the kids and the future of education is what you hang your hat on in a community and so that’s something that I support really heavily and widely. I’ve been involved with the race with Ms. Madhu, Deborah Morris (sic), Brown and Mr. Jerry Dannenberg, who are running in my district. I’ve been to a few of the board meetings to understand the dynamic about that but, yes, it’s about partnering up with all levels of education from Pre-K—starting off making sure we have the good start all the way up into college. I love what the Ventura College does with their Ventura College—what Foothill offers as a different style of education, which has emerged here in the last decade in Ventura. I myself am a Buena ’98 grad. We all know about Ventura High School; there’s a big football game tonight that hopefully we’re all going to—I’ll be there. So, you know, I think it’s very very important that we do that and then as we move forward in our city in our business style of being a tech industry business. The industry in this world is moving into the tech side. We have to be a community that moves forward as well, and that can obviously supply good paying jobs that can be in this high cost of living that we have in Ventura, because we all know the cost of living here—how do we solve that? We bring in good jobs. How do we bring in good jobs? We train our local kids through local colleges to be prepared for those jobs so we can create an environment that actually allows families to stay together, because that’s the most important part—that’s what community is—we’re a village; we’re a tribe; we’re Ventura; we want to stay together and we want to create an environment and society where we can actually do that all in one time. We don’t have to go away to college somewhere else and get training and live somewhere else and then try to come back to the 805. We know how difficult that was for a few generations, myself included, I’m still in the struggle with that—I can let you know—I’m grinding every day. I’m a man of the people, so education is huge for me. Ventura College: great job with what you’re doing with the Ventura Promise (sic).
INTERVIEWER: What do you think is the most pressing issue facing our city today and how can it be addressed?
NOREN: The most pressing issue facing our city right now I think is safety. It’s safety, and foremost you have to have safety in your community and understanding of how you can feel when you go out, and over the last year we haven’t been feeling that and over the past decade crime is at its highest it’s ever been in Ventura County and in the City of Ventura, we have the highest crime rate and you just can’t continue to have an environment to where we don’t feel safe outside. Whether it’s our parks, our beautiful promenade, our downtown atmosphere, kids riding their bikes or skateboards to school, you have to have as least fear as you can. I don’t really like to use the word fear, but it’s out there and we have to talk about it and you have to address it and it starts with more school safety at school and goes in foremost senior safety so seniors can get out into the community and feel safe. Maybe it’s on the streets: walking on the sidewalks, making sure the sidewalks don’t have big bumps on them—there’s all kinds of forms of safety that I’m talking about, with the issue of vagrancy we have going on: the breaking of our cars at night, the home burglaries—to once again feeling safe in our community is the most important part. We live in the greatest city in the world. I believe that in my heart full-heartedly—I love your smile right now. Yes again, Spencer Noren, Ventura Council City candidate District 4. This is the greatest city in the world, I love it. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, we just have to clean up what we have and put pride in the millenials and the younger kids in this generation. That’s why I took this interview at Foothill Little League—sorry I’m a board member at foothill little league—at Foothill High School is to interact and connect more with the youth, to get your guys’ point of view to understand: it starts with you and then it moves forward with other experienced leaders. Starting with the greatest generation—the baby boomers, the silent generation, Generation X, millennials—this is a great time in America where there’s multiple generations that influence and i want to be apart of that team.
INTERVIEWER: Our City Council representatives should embody the values closest to our hearts because these values will guide their decisions in office. They should also act as leaders not only on Monday nights in City Hall, but throughout their term in their interactions with the community. What values do you embody and how do you act as a role model for the youth of Ventura?
NOREN: Excellent question. I love that. How do I get involved with the community and how do I continue to be a leader in the City of Ventura and that’s first and foremost leading by example; putting something into your free time that gives back to the community—make your daily life, daily routine give back. I’m part of a non-profit called Random Acts of Kindness; we help raise locally $50 thousand for the Thomas Fire affected. Mostly focusing on the Hawaiian Village residents who lost their apartments who were not insured and I jumped right into that situation, and that’s just one example—the Surfrider Foundation I’m apart of, locally—I help with beach cleanups. I’m involved with the ranch of Ventura Conservation Trust—the home of Two Trees—and we’re going to protect our hillsides and offer educational resources to the youth here, schools, field trips, adults—really get them to understand the richness of our ranchlands right here and continue that forward and do it yourself.
I could give you so many examples if you want to listen. I’ll keep going: I’m on the PTA at Juanamaria School, where last meeting there was 26 attendees and there was one dad. It was me. Dads: I need you to get involved with schools. I need you out there. I know you’re busy, please get involved.
I’m also involved with Foothill Little League where there’s a lot of dads involved; there’s a lot of moms involved. There’s just so many different things we can do to put our hat into the ring. That’s why I’m going to be a great council member because I don’t look at Ventura as just District 4, which I know because I’m born and raised in District 4—went to Juanamaria, Balboa, Buena, okay, bike, skateboard everyday all day—but the point is I know Ventura as a whole as well and with district elections coming up, that’s one of the thoughts that are going on with district elections: Can we get to understand Ventura as a whole and then still give their attention to their districts to their voters?
I’m the man for the job with that the lineage, the community service; I’m apart of a foodshare, I’m a church member at Community Presbyterian Church off of Poli. We do foodshare on Wednesday. The driver goes down—Mr. Norm had surgery, (Norm, hope you’re getting better). Who stepped in to do foodshare on the Avenue? I’m on the Avenue— I do events; I’m on Olive; I’m on different roads knocking on doors in the Avenue dropping off food for foodshare. I’m part of it—I’m in it and I want to encourage people to do more.
Spencer Noren is just one person—one person in this millions and billions of great fantastic people all over the world and I want to be a light of somebody who encourages you to be you. That’s what I always say I’m in Ventura—you can see my passion. I’m being me by doing my things that I like by giving back and I want to give the encouragement to the youth and to the elderly and to everybody to know that you can do you too.
And hopefully that was good—I get kind of carried away sometimes but hey, that’s what its about. I’m so passionate about this. I want to influence people to get better because once again Ventura, California is the best place in the world. We have the beaches; we have the tourism; we have the mountains; we have this whole state of California right here: the surf, the sand, the agriculture—but yet somehow we’re all acting like it’s not here, like it’s not the greatest place to be and we got to pick up the trash and we’ve got to clean up the graffiti. We can’t solve these simple things and when you do the simple things, we’ll become attractive, and when we become attractive we’re going to bring in the resources we need to increase our quality of life.