List of mayors of Ventura, California

This is a list of mayors of Ventura, California, beginning with Ventura's incorporation as a city in 1866.

The individual who had the longest tenure in office was Charles W. Petit who served as mayor for 15-1/2 years from 1953 to 1969. When Petit left office, he was, at age 87, the oldest mayor in the United States. Prior to Petit, the mayor with the longest tenure was John S. Collins who held the position for 14 years from 1890 to 1904.

The first woman to serve as mayor was Harriet Kosmo Henson who served two terms from 1978 to 1982. Since that time, two other women have served as mayor: Christy Weir (2007–2009) and Cheryl Heitmann (2013–2015).

The current mayor is Matt LaVere, who assumed the position in December 2018.

# Name Term Notes Sources
1 Walter Scott Chaffee[1] 4/2/1866–1/2/1867 Chaffee was born in 1835 in Madison County, New York. He moved to Ventura in 1860 and, in 1863, he opened a general merchandise and hardware store at Main and Palm Streets. The city was incorporated on April 2, 1866. The initial board of trustees first board of trustees included Chaffee, Angel G. Escandon (who represented the area in the California Legislature), and Juan Camarillo. Chafee died in 1894. [2][3]
2 Ysidro Obiols[1] 1/2/1867–4/22/1867 Born c. 1822. Obiols ran a hotel, saloon and stage depot in Ventura. In 1866, upon the incorporation of Ventura, he became the city's first justice of the peace. In January 1867, he became the second president of the city's board of trustees. [3][4]
3 Fernando Tico Jr.[1] 4/22/1867–5/18/1868 Born 1836, son of the recipient of a Spanish land grant referred to as Rancho Ojai [3]
4 Angel Gonzales Escandon[1] 5/18/1868–10/10/1869 Born 1833; died 1884. He also represented Ventura in the California Legislature. [3]
5 Jesse Allen Shaw[1] 11/10/1869–4/4/1870 Born 1827 in Rupert, Vermont; father of Selwyn Shaw. Died 1919 in Ventura. [3]
6 C. H. Bailey[1] 4/4/1870–2/25/1871 Merchant born in Massachusetts c. 1827. [3]
7 Lemuel Clarke McKeeby[1] 2/25/1871–11/3/1873 Born in New York City in 1825. Moved to Ventura in October 1866 and was one of the organizers of the Bank of Ventura. Died 1913. [3][5]
8 E. M. Jones 11/3/1873–3/25/1874 [3]
9 P. V. McCarty 3/25/1874–9/10/1874 [3]
10 William Ayres 9/10/1874–3/18/1876 [3]
11 Angel S. Escandon[6] 3/18/1876–1/7/1878 [3]
12 Henry Spear 1/7/1878–1/3/1882 [3]
13 T. H. Daley 1/3/1882–1/4/1886 [3]
14 Paul Charlebois 1/4/1886–1/6/1890 Born in Montreal in 1855. Moved to Ventura from San Francisco in 1871. Owner of a hardware store. Also served as Ventura County Treasurer in 1888 and as Ventura County Sheriff from 1894 to 1903. Died in 1914. [3][7][8]
15 John S. Collins 1/6/1890–1/4/1904 His 14-year tenure as mayor was the longest in city history until Charles w. Petit served for 15-1/2 years. [3]
16 W. L. Lewis 1/4/1904–4/15/1907 [3]
17 William McGuire 4/15/1907–9/21/1908 [3]
18 Floyd Putnam Shaw 2/23/1910–4/18/1911 Born c. 1858 in Wisconsin. Son of Jesse Allen Shaw and brother of Selwyn Shaw. The family moved to Ventura in 1868. He wrote "A Few Recollections of the Early Days of San Buenaventura" in 1942. Died c. 1954 in Ventura. [3][9]
19 William McGuire 4/18/1911–4/19/1915 [3]
20 Erwin Kellogg 4/19/1915–4/21/1919 [3]
21 Malvern Dimmick 4/21/1919–4/16/1923 Born 1864 in Onawa, Iowa. Moved to Ventura in 1906, working as a grocer and later as manager of the Ventura Wharf and Warehouse Co. Also served as a justice of the peace 1922–1934. Died 1934 in Ventura. [10]
22 Charles Rea 4/16/1923–1/30/1928 [3]
23 George Archibald Randall 4/18/1927–6/8/1931 Born in 1887 in Alameda County, California. He was president of the Darden & Randall Buick automobile dealership, an artist and author, and an authority on western ranch life and American Indian subjects. Died 1941 at Foster Memorial Hospital. [3][11]
24 W. O. Hedley 6/8/1931–12/21/1931 [3]
? David J. Reese 1931 Not included on the City's "History of Mayors" list [12]
25 James S. Blackstock 12/20/1931–1/19/32 Born 1870. Died in 1932 at his home in Ventura after only one month as mayor. Also served as president of chamber of commerce, operated a grocery, and owned lemon ranches [3][13]
26 George V. Hartman 1/25/1932–4/24/1933 [3][14]
27 Frank J. Dennis 4/24/1933–8/26/1936 Born c. 1882. [3]
28 George A. Newell, Jr. 8/26/1936–4/26/37 [3]
29 Marcus S. Johnson 4/26/37–4/28/1941 Later moved to Turlock, California; died there in 1958. [3][15]
30 Harold Young Carrico 4/28/1941–2/13/1945 Born 1893 in Florida, Missouri. He became a prominent builder in Ventura. Died 1952 in Washington County, Utah. Buried at Ivy Lawn Cemetery in Ventura. [3][16]
31 Edwin Lee Gardner II 2/13/1945–4/27/1953 Born c. 1895 in Virginia. Worked in the oil business. [3]
32 Ernest Joel Pate 4/27/1953–9/14/1953 Born 1896; died 1988. Buried at Ivy Lawn. [3][17]
33 Charles Wesley Petit 9/14/1953–4/1969 Born 1881 in Ramey, Pennsylvania, died 1973 in Ventura. Served on Ventura City Council from 1948-1969. When he left office, he was the oldest living mayor in the United States [18][19][20]
34 Albert R. Albinger 4/1969–1/1974 He was a 53-year-old realtor when he was selected as mayor in April 1969. [3][21]
35 David D. Eaton 1/7/1974–1/5/1976 [3]
36 Eugene Kountz 1/5/1976–1/9/1978 Born 1932. Later filed and lost a wrongful death action against a CHP officer in connection with the shooting death of his son. [3][22]
37 Harriet Farrell Kosmo Henson 1/1978–1/1982 Born 1932 in Keene, New Hampshire. Moved to Ventura in 1964, served on City Council from 1976-1984, and became the city's first woman mayor in January 1978. Died in 1999 at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura. [3][23]
38 John Allen McWherter 1/4/1982–1/1984 Born in 1915 in Oklahoma. Served on City Council for 18 years from 1973-1991. He cited 1974 efforts to slow the city's growth as his proudest achievement. [3][24]
39 Rolland Dennis Orrock 1984–1986 Attorney born in 1943 in Los Angeles [3]
40 John M. Sullard 1986–1987 Served on the Ventura City Council, 1982–1987. Later served as city manager of Boulder City, Nevada [25]
41 James L. Monahan 12/1987–12/1989 A Korean War veteran and graduate of Ventura High School and Ventura College. He has been the owner of American Welding Company and American Hot Tap for 40 years. He served on Ventura City Council from 1977 to present and was selected as mayor in December 1987. [26][27]
42 Richard L. Francis 1989–1991 Served on Ventura City Council 1989–1991. A slow growth advocate and co-architect of the Save Open-Space and Agricultural Resources initiative, which prohibits changes to some rural and agricultural land uses without voter approval. [28][29]
43 Gregory L. Carson 12/2/1991–12/6/1993 A fifth-generation Ventura resident, he was a 33-year old nursery owner and lobbyist for the farm industry when he was selected as mayor in December 1991. He survived a shooting by a burglar at his home in October 2015 [30][31][32]
44 Tom Buford 12/1993–12/1995 Labor attorney and former president of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce [33]
45 Clifton "Jack" Tingstrom 12/1995–12/1997 Born in 1935. Served on City Council 1991–1999. Died April 2018 [34][35]
46 Jim Friedman 12/1997–12/1999
47 Sandy Smith 12/1999-12/2001 He was a teacher at Buena Vista High School when he was selected as mayor; later worked as a land use consultant for Sespe Consulting [36][37]
48 Ray Di Guilio 12/2001–12/2003 Spent 30 years as an administrator with the Ventura County Community College District [38]
49 Brian Brennan 12/2003–12/2005 Irish-born restaurateur; later appointed to the Ventura Port District Board of Commissioners [39][40]
50 Carl E. Morehouse 12/2005–12/2007 Served on City Council for 17 years 1999–2016 [41]
51 Christy Weir 12/2007–12/2009 Elected to City Council in 2003; selected as mayor in December 2007 [42]
52 William Fulton 12/2009–12/2011 Served on City Council, 2003–2011; selected as mayor in December 2009; later served as planning director for the City of San Diego and as director of Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research [43]
53 Mike Tracy 12/2011–12/2013 Elected to City Council in 2009; selected as mayor in December 2011 [44]
54 Cheryl Heitmann 12/2013–12/2015 Elected to City Council in 2011; selected as mayor in December 2013 [45]
55 Erik Nasarenko 12/2015–12/2017 Elected to City Council in 2013; selected as mayor in December 2015 [46]
56 Neil Andrews 12/2017–12/2018 Elected to City Council in 2001; selected as mayor December 2017 [47]

Matt LaVere 12/2018-present Elected to the City Council in November 2016; selected to serve as Mayor December 2018

See also


  1. In the early years of city government, the city was governed by a board of trustees. The leader of the board was given the title of president of the board of trustees. The title of mayor came later.
  2. "Walter Scott Chaffee One of Ventura's First Merchants". The Ventura County Star-Free Press. September 6, 1966 via The Museum of Ventura County (biography file for "Chaffee Family").
  3. "City of San Buenaventura: History of Mayors", list available at City of Ventura Clerk's Office, reviewed May 8, 2018.
  4. "Solomon Obiols, Son of 1st Ventura Justice, Dies at 94". unknown. May 11, 1964 via The Museum of Ventura County (biography file "OA-OL").
  5. Materials in the "Lemuel Clarke McKeeby" biography file at The Museum of Ventura County.
  6. The city's "History of Mayors" list identifies the 11th mayor as having the middle initial "S". It is unclear whether Angel Gonzales Escandon served another term (in which case the middle initial appears to be a typographical error) or whether a second Angel Escandon served as mayor from 1876 to 1878.
  7. "Sheriff Paul Charlebois (1894–1903)". Office of Ventura County Sheriff. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  8. "Paul Charlebois Dead; City Trustee, Pioneer Merchant, Passes". Venture Daily Democrat. August 23, 1914.
  9. "A Few Recollections of the Early Days of San Buenaventura" by Floyd P. Shaw, March 1942. The Museum of Ventura County ("Floyd P. Shaw" biography file)
  10. "Death Calls on Judge Dimmick After Ailment: Beloved Justice of the Peace Passes Suddenly". Ventura Free Press. September 24, 1934. pp. 1, 3 via The Museum of Ventura County (biographical file "DI–DO").
  11. "Illness Fatal to George A. Randall". Ventura County Star-Free Press. October 6, 1941. p. 1 via The Museum of Ventura County (George Randall biography file).
  12. "Reese Made Ventura Mayor". Los Angeles Times. April 29, 1931. p. II-8 via
  13. "Ventura Mayor Taken by Death". Los Angeles Times. January 20, 1932. p. I-11 via
  14. "Hartman Named Ventura Mayor by City Council". Los Angeles Times. January 27, 1932. p. I-8 via
  15. "Chamber Leader Dies". The San Bernardino County Sun. December 9, 1958. p. 4 via
  16. "Harold Young Carrico". Find A Grave. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  17. "Ernest Joel Pate". Find a Grave. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  18. Joe Paul Jr. (January 23, 1973). "Johnson, Mayor Petit die: Mayor emeritus heart attack victim at 91". Ventura County Star-Free Press. pp. A1, A2 via The Museum of Ventura County (biographical file for "Petit Family").
  21. "Real Estate Broker Elected Ventura Mayor". Los Angeles Times. April 30, 1969. p. 2 via
  22. "Self Defense Ruled in Death of Kountz Son". Los Angeles Times (Ventura County edition). November 9, 1991. p. B2 via
  23. "Harriet Henson; Former Mayor of Ventura". Los Angeles Times (Ventura County edition). September 1, 1999. p. B5 via
  24. "Veteran Councilman Says He Will Retire". Los Angeles Times (Ventura County edition). July 14, 1991. p. B2 via
  25. "Boulder City names Sullard as city manager". Las Vegas Sun. July 17, 1997.
  26. "James L. Monahan". City of Ventura. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  27. Peggy Y. Lee (September 13, 1993). "Monahan's Conduct His Achilles Heel in Council Race, Critics Say: Incumbent drove drunk and backed Nick Starr. But supporters admire his conservative politics and blunt style". Los Angeles Times.
  28. Tina Daunt (August 1, 1991). "Ventura Mayor Says He Does Not Plan to Run for Reelection: Richard Francis wants to spend more time with his 7-month-old twins. His departure will leave three council seats up for grabs". Los Angeles Times.
  29. Arlene Martinez (October 9, 2013). "Ventura City Council candidate: Richard Francis". The Ventura County Star.
  30. Santiago O'Donnell (December 3, 1991). "Newcomer Selected as Mayor in Ventura: Greg Carson, the top vote-getter in last month's council election, is named as the compromise candidate. The choice angers one member". Los Angeles Times.
  31. Kevin F. Sherry (December 17, 2001). "Former Ventura Mayor Returns to Public Life: Greg Carson, who abruptly left office six years ago, has joined two advisory boards, possibly signaling a reentry into politics". Los Angeles Times.
  32. Megan Diskin (May 17, 2016). "Oxnard man found guilty of attempting to kill former Ventura mayor". Ventura County Star.
  33. Peggy Y. Lee (December 7, 1993). "Buford Wins Mayor's Job; New Members Join Council : Ventura: The former Chamber of Commerce leader is handed the gavel after months of behind-the-scenes wrangling". Los Angeles Times.
  34. Tracy Wilson (December 5, 1995). "Councilman Tingstrom Chosen Mayor in Ventura : Politics: The decision caps weeks of wrangling over who would succeed Tom Buford. Council members say the election process went amicably". Los Angeles Times.
  35. "Clifton "Jack" Tingstrom". Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  36. Gail Davis (December 7, 1999). "Council Chooses Schoolteacher Sandy Smith as City's Mayor". Los Angeles Times.
  37. "Sandy Smith, M.P.P.A." California Lutheran University. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  38. Ryan Krebs (April 22, 2009). "VP retires after distinguished career with college district". Student Voice.
  39. Tracy Wilson (December 3, 2003). "Brennan Takes Over as Ventura's Mayor". Los Angeles Times.
  40. "Brian Brennan appointed to Ventura Port District board". Ventura County Star. August 9, 2016.
  41. "17-year Ventura veteran Carl Morehouse steps down". Ventura County Star. December 13, 2016.
  42. "Christy Weir". City of Ventura. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  43. "Former Ventura mayor named director of urban research institute". Ventura County Star. August 3, 2014.
  44. "Mike Tracy". City of Ventura. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  45. "Cheryl Heitmann". City of Ventura. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  46. "Ventura City Council Appoints Erik Nasarenko as mayor, Neal Andrews as deputy mayor". Citizens Journal. December 8, 2015.
  47. Arlene Martinez (December 5, 2017). "Longtime Ventura council member elected mayor". Ventura County Star.
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