Santa Paula Times

Arnie Dowdy retiring as LAFCO/VCOG head, celebration to benefit SPTC

March 15, 2000
Santa Paula News
A celebration of over three decades of public service will benefit the arts when the gala retirement party for LAFCO/VCOG chief and former Santa Paula City Manager Arnie Dowdy is held April 1st. The party will benefit the Santa Paula Theater Center, which Dowdy, a city resident, has served as a board director for eight years.Dowdy is retiring after four years as the executive director of the Ventura Council of Governments (VCOG) and Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO); Santa Paula's city manager from 1991 to 1996, Dowdy had been the city manager of Grover Beach for 17 years.Dowdy's leadership of LAFCO has involved juggling a growing workload of land-use issues - including at times controversial boundary changes and annexations - with VCOGs oversight of a myriad of regional issues.“I think what I'll miss about my professional career is the constant involvement in all the issues,” he said. “I'm the kind of person that thrives on pressure and I'll miss that. . .but maybe it's a good thing.”Dowdy's career got started 37 years ago when he took a temporary job at Los Angeles City Hall. “I really enjoyed it and stayed in government service; I do look upon it as a service. And, it's been fun.”Dowdy's passion for baseball and especially the St. Louis Cardinals is well known - he even fulfilled a lifelong dream in 1991 by attending a special baseball camp in Scottsdale, AZ. - and he probably owns the largest assortment of baseball themed ties in the world. Dowdy’s passion for the SPTC came later.“Bill Orcutt stopped me at Rotary one day and said he would like to nominate me to the theater board; I didn't know much about it other than attending productions and I thought it would be something new to learn about.”Now, he's one of the SPTC's biggest boosters: “It just absolutely puts on the most top quality stage productions you can find in our area, done in a beautiful setting,” he noted. “People who surround the theater have a great love for it.”
And what will he do now that he’s decided to stop and smell the popcorn, peanuts and Crackerjacks?“There are no definite plans. My wife, Maria, wants to work a few more years and I like her paycheck. But I will be spending a couple of months in Ireland this year, continuing family research.”A dedicated Rotarian who is past president of the Santa Paula Club and a multiple Paul Harris Fellow Award recipient, Dowdy also plans to interface with “one particular Rotary Club in Ireland and encourage them to put together a study exchange for young professionals for 2001-02.”Dowdy plans on not being idle: “Oh, I'm going to work again later at something although I don't know what that will be. I just spent the week in Florida at baseball games and noticed all the ticket-takers and ushers are all retired guys who probably work for very little money but get to watch all the games for free, that sounds attractive to me. I'd do it for free. . .I'd pay them!”Tickets for the April 1st retirement party are $25 each; it will be held at Limoneira Park from 3 to 6 p.m. and feature a steak dinner prepared by the famous Santa Paula Rotary Bar-B-Que team and no host bar.Make checks payable to the Santa Paula Theater Center and mail them by March 29th to SPTC, 125 S. 7th St., Santa Paula, CA 93060.Those who cannot attend the retirement party are encouraged to consider sending a fully tax deductible donation to the theater center.