Santa Paulans came out Sunday night at the Community Center to watch “The West Wing” television show on a big screen. After a big lobbying effort, the network recently named Santa Paula as Senator Vinick’s hometown. Vinick for President posters adorned the wall of the Community Center and many of those there wore Vinick buttons or T-shirts. Photo by Brian D. Wilson

Arnold Vinick For President

November 09, 2005
‘West Wing’ party cheers on SP favorite son Vinick
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesAbout 50 diehard supporters of presidential candidate Sen. Arnold Vinick, Santa Paula’s favorite son, watched the live “West Wing” face-off Sunday evening at the Community Center in an event that mixed dessert with debate.Those getting into the spirit of the Presidential Election also benefited Santa Paula Memorial Hospital by more than $2,000, including the auction of autographed “West Wing” scripts. “Favorite Son” Sen. Vinick (Alan Alda) was pitted against challenger Rep. Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) for the nation’s top job via the hit NBC program in the unusual bare knuckle debate broadcast live.The center was turned into Vinick Headquarters West - his main office is at the historic Depot - for the event that drew real elected officials.Mayor Mary Ann Krause, Vice Mayor Rick Cook, Supervisor Kathy Long and Ventura Deputy Mayor Carl Morehouse, the spouse of Santa Paula Planning Director Janna Minsk, were among the crowd as was SPMH CEO Dr. Sam Edwards and COO Jerry Conway.SPUHS cheerleaders made banners in support of the favorite son - “Santa Paula is Vinick Country!” one proclaimed aptly - and the center was heavy on the red, white and blue. Vinick campaign buttons, T-shirts and bumper stickers were available in the lobby.Ironically, Conway donated a signed “West Wing” script for the auction as did NBC, which now lists on its “West Wing” Web site details of Vinick’s years in Santa Paula, including his surprise write-in election to the City Council and his fondness for the city’s California Oil Museum.Indeed, Santa Paula is Vinick country, at least after an aggressive campaign led by Mayor Mary Ann Krause and City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz who lobbied NBC to officially link Vinick to the city after the candidate commented in January that he had grown up in a California citrus town.Bobkiewicz bombarded “The West Wing” Story Editor Lauren Schmidt with a variety of items tying Vinick to the area - as well local history - and the City Council formally declared Vinick a “Favorite Son.”
“I spoke to Arnold” although her efforts to have the debate staged in the city for “hometown advantage” failed, Krause told the cheering crowd. “The campaign is going hot and heavy and we’re looking forward to” Santa Paula’s favorite son occupying the White House.“Arnold is happy and so is the hospital,” noted Cook who admitted to nebulous hometown ties with the candidate, although when “He was in the library I was in trouble.”Long gave her thanks for the support shown the hospital, scheduled to open early next year, and urged “Victory for Vinick!”After NBC journalist Forrest Sawyer outlined the rules of the faux event, Vinick showed his stuff by noting that Abraham Lincoln was “not afraid of a real debate...” and noted that the next president of the United States should not be determined by how well he adheres to debate rules.With that debate gloves were off and the crowd - at least at the Community Center - cheered on Santa Paula’s favorite son, at least much of the time. His ties to the oil industry, although not popular even among hometown supporters, was excused due to his ongoing strong support of the oil museum.“He put up a good fight” although it appears Vinick has strong competition, Krause said following the broadcast. “Vinick is up nine points but we’ll have to see how the polls are tomorrow.”For further information, visit the city’s Vinick campaign Web site,

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