Rick Cole was a socialist activist at Occidental College in the late 1970s. He was close to Steve Coll.
Rick Cole has been City Manager of Ventura since 2004. He was recently honored by Governing Magazine as one of their nine "2006 Public Officials of the Year," the only City Manager in the nation to earn that distinction. Governing cited his "intense focus on the details that add up to a vital city." Cole has focused on four key priorities, the ABCS of Ventura government: Accountable government; Balanced budget, Civic Engagement and Smart Growth.
Called "one of Southern California's most visionary planning thinkers" by the Los Angeles Times, he previously served six years as City Manager of Azusa, California. Under Cole's leadership, Azusa was described as the "most improved city in the San Gabriel Valley" by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. He brings an unusual background to city management, having previously served as the Southern California Director of the Local Government Commission, Mayor of Pasadena, Executive Director of the West Hollywood Marketing Corporation and co-founder of the Pasadena Weekly newspaper.