Vol. 8, No. 23 – August 19 – September 1, 2015 – Opinion/Editorial

SheldonPicIn a recent article, I stated “…and speaking of the bible, I thought it was pretty impressive launching a paper while in my seventies, but Noah built a 40 foot boat, with 3 levels when he was 630 years old. And without power tools. What a show-off.” There was a typo, any 630-year old could build a forty foot boat, but Noah built a 400 foot boat. I assume that giraffes were on the supper open deck. And some people would think some dinosaurs as well. I’m really sad to see Ann Deal and her firm, Fashion Forms, moving to Austin. Ventura lost employees, taxes and one of the very large contributors to our local arts and culture scene. She will be missed. Luckily, we still have some wonderful contributors living here.

Another great reason to live in Ventura is that, within 30 minutes, camping is available at several locations, and these sites are right on the water. We just spent 3-days camping (if that what it is called when in an RV) at Emma Woods, which is about 5-10 minutes from Ventura. Ventura is indeed a great place to live.

How’s this for some tech support? My HP printer was not working properly, and after about 30-minutes on the phone with their tech person, he told me my printer was history and I needed to buy a new one (he also gave me prices for new units). So I unplug it for the night, so I can buy a new one the next day. The next morning I plugged it back in, out of curiosity, and it worked just fine andhas continued to work ever since.

I think that our TV mentality has taken over the Republican Party. What other explanation is there for Donald Trump to be the leading candidate except that some people think that politics is now a reality TV show. I heard one supporter say, “I don’t believe in anything that he is saying but I would vote for him for having the courage to say it.” Great criteria for voting for our president. His first proclamation as president might be, “We are building the Great Wall of America.”

My home water usage was down 21% from last year’s same billing period. I think that is about as good as my wife and I (and Scamp) can do. How are you doing with your reduction?

If your water has had the smell and taste of alfalfa, it is coming from Lake Casitas. The water is safe to drink, but I can’t imagine anyone drinking it. Maybe it would add a new taste to pasta. This is a yearly occurrence as algae blooms when the weather warms up. Officials assure us that the water is treated and meets all requirements to be drinking water. You can call them if you have questions or concerns at 649-2251.

I am very proud of the Ventura City Council’s recent action to defer approval of a proposed city grading ordinance. Although well intended, the ordinance sets the conditions for when a grading permit is required, but goes much too far. The ordinance would require residents to be notified within a 300 foot radius of any proposed grading, which is fine. The Council is in general agreement with the proposed ordinance but, as was pointed out by a few speakers, it would have too large an impact on smaller properties and minor grading projects. For instance, if passed, it would have required a grading permit and soil reports for any retaining wall project over 3-foot high, which could add thousands of dollars, and added time, to minor residential projects. A few years ago, a homeowner did extensive grading without securing any permits, which, of course, upset his neighbors. It was not very clear with the existing ordinances if a permit was required, which was the catalyst for a new ordinance to clearly define when a permit is required. The Council requested staff to take a closer look at the ordinance and bring it back for re-review at a future date. Staff will receive more input and recommendations from contractors, building associations and the public.

The homeless issue remains a huge problem in Ventura. Solutions are usually very expensive and not affordable by smaller cities. Los Angeles City and County are combining to expand homeless outreach teams on Skid Row with the hope of reducing the homeless population there by 25%. Between city and county, funds of about $400,000 are available to get the program started. The new program will include mental health, medical, and substance abuse professionals. It is estimated that about one-third of the homeless are mentally ill.

The LA County Board of Supervisors has also approved the building of a state-of-the art jail focused on housing the mentally ill and providing mental health treatment. Mentally ill represent about 20% of the inmate population. Locally, there will not be a inter shelter available that will serve the homeless. The Army National Guard Armory, run by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, will not be available because the Society has decided that their time and money should be spent on other more permanent solutions. Without the their support, the armory is too expensive to use.

Both Oxnard and Ventura are both looking for a new location for a winter shelter. Several locations that have been considered would not work because of zoning laws – even when located in industrial areas. Peter Brown, who is now the homeless coordinator for both Oxnard and Ventura, is actively trying to solve this problem. He is seeking a location and funding, with a possible source for funding being FEMA.

 

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

— George Bernard Shaw

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