Vol. 9, No. 9 – February 3 – February 16, 2016 – Opinion/Editorial

•   The Ventura City Council has voted against (7-0) medical marijuana businesses and the delivery of medical marijuana in Ventura. This is in keeping with other county cities. Cities have until March 1 to set their own laws before State regulations take effect.

Neal Andrews and Carl Morehouse were part of the 7-0 vote but still expressed their concerns about not allowing medical marijuana delivery that was included in the action. I certainly agree with their concerns.

The City of Moorpark City Council has wisely removed the mobile delivery portion of their ordinance banning the selling of marijuana there. They will allow delivery of medical marijuana to qualified patients by a primary caregiver (now they need to figure who is a primary caregiver).

To deny  delivery is “cruel and unusual punishment.” Isn’t that against the constitution? Hopefully the Ventura City Council will revisit this in the future and will allow delivery.

In fact, the entire opposition to marijuana bothers me. The harmful effects that marijuana has on society do not begin to compare to those of alcohol.

•   Have I mentioned that I hate the California Coastal Commission? I voted in favor of their creation years ago thinking that their job would be to provide assurances of beach and to protect our beaches and oceans. Their “concerns” have gone so much further than that charter. I think they interfere with the rights of citizens and cities to make decisions regarding projects that have absolutely nothing at all to do with the coast.

•   Since its original construction in 1872, the Ventura Pier has been a popular attraction in the County. In December, the Ventura Pier sustained extensive damage caused by 20-foot high surf.

The John S. Meek, Inc. cost proposal to repair the Pier is $1,173,990 and is based on the existing contract’s schedule of compensation. The Option to Extend the contract for good performance  has been executed by the City Council and the current term of the agreement will expire June 30, 2016. The Council felt that it is in the best interest of the City to negotiate an extension without competitive bidding based upon satisfactory performance by Meek and their emergency response during this year’s El Nino. The council felt that the negotiated prices are fair and reasonable.

It is anticipated all repair and maintenance work will be completed by the end of February at which time the Pier can be reopened to the public. We shall see.

The Ventura Pier has Wave Wash Property Insurance with a $100,000 deductible per event. Staff met with the insurance adjuster to inspect the damage to the Pier, and the City was authorized to proceed with the stabilization and repairs. It is anticipated that the Wave Wash insurance will cover the entire costs of the emergency repairs, less the deductible.

•   The newly remodeled NOW Ventura Italian and Seafood Restaurant is open at 185 Santa Clara St. This site has been the location of several restaurants over the years. Breezy Gledhill, our senior account exec, and I recently had dinner there. The food, service and ambiance were excellent. The owners did a wonderful job of remodeling the interior which includes a lovely outdoor patio and a large room that can be used for special events.

•   Under the Charter adopted by the citizens of Ventura in 1934, the City Manager is “the administrative head of the City government . . . responsible to the City Council for the administration of all City affairs” including hiring and firing department heads, preparing the annual budget and ensuring the effective implementation of the City Council’s policies and priorities. The City Manager advises Council on strategic direction for the City and responding to changing community needs. The City Manager is hired (and fired) by the City Council. Most of all, the City Manager provides overall organizational leadership to ensure the effective daily delivery of services, projects and programs, guided by the City’s 2005 General Plan.” In other words Mark Watkins is the boss. His compensation is in keeping with other city managers in Ventura County. I think that he is an excellent city manager.

Moorpark                                            $261,000
Thousand Oaks                                 $261,000
Camarillo                                             $255,000
Ventura                                               $228,000
Simi Valley                                          $227,000
Ojai                                                        $193,000
Fillmore                                                $187,000
Santa Paula                                         $183,000

•   You will be happy to know you can now sing “Happy Birthday to You” without feeling guilty because, now, you don’t have to pay royalties. Judge George King recently ruled that none of the companies that have been collecting royalties for the last 80 years were entitled to do so.

•   There is not an updated status regarding the proposed opening of the full nude “gentleman’s club” planned by Hala Enterprises LLC. Since the City Council set rigid conditions for this proposed use, the applicant has not contacted the city departments required to proceed with the project.

I don’t know if Hala felt that the conditions were too difficult to make the business profitable, just changed their mind or have just not submitted the required documentations yet to the City.

•   We are not the only city with financial problems. In order to have sufficient funds to repair infrastructure, Thousand Oaks is considering selling city property, increasing city fees, and sales tax by a half cent along with other measures (these actions would generate $14 million but need voter’s approval). Venturans may be asked to approve a sales tax increase in November.

•   For whatever reason, 2015 was Earth’s hottest year on record and it appears that this trend will continue in 2016. If it does, this will be the first time that this trend has continued for 3 straight years.

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