Vol. 9, No. 10 – February 17 – March 2, 2016 – Opinion/Editorial

•  Congratulations to Ventura Breeze Senior Account Executive Breezy Gledhill who is celebrating her 6-year anniversary with us. I knew she’d be a wonderful addition when she told me that her nickname has been “Breezy” her entire life. I didn’t make her change it as some have thought.

•  This November’s elections is shaping up to be a very busy one for Ventura voters; if all of things in the works end up on the ballot. National elections of course, revisions to our city charter, a possible sales tax increase and voting for three city council members.

There are many charter revisions that have been suggested to our city council for consideration by a Charter Review Committee. Selected by the council, a group of concerned Ventura residents spent more than a year studying various options for changing the way our government operates. The council has voted to have city staff draft language for a charter initiative that could appear on the November ballot.

The council can’t directly alter the charter, but can bring proposed changes to the electorate for a vote.

There are too many revisions to consider at one time, so only some of them will be included on the ballot.

They may consist of:

  1. City Council members have received the same monthly pay for the last 30 years. $600 plus an additional $100 for the mayor.

The Committee recommends raising the pay of council members from $600 to $1,200 and the mayor from $700 to $1,500 with automatic increases tied to an as-of-yet undetermined index.

The council has concerns about including a pay increase on the ballot at the same time a sales tax increase may be proposed. I think that an increase in their compensation is long overdue. Altruism is nice, but a dedicated council member puts in at least 30-hours of work per week.

  1. Eliminating the current at large voting system to be replaced by designated council districts. I am in favor of this but think that there should be four members from specific districts and three at large members that represent the entire city. Our city attorney would need to be very involved in this because lawsuits under the California Voting Rights Act have occurred in other cities. Cities with significant minority populations that lack proper council representation have proved especially vulnerable.

Ventura has a large Latino population and the council members are all non-Hispanic whites.

  1. A law limiting council members to three consecutive terms, followed by a four-year break before being able to run again. I am very much in favor of this. New blood brings new ideas.

Other amendments discussed would be to hold a direct election for our Mayor. Currently, our Mayor is selected by other council members from a sitting council member.  I’m sure that this proposed revision will not be considered by the council as they feel that the current system has served Ventura well. I agree with them.

The City staff will return with a final proposed list to be considered by the council to be voted on by Venturans.

•  Speaking of the presidential election, if a Democrat wins, the new president would be either our first female President or first Jewish President.

•  Cities in California have been hastily passing new marijuana ordinances. The State had mistakenly passed legislation that set a March 1 deadline for cities to either adopt their own regulations or comply with new state regulations that may have been more lenient than cities would have wanted. To rectify this, Governor Brown has given cities more time to develop their local regulations on the commercial selling and distribution of medical marijuana.

Included in the regulations, and approved by the City Council, was to disallow the delivery of medical marijuana in Ventura.  I am opposed to this (as were some City Council members), and I hope that they will revisit this restriction. In addition to being unfair, it is just not enforceable by our police department and would be a waste of their time.

•  I’m disappointed that on First Fridays (when our many art galleries hold open houses) the only WAV (Working Artists Ventura) studio open is that of St. Pierre. During the last First Friday, a young lady, Marianne Turner, walked in with a guitar and was asked to play. She gave a wonderful short concert, and St. Pierre also played.

•  This was one of the funniest real estate ad I’ve seen (was in a local paper). Below a photo of a kitchen it stated, “Kitchen includes a basic set of appliances including refrigerator and stove.” Wow, I’m sure people are lining up to buy a house that includes a refrigerator and a stove in the kitchen. It didn’t say anything about a sink, so I hope that’s included as well.

•  Recently, the Ventura Police Department made a presentation to the City Council regarding gang membership in Ventura. This raised concerns from many people who didn’t realize that we had so much gang activity here. The presentation might have made gang activity seem worse than it actually is, so in a future issue we will include an article from the VPD discussing this situation.

•  I have always been against vaping and assumed that it would be a gateway drug to cigarette smoking. New studies show that I was correct. Teens who said that they have “Vaped” are far more likely to try regular cigarettes than those that didn’t.

•  I have always wondered why fast food restaurants (other than Wienerschnitzel) don’t sell hotdogs. That will soon change, as Burger King will begin selling them. I’m sure if they are successful other fast food outlets will also give it a try.

 

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