• With this issue, we have included statements from five (one was in last issue) of the ten City Council candidates. Hopefully we will be able to include statements from all candidates by election time. Please read them carefully, and if you can’t attend the forums being held you can find them on CAPSTV.
Speaking of the elections, the California voter’s information guide is more than 215 pages long, most of which covers the 17 propositions. I’m not a big fan of the initiative process
(an initiative is a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote, sometimes called a plebiscite). I have a problem with the process because there are always a few absurd items that voters get to decide.
For instance, #60 “Adult Films. Condoms. Health Requirements” should be regulated by the industry not by a vote of the people. I think the initiative process should make it more difficult to place propositions on the ballot.
• The closing of ITT Technical schools makes the closing of Brooks seems like nothing. ITT’s closing left almost 40,000 students and 8,000 employees stranded. This certainly doesn’t make those affected by Brook’s closing any less tolerable, but it does appear that “for profit” schools such as ITT are on their way out.
• The construction of the new Community Memorial Hospital just keeps going on and on but at least the new 570 space parking structure is finished and had a ribbon cutting ceremony recently (see article in this issue). CMH’s scheduled completion is now set for next summer some six years after groundbreaking and about two years past the original completion date. A new driving entrance to the hospital will be available off of Main St.
The usual excuses of why it has been delayed almost two years (we only hope two years) have been made. It will take another several months after construction is completed for training, hiring, obtaining many approvals and making sure all of the new very sophisticated equipment works correctly.
In the meantime, businesses in the area are getting killed by the loss of customers due to lack of parking, noise and other distractions. Perhaps the new parking structure will solve some of their problems.
Of course, once completed it will be great for these businesses if they can remain open until then. Yolanda’s Mexican Café is going through a major remodeling and will now be completed before the hospital.
• I’m sorry to find out that the annual Ventura Kinetic Sculpture Race “where art and engineering collide” won’t be held this year. It was a fun and entertaining event that was well attended. And, it included a fundraiser for a worthy cause – the Turning Point Foundation.
The race, located at the Harbor, involved “bicycles” using people power to traverse over water, mud and sand. Over the years the number of participating vehicles has been dwindling. And, most participants came from out-of-town. A large amount of work and effort to build and ride the vehicles certainly reduced the number of entrants.
Since the race just wasn’t a very big moneymaker for Turning Point, the benefit to them didn’t justify the effort needed to make it happen.
Hopefully some donors will help bring the race/event back next year.
• The City Council did the right thing by taking back four acres in East Ventura that had originally been planned for Veteran support services .The property had been given over for another use. One of the motivations is that the City wants to get Proposition 41 funding which provides funds for housing and services for homeless veterans. The City will be looking for an affordable housing developer to build low-income housing for our homeless veterans (see, all developers aren’t “evil”).
• I am really confused by constant (at least it seems like) revisions that the City makes to zoning standards and to the General Plan. Which are often, by the way, in conflict with each other. It almost seems like there is a strategy of “let’s try this and if that doesn’t work let’s try something else.” A revolving door process.
A perfect example is Victoria Ave.
Victoria was planned to be a pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare but it never really turned out that way and never would have been. The only place that pedestrians walk is downtown (I don’t consider folks in the Harbor to be pedestrians).
Victoria is the only street that can be driven from one end (Foothill) of Ventura all the way to the beach, so it will always remain a busy auto thoroughfare.
Because of this, the Ventura City Council has voted to change the zoning there to allow greater types of development in parts of the “Victoria corridor”.
The 7-0 vote means that zoning changes will allow one-story buildings, which were allowed at one time (with a Conditional Use Permit – CUP) and drive-thru businesses. I can’t imagine why one-story buildings weren’t recently allowed.
City Councilmember Christy Weir was concerned that making the change would result in generic, cookie-cutter projects, but isn’t that what our Design Review Committee (and Planning) is there for – to prevent poor design? She was happy, though, that a CUP is required. I would be happy if the DRC (and Planning) did their job.