• On our cover is an article about the firing of Ventura Unified School District head Dr. Babb. I had one occasion to meet him when I contacted him after his hiring and we met in his office at the school district HQ.
We had a nice conversation and I told him of several articles that I would like written about the VUSD for the Ventura Breeze. He was very receptive and even had several of his own that he wanted to write about, and he even wrote them all down. We came up with a nice list.
I never heard from him again.
• The all new CAPS Media radio station, KPPQ-LP, has officially launched and is live 24- hours a day at 104.1 FM. Even though it is a low-powered signal (3.5 mile radius), the channel is being heard in a larger area and being picked up in Pt. Hueneme and other areas outside of Ventura.
Breeze music writer Pam Baumgardner (venturarocks.com) is hosting her own show – a one-hour mostly local music show on Tuesdays from 5-6 pm. The show is also being rebroadcast as the station fills in their scheduling.
I might also have an upcoming show – I will keep you posted.
It’s a really good station to listen to all of the time with programming from many other FM affiliates and great National Public Radio (NPR) programming.
• The U.S. and North Korea are on a collision course towards nuclear war and our President is worried that Obama might be listening to his phone calls.
• The City is taking action to provide housing for the homeless. This would include supportive services (such as mental health), which are as important as the housing need.
At their March 8 meeting, the Planning Commission approved (by a 6-1 vote) a code amendment that would create a zoning overlay district (Emergency Shelter Overlay District) that will provide a location where emergency shelters (for the homeless and their pets), with full supportive services, which can be established with a Conditional Use Permit (CUP).
The Planning Division determined that there is no substantial evidence that the proposed sites would have a significant adverse effect on the environment, and that a negative declaration (ND) may be adopted.
At the meeting, Cappi Patterson spoke on behalf of the Buddy Nation (supporting dogs of the homeless) encouraging the Commission to also allow pets at the shelters. Many supporters of Buddy Nation were in attendance.
At the March 20 City Council meeting, the Council will consider adopting the Commission’s recommendations.
Of course this is really the simple part, the difficult part will be finding a developer (non-profit?) that would build and support the shelters.
We are certainly not the only city with a homeless population. Venice is taking steps to house some of their homeless. A proposed homeless housing development will have 68 units and some retail shops that would serve as job training sites (very important).
Supportive services would be provided by four full-time case managers.
This is similar to finding a developer to build housing for veterans and their services. But, in many ways, much more difficult.
Speaking of veteran support, the city owns a 9.6-acre parcel in East Ventura – located next to the existing Veterans Home of California on Telephone Road. This property is being considered for Veteran housing.
The timing is critical so that the project might be provided with Proposition 41 funding that was passed by voters in 2014. It sets aside $600 million for multi-family housing for veterans, with at least half of that going to those with very low incomes. The funding only lasts a few years and because the city has the available land adjacent to veteran services, this might help the project’s chances of receiving State funds.
Requests for qualification to be the project’s developer have been submitted to the City and are due by March 22. A few companies will be selected to be part of official proposal process selection during a public hearing scheduled for as early as May. Developers with experience managing veterans housing and services will be preferred.
Veteran’s shouldn’t get too excited about moving in yet it would be at least 3-years before any activity would start on the site.
• Continue to watch your consumption of water. Even though Lake Casitas (one of our three water supplies) is about 40% full, so we are still in drought. All of the current rain we have experienced is still not enough to get us out of our drought. It seemed like a huge amount of rain, but is still just a little over an average year of rainfall here, and we have had five years of drought. And, it seems that our rain season is coming to an end.
• The killing of animals for their ivory tusks is incredibly cruel and unnecessary. Of course, killing animals for their meat is still somewhat cruel but perhaps necessary for survival.
The solution to this is being implemented in LA County where ivory worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have been seized from shops selling them in the County. Existing laws do ban the sale of this material.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife agents are enforcing the laws. A small step, but one that would stop such sales if retail stores that purchase ivory goods lose all of their product.
• From the LA Times: “The nation’s pediatricians are pushing back against parents who resist having their children vaccinated against a broad range of dangerous diseases by calling on states to stop offering waivers to those with non-medical objections to the practice.”
I certainly agree. As an example, polio, which was basically wiped out, is making a comeback in some third world countries because polio vaccination workers are being killed by ignorant groups that think that this is a Western plot to eliminate them.
• At the March 13 City Council meeting City Manager Mark Watkins announced the Ventura Water General Manager has resigned and will be leaving her position in 4 weeks. Perhaps in the next issue we will have further information regarding this.