Vol. 10, No. 14 – April 12 – April 25, 2017 – Opinion/Editorial

•  I have been asked why we didn’t include April fool gags in our last issue like we’ve done in past years’ issues (that has gotten me in so much trouble).

Because Scamp announced that he is very sick and won’t be with us for much longer, I didn’t want readers to think that this might be a joke, so nothing funny out of respect for him.

Regarding Scamp (read his article), he is still with us. This has been a transition time for Diane and I. He is kind of here and kind of not here. He’s not sitting next to us any longer when we eat so kind of getting used to him not being here. I said “kind of,” but it isn’t going to make it any easier.

If he would just start eating, he might get some of his strength back.

Ventura Mayor Erik Nasarenko was my first guest on radio station KPPQFM.

•  On my new radio show on KPPQ-LP 104.1FM, I have interviewed Mayor Erik Nasarenko and Ventura Police Chief Ken Corney. The show airs on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday (hopefully) at 10am. You can still hear my interview with Erik on Saturday at 10am. Try to listen and give me your feedback (good and bad) and suggestions for future guests.

•  In referring to an article in the LA Times about the homeless in Pomona, our Ventura City Community Development Manager Peter Brown stated, “Which once again shows that our homeless population is not unique or even worse than other cities.”

“A couple of really interesting articles in the Times the last couple days. Pomona could be replaced with Ventura” because this article is 100% in line with what’s happening here (like it or not), because it’s all about balancing the needs of all community members.”

Pomona has taken a different approach though. Officials agreed after months of soul-searching on a comprehensive strategy that gives as much weight to enforcement as assistance. And the city is moving swiftly to remove an obstacle to that enforcement – its failure to offer people living on its streets a place to sleep or store their belongings.

Pomona has built nearly 400 steel lockers, one for every “unsheltered” homeless  person in the city . Officials then approved a comprehensive plan, as well as $1.7 million to buy land for a temporary shelter with 175 beds.

To compare us to Pomona, there is one homeless per 219 residents in their city and in Ventura it is one per 275 residents, so they have us beat. And where would you rather live, here or Pomona?

There is always the concern that if our services for the homeless are more comprehensive than other local cities that we will become a magnet for the homeless. This indeed might be a reality, so it is very important that other local communities provide their share of homeless services.

Some living in Pomona argue that the city’s generosity has prompted neighboring towns to send their homeless people to services in Pomona.

Hopefully, the recently approved overlay districts that will allow homeless facilities to be created will greatly help the situation – that is, if developers can be located to provide the facilities.

•  I recently attended “Live at The Fillmore” – the top Allman Brothers tribute band – at Discovery Ventura. To be honest, my music tastes are rather specific (always have been) to jazz and classics so really don’t know what the original Allman Brothers band sounded like. So, I don’t know if the band sounded like them, but they were good (I think) and had two full drummers which I had never seen before.

A great evening, and, because the food there is excellent, I ate while listening to the music. You can eat in the restaurant, the bar, while bowling or on the patio and hear the music anywhere. If you haven’t checked it out, go have a drink and take a look. And you’re not drunk if you see the bowling pins floating in the air.

•  The cigarette tax rate has increased from $0.87 to $2.87 per pack of 20 cigarettes. I have never smoked, but I really oppose this. If this is a way to get folks to stop smoking then raise the cost of a pint of gin to $50 to get people to stop drinking. If it is intended that the additional money will be used for research and anti-smoking campaigns it might not happen. Additional revenue monies never seem to be used for what they were intended for. Look at the zillions of dollars being collected by lottery and building fees for our schools and yet our schools are always short of money.

•  The amount of applicants who want to serve on the Measure O sales tax oversight committee have overwhelmed the city. It seems that how the new taxpayer money is spent has great interest to Venturans. About 70 applications have been received from those wanting to serve on the seven member board for either a four or three year term.

The tax is expected to generate nearly 11 million in 2017-18 and will last for 25 years.

Three members of the City Council serve on the Appointments Recommendation Committee. Neal Andrews, Christy Weir and Matt La Vere. It will be a monumental task for them to select seven from this large amount of applicants. Hopefully they will be selected in time to provide guidance for our next budget.

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