Vol. 10, No. 18 – June 7 – June 20, 2017 – Opinion/Editorial

Pokemon Should Go. Photo by George Robertson

•  Recently, Venturan’s were surprised when California St. was closed for the day between Poli and Main, for what appeared to be a private party. They were even more surprised when they found out that it was due to filming an ad for Pokemon Go. There was little warning that the streets would be closed for the day. There should be much more warming when this type of thing occurs. Phone calls, emails, use of Nextdoor.com, etc., etc.

From the City – “Commercial for Pokemon Go, talent playing hand held video game in the street.  California Street will be a scene of a street type fair with a small stage for background.  Production assistants will be a various locations to assist with traffic/pedestrian control while the Drone is in the air. A drone will be tracking shots, camera on sticks and hand held cameras used.”

Either the City or PokemonGo should have done something  to show Venturan’s that they care about us.

I figured that the saving grace is that the filmmakers were charged a lot of money for this inconvenience. But, turns out, the amount was shockingly low.

The fees were basically about $410 if you subtract fire, police  and parking fees reimbursements.

$50.00                   Film Permit Application

$300.00                 Film Permit

$496.00                 Fire Inspection (4hrs/ x $124/hr)

$6204.00              Police (2 officers @$94/hr ea. X 13hrs)

$60.00                   Staff Administration

$4,397.75              Parking

$11,507.75           Total

•  The Ventura Auto Center is in the final stages of their expansion application. The proposed improvements include widening of the freeway frontage road and extending Olivas Park Drive to connect to Johnson Drive – plus enhanced signage and many other improvements.

There is some concern about proposals for a new large sign as part of the Ventura Auto Center Specific Plan that will be appearing before the Planning Commission on June 14. The meeting will start at 6pm in the City Hall Council Chambers. You can attend the meeting and express your thoughts, good or bad.

The new illuminated “freeway sign” will stand 82’ high. The large sign will also need to have the approval of the Design Review Committee, so there will be several opportunities to express concerns if you have any. The design of the smaller dealer signs are dictated by the auto manufacturers.

After the Planning Commission approves the Specific Plan it will go to the City Council for final adoption – possibly in July.

Debbie Fox, owner of Fox Fine Jewelry stated,  “the Auto Center is getting a long overdue makeover and Venturans will benefit with increased sales tax dollars. This is a great opportunity, but there needs to be a balance between increased taxes, and sight and light pollution from the signage.”

If you are interested in seeing what changes are in the plan, visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov “Public Meetings,” scroll down to Planning Commission and select June 14 Item 3.

The City Council has set the Auto Center’s future as a high priority. Let’s face it, the Auto Center is looking rather old and worn out. I agree that the Center really needs sprucing up and it is important to Ventura because of the large amount of taxes it pays and the amount of people it brings into Ventura from other cities. I also think the extension of Olivas to Johnson is a wonderful idea.

Part of the approval is that there cannot be car lots that just sell used cars, used cars must be part of the selling of new autos.

•  Congratulations to our former Superintendent of Ventura schools, Dr. Trudy Tuttle Arriaga, who has been selected as Professor of Education of the year at California Lutheran University. She will receive the honor from the Association of California School Administrators. Trudy has been teaching at CLU for almost 10 years and became a full time teacher after she retired from Ventura in 2015. Recently, her replacement as Superintendent, Dr. Babb, was “dismissed” by the school board.

•  Another proposed project that has been many years in the making has come to an end. Anastasi Development Co. LLC is in the process of selling the large property that it owns at Seaward and Harbor Blvd.

After years of public input and city review, officials approved plans in 2010 for 138 condominiums with some retail space. Later on Anastasi reduced the units to 86 town homes.

As usual in such cases, Anastasi is blaming the City for delays in their decision to sell the property. City says that they just never listened to its concerns so Anatasi never submitted plans that would obtain approvals.

It’s unfortunate that once again a piece of property that has been vacant for many years will sit for many, many more .

Hopefully, the future property owner’s will want to develop condominiums there. I think that there is a great need for more condominiums in Ventura as the cost of single family residences just keep rising.

•  It’s sad that Ventura keeps losing some of its ionic businesses due to various factors. Included are Tipps Thai, TLC and Avenue Hardware.

•  I want to thank the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging for giving the Ventura Breeze their 2017 Optimal Aging Champion Award Age-Friendly Media Award. (see article in this issue). It means a lot to all of us at the Breeze to be recognized for all of the effort that we put in celebrating and educating our senor population (people like me).

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