• Mayor Neal Andrews, who has been struggling with health problems, seems to be doing much better. He recently presented his State of the City message and looked good. Poor guy finally becomes mayor and then he has to deal with the aftermath of the fire.
•I know that some people are not happy with FEMA, but consider this. If not for FEMA, Ventura would have a serious financial crisis on its hands (even with Measure O).
Thomas Fire costs:
- Estimated cost to Ventura: $67 million
- FEMA reimbursement: $46 million
- CDAA reimbursement: $4 million
- Insurance reimbursement: $12 million
- Estimated to be paid out of pocket by city: $5 million
• We had a 5.3 earthquake off of our coast last Thursday and I didn’t even feel it. Savana the cat sure did – she went bonkers running around the house. The quake was the strongest in Southern California in many years, but caused no major damage and was not strong enough to create a tsunami. It did cause some minor slides on Santa Cruz Island.
• After the retirement of Mark Watkins, the city is looking to hire a new city manager. Assistant City Manager Dan Paranick is serving the role currently. I don’t know the inner workings of our government but as an outsider he seems to be doing an excellent job. I hope that he is being considered for the permanent position.
Our new Ventura Water General Manager Kevin Brown assumed his position just weeks prior to the Thomas Fire. He has had to deal with the many questions of why there was not sufficient water to fight the fires. I stood with firefighters watching homes burn down to the ground (still in my mind).
The Breeze has been trying to find out why there was not adequate water but we haven’t been able to obtain answers yet. I also would like to find out what is being done so we have adequate water during the next fire.
• Like all of you, I look forward to seeing if our new system of voting for city council members by district serves us well. I’m not convinced it will but will save my final judgement until after the next council election (and even before, perhaps, after seeing who runs).
• A sharp spike in vaping and the use of e-cigarettes by students has grabbed the attention of the US Food and Drug Administration. It cited a 900% increase in e-cigarette use by high school students from 2011 to 2015, and the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey noted that 1.7 million high school students said they had used e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days. A gateway drug, I think so?
•I saw on the news that a U.S. general explained that we have ISIS on the one-yard line and will soon push them into the end zone. If you don’t know football, that is called a “safety” and is good for 2 points. So when that happens will be leading 2-0, well on our way to victory.
• Ventura School Superintendent David Creswell has mandated that the Ventura Unified School District provides ethnic studies classes for all students in the coming years (with some being offered very soon). This was partially based upon Balboa Middle School (and the district) coming under attack after much bullying at the school which appeared to be racially motivated. The principal of the school was replaced.
A steering committee for ethnic and social justice studies was formed earlier this year. Members of the committee recently gave a presentation to the school board explaining their goals, and what they have accomplished so far. I think this a very good idea. Bullying of any sort remains a problem in our schools.
•A sustainable shellfish farming operation could be coming to Ventura. The Ventura Shellfish Enterprise has been in the works since 2015 to farm mussels in the federal waters off our coast. It would provide fresh, locally caught mussels and create hundreds of local jobs. The project could start within two to three years. I don’t know anything about shellfish farming, but if it brings new jobs to Ventura it sounds good to me.
•The City Council has weighed in on the national discussion on gun ownership and legislation.
City Council members Cheryl Heitmann, Matt La-Vere and Erik Nasarenko asked the council to consider a policy request designed to make it harder to own a gun. The council approved calling for stronger gun legislation. Even though this action does not have a legal ramification, it’s nice that they took a stand.
Roughly two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides and they have been increasing each year. I doubt people buy a guns with the idea that one day they will kill themselves, or a family member.
I know that “people kill people” and not guns, but it sure is easier to kill a whole bunch of people with an AK-15 Assault Rifle as compared to a knife.
•Days after Delta Air Lines announced it would stop offering discounted fares to National Rifle Association members, a top Georgia Republican retaliated, vowing to kill legislation that would hand the airline a lucrative tax break.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (R) demanded that Atlanta-based Delta, one of the state’s largest employers, make a choice: Stop punishing the NRA, or watch Republican lawmakers strike down a $50 million sales tax exemption on jet fuel, of which Delta would be the primary beneficiary.
This really bothers me. Not because it is the NRA, but because states should not get involved in this type of activity. If Delta Air Lines announced it would stop offering discounted fares to employees of McDonald’s would Georgia Republicans retaliate and stop eating them?
•And, last but not least, it’s been one year since my beloved canine friend, Scamp, went to doggie heaven. If dogs don’t go to people heaven, then I’m not going. Actually, I don’t believe in heaven anyway so don’t need to worry about it. I miss the little guy every day. It’s little things such as dropping crumbs while eating. The little guy loved to “clean up” now I need to.