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Vol. 8, No. 15 – April 29–May 12, 2015 – Opinion/Editorial

SheldonPic• I am very concerned about what Ventura will look like as a result of people not watering their lawns. I have already seen streets where there are 4-6 homes in a row whose front yards are now dirt and weeds. And shortly, it is likely these residents will be parking cars and trucks on their front lawns as well.
I know that we must save water, but properly maintained grass can be watered per Ventura’s restrictions and still look pretty good (better than dirt).
I think that there are folks who just don’t care what their houses look like and will use this as an excuse to let their landscaping die.
I’m not too sure if residents cutting back 20-30% on water use will make much of a difference anyway, as this amounts to about 3% of the water used in California.
• Hate to see Scott Miller retire (see cover article) as our Harbor Master. He did a great job and always sent us the Harbor blotter information. Look forward to working with the new Harbor Master who will be chosen from current Harbor employees. I like that we’re staying within Ventura’s ranks.
• Ventura will soon have another beer brewery doing business (becoming the brew capital of the world). Topa Topa Brewing Co. will be opening on west Thompson. Stopped in and met one of the owners. The stainless steel equipment is gorgeous. They equipment is made in Brazil and installers came from Brazil as well. After they open, it’s worth going there to just see the facility. That is what I’ll be doing because I don’t drink beer.
• The Breeze had booths at the Family Fest at the Mall, Paint Ventura and at Eco Fest (until the wind tried to blow all of the vendors out to sea). Met a lot of nice people. We will be at the Museum on May 3rd at a boutique event. Event is free and it is free admission Sunday to the Museum. So Stop by to say hi.
•From the LA Times: “The use of electronic cigarettes by high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014 a surprising boom that threatens to wipe out hard won gains in the fight against teen smoking, a new government report says.”
The good news is that 4 people stopped smoking because of e-cigarettes. If you read my column (who doesn’t?) you know that I have been opposed to them from day one (there goes our potential vape advertisers).
The City Council will be adding e-cigarettes to our smoking standards by amending Chapter 8.350 of the San Buenaventura Municipal Code, “Smoking Regulations.” This will specify e-cigarettes as prohibited in all areas where smoking is not allowed, and to increase areas where
smoking is not permitted.
This should be adopted by the Council at their meeting on May 11.
• Too bad Sarah Palin isn’t running for president. Russian aircraft have been flying very close to Alaska, and she might be able to see them which would greatly expand her knowledge of U. S. foreign policy.
• Downtown Los Angeles and thirteen other Southern California cities have had their hottest March since record keeping started in 1877. We all know that this is cyclical and in 2153 March will probably be cooler.
• Who would think a species of tiny hands can change the ecology of our Santa Cruz Islands. The Argentine ants are spreading on the island and could cause damage to the natural ecology by eliminating all of the other ant species. Ways to eliminate these ants are being studied (perhaps putting ant-eaters on the Island would help, but how would they determine the good ants from the bad ants? The ones in my kitchen are always bad.
• Even before Governor Jerry Brown ordered mandatory water restrictions, the General Services Agency for the County of Ventura was dramatically reducing the amount of water used at county-maintained facilities and parks.
Less than 6% of the County’s parkland – including the three golf courses – is irrigated. Where irrigation does exist, the grounds are primarily watered with reclaimed or recycled water. This has led to a significant savings of water usage.
• As bothersome as email hackers are, I recently received a message from a dead relative – this was extremely disturbing (unless they have Wi-Fi in heaven).
•The company that recently bought Carrow’s and Coco’s restaurants has closed several of the stores including the Coco’s located on Telegraph. We will continue to place a few papers in the rack located there for the time being for those who are used to grabbing a copy there.
• To the loud applause of those attending a recent City Council meeting, the City Council has approved a long term lease, and the rezoning, for the property that will become the Ventura Botanical Gardens. Contrary to the normal protocol, Mayor Heitmann allowed the audience to go ahead and clap, (she likely couldn’t have stopped them anyway). Hiking the trail at the future site continues to be popular. Just park at the upper lot above City Hall and you’ll see the trail head.
• In another City Council action, the Council directed the finance department to come back to them with information on how much revenue would be generated with a sales tax increase of one-half cent or one-cent . Ventura voters turned down such an increase the last time it was on the ballot.
•The Ventura Unified School district’s headquarters will be renamed (does it have a name now?) in honor of retiring Superintendent Dr. Trudy Tuttle Arriaga. The building will now be the Trudy Tuttle Arriaga Education Service Center, though I’m sure will still be referred to as the school district site. She is retiring after 14-years as Superintendent.
• Before you start feeling badly about oil companies (because gas prices are low again), Royal Dutch Shell has offered to buy BG Group for $70 billion dollars.

Tortilla Flats memory still alive

stuff-tortilla-flats-smJim Capito, Barney Quijada, Alicia Valenzuela Tarin, Esther Hanks, Sheli Ellsworth, Carlos Chapman, Jim Martinez and Benny Arrelanez met at the Bell Arts Factory.

By Sheli Ellsworth

The Tortilla Flats district in Ventura may be relegated to the annals of history since the construction of the Highway 101 overpass, but its soul lives on in the memories of former Tortilla Flats residents. To the Tortilla Flats Committee of 8-10 people who meet every other Saturday, the area is still very much a part of their lives.

The Flats economy was dependent on the Las Palmas Chili factory. “Everyone did time peeling chilies,” according to Jim Capito who had relatives in the Flats. “They brought in gunny sacks full of chilies and dumped them on tables.  They paid 1½¢ per pound for peeling and removing the stems.” Esther Hanks says the factory was one of first commercial businesses in the area. “After school, children of the workers would drop buy the factory, peel a few chilies and go outside and play. After you handle the chilies you want to be real careful where you put your hands—especially when you go to the bathroom—it’s not the kind of pain you forget!” says Benny Arrellanes.

“Life was simpler then,” says Alicia Valenzuela Tarin. “We bathed in a metal tub in the kitchen. Everyone used the same water. We girls crossed the train tracks and went to the beach for fun.” There was the Mission Theatre on Figueroa St. where Chinatown was located. If you went on Bank Night there was a lottery that awarded money and prizes. It only cost 10-12¢ and the movie always opened with a Porky Pig, Donald Duck or Woody Woodpecker cartoon. “We saw Buck Jones, Tom Mix, and Hoot Gibson. Westerns were popular. I remember seeing The Mummy’s Hand, said Benny Quijada. Unlike modern kids, Flats’ kids were easily satisfied. “We would put coins on the tracks and wait for the Steamer Daylight to turn them into arrowheads. We would get cardboard boxes and ride them down the hill on Poli street,” the members say.

Everyone had a radio. “I remember sitting in front of a Philco Radio waiting for the electric humming to turn into the Inner Sanctum, Sky King or The Shadow,” says Jim Martinez.

“Our underwear was made out of La Piña baking flour sacks. “My mom sewed them on a treadle sewing machine in 1931,” said Alicia Valenzuela Tarin. Chase Brothers delivered milk from the Willoughby Dairy along with eggs and butter. “Helm’s Bakery delivered Wonder bread, éclairs and bear claws even though almost everyone make their own tortillas,” according to Jim Martinez.

In the 1940s Victory Gardens became popular. There were a lot of small gardens where residents grew their own corn, tomatoes and green beans.  Cactus pads called nopales were also popular. “Everyone shared what they had,” the members agreed. Many of the residents worked picking citrus, walnuts, apricots and strawberries. The local grocery store, Benny’s, was happy to charge groceries for local residents. No one went hungry.

A stretch of King’s Highway, eventually incorporated into the 101, was particularly slippery. The produce trucks would spill their contents there and the place became a hangout known as Salad Bowl Curve. In the 1930s a cattle truck turned over and cattle were wondering around everywhere. Even the liquor trucks were known to spill.

Everyone rode bicycles on the primitive asphalt and dirt roads.  Many of the bikes were assembled from spare parts found at the city dump which was a good place to treasure hunt when residents had to empty their 55-gallon trash cans full of burned garbage. The yards were small and there were no curbs or gutters. Flats’ residents were inclined to use every inch of the properties. Cookouts and outdoor parties were common. Many guests were ranch hands who came to the area on the weekends and longshoremen who were home for a few days. Musicians like George Pacheco, Tony Flores and the Rodriguez Brothers entertained.

Look for more about Tortilla Flats in upcoming Breeze issues.

Two local journalists just launched their book project on Kickstarter

Mira Reverente has been a staff writer of the Ventura Breeze since 2009, covering the local business, sports and non-profit beats. She is also the associate editor of the Conejo Valley Happening Mag, a local all-digital mag.

“Suddenly Single Women’s Guide to Finances,” is Mira’s first book. “The material for this book came at the right moment. Post-divorce, I was running into women who were going through emotional and financial hardships like me – jugging children, bills and jobs,” said the mom of two. “Their experiences coupled with advice from financial experts inspired me to put this book together, in order to help women who are going through the same ordeal or help prevent it from happening to others.”

Mira teamed up with Tracy Marcynzsyn, a former co-worker, fellow local journalist and author of, Firefly and Return to Paradise. Tracy also writes and edits for a variety of publications and people, helping perfect their writings for publishing. Like Mira, Tracy has also been in search of sound financial advice post-relationship break-up.

Kickstarter, the crowd-funding web site has been a popular pick among book authors, artists, inventors and techies who need that extra boost from the public to get their independent projects off the launching pad. The campaign is all-or-nothing – project creators cannot keep any of the funds raised, unless they reach 100 perfect of their funding goals.

For more info or to make a pledge before May 10th, go to

16th Annual Phoenix Scholarship Ceremony

by Victoria Usher

On Thursday April 16th there was a truly inspiring event that took place at Ventura College in the school’s Wright Event Center.This event was the 16th Annual Phoenix Scholarship Ceremony where 28 re-entry students who have chosen to return to Ventura College to finish their education were not only congratulated but they were also given a $1,000 Phoenix Scholarship from the Ventura College Foundation. These 28 adult re-entry students were all individually picked to receive this specific scholarship because of their future goals, because of their financial need, but above all else because each and every one of them have learned to overcome their own difficult circumstances in order to be able to pursue their studies at Ventura College. During the ceremony each of the students had an opportunity to share their stories about how these scholarships have truly helped them to face their own personal challenges and be able to pursue their education.


When the Ventura College Foundation’s board of directors learned about the special needs of Ventura College re-entry students that’s when they established this scholarship in 1999. The Foundation’s staff and board of directors also hosted the scholarship ceremony on April 16th.

Stan Weisel sponsored the event this year. Weisel is a Ventura resident and founder of the Stan Weisel Endowed Scholarships; he has also pledged to sponsor this specific event for the rest of his life.

The students that received awards at this ceremony are from many different areas of Ventura.

The Ventura College Foundation has created something truly wonderful with this scholarship, they have discovered a way to truly help re-entry students have the kind of success that they deserve to have.

Vol. 8, No. 15 – April 29–May 12, 2015 – Police Reports

Stolen Vehicle Arrest

On Wednesday, April 15th, at 10:30 p.m., an officer observed a vehicle commit a traffic violation in the area of Victoria Avenue and Telephone Road. Prior to stopping the vehicle, a records check indicated that it had been reported stolen earlier in the day from Oxnard. As the officer continued to follow the vehicle and wait for additional resources, the driver, Scott Hernandez, parked in the area of Chalmette Avenue and Telephone Road. Hernandez then exited the vehicle and ran into a residential area.

Hernandez was found hiding in some bushes in the 5000 Block of Basie Street. Hernandez was taken into custody and booked at the VC Jail. The vehicle was later returned undamaged to the registered owner.

Residential Burglary Arrest

On Wednesday, April 15th, at 6:36 p.m., the VPD received a call from a witness reporting a possible burglary in progress to a neighbor’s residence in the 100 block of S. Santa Rosa Street. The caller reported seeing a subject, later identified as Nhuom Le, loitering outside the residence before entering through an unlocked rear door.

When officers confirmed Le was still inside, they began giving him announcements requesting that he exit the residence. Initially, Le was uncooperative and refused to come outside. After 10 minutes, and additional announcements by officers, Le exited the residence and was taken into custody without further incident.

Officers learned during the investigation that prior to entering the victim’s residence, Le was seen prowling around the yard and trying doors and windows of a neighboring residence.

Stabbing Arrest

On Friday, April 17th, at 9:40 p.m., the VPD received a call of a male subject refusing to leave the Total Life Christian Church located in the 600 block of North Ventura Avenue. As patrol officers arrived, the suspect, Camron Johnson, charged at Joseph Brown and stabbed him multiple times. Officers immediately intervened and took Johnson into custody without further incident.

Brown was transported to VCMC with non-life threatening injuries. Johnson was booked at VC Jail.

Armed Robbery

On Sunday, April 19th, at 9:30 p.m., officers responded to an armed robbery that had just occurred at the Arco Am/Pm located at 5669 Valentine Road.

Officers learned that a Hispanic male suspect in his mid-twenties had entered the store and confronted the clerk. The suspect demanded money from the register while brandishing a handgun. The clerk complied with the suspect’s demands and surrendered an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect fled the area and was last seen traveling west on Valentine Road.

Ventura Police officers searched the surrounding area but were unable to locate the suspect. The clerk was not injured during the commission of this crime.

Possession of a Loaded Firearm

On Monday, April 20th, at 10:45 p.m., The VPD received a call of subjects trespassing on the property of a Motel 6 on 3075 Johnson Drive. Officers responded and contacted 3 male subjects in one of the motel rooms.

During the contact, officers conducted a pat down search for weapons. One of the male juvenile suspects, who was acting suspicious, wouldn’t comply with the officer’s orders. During the search a loaded handgun was found concealed in his waistband.

The male juvenile was found to be on probation with weapon and gang terms. The juvenile is known to associate with Oxnard gangs. The juvenile was arrested and lodged at Juvenile Hall.


On Wednesday, April 22nd, at 9:48 p.m., officers responded to a call regarding a vandalism at the Ralphs on 1776 S. Victoria Avenue. As officers arrived, they found the suspect, Nathan Journigan, leaving the area and he was detained. During the investigation, Journigan violently resisted arrest. While being taken into custody, his pit bull attacked one of the officers. The dog did not release his bite on the officer, and the dog was shot by another officer.

The injured officer was taken to VCMC, treated and later released. The dog was taken from the scene by VC Animal Control. Read Professor Scamp for his comments regarding this incident.


On Thursday, April 23rd, at 4:00 p.m., the VPD received a call from a citizen reporting a subject prowling in the area of Bonita Circuit and Seaview Avenue. The subject, Jovanny Hernandez, was said to be looking over fences and into yards of residences.

Officers located Hernandez riding a bicycle on Seahorse Avenue. He was detained and positively identified as the suspect. When officers tried to arrest him, Hernandez resisted arrest. After a brief struggle with officers, he was taken into custody without further incident.

During a search of his property, officers located items in his backpack commonly used for committing burglaries to vehicles. Hernandez was transported to the VC Jail and booked.

Possession of a Firearm

 On Friday, April 24th, at 5:10 a.m., the VPD received a call of gunshots heard in the parking lot of the Ventura Isle Marina. Responding officers contacted Robert Souza walking in that general area. While searching Souza, officers found a loaded handgun concealed in his front jacket pocket along with a loaded spare magazine. Further investigation revealed that Souza had fired several rounds in the air prior to being contacted by the officers.

Officers searched the area for gun shot victims but did not locate any. Souza was booked at the VC Jail.

Quiet Zone – No Cell Phones Allowed in 13,000 square miles in West Virginia

The Quiet Zone – No Cell Phones Allowed in 13,000 square miles in West Virginia
National Radio Quiet Zone (NRQZ) – Wikipedia