Category Archives: City News

Vol. 11, No. 10 – Feb 14 – Feb 27, 2018 – City classes

City of Ventura Barranca Vista Imagination Center classes. Check out hundreds more on our web-site
Call 658-4726 or 654-7553 to register, if you already have an ACTIVENET account online, visit www.cityofventura.net Classes and events held at the Barranca Vista Center ~ 7050 Ralston Street in Ventura unless otherwise noted

Freezer Meals 18 years – adult
2/25 Su 2:00-4:00pm $40 + $20 supply fee #10499
Save time and money with these seven meals. You will learn to prepare and put in the freezer for later; Instructor will provide grocery list before your workshop so you will have all your supplies the day of class. Instructor is Alison Oatman. Recipes and freezer bags are provided.

Friday Zumba Fitness Party! 16 years- adult
2/23-3/30 F 6:15-7:15pm $40 + $7 drop-in fee #10608
Join us Friday nights for a Zumba dance fitness party. At BVC. Certified Zumba Instructor Linda Skene.

Yoga for Life 16 yo – adult
2/20-3/20 Tu 5:10-6:10pm $65 #10164
Non-intimidating poses and breathing reduce stress, strengthen the back, improve balance and leave you feeling great. Bring towel, mat and dress comfortably. Instructor is Mary Lincoln.

Saturday Acrylic Painting 15 years- adult
3/3 Sa 11:30am-3:00pm $55 + $10 supply fee #10532
Create your own masterpiece as you learn to paint freely and blend colors with ease. By the end of this workshop, you will have a 16×20 completed acrylic canvas (ready to hang) of the photo or picture of your choice. No sketching or art experience needed. All levels welcome. Bring a non-perishable lunch to enjoy in the park. Instructor is Laura Brooks.

PiYo Live! 18 years – adult
2/26-3/26 M 7:00-8:00pm $40 or $76 #10629
PiYo combines the muscle-sculpting, core firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of yoga. We crank up the speed to deliver a true fat-burning, low-impact workout that leaves your body looking long, lean and incredibly defined. Bring yoga mat and water. Instructor is PiYo certified Francine Gomez.

Pet First Aid & CPR 18 years – adult
3/3 Sa 9am-1pm $20 #10522
In an emergency knowing pet first aid can save your pet’s life. In this class, you will learn first aid for wounds, heat stroke, broken bones and much more. You will also learn how to perform CPR on a variety of animals. Please leave your dog at home. Seminar led by Registered Veterinary Technician/Certified Professional Dog Trainer Shannon Coyner. Class held at 3521 Arundel Circle #B.

Group Meditation and Mindful Living adult
3/1-4/5 Th 7-8pm $63 #10507
Learning and practicing silent meditation is easiest when together in a group where energies converge for this single purpose, followed by mindful living tips. In this six-week class, you will be taught a method for mind-body health, be guided in and out of a 15-25 minute silent meditation or use the silent method of your choice and be provided with tips for developing or deepening mindful living in your daily life. Beginners, past students and meditators are welcome. We sit in chairs but you are welcome to bring your mat if that’s your preference. Instructor is Kimberly Wulfert, Ph.D Psychologist.

Ventura residents urged to plan ahead and be prepared for natural disasters

Evacuation routes can be found at www.venturapd.org.

The City of Ventura encourages residents to be prepared for possible natural disasters. Residents living in and around Thomas Fire burn areas or near flood-prone areas, need to prepare for possible storms in 2018. Police Chief Ken Corney and Fire Chief David Endaya provided a presentation about preparation efforts at the January 22, 2018 Ventura City Council meeting encouraging the community to stay informed and take action by reviewing the following points:

Sign up to receive VC Alert mobile messages by contacting the VC Alert Hotline at 648-9283 or visiting www.vcalert.org. Subscribers will receive emergency notifications such as evacuation notices specific to their neighborhood.

Make sure extra supplies are on hand at home, including: a flashlight, water, food, personal medical supplies and filled prescriptions. Learn how to prepare an emergency kit at www.readyventuracounty.org.

Monitor www.vcemergency.com or call the information hotline at 805-465-6650 during an emergency to stay informed on evacuations, road closures and important emergency information.

Review evacuation routes. The Ventura Police Department has created recommended evacuation routes to help with traffic flow during an emergency. The information will be provided at all Community Council meetings, door to door in impacted areas and online at www.venturapd.org.

Get to know your neighbors! During an emergency public safety resources are limited. Residents are encouraged to help alert neighbors during an emergency and to stay connected to their neighborhood on Nextdoor.com. Nextdoor is a private social network. Over 20,000 Ventura residents are using Nextdoor. It’s also a platform to receive alerts from the City of Ventura and crime and safety information from the Ventura Police Department.

Get connected! Residents are encouraged to attend monthly Community Council meetings. The City of Ventura has seven neighborhood Community Councils. Any resident, business owner or property owner can join their area group. The Ventura Police Department provides a monthly crime and safety update at each meeting and guest speakers provide information specific to the represented council. More information about meeting times and locations can be found at www.cityofventura.ca.gov or by calling 339-4317.

During an emergency listen to the directions provided by public safety officials. Mandatory Evacuation orders are initiated when danger is imminent. Voluntary Evacuations orders are initiated when residents should begin preparing for a potential mandatory evacuation order to be issued. The threat to lives is not yet imminent during a voluntary evacuation. A Shelter-in-Place Order is initiated when conditions exist that may endanger the lives of those in a defined area. Access to the area under a shelter in place order may by restricted by road closures.

Preparing and staying informed can help save lives and property. For questions or more information please contact Ventura Police Department Civic Engagement Specialist Ashley Bautista at 805-339-4317 or by email at abautista@cityofventura.ca.gov.

Businesses! Register for Corporate Games

Don’t have a soccer team, how about Texas Hold’em?

Join thousands of employees representing more than 80 companies in this six-week business-to-business team sports competition featuring over 25 different events. Games will be held March 24 to May 5, 2018, throughout Ventura County. Register your company team online at www.venturacorporategames.org or call the Corporate Games hotline at 658-4738 before the February 9 deadline.

This year’s theme is “Where Work Meets Play!” With a proven track record of building camaraderie through teamwork and lasting relationships among company employees who participate, the games offer a wide variety of events so companies can tailor participation based on staff interests.

Companies may compete in a variety of sports and games including bowling, softball and Texas Hold’em. Employees pursue individual gold, silver and bronze medals and company teams complete for overall division trophies and team spirit awards.

Companies currently registered for the Corporate Games include AECOM, Aerotek, Amgen, Community Memorial Health System, County of Ventura, Jensen Design and Survey, LinkedIn, Mission Produce, Dow-Key Microwave, The Trade Desk, and Ventura College.

For more information on Corporate Games call 658-4738 or visit www.venturacorporategames.org.

Ventura Police K9s will be featured

The Ventura Police Department is partnering with the Midtown Community Council and Pacific View Mall for Food Truck Friday on January 19 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Pacific View Mall parking lot nearest to Trader Joes. The event features nearly 20 food, dessert and coffee trucks. Live music, face painting, a patrol car and Ventura Police K9s will be featured at this family friendly event.

Community members are invited to stop by the Ventura Police booth to visit with Ventura Police Officers and K9s. Important safety information will be available and fingerprint kits for local youth will be offered while supplies last.

A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to the Ventura County United Way Thomas Fire Victims Fund. First responders will also be recognized.

Food Truck Friday has helped support the Adopt-A-School Program which has provided beautification projects through event profits and community partnerships since the Food Truck event began in October 2012.

Residents are encouraged to learn more about their neighborhood Community Council. Ventura has seven neighborhood councils and any resident; business owner or property owner can join their area group. They offer an opportunity to connect with neighbors, learn what’s happening in the area, get updates and information from city staff and participate in projects that make a difference in the community. Ventura Police crime and safety updates are provided at each of the monthly community council meetings offering an opportunity for residents to get to know their local patrol officers. For more information please call 339-4317.

Fire/storm updates by City Council

by Burris DeBenning

While a strong, rainy cold front descended on Ventura, city staff provided updates at the Monday, January 8 City Council meeting on preparations underway for possible storm debris flows and the latest efforts with the Thomas Fire recovery. A very positive and articulate interim City Manager, Dan Paranick, conducted a presentation in conjunction with Public Works on Ventura’s preparations for this and future rain events and how the recovery process is on-track.

Mr. Paranick emphasized that city staff took this storm and future winter fronts very seriously by opening the city emergency operations center, coordinating with the Red Cross on an overnight evacuation center at Ventura College and notifying Westside, Downtown and Midtown residents of a voluntary evacuation that would be followed up by mandatory notices via VCAlert if necessary. Prescient news, especially since many people died in mudslides in Montecito.

“The watershed here is Priority 1A due to the potential rain impact,” said Mr. Paranick. The city has five key goals to meet this challenge: evacuation, response, emergency protective measures, long-term mitigation and protective measures “Sandbags ran out, so we made sure these were immediately replenished before the rain arrived later Monday evening,” he said. Residents in specific neighborhoods who may face debris flows because of the Thomas Fire were contacted by the city.

Clifford Tully, Public Works Director, presented a comprehensive storm mitigation plan along with engineering models that consider several scenarios, such as a 100-year or 10-year storm. Mr. Tully conveyed to several council members who asked about the areas of concern in the model, such as Ondulando and Clear Point storm drains, that the city and county are working together on preventative and recovery actions and even have storm patrols out at city hot spots to warn residents and officials about clogs and flooding.

Thomas Fire recovery has completed important milestones, according to Mr. Paranick, the highlight being President Trump’s declaration of the burn zones as a major disaster area, which opens the door to well-needed FEMA federal funding. The toxic substance removal phase is now 75% completed and the collection and dispensing of recyclable materials will begin on January 15.” We’ll also have town halls after the recycle assessment after the 18th of January,” said Mr. Paranick.

In addition, the City Attorney Greg Diaz reminded council that a curfew is still in effect in hillside burn areas until dangers have been removed by official personnel. For rain emergency issues, log onto www.vcemergency.com and for recovery information, the website is www.venturacountyrecovers.org.

Council chooses election district map

The 2018 election will be for Districts 1, 4, 5, and 6, and the 2020 election Districts 2, 3, and 7.

by Burris DeBenning

Unanimously, at the December 18 City Council meeting, council members voted 7-0 to adopt an electoral district map for the 2018 and 2020 election cycles, which brings the arduous work to change from an “at large” election process to a district election process almost to a close. All that remains is adoption of the ordinance amending the City’s election codes, which may be done by mid-January. The re-districting project spans nearly four years, begun in 2014, and involved dozens of council meetings, public notices, thousands of hours of community involvement, staff dedication and input from a professional election consultant. From 33 maps initially submitted by individual and community organizers, 19 maps were legally compliant, followed by a further narrowing of the field to four maps that council chose from: 11,16,22,23. These maps can be viewed at: www.cityofventura.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/10830.

With no debate, council picked Map #11, based on the common council perspective that this map keeps communities of interest and geography together. Member Christy Weir, who raised her family in Montalvo, said that Map #11 does not divide Montalvo like some of the other maps. “We always thought of Montalvo as Victoria Avenue to Ramelli Avenue, not divided by Johnson Drive, which is what happens with Map #22,” Weir commented. Member Mike Tracy, who introduced the motion to adopt Map #11, stated that it was important for Montalvo and Pierpont to be in the same district, given their shared socioeconomic and community needs. “We need a map that reminds people that, even though council members will represent their own districts, they still come together to support the whole city,” said member Cheryl Heitmann. Heitmann also said that some neighborhoods like Pierpont are thought to have only wealthy homeowners, but in fact have a lot of renters like the Montalvo area. Member Matt LaVere endorsed Map #11 because it provides a strong Westside, Saticoy and Montalvo. “Map #11 achieves bringing the far ends of the City into council chambers,” said member and former mayor Erik Nasarenko.

Despite the vote, many members of the public spoke to oppose Map #11 and support Maps #22 and #23 that, in their view, represented the City’s Latino vote and community diversity best. Most opponents spoke in the name of CAUSE (Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy), which focuses on immigrant rights, wage reform and environmental improvement. A teacher with the Ventura Unified School District called Ventura a “wonky L-shaped city” that requires boundaries recognizing demographic similarities. Others spoke of the need to empower disenfranchised blocks of voters, keep the hillsides separate from the working classes and maintain the unique ethnic characteristics of certain neighborhoods. It was argued that Map #11 neglects the predominantly low income, immigrant and renter populations in Montalvo and Saticoy.

In the final evaluation, valid maps had to meet key requirements of the Federal Voting Rights Act (FVRA) and California Voting Rights Act (CVRA). Mayor Neil Andrews thanked the public and staff for exemplary work on this project. The final reading of the new district ordinance is scheduled for the January 8, 2018 council session.

Neal Andrews elected Ventura mayor

His City Council colleagues voted 7-0 for him to be mayor.

After more than 20 years as an active businessman and community volunteer in Ventura, Neal Andrews was encouraged by many citizens of Ventura to run for City Council. He was elected on his first attempt in 2001.

Now 16-years later he has been selected to be Ventura’s mayor by the City Council.

Before founding Horizon Management Services, Neal worked in a variety of capacities with Blue Cross of California, managing their statewide system of contracting for health services and later heading Behavioral Health Access, the corporate division responsible for mental health services to Blue Cross members. He has also been a hospital administrator, chief executive of a regional joint powers agency, and a university professor.

His professional honors include being twice elected to the International Board of Directors of The Planning Forum, then the leading international professional organization in the discipline of strategic planning and management. In addition, Neal has served on the National Leadership Council for the Institute for Behavioral Health, as a Scholar-Diplomat under the sponsorship of the U. S. State Department, as a Fellow of the National Security Education Seminar and the Inter-University Colloquium on Armed Forces and Society.

He is the author of Foreign Policy and the New American Military and many papers and articles on matters of public policy, business, and health care over the years. He is a popular speaker before regional and national conference audiences including such prestigious organizations as The Conference Board, the California Medical Association, and the National Managed Health Care Congress.

Over the years, Neal has also served as the Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties representative on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Health Care Executives Association, as a Member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the San Buenaventura Foundation for the Arts, and as an officer and board member of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce, among others. He is widely known as an active citizen advocate in water quality and water conservation public policy issues in Ventura.

He is a member of Rotary, Kiwanis, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks.

Neal received his baccalaureate degree from Duke University and his graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He later completed additional post-graduate work at the Michigan State University School of Public Administration and the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

He had been the longest-serving council member to never hold the post of mayor. His colleagues voted 7-0 for him to be mayor. In December 2015, Andrews was named deputy mayor when Erik Nasarenko became mayor. He succeeded Nasarenko at the conclusion of his two-year term.

Andrews stated when the council decides on a policy, “I will be the spokesperson for that policy, even if I didn’t agree with it.”

Andrews went on “I’ll be immediately focused on hiring a new city manager (Mark Watkins is retiring this month)and devoting my energy to redistricting.” The city is creating district boundaries for the upcoming election.

When elected little did he know that his first concern would be the devastating fires that have over -whelmed Ventura.

Council member Matt LaVere, who was elected in 2016, became deputy mayor on a 7-0 vote.

Erik Nasarenko’s parents and sister were in attendance at the city council meeting . He thanked the crowd and spoke of accomplishments of which he was particularly proud. Including getting a half-cent sales tax approved and moving the city to even year elections.

City begins spraying EarthGuard behind City Hall

The City has already started to spray EarthGuard in the homes where hazardous material burned and on the hills behind City Hall.

The product will not impact sifting of personal materials and will not affect the ability to seed properties. EarthGuard is a non-hazardous, non-toxic product and will not cause any issues with the watershed or the replanting or re-growing of plants. The product is mixed with fiber and is green in color in order to show where it has been applied.