Category Archives: City News

Mayor Neal Andrew’s State of the City

Mayor Andrew’s at the Ventura Chamber’s State of the City breakfast. Photo by Dan Holmes

At both the State of the City presentation made during a City Council meeting and the Ventura Chamber State of the City breakfast on March 29, at the Crowne Plaza, Mayor Neal Andrews delivered a powerful and up-lifting outlook for Ventura.

This are highlights of his presentation.

“Now, as you all are aware, a fateful event occurred on the evening of December 4, 2017. As much as I might have wished, it was not my election as Mayor of our terrific city. Having been elected Mayor, I was in the process of making a few remarks, mostly thanking my colleagues for their confidence when I looked up to see virtually everyone in the room walking out. As you might imagine, I guess my mouth may have dropped open a bit, but I quickly finished the few necessary remarks and invited those few remaining to join us for some cookies and lemonade.”

“Someone mentioned then that there was a fire out in a small canyon in Santa Paula and that our executives and other key staff had gone to open the EOC as a precaution. There didn’t seem like there was much reason at that point to hang around City Hall, so I wandered out to the parking lot. As I did so, I saw every light in the city go out, and the generators at City Hall powered up. In that instant I knew that we faced some sort of a crisis. We were about to experience the terrible wrath of the Thomas Fire.”

“There were three other seminal events that occurred in 2017. In addition to the fire, the voters had approved Measure O, they had adopted a fundamental change to election of the City Council by districts, and the City Manager had announced his retirement.”

“Each of these events had a major meaning for 2018.”

“However, despite the challenges these implied, the City had had a pretty good year in 2017 and was set to begin 2018 with strength and optimism.”

“Now let me turn the presentation over to the executive staff to fill you in on some of the details of what they had achieved until then and some of their efforts since. I hope you will appreciate how strong we are and how strong we will continue to be. “

“We’ve talked about the challenges that were the legacy of 2017 – the Thomas Fire of course, the hope that new revenue from Measure O will help meet long pressing needs, the impact on our traditional electoral system of the change to district elections, and the vital task of finding a new city manager will meet the needs and expectations of our citizens.”

“There is one over-riding implication in all of these that I want to emphasize. They will demand time and attention from our Council and city leadership and they will draw heavily on the time, talent and resources of the city as a whole. “

“Finally every new mayor has goals and aspirations, and I want to share some of mine with you. The first of mine is to try to strengthen and build upon our sense of community. I’m going to be doing my very best to reach out to build bonds among our friends. We have for years suffered strains across our community. It’s time to pull together, to show one another the mutual care and concern that is the characteristic of a healthy society. “

“We also need to focus on building prosperity within our community. Our restaurants and retail stores are beset on all sides by big chain operations with much larger marketing budgets and immense buying power. While it’s helpful to encourage folks to buy local goods and services, we need to join together in support of our business community. We need to find ways to help them compete, to bring more traffic to their stores, and to supplement their marketing investments. Over the longer term we need to radically increase our local investment in supportive technology and broad band. “

“Lastly, we need to open our eyes to opportunities inherent in the long-term future our community. We are no longer a quaint little beach town. We haven’t been for decades. We are a city of over 100,000 people. We are among the 10% of the largest cities in California. “

“To realize the promise that we are being offered as we progress into the future, we need to take steps now to restore the vital connection between the bulk of the city and the oceanfront. That single step, while it will take decades to achieve, is the single greatest contribution this generation can make to the future of our city and the benefit of our children and grandchildren. Please join me as I try to lead us in these new directions. Thank you and may God help us take the first few steps. It is as much as I can hope to do realistically in my brief time as your Mayor. “

“Ventura Strong! You can keep it so!! “

Ventura City Fire announces community emergency response team training

The Ventura City Fire Department invites community members to participate in the next Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. Ventura Fire, in coordination with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), assists residents with disaster preparedness education and training through the CERT program.

The training covers the following topics:

  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Fire Safety
  • Disaster Medical Operations I and II
  • Light Search and Rescue
  • CERT Organization
  • Disaster Psychology
  • Terrorism

The training will be held at Police/Fire Headquarters located at 1425 Dowell Dr. The training will kick off on April 10 and will be held on six consecutive Tuesdays from 6:00-9:00 pm and the series will wrap up with a Simulation Skill Review exercise and graduation on Saturday, May 19.

Learn more about the program at https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/188/Community-Emergency-Response-Training-CE. Enrollment is limited and classes will be filled on a first-received basis; applicants are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible. Priority registration is given to residents of Ventura and first-time students. Participants must be at least 18 years old to participate.

Residents can apply online at: https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/FormCenter/Fire-Department-10/Community-Emergency-Response-Team-CERT-T-69. For more information please call 658-4717 or email cert@cityofventura.ca.gov.

2018 Corporate Games kick off

Large crowds of people lined the stage area to watch the presentations.

On March 24, the City of Ventura’s 29th Annual Corporate Games kicked off with opening ceremonies Community Park located at 901 S. Kimball Rd. Deputy Mayor Matt LaVere officially opened the games during the torch lighting ceremony .

The Corporate Games opening ceremonies highlighted its 2018 theme, “Where Work Meets Play”, with a business and fitness fair from 10 am to 2 pm. Those attending enjoyed live music, dance performances, demonstrations, jolly jumpers, interactive games, arts and crafts, food trucks and more.

Eighty Ventura and Santa Barbara County businesses will participate in the six-weeks of friendly competition. The actual games to be played on this day were canceled due to the soggy grass from the previous two days rains.

Photos by Bernie Goldstein

Ventura City Fire announces community emergency response team training

The Ventura City Fire Department invites community members to participate in the next Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. Ventura Fire, in coordination with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), assists residents with disaster preparedness education and training through the CERT program.

The training covers the following topics:

  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Fire Safety
  • Disaster Medical Operations I and II
  • Light Search and Rescue
  • CERT Organization
  • Disaster Psychology
  • Terrorism

The training will be held at Police/Fire Headquarters located at 1425 Dowell Dr. The training will kick off on April 10 and will be held on six consecutive Tuesdays from 6:00-9:00 pm and the series will wrap up with a Simulation Skill Review exercise and graduation on Saturday, May 19.

Learn more about the program at https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/188/Community-Emergency-Response-Training-CE. Enrollment is limited and classes will be filled on a first-received basis; applicants are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible. Priority registration is given to residents of Ventura and first-time students. Participants must be at least 18 years old to participate.

Residents can apply online at: https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/FormCenter/Fire-Department-10/Community-Emergency-Response-Team-CERT-T-69. For more information please call 658-4717 or email cert@cityofventura.ca.gov.

Kellogg Park Grand Opening & Ribbon-Cutting

Explore the park and all of its new amenities.

Let’s play! The City of Ventura Parks, Recreation & Community Partnerships Department is proud to announce the official Grand Opening and Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for Kellogg Park, located at the corner of Kellogg Street and Ventura Avenue, on Saturday, April 14 from 10 am-noon. Opening day festivities include live music, games of cornhole and chess, free snacks and giveaways (while supplies last). Explore the park and all of its new amenities including play and exercise equipment, a walking path, turf slide, public art, and an amphitheater.

Tours of the new Kellogg Park Community Garden will take place during the opening celebration from 10 am-noon. Garden plot rental fees will include raised planter boxes, water, and gardening equipment to grow healthy, organic fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

For more information about the park or grand opening, visit the Kellogg Park website.

City of Ventura Barranca Vista Imagination Center classes

Check out hundreds more on 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 St. unless otherwise noted

Billy Clower Parent & Me Movement 18 months-2 years with adult

3/16-5/11 F 9-9:45 am $80 #10551

Bond with your child in this 8-week class as they discover movement and expression in a fun upbeat class with weekly themes. Your child will dance, tumble, stretch, play and imagine with instruments and props. Wear comfortable clothes that you can move in. Wear comfortable clothes that you can move in. Instructor Sage Schneiderbauer.At BVC. * No class 4/6.

Billy Clower Broadway Babies 2.5- 5 years

3/16-5/11 F 9:45-10:30 am $80 #10553

This 8-week class introduces your toddler to the world of Broadway Musicals! Students will dance, act and sing along to famous Broadway songs while building confidence in and exploring their talents. Dancers should wear a t-shirt with leggings/shorts and will go barefoot during class. Instructor: Sage Schneiderbauer.

Billy Clower Cirque Du Ballet 3-5 years

3/16-5/11 F 10:30-11:15 am $80 #10555

Step right up for this 8-week Circus themed Ballet Class. Students will learn ballet vocabulary, positions and dance while having fun walking on a tight rope, performing with hula hoops, and being graceful with scarves. They will also gain flexibility with beginning acrobatics and partner stretching. Dancers should wear a leotard or t-shirt with leggings/shorts and will go barefoot and use our classroom set of ballet shoes during class. Instructor: Sage Schneiderbauer.

Spice Blending Workshop

3/18 Su 2-4pm $40+$20 supply fee due to instructor at start of class

In this workshop, students will get to smell and taste all sorts of spice blends from around the world. Make and blend your own dip mixes, rubs or Dukkahs and spice blends. Students receive a notebook of spice blends and directions on what to do with them. Instructor Annie Koretz. To register call 658-4726.

We look forward to your participation in the 2018 Corporate Games

by Eric Burton-Recreation Supervisor Adult Sports

The field is set for the 2018 Corporate Games with 80 businesses from Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties registered to participate in the upcoming competition. There will be over 27 different events that will be held over the five weeks of competition. Here is the break-down of competition by division:

  • Division AA (251- 500+ Employees) 9 Businesses
  • Division B – (150-250 Employees) 13 Businesses
  • Division C – (51-150 Employees) 35 Businesses
  • Division D – (10-50 Employees) 23 Businesses

Companies participating in the Corporate Games and the general public are invited to attend Opening Ceremonies on Saturday, March 24 from 10am to 2pm at the Ventura Community Park, in Ventura. Enjoy the Business & Fitness Fair, live demonstrations on the mobile stage, food trucks and Family Splash Time at the Aquatic Center. Get your company team and family together for Corporate Games Opening Ceremonies and Torch Lighting! For additional information download our Corporate Games Opening Ceremonies Flyer and visit the City of Ventura’s Corporate Games website where you will find a wealth of information.

 

Arroyo Verde Park reopened

The peaceful green landscape of the park for all to enjoy. Photos by Michael Gordon

Community members visited Arroyo Verde Park on Friday, February 16 to celebrate its partial reopening.

The park, located at Foothill and Day Roads, was closed for approximately 10-weeks to ensure safe conditions for park users and repair damage due to the Thomas Fire and January rain event.

“It is important to us that our community has the opportunity to utilize Arroyo Verde Park again, as quickly and as safely as possible. The reopening of the park is a significant milestone in the City’s recovery efforts and we look forward to restoring the remaining portions of the park over time,” said Tom Martin, Parks Manager. “As we reopen Arroyo Verde Park, please remember to adhere to the signage located throughout the park.”

City crews and contractors worked hard to restore and reopen this highly visited park for the community to enjoy. The work included removing burned debris, tree removal, trail repair and installing mitigation measures for rain events.

Breeze photographer Michael Gordon stated “This is a group of eagles on redwood trees I had not seen before. The fire burned up the trunks, but stopped at the Eagles. This group was hidden by brush until Thomas cleared the brush away.”

Certain areas of the park will be limited as City staff continue cleanup efforts in the fenced off sections: Interpretive Center, pump house, playground, and the burned slopes on both sides of the park.

The park is open daily from daybreak to 5:30pm until further notice; off leash dog park hours are from 6-9 am daily.

Ask the Director Article

Tully Clifford, Public Works Director, City of Ventura

Q. What is the City of Ventura doing to prepare our community for heavy rain after the Thomas Fire?

A The City of Ventura Public Works Department, along with Police, Fire, Parks, and the County Watershed Protection District have taken emergency preparedness measures to prepare for potential fire debris flow in an effort to protect our community. Ventura Public Works crews have been, and continue to be, out in the community inspecting and cleaning catch basins to ensure debris basins and flood channels are clear in the event of a heavy rainfall.

Routine maintenance is critical to keeping our local waterways flowing properly. Inspection and cleaning of catch basins, storm drains, pipes and channels is performed continuously throughout the year. Large basins get an annual inspection to reduce flood risk for the downstream community. Debris, such as vegetation, sediment and boulders that could plug the outlets, is removed by hand crews or heavy equipment to ensure that functionality is maintained.

As an added measure of protection, Ventura Public Works is using innovative modeling technology to generate maps that identify potential locations of debris flow in a given area. This tool is being used citywide and the City will continue to monitor the burn area as it can take 3-5 years for vegetation to significantly recover, and about ten years to fully recover.

Residents may have noticed that more than 1,200 feet of K-rail (temporary concrete barriers) was installed along Foothill Road and Cedar Street. These precautionary measures were put in place to keep light rain flow and small amounts of mud off the streets until the soil is stabilized and vegetation is reestablished.

Properties near a burn area remain at increased risk for flooding, erosion, and debris flows for 1-3 years following a wildfire. To protect your private property, seek the advice of a professional who can advise you of the best ways to prevent or reduce risk. The City also encourages you to talk to your neighbors who may not be aware of potential hazards.

You can also protect your property with sandbags, plastic sheeting, jute netting, and wattles. The City provides sand and bags to residents at the Ventura Public Works Maintenance Yard, 336 Sanjon Yard. Community members are asked to bring their own shovels and take only what they need. Residents can visit www.vcemergency.com to view an interactive map and better understand the hazards they face.

The City of Ventura has also established evacuation maps to assist residents subject to debris flow to evacuate quickly and safely in the event of an emergency. The maps can be viewed on the City’s website at www.cityofventura.ca.gov.

We encourage the public to stay informed through official sources:

  • Register for VC Alert (www.vcalert.org) to receive emergency notifications
  • Visit www.vcemergency.com to stay informed during an emergency
  • In the event of major incident or disaster, call the City of Ventura Disaster Hotline at 805-477-3711.

Event holders still frustrated with city insurance requirements

by Burris DeBenning

Pyrotechnics, the big kahuna of the Fourth of July Fair and Fireworks event at Ventura College, is a costly and risky affair. A few years ago, several people were injured when fireworks went awry at the July 4th Simi Valley show. Parades, food and beverage festivals and concerts pose degrees of risk.

Both the City and event planners agree to require insurance to cover potential injuries suffered by the public, volunteers and other participants. But just how much insurance is necessary and when are the rules overkill? This is a dilemma that has faced Ventura event planners for a while and does not appear resolved.

Last April, local clubs, businesses and civic groups urged City Council to rethink the levels of liability it requires for property damage and personal liability. According to several organization representatives, the cost of purchasing what the City demands is prohibitive.

To Vincent Giammanco, the promoter of the California Beer Festival hosted by many cities, Ventura asks for the “impossible.” Ellyn Dembowski, Rotary Club president, told the Breeze that the City has an “extreme fear of terrorist dangers at every event that are a serious financial burden for non-profits.” She said, “last year the City was supposed to give us a report on its progress on fixing insurance but hasn’t yet,” and went on to say that the City could lose its beloved fireworks show at the college because of the expensive insurance.

The City begs to differ, however, claiming that its insurance requirements are fair and normal given the kinds of dangerous activities at certain events and the real risks to the public, ranging from fireworks snafus to slipping on a sidewalk curb. The Breeze reached out to Assistant City Manager Elizabeth Foushee who said “we have seen throughout the country that accidents do happen related to festivals, parades and street fairs.” Public agencies typically ask event providers to have an additional insured endorsement to the general liability policy to ensure that the agency has added liability protection should incidents occur. “It is important to understand that without a special events policy with the endorsement, the City takes on risks and any claims that may arise,” said Foushee. Miss Foushee also stressed that the City never wants non-profits to cancel their events, but mandates certain liability policies so these events, where crowds are unpredictable, and alcohol is served, are thoroughly safe.

Councilmember Jim Monahan, a longstanding member of the Elks Lodge that puts on the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, told the Breeze that the Elks have no intention of cancelling or moving this huge Ventura tradition. “The insurance amounts may be a little excessive,” Monahan said, “but it is up to the Council to decide, and right now things are fine.” He said that City Risk Management follows the insurance ordinances passed several years ago, which are in line with the City Attorney’s directions as well.