Category Archives: News and Notes

Ventura City Council Adopts Fireworks Social Host Ordinance

The Ventura City Council adopted a Fireworks Social Host Ordinance during its regular meeting on June 18, 2018.  Under the new ordinance, any homeowner, renter, or person in charge of a residence or other private property who knows or should know of the sale, use, and/or possession of any fireworks on private property are subject to a civil penalty levied by the City of Ventura.

The Social Host is responsible for the sale, use, and/or possession of fireworks on their property by anyone on their property. The ordinance pertains to any person who hosts, organizes, supervises, officiates, conducts, or accepts responsibility for a gathering on private property.

Violators in the city of Ventura can be reported online, by emailing video of the alleged use of fireworks to the Ventura Police Department.  The Ventura Police will be sending out more information on the reporting process in the next week.

“Illegal fireworks are a safety issue,” said Police Chief Ken Corney.  “The new ordinance provides another disincentive to use illegal fireworks.” Ventura police and fire departments will be patrolling neighborhoods throughout the city of Ventura on July 4th to keep citizens and their property safe and enforce the City’s ordinances.

“Put the community first,” said Fire Chief David Endaya.  “Extreme drought conditions and tinder-dry brush are dangerous. I am asking every resident and visitor in Ventura to keep our city safe and be considerate of your neighbors. Do not use fireworks.”

For more information visit https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/1345/Celebrate-July-4th-Safely.

The shed from River Haven

Proudly standing in front of the shed that they built is the gang from the NAWIC. Photo by Michael Gordon

The shed that is now at River Haven was built at the Career Education Center (CEC) at the Camarillo Airport by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Ventura County Chapter. It was loaded and hauled to River Haven by McCarty and Sons Towing, who generously donated their time.

Even though some material was donated and privately funded NAWIC is hoping to continue to receive monetary donations to the Ventura NAWIC chapter to help reimburse for the cost of the materials. The entire camp costs, including tool kits, safety supplies, and camp t-shirts (all for the girls keep) as well as materials and equipment was around $7,000.

The Ventura County Chapter organizes and sponsors a girl’s construction camp one week during the summer each year to teach young ladies the basics of construction, including safety, material handling, hand and power tool operation and heavy equipment operation. They learn other important life lessons along the way such as responsibility, team work and self confidence among others.

The past three camps have included middle school aged girls, while the original camps were for high school ages only. This year 21 girls participated, 8 of them being 12 year old middle schoolers, about 6 being of high school ages and the balance being 13 and 14 year olds. They were mentored by five full time adult instructors and three camp administrators.

The lead instructor, Daniel Bell, is the Construction Technology teacher at Thousand Oaks High School and is also a general building contractor. They were fortunate enough to have Yvan Jose of Oxnard, who just graduated from ACE Charter High School this year, be a mentor for most of the week. He was leaving to compete in the national competition of Skills USA in Louisville, KY, as the California state Skills USA champ. This young man, right here in our own backyard, was representing not just Ventura County but all of California in this prestigious construction skills competition.

NAWIC Ventura has been running the camps since 2010. Each year the curriculum or project has been different. This is there second tiny home, the first being a fancy custom trailer mounted unit that ended up being a tiny home movement teaching model that travels the US.

NAWIC, established in 1955 by a group of women in the Fort Worth, TX area, is a non-profit organization whose core purpose is to enhance the success of women in the construction industry.

This donation is a result of a group of women from Sandusky, Ohio

The Women of Jewelia presented a check to Turning Point. Photo by Bill Green

At the ribbon-cutting for the new metal shed/homes, that replaced the original domes at River Haven some of The Women of Jewelia (WOJ) Jone Pence, Dale Muegenburg, Tina Osborne, Roz Warner, and Patti Channer presented a check to Jason Meeks from Turning Point for money that was donated by Jenny & Bruce Zembra from Sandusky,Ohio. They also recognized Island Packers for donating trips to the Islands for the Sandusky 6.

The Women of Jewelia were first on board over 10 years ago to donate a dome when River Haven was created. As one of the original sponsors of a dome they chose to contribute to the new Tuff Sheds because “What we do matters, What we share grows.”

This donation is a result of a group of women from Sandusky, Ohio the Best Cellars Book Club, who in 2015 replicated the Women of Jewelia’s NY Times best-selling book, The Necklace: Thirteen Women and the Experiment that Transformed their Lives.

A chain of events in Sandusky followed when last September (2017) two of the Women of Jewelia, Jone Pence and Dale Muegenburg were invited to represent all of the WOJ at a gala fund raiser “Diamonds for Hope” benefiting the Firelands Regional Medical Center-Seidman Cancer Research. The WOJ donated an auction item to the fund raiser, 5 nights at an ocean front house, golfing at the Saticoy Country Club, day trip to Anacapa Island by Island Packers and dinner at home served by them.

Ventura Botanical Gardens announces Capital Campaign

The Ventura Botanical Gardens (VBG) announced, at its recent Perennial Society event, the launch of their first-ever Capital Campaign. The goals of the campaign include revitalization of the Gardens after the devastating Thomas Fire; plant acquisition for the expansion of the Chilean, California Native and South African Gardens; creation and maintenance for a new nursery and water conservation infrastructure (both naming opportunities for donors), and as the gardens expand in Phase 1, adding additional knowledgeable staff for implementation.

Doug Halter, Co-Chair of the Honorary Campaign committee says: “The Gardens are already one of Ventura’s best-loved attractions, but this is only a preface to the story. With this campaign, we’ll be better able to deliver value that demonstrates our conviction in realizing our vision. This is a call to action for the Ventura County community to invest generously. It is a singular opportunity for individuals and organizations to become a significant part of an international destination that will unfold in phases over the next 40 years and be enjoyed for generations to come.”

“The Capital Campaign fundraising goal is $4.5M in gifts, of which $3.5M has already been raised through the silent phase of the campaign,” states Barbara Brown, President. “The silent portion was very successful, providing funding for the construction of the Merewether Welcome Center, through the generous support of Mike and Loretta Merewether, and the Schwab Entrance Plaza, a legacy gift given by Miriam Schwab. With that funding we were also able to plant over 1,000 plants, create view sites, and walkways throughout the gardens.”

“The public phase objective is to reach $500,000 in Community Gift contributions and the remainder through major gifts.” Mary Kay Doubek, Community Gifts Chair.

Plant sponsorship donations range from $500 to $10,000. Donors can give at VenturaBotanicalGardens.com or by contacting Joe Cahill at (805) 232-3113, ext. 0.

Joe Cahill, Executive Director, continues; “The best botanical gardens adapt to changing times. Because our focus is on sustainability and conservation, the Gardens are and will be relevant for generations. The wisdom in planting species from the Mediterranean climate zones has already proved fruitful, with over 90% of the badly burned plants from the Thomas Fire beginning to show signs of renewal.”

Currently, the Gardens are closed due to the Thomas Fire and will remain closed for rehabilitation and construction. The grand opening of the Merewether Welcome Center and the Schwab Entrance Plaza is slated for late summer/early fall. The Gardens themselves will open sometime after that.

Located at Grant Park the Ventura Botanical Gardens’ goals include encouraging visitors to strengthen their connection to nature. To find out more, visit www.VenturaBotanicalGardens.com and join on Facebook.

The nonprofit organization is dedicated to creating a botanical garden for the twenty-first century celebrating the Mediterranean climate regions. The setting is a world-class site with spectacular 180-degree views of the California coast and the Channel Islands.

State water preferred to filtered toilet water to drink

by (VREG) Venturans for Responsible and Efficient Government

The City Council will make a monumental decision on water July 9, 2018. They will set Ventura’s water priorities for decades to come.

They will be asked to decide between State Water and Direct Potable Reuse as the first supplement to our existing water supply. Should Ventura be first with an untested, unproven, unregulated water system with DPR or be safe with State Water? We will also learn whether they will listen to the Water Commission or ignore their recommendations.

The Ventura Water Commission rejected the Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) idea as Ventura’s primary resource. They made it clear that the city should look to State Water as a primary to supplement our existing water supply.

Two legal agreements jeopardize Ventura’s water supply. The first was a Consent Decree requiring Ventura to cease putting 100% of its treated wastewater into the Santa Clara River estuary. The Consent Decree doesn’t specify where to place treated water or how to use it. It only states it cannot go into the estuary.

One exception is if a scientific panel were to decide the environmental health of the fish and wildlife in the estuary need that water, Ventura might release 50% into the inlet. In February 2018, Stillwater Sciences issued a final report on discharging treated water into the Santa Clara River estuary. It recommended diverting 40%-60% of the wastewater, not 100% as initially presented to the City Council.

The second was a new contract between the City of Ventura and the Casitas Municipal Water District executed by the City Council in May 2017. The new contract obligates Ventura to reach Water Balance by 2020 to maintain its current water rights.

The new Casitas Water contract does not specify the amount of water Ventura’s entitled to receive. The new agreement does not allow any use for the East End of Ventura.

A major problem with Direct Potable Reuse (DPR), or Ventura WaterPure as it has been named, is that Ventura would be the first city to used recycled wastewater as drinkable. Only Windhoek, Namibia and a small town in Texas are attempting to drink their filtered toilet water. Neither place had other water options.

In Ventura’s quest to make wastewater drinkable, an August 2016 report by a state-appointed panel of experts concluded it was “technically” feasible to use DPR, but there are serious health risks. Here are some fundamental problems outlined:

1. Guidance and regulations currently do not exist for DPR

2. Of specific concern are chemicals adversely affecting the development of fetuses and children, plus any as-yet-undiscovered compounds.

3. There are no standards to guard against Cryptosporidium, and Giardia to maintain a risk of infection equal to one in 10,000.

4. Reverse osmosis is unable to detect and remove low molecular weight compounds such as halogenated solvents, formaldehyde, and 1,4-dioxane.

5. The inability to identify solvents on the Proposition 65 list that reverse osmosis membranes cannot remove.

The cost of DPR wastewater is high. According to the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), the wastewater and water costs will total approximately $368 million. Then it will need to be pumped north to the desalination/Reverse Osmosis plant that will cost another $170 million.

By comparison, the pipeline for State Water is estimated by the Ventura Water Department to cost $27 million. State water can be injected directly into the Ventura water system. The water is reliable and used throughout Southern California.

We only hope that the City Council has the leadership and strength to change course and not feel bound by this misguided concept of past water leaders.

Protecting public health is paramount. We don’t need to build a desalination plant/RO facility now or in the next five years.

H.O.P.E. after the Thomas Fire

by Jennifer Tipton

Ventura County Behavioral Health has collaborated with a long-term community mental health team called California HOPE of Ventura County, a federally funded and trained community-based counseling program created to support the community after the Thomas Fire.

H.O.P.E. is an acronym for: Helping – Outreach – Possibilities – Empowerment.

The long-term effects of a disaster on mental health come in many stages, the difficult reactions one may experience can occur months after the initial disaster. Individuals that may initially appear unaffected, might later become overwhelmed and unable to effectively cope.

Reactions to a disaster such as the Thomas Fire are emotional, behavioral, cognitive and psychological and do not manifest in any certain order at any specific time.

Family and friends can help to identify these individuals and implement active listening and validation as effective ways to help survivors cope with their loss.

California HOPE services are free and confidential with the goal of implementing effective coping skills.

Services include: Individual and group counseling for

survivors, family and friends / Assessment and referrals /

Distribution of educational materials.

Counseling goals include: Helping disaster survivors understand their current situation and reactions / Reducing stress and providing emotional support / Assisting survivors in creating a wellness and recovery plan / Promoting the use or development of coping strategies and personal resilience / Providing friends and family members with education to support those affected / Connecting survivors to other resources.

Several support groups began mid-June in Ventura, Ojai, Santa Paula and Fillmore with more anticipated. The program is long term, just as the recovery process is long term.

We at the Ventura Breeze encourage those affected by the Thomas Fire to reach out to these services as needed.

If you or someone you know needs support, please contact HOPE of Ventura County at (805) 833-9495 or hopeventuracounty@gmail.com .

Cabrillo helping the community

The Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation is accepting applications for its Board of Directors.

Cabrillo is seeking candidates who believe in and will actively support the core values, vision and mission of Cabrillo to provide comprehensive housing services that facilitate self-sufficiency for individuals and families who are most lacking in opportunity in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

“In 2017, Cabrillo completed its Strategic Plan and identified its key priorities for 2017-2019. One of the five priorities is to build strong, engaged board leadership,” said Cabrillo Board President, Dave Sabedra.

Cabrillo is seeking to ensure the board is diverse and representative of the communities it serves and that candidates have a wide range of experience and knowledge.

The Board will review applications on a rolling basis. Self-nominations and third-party nominations will be accepted for both officers and board members, including low-income representatives. Cabrillo requests a three-year commitment of service from successful board candidates.

Applications are available online at cabrilloedc.org/board-directors/. For additional information or to submit an application, call Cabrillo at 805-659-3791 or email advancement@cabrilloedc.org.

Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation has received a $330,000 Affordable Housing Program grant for its Snapdragon Place Apartments Phase II project, which broke ground in March.

“The award will allow CEDC to build 22 units of much needed affordable housing, and to provide essential services for the residents. The project is currently under construction so the award will help with the construction costs of the development,” said Eduardo Espinosa, Cabrillo’s Director of Real Estate Development.

Affordable Housing Program grants are awarded through a competitive application process to Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco members working with housing developers or community organizations to create rental or homeownership opportunities for lower-income households.

Cabrillo collaborated with FHLBSF Bank member City National Bank on the grant application.

Cabrillo is developing Snapdragon Place Apartments Phase II in partnership with the Housing Authority of San Buenaventura, which will serve as the property management company.

Snapdragon Place Apartments is a new construction development located at Snapdragon Street and Los Angeles Avenue in East Ventura. Cabrillo completed Phase I of the project, which included 28 units for farmworkers, in 2015. Phase II will provide another 22 homes.

Phase II will consist of five two-story buildings enclosing a landscaped interior courtyard. The unit mix includes four one-bedroom homes (640 square feet), 10 two-bedroom homes (958 square feet), and eight three-bedroom homes (1,177 square feet).

The development will include 11 special needs units, with four one-bedroom units reserved for homeless veterans through the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program and seven non-VASH units. All units, except for the manager’s unit, will have Section 8 vouchers for families and individuals with incomes between 30 to 60 percent of the area median income.

Ventura City Fire Department dispatched to reports of fire near water treatment plant

On June 29, at 12:52pm the Ventura City Fire Department was dispatched to multiple reports of a fire burning in the Santa Clara river bed near the Ventura water treatment plant. First arriving firefighters reported a well-established fire burning in vegetation around several homeless encampments. Firefighters used three – 20 person hand crews, a water dropping helicopter and 6 engine companies to eventually contain the blaze at 7 acres after 6 hours.

Harbor Blvd. was closed and River Haven was evacuated as a precaution during the course of firefighting operations. Ventura PD and CHP controlled traffic in support of the fire suppression efforts. The cause of the fire is suspected to be from an escaped cooking fire in one of many homeless encampments in the area.

Coffee with a Cop (donuts allowed)

This year join the cops at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

The Ventura Police Department will be hosting Coffee with a Cop at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf located at 4360 E. Main St. from 8:00 am to 10:30 am on June 26. The community is invited to come together in a friendly, informal environment to discuss community issues and build relationships.

Most contacts police officers have with the public happen during emergencies or emotional situations. Those situations are not always the most effective times for relationship building and some community members may feel that officers are unapproachable on the street or during the course of their duties. Coffee with a Cop breaks down barriers and allows time for relaxed one-on-one interaction.

Engaging the community in public safety efforts is a top priority of the Ventura Police Department. We share the community’s concerns and make every effort to address them. We offer monthly opportunities at Community Council meetings to learn about crime trends and crime prevention. We also provide community presentations and neighborhood meetings upon request. Coffee with a Cop is an additional opportunity for residents to get to know the officers who serve Ventura.

The Coffee with a Cop effort is a national initiative supported by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Similar events are being held across the country as police departments strive to make lasting connections with the communities they serve. The program aims to advance the practice of community policing through improving relationships between police officers and community members one cup of coffee at a time. Coffee with a Cop provides an opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the department’s service. There is no formal agenda, just a casual opportunity to voice concerns and share ideas.

Registration is now open for National Night Out

Ventura neighborhoods are invited to participate with many other neighborhoods across the country in celebration of National Night Out on Tuesday, August 14, 2018. The deadline to register is August 1, 2018.

National Night Out is a crime and drug prevention event that is sponsored nationally by the National Association of Town Watch and co-sponsored locally by the Ventura Police Department. This is the 35th anniversary of National Night Out with over 38 million people across the country expected to participate.

National Night Out is designed to: 1) Heighten crime and drug awareness; 2) Generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime efforts; 3) Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police/community partnerships; and 4) Send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and watching out for one another.

From 5 pm to 9 pm on August 14, 2018, residents in neighborhoods throughout Ventura are asked to lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend an evening outside with neighbors and police.

Neighborhoods will be hosting a variety of events ranging from small potlucks and BBQs to block parties. Some additional event ideas include, but are not limited to, ice cream socials, disaster preparedness, games, contests, discussing neighborhood issues, discuss or plan a Neighborhood Watch Program. It is an opportunity to be creative, have fun and celebrate your neighborhood.

Registration is free and gives the police and city representatives an opportunity to attend local neighborhood events as time and circumstances permit. Submit the online registration form today at www.venturapd.org! Please call the Community Outreach Unit at 805-339-4317 with questions.