Category Archives: News and Notes

Rock on the Dock

It’s all hands on deck as the Rock on the Dock Concert Series launches at Ventura Harbor Village every Saturday this September from 3-6pm featuring an electrifying line-up of musicians performing free to the public on a floating stage in the Ventura Harbor. Visitors to the series catch the show from the water aboard kayak or from the promenade.

Kick off the Labor Day weekend with the not-to-be-missed spectacle of the shimmer from the heat of the September sun on the waters of Ventura Harbor September 2 and continuing the 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th.

Dine and relax as the entertainment plays on, surrounded by scenic harbor and mountain views. Rock on the Dock is presented by Ventura Port District and sponsored by Ventura Boat Rentals:

An appealing bonus of Rock on the Dock is the free admission and free parking. For more information, visit www.VenturaHarborVillage.com or call 477-0470.

Across Ventura County, disaffected seniors are fighting for their mobile homes

Residents at Buenaventura Mobile Home Estates are in a bitter dispute with management. Photo by Michael Gordon

by Jared Brewer

For decades, mobile and manufactured homes have afforded those of advanced ages and fixed incomes a viable way to achieve homeownership at a considerably reduced price point.

Interested parties need only pay a monthly “space rent” to their parks on top of the price of their unit. And for the most part, owning a mobile home remains the cheaper alternative to paying a mortgage on a standard wood-framed home. In recent years, however, precipitous rent increases compounded by deteriorating tenant-management relations have left many—particularly seniors—feeling disheartened, distraught, and even desperate.

Take residents at Buenaventura Mobile Home Estates who are currently embroiled in a bitter dispute with La Cumbre Management over the park’s new capitalization plan. The plan, which took effect July 1, has already initiated blanket rent increases. And while costs pertaining to capital improvements may be passed along pursuant to the city’s rent-control ordinance, these costs are distinguished from routine maintenance. The Mobile Home Rent Stabilization ordinance defines “capital improvements” as “…the addition, substantial repair or replacement of any improvement to a unit or property within the geographic boundaries of a mobile home park which materially adds to the value of the property and appreciably prolongs its useful life or adapts it to new uses…”

Some have contended that the new costs under the plan constitute maintenance, not capital improvements. In an op-ed to the VC Reporter, Buenaventura resident Leo Lewis enumerated some of these costs, which included replacing the park’s electric golf cart, pool heater, and painting the shuffleboard and clubhouse structures. “Capitalization means items that are new or additional items to the park, or new construction,” said Lewis. “Why are the above maintenance items being charged off as capitalization? They are repairs or replacement items.”

Beyond Ventura, residents of the Ojai Valley Estates mobile home park are fighting a rent increase of $588.83 per space per month for all but one of the park’s 90 spaces. They are scheduled to plead their case before the Ventura County Mobile Home Rent Review Board on August 24.

So why not just leave? The simple truth is that it’s not that simple. For most, relocating a unit is far too expensive—in most cases between $2,000 and $5,000 for shorter distances and upwards of $8,000 when longer. And that’s only if a new spot can be found in the first place. “Most of us are living on small pensions,” said Jill Martinez, a retired Presbyterian minister with over 30 years of experience working in affordable housing. “And every $100 increase devalues our units by $10,000. We’re simply getting priced out of the market. There’s no place else for us to go. It’s

not pretty for a bunch of seniors to be going down the street pushing shopping carts. But I’ve seen them out there. And government affordable housing is closed for 10 years. We’ll all be dead by then.”

Many disgruntled residents have turned to political activism to voice their concerns. Hence, the foundation of the Ventura Manufactured-Home Residents Council (VMRC), which assembles delegates from nine of the dozen or so mobile homes in the city of Ventura to confront salient issues. The council coordinates with the Golden State Manufactured-Home Owners League (GSMOL), a statewide volunteer organization that promotes resident rights primarily through legislative advocacy. The VMRC convenes the third Wednesday of each month (barring August) at one of the nine mobile home parks. For more information, including the location of next month’s meeting, contact President Craig Hull at 223-5635.

Own a brand new home at Solana Heights on Ventura’s Westside

The Barcelo is one of the new home neighborhoods at Solana Heights.

Discover Solana Heights, a brand new residential community now selling on Ventura’s Westside. Solana Heights consists of the 3 exceptional new home neighborhoods, Alondra, Ladera and Barcelo. Choose from among stylish townhomes and beautiful single-family homes from the mid $400,000s to the low $600,000s.

Decorated model homes will open in September.

Solana Heights offers home shoppers an opportunity to purchase a spectacular new home only 2 miles from Ventura’s downtown and close to shopping and dining, the Pacific Coast and local freeways. Solana Heights is perfectly situated close to local freeways including the US-101 and SR-33, sandy beaches, sought-after shopping and dining, Ojai and Santa Barbara.

Alondra showcases two- and three-story attached, low maintenance townhomes with up to 2,045 square feet of living space, up to 4 bedrooms and 3 baths, large Great Rooms, cook’s kitchens and 2-car garages. Included front yard landscaping and covered porches beautifully frame the homes featuring Spanish-style architectural designs.

Ladera’s single-family homes are priced from the mid $500,000s and provide up to 2,604 square feet of living space. Elegant interiors feature up to 5 bedrooms and 3 baths, generous Great Rooms, contemporary kitchens, 2-car garages and plentiful natural light. Distinctive architectural styling, covered entries, included front yard landscaping, elegant owner’s suites and significant storage enhance these new homes.

Barcelo showcases large single-family homes priced from the low $600,000s. Two-story floor plans highlight generous family gathering spaces and compelling indoor-outdoor living possibilities. Residents will enjoy up to 2,971 square feet, up to 5 bedrooms and 3 baths, dens or lofts, oversized Great Rooms, gourmet kitchens, coveted storage space and 2-car garages with drop zones.

The sales center is located at 204 Chickasaw Street in Ventura and is open daily. Call 665.6085 or visit SolanaHeights.com for details and driving directions.

CalAtlantic Group, Inc. offers well-crafted homes in thoughtfully designed communities that meet the desires of customers across the homebuilding spectrum, from entry level to luxury, in 41 metropolitan statistical areas spanning 17 states. CalAtlantic Group, Inc. utilizes its over five decades of land acquisition, development and homebuilding expertise to acquire and build desirable communities in locations that meet the high expectations of the company’s homebuyers. Learn more by visiting calatlantichomes.com.

Ventura’s bicycle gateway to get ocean-friendly makeover

A high-profile section along the Ventura River bike path will soon become Ventura’s newest ocean-friendly garden. The Ventura Hillsides Conservancy (VHC) and the Ocean Friendly Gardens team of the Ventura County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation have teamed up to re-landscape and reinvigorate land at the entrance to the Willoughby Nature Preserve.

The two organizations will host a series of community work days to transform the property, the first taking place on Saturday, Aug. 19 beginning at 9 a.m. Volunteers will help remove old vegetation to prepare the area for future plantings of coastal native plants.

Located next to the “Welcome to Ventura” sign along the Ventura River Parkway the landscaping will be updated using ocean-friendly garden techniques designed to capture rainwater and eliminate urban runoff. The project, funded by the City of Ventura’s Community Partnerships Grant Program, seeks to beautify the area and educate the public about the benefits of ocean-friendly gardening.

The new garden will be named in honor of Paul Herzog, Surfrider’s National Coordinator for the Ocean-Friendly Garden program, who recently passed away at age 49.

Ocean-friendly gardens are designed to reduce urban runoff which is the number one source of ocean pollution. Pollutants such as fertilizers, sediment and pesticides that wash from gardens and hard surfaces into rivers and oceans lead to a host of environmental problems including beach pollution, soil erosion and wildlife habitat degradation.

The volunteer work day will begin at 9am with an orientation at VHC’s informational kiosk located along the bike path at the Main St. Bridge in downtown Ventura (Main St. and Peking Streets). All volunteers should wear pants, long sleeves, closed-toe shoes, sunscreen and bring a refillable water bottle. Volunteers must be at least 12 years of age and minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Volunteers can RSVP online: http://www.venturahillsides.org/ocean_friendly_garden_work_day

For more information, call the VHC office 643-8044 or www.venturahillsides.org.

Ventura Emergency crews respond to house fire rescuing family pet and rendering medical attention to occupant and neighbor

A single story residence was involved in a structure fire shortly after 3:30pm on Friday, August 11 in East Ventura in the 10000 Block Darling Avenue. The resident of the home was taking a nap and awoke to the smell of smoke, fire alarms sounding, and a neighbor who was pounding on the front door. The
occupant of the home and the neighbor attempted to contain the blaze, but both were quickly overcome with smoke and retreated outside. Firefighters arrived quickly thereafter and initiated an attack on the fire. It was quickly identified that the resident and neighbor would need medical attention. Additional engine companies arrived and were informed by a family member that a pet was still inside.

Rescue crews searched the building and found the family pet in a bedroom and removed the animal to safety. Paramedics assessed the victims of the fire. The truck company performed vertical ventilation of the structure in coordination with the fire attack company. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the garage. Assigned firefighters were also tasked to limit the smoke damage to the interior of the residence. The damage was extensive throughout the garage, and the house was yellow tagged for only temporary habitation. One firefighter sustained a minor injury. The preliminary fire investigation revealed that a faulty electrical appliance started the fire. The resident and the neighbor were assessed and treated on scene and did not need to be transported to the hospital.

Marine Staff Sgt. Robert H. Cox killed in a fatal air crash returned to Ventura

Some were not familiar with Cox, but all wanted to show their support.

Photo and article by Richard Lieberman

Staff Sgt. Robert Cox killed in a Marine Corps transport aircraft accident in Mississippi, returned home Sunday evening July 23. Cox was escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders mustering 100 plus motorcyclists. The Patriot Guard Riders are a volunteer group that escorts and serves as an honor guard to service members and first responders killed in the line of duty.

The FBI continues to investigate the deaths of 16 Marines and one Navy Corpsman who were killed when their U.S. military plane spiraled out of the sky and into a Mississippi field.

A KC-130, used as a refueling tanker, “experienced a mishap” when it corkscrewed into a soybean field about 4 p.m. at a location around 85 miles north of Jackson, the Marine Corps said. The aircraft’s debris scattered in a radius of nearly 5 miles. The Marine Corps said the plane originated from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina and it was unclear what caused the crash.

The motorcade bringing Cox’s body home started Sunday evening July 23 at Los Angeles International Airport. His remains escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders, and officers from the Santa Paula Police Department where he lived. Ventura County Firefighters lined up on freeway overpasses paying their respect for the deceased marine.

Cox’s remains were met by members of Cox’s family and 50 or more supporters lining the route. Many displaying America flags and some displaying Marine Corps flags.

Some were not familiar with Cox, but all wanted to show their support and pay respects to the family. Todd and Lori Walker said, “We are here to show our support for him and his family” Many of the supporters were veterans, but not all, several non- military supporters were there to support as well. President Donald Trump weighed in via Twitter saying “Marine plane crash in Mississippi is heartbreaking. Melania and I send our deepest condolences to all!”

The casket of Staff Sgt. Cox was carried into the Ted Mayr Funeral Home in Ventura after arriving from Los Angeles International Airport. A contingent of Marine honor guards escorted the body, after a brief ceremony.

Cox was born in Ventura and attended school in Fillmore, Ventura and Thousand Oaks. He enlisted in the Marine Corps when he was a senior in high school. Deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon. While deployed Cox earned awards for service, including Combat Action Ribbon, and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

A memorial service for Cox was held on Saturday, July 29 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at 3501 Loma Vista Road. A funeral service followed the memorial service at Pierce Brothers Santa Paula Cemetery.

City of Ventura Fleet Manager Mary Joyce Ivers named 2017 Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year

Mary stays informed and active in the industry.

Mary Joyce Ivers, Fleet and Facilities Manager for the City of Ventura, has been named 2017 Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year by Government Fleet, a national organization dedicated to excellence in fleet management.

Ivers, a Certified Public Fleet Professional, was chosen for the award by a panel of fleet managers from around the country based on 10 categories: business plan, technology implementation, productivity, policies, preventative maintenance program, utilization management, replacement program, customer service, fuel management and safety.

The award recognizes Ivers’ efficient use of resources and promotion of government fleet management best practices. In recognition of her award City Manager Mark Watkins said, “Ivers provides outstanding performance and service to the city and community,” he continued, “In addition to this exceptional award, Ventura’s fleet division was named the #1 Small Fleet in the Leading Fleets program two years in a row under her leadership.”

Without a doubt, municipal fleet plays a critical role in supporting public service. Every day, vehicles such as, patrol cars, fire engines, bucket trucks and heavy construction equipment are used to keep our city safe and as the Fleet and Facilities Manager, Ivers oversees the obtainment, maintenance and repairs of more than 400 city owned vehicles and 186 pieces of equipment. In addition to the vehicles, the fleet division also manages the City’s parts supply and inventory warehouse, hazardous waste disposal, and the purchase and inventory of over 225,000 gallons of fuel for all City vehicles. Fleet also ensures the City complies with all Federal and State emissions regulations and promotes environmentally friendly practices.

Ivers gets ahead of the unique challenges associated with fleet operations by staying informed and active in the industry. Her enthusiasm for the profession continues to grow and improve Ventura’s fleet efficiency and safety.

 

Phone scams

Ventura residents have received calls from a scammer claiming to be with the City of Ventura Public Works Department. The scammer is telling residents that road work will be done on their street and that they are to leave their homes during a given time frame. Please be advised that the City of Ventura does not notify residents by phone of road work or ask residents to leave their homes during road maintenance projects. Residents are notified by mail of any projects that impact local neighborhoods.

The community is also advised to be aware of additional phone scams that have impacted residents:

IRS Scam: The scammer says money is owed and must be paid immediately by phone.

Edison/Gas Scam: The scammer says money is owed and if not paid immediately the service will be turned off.

Jury Duty Scam: The scammer says money is owed for not showing up to jury duty and if not paid jail time will occur.

“Can You Hear Me” Scam: Scammers are calling victims hoping to get them to say the word “yes” during the conversation that’s being recorded. The scammer will later use the recording of the victim saying yes to authorize unwanted charges on the victim’s utility or credit card account.

Text Message Phishing Scam: Scammers are using a new texting scam and spoofing banks’ phone numbers and sending text messages to customers. A spoofed phone number hides the actual number the text is coming from and displays a number from a trusted source, like your bank. The text claims that your debit card has been used to make a purchase and if you do not recognize the transaction, you need to call their fraud prevention helpline. A phone number is provided for you to call. Because the incoming text looks like it’s from your bank, people are falling for this. If you do call the number provided in the text, the fraudster will answer the phone. They will then ask you to confirm your sensitive banking details. This would allow the scammer to steal money from your account.

Grandparent Scam: A scammer poses as a grandchild and claims to be in jail and in need of money for bail. These imposters claim they are in another state or out of the country and need money wired to help bail them out of jail.

The community is urged to be vigilant and aware of these scams so as to avoid falling victim. Never follow directions from someone on the phone that requests personal information or money. Please report to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit ftc.gov/complaint.

Channel Islands National Park in the news

Main Ranch House at Santa Rosa Island. Photo by Doug Mangum

The National Park Service (NPS) discovered a significant ancient Native American site while conducting archeological monitoring during a rehabilitation project of the historic Main Ranch House on Santa Rosa Island.

Archeologists discovered artifacts characteristic of ancient Paleocoastal sites that were occupied by the first islanders on the northern Channel Islands between 8,000 and 13,000 years ago.

Scientists now believe that ancient sites from this period may be evidence of a coastal migration following the North Pacific Rim from Northeast Asia into the Americas, part of the peopling of the new world.

Among the artifacts uncovered were two types of stone tools that are distinctly representative of early North American Paleoindians —Channel Islands barbed points and crescents.

The early settlement sites on the Channel Islands produced several milestones in archaeology including the earliest evidence for seafaring and island colonization in North America, the oldest shell middens in North America, and the earliest basketry from the Pacific Coast of North America.

Santa Rosa Island is also the location of the discovery of Arlington Man, the oldest known human remains found in North America, dating to about over 13,000 years ago.

Part of the ancestral homeland of the Island Chumash, many contemporary Chumash families trace their heritage to Santa Rosa Island. There were up to 1,200 Chumash living there in at least nine known historic Chumash village sites, including Hichimin, which was located near the historic main ranch complex.

“This ancient site is believed to have considerable value and protecting it is part of the core mission of the NPS and the park’s enabling legislation.” said Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau. “Our goal is to preserve both of these important and irreplaceable cultural resources found in the park.”

Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau announced the release of the Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the replacement of the pier at Scorpion Anchorage on East Santa Cruz Island.

The park plans to replace the existing pier in order to provide safe, accessible, efficient, and sustainable access for visitors at Scorpion Anchorage. The new pier will provide more reliable access during low tide conditions for concessioner and National Park Service vessels.

The alternatives considered included taking no action, replacing the pier in its existing location, and replacing the pier at a location approximately 300 feet to the south of the existing location.

The preferred alternative is to construct a longer, wider pier to the south of the existing pier that will include a gangway for improved and safer visitor access.

A Record of Decision for this project will be prepared after conclusion of the 30 day no-action period commencing today with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announcement of release of the Final EIS published in the Federal Register.

Scorpion Anchorage is the most visited destination in the park, with about 65,000 people coming ashore each year to enjoy recreational activities such as hiking, picnicking, camping, kayaking, and swimming.