Category Archives: Opinion/Editorial

Vol. 12, No. 3 – Nov 7 – Nov 20, 2018 – Opinion/Editorial

• In this issue we have several articles regarding the Ventura Botanical Gardens (VBG). Reported is the fact that there will now be a fee to enter the VBG (with some exceptions). Even though their original intent was to not charge a fee, due to the Thomas Fire destroying all of the landscaping, they feel fees are needed to support the new landscaping.

This is from their website: “All of this costs money, and we hope the community will embrace supporting us on a grassroots level which includes a small membership fee of $45 per year or $7 per day. Our intention is to keep the fee low enough for every budget but allow for long term financial sustainability. On Tuesdays, the Gardens are free for everyone. Monthly scheduled guided tours are also free. Additionally, many major holidays are free, with the exception of July 4.”

The loss of all the planting was extremely difficult for the hundreds of volunteers who did the work. The new Welcome Center will be run by volunteers, one of the ways to keep the costs down. The VBG is always looking for more volunteers. You can visit their web site for more information at

• Congratulations to the new (and returning) city council and school board members who just won election. It was too late to name them in this issue but will be reported in detail in our next one. I think the new council districts was a success with many very good candidates running.

• Our Dec. 5 issue will be remembering the Thomas Fire. We would love to hear from our readers who lost their homes. Are you re-building, selling your lot? How has your permit process been along with working with an architect and builder? Send a note to editor@venturabreeze.com and if you are not a writer, we will assign you one. Hope to hear from you.

Southern California Edison has stated for the first time that its electrical equipment likely was associated with one of two ignition points of the Thomas Fire. Dozens of lawsuits claimed the utility company’s equipment sparked the blaze.

This will have huge, and, perhaps, unexpected consequences. What if Edison needs to pay so much money in lawsuits that it declares bankruptcy? Will they be allowed to pass on their losses to customers with higher rates? Only years will tell.

• If this wasn’t so sad, it would have been funny. Recently the Ventura Police had a day where residents gathered to speak with officers who visited a few neighborhoods. While gathered on our street, a most disturbing mentally ill young man was walking down the middle of the street. He had on one shoe, with torn clothes and was carrying a guitar with no strings and the back was torn off. If your heart didn’t go out to him, you need to go see The Wizard of Oz.

There was a bowl of candy there, so I called him over and handed him a piece, and he said to me “can I have Kit Kat instead?” I gave him one and he continued. I wish that I had done more. Perhaps I could have made him stay until the Police arrived, and hopefully they could have put him on a 72-hour hold (they can do this) to get him some help.

•The Ojai City Council is moving forward with an ordinance that would allow up to five cannabis manufacturing facilities to operate in the city. During its regular meeting on Oct. 23, the council voted 4-1 in favor of the proposed ordinance. The new law would allow licenses for up to two cannabis manufacturing plants, including those that use volatile solvents to create their products and up to three cannabis “microbusinesses,” – these outfits would combine retail, distribution and manufacturing of cannabis products but would not be allowed to use volatile substances to create their goods.

The ordinance is scheduled to return to the council for a second and final reading on Nov. 13. If approved, it would take effect within 30 days of that meeting.

Many other cities are allowing cannabis businesses of some sort including delivery. I’m hoping that with our new city council members more consideration will be given to allowing some type of cannabis businesses to operate in Ventura. Why shouldn’t the income from these businesses stay in Ventura?

•Both Cesar Sayoc, charged with a series of mailed pipe bombs and Robert Bowers, who murdered many at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, are legal USA citizens. Perhaps we need to build a wall to keep legals out of the country.

• The Ventura City Council has voted to ban motorized scooters, but this might not be the end of the story. Manufacturer Bird has filed a lawsuit against Beverly Hills seeking to overturn their ban which might affect all cities.

• It is not because I don’t often agree with him – you might be surprised that sometimes I actually do – but I am very concerned when Trump makes statements like the following that he Twittered.

“A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”

His definition of “false and inaccurate reporting” is any news reporting that doesn’t agree with him. Earlier this month Trump called reporters “horrible, horrendous people” and his “fans” chanted “CNN sucks.”

The publisher of the NY Times, Sulzberger, has implored the President to stop calling the press “the enemy of the people.” His war on the press is not good, or acceptable in our free society and democracy.

The freedom of the press is vital to what makes this country great, so we should all defend it.

Vol. 12, No. 2 – Oct 24 – Nov 6, 2018 – Opinion/Editorial

• It is very important that you vote for our first district specific City Council members on Nov.6. This is the opportunity for those of you who feel that your interests are not always heard to have a council member who lives near you and who will show more concern for your area. Do remember though, like always, that they will still only represent one vote out of seven.

I had some apprehension about going to the council district format, but there are some very qualified people running. It did eliminate some current council members that I think are very good.

The “cafeteria” at the new CMH might actually be a good place to eat with their nice outdoor patio.

• On Oct. 24, 7-9pm, and Nov. 8, 7-9pm, the finally completed new Community Memorial Hospital (CMH) will have an open house. It’s an amazing hospital and a great opportunity to check it out before it officially opens, probably in mid December. There is also some wonderful art to enjoy there.

• On this cover is an article about ALTRUSA and Westpark. I attended the event they held recently and was extremely impressed with the behavior and discipline of the second to fifth grade kids that were there. Not a sound from them as they entered the gym and sat on the floor in lines based upon their grade levels. Politely clapping as the ladies of ALTRUSA were introduced (even when I was as well). I think this is a real tribute to Anita Diaz and her amazing staff.

And I still feel that Westpark is the best family-oriented park in Ventura.

• Our new City Manager, Alex McIntyre received unanimous council approval of his contract so he starts out with a good chance of council support (our previous City Manager was approved 4-3). Even though he is the “boss” he still answers to the City Council.

With a new city manager and at least three new council members this could be an opportunity for new and fresh ideas coming from City Hall. Maybe even a new look at legal marijuana stores here and the large tax revenue that they can bring.

•Eugene Robinson, of the Washington Post Writers Group writes, “President Trump’s constant, relentless, remorseless lying is a central feature of his presidency, an unprecedented threat to our democracy and, in my view, an impeachable offense.”

• Even after his death, at age 76, Stephen Hawking remains a major thinker and brilliant scientist. In his new book, which was completed by his family after his death, he answers questions that he received most during his life.

A few of his answers:

“Alien life is out there, artificial intelligence could outsmart humans and time travel can’t be ruled out.”

“There is no God. No one directs the universe. For centuries, it was believed that disabled people like me were living under a curse that was inflicted by God. I prefer to think that everything can be explained another way, by the laws of nature.”

“There are forms of intelligent life out there,” he writes. “We need to be wary of answering back until we have developed a bit further.”

“Travel back in time can’t be ruled out according to our present understanding,” He also predicts that “within the next hundred years we will be able to travel to anywhere in the Solar System.”

• In our next issue, we’ll announce our first (in conjunction with the Ventura Chamber of Commerce) “Ventura’s favorite food and drinks.” So be sure to enter your vote for your favorites to show local vendors that you appreciate their fine food and drinks.

• There seems to be a lot of depression these days. If you, or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.

• “We need to get rid of the homeless.” We hear that constantly but just saying that really won’t get rid of the homeless. Some type of housing that provides an opportunity to get their lives back on track is necessary. Especially with the special care needed for the homeless mentally ill (about 1/3 of the homeless population).

I know some say, “Why should those bums have free housing when I need to pay for mine.“ I certainly understand this but we can’t have it both ways. Can’t complain that they are out there and then also complain about the solution.

Homeless housing doesn’t need to be luxurious. During the Thomas Fire, buildings at the fairgrounds provided shelter for the displaced with cots and portable toilets. There are even portable showers that could be provided.

I’m sure most homeless worked at some time in their lives. Maybe if they were cleaned up, given decent food and counseling they could go back to work.

I know it is all about the funding. The council is working out terms with the county to lease 2323 Knoll Drive for a year-round homeless shelter. It will cost an estimated $4 million to convert the building into a residential facility,

If you have better ideas and solutions I sure would like to hear them. As would the City Council.

Vol. 12, No. 1 – Oct 10 – Oct 23, 2018 – Opinion/Editorial

•WOW, WOW and WOW! Pinch me again – it can’t be true that we just completed our eleventh year of publication. Our first issue was on Oct.24, 2007.

There are so many people to thank, that I can’t thank them all. Our wonderful readers, our fabulous advertisers who keep us in business, and our unbelievably dedicated staff including writers, photographers and distributors. A special shout-out to Alfred J. Lewis – who makes the paper great every issue and continues to be my free therapist – Breezy Gledhill, who brings in the money and Cindy Summers who contributes in various ways while also making our website wonderful.

It goes without saying that it is very important that our dedicated readers support our advertisers so that we can continue to be Ventura’s “beloved newspaper.” It is their dollars that keep us in business.

•In our last issue’s Person to Person article it asked readers, “Do you think the Top Hat Restaurant should be declared a historical building and should it remain there as part of the planned new development?”

There wasn’t enough space available for my two cents, so here it is:

“No, it’s not historical. If it’s historical – I’m ancient! It’s just an old nondescript plywood building with no historical significance or looks. I do agree with one of our readers who said it should be moved to the outside area of the Ventura County Museum.”

And speaking of Person to Person, a panel of Republican women have defended Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh following allegations of attempted sexual assault. One posed the question, “What 17-year-old boy hasn’t done this in high school?”

I didn’t do that (I did pull a girl’s pigtail in the second grade), but maybe I was the exception so perhaps in our next “Person to Person” we should ask men if they sexually assaulted any girls while in high school?

•There are many legal marijuana dispensaries in nearby communities. Perhaps our new city council members (3 or 4) will see the folly of Ventura not having any and the large amount of tax money that we are losing. It is legal now ya know!

•Per a cover story, the City Council has hired Alex McIntyre to be our new City Manager. His base annual salary will be $255,000 plus other allowances and benefits consistent with similar executive management positions.

Before you get overly excited regarding his salary, the City Manager is typically the highest paid city employee, since he’s the City’s Chief Executive Officer like that of a very large corporation and is the boss of all city employees. He only answers to the City Council. Mr. McIntyre’s tentative start date will be November 13, 2018.

His salary is similar to other local city manager’s. Thousand Oaks: $244,000, Camarillo: $245,000 and Oxnard: $252,000.

• In a previous issue I stated that I would not comment further on the national political scene. I have had more readers condemn me than praise me for this stance, so I am changing my mind. I have also commented on the importance of a free press in a well-functioning democracy. It is even more vital that readers express their opinions.

None of the following phrases were written by me (except a few comments in parenthesis). You can draw your own conclusions.

“President Donald Trump’s opening remarks at the United Nations Tuesday created an awkward and unexpected moment, with other world leaders laughing or grumbling at the American president’s boast about his administration’s accomplishments.” (He later stated that he was kidding. Maybe he could be a regular on Saturday Night Live).

“President Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday that China supposedly respects him for his ‘very very large brain’ during a news conference where he addressed wide-ranging issues.” (I don’t dare touch this one).

“The President said he is not in favor of statehood for Puerto Rico based on a personal feud with a local mayor.”

“President Trump told a crowd of supporters in West Virginia on Saturday night that he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “fell in love” after overcoming early hostilities.”

“When asked about the allegations of sexual assault against his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump said that it is a ‘scary time’ for men in the United States and that men are now “guilty until proven innocent.” (Especially for men who don’t have $130,000 to pay off a “porn star”).

“A survey of 25 nations by the Pew Research Center showed that respondents from across the globe have less confidence in Trump’s ability to lead than they do in Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping” (how sad is that)

• If you disagree with me, just writing to call me an idiot and saying that I’m stupid (even if true) doesn’t take the least bit of intelligence.

Write to me at opinions@venturabreeze.com and express yourself (in a way that can appear in a family newspaper, please). You might even get me to change my mind/perspective.

Speaking of opinions, there is a huge amount of misinformation on the site Nextdoor.com, so be mindful of what you read. Just try to verify statements before making definitive comments. The downside of social media is that too many comments are seen as being factually correct. I’ve noticed that there has been a lot of misinformation lately regarding our police department, city council and our homeless situation.

Don’t leave messages (based on fake news) for council members like “I demand to know why the city council approved a strip club downtown”. Instead, “I heard that the city council approved a strip club downtown, is that true?”

The city council is not your enemy. They are trying to serve the city the best they can.

Would you take that job for what amounts to maybe $3 per hour?

Don’t get me wrong I certainly do not agree with all of their decisions. Just make sure you are well informed.

Vol. 11, No. 26 – Sept 26 – Oct 9, 2018 – Opinion/Editorial

•Based upon recent research that he was responsible for decimating Native American communities and other atrocities against the Native Americans. Stanford University plans to strip out some prominent campus references to Junipero Serra. Many people now see him as more of an oppressor than a saint.

• Recently, a paddle-out to honor Kirra Drury drew hundreds to Silver Strand Beach. Drury was one of the boaters killed when two vessels collided Sept. 1 on the Colorado River. Ventura resident Raegan Heitzig, is presumed to have also been killed. Her body has not been recovered. Sad days for Ventura.

• I suggest that you sign-up for VC Alert (www.vcalert.org), Ventura County’s Emergency Notification System. In the event an emergency incident requires residents to be notified about public safety, officials will use this system to notify residents. It is a little cumbersome to sign-up but worth the effort.

•To put hurricane Florence in proper perspective, there have been areas there receiving over 30” of rain, some up to 40”. In Ventura, our total combined rain seasons from 2012-,2013,2014,2015 and 2017 (2016 was a big rain) totaled about 35”.

•Beginning October 1, Ventura Water will start upgrading the manually read water billing system. The project will replace water meters for approximately 32,000 Ventura Water customers over a 3-year period.

The upgraded meters will allow customers to view and track daily water usage, detect leaks faster, and provide consistent billing dates. HomeConnect will identify water saving opportunities with customizable options for tracking and receiving notifications and alerts. This capability eliminates the need for vehicular travel needed to read water meters (will put some people out of work I assume).

Perhaps an even more important water upgrade would be to ensure that there is water available during our next large fire.

Might the statue of Junipero Serra be replaced with this sea monster?

•How do TV ads that say you must call in the next 10 minutes know if you actually met that requirement? What if you call within 15 minutes will they not sell you the product?

• In out last issue, I made a joke about women’s brains but didn’t receive any nasty letters from you ladies (how disappointing). I do apologize and to show you that I understand how intelligent women are, these are just a very few of the women CEO’s running major corporations; Mary Barra – General Motors, Gail Koziara Boudreaux – Anthem Inc., Ginni Rometty – IBM, Indra Nooyi – PepsiCo, Marillyn Hewson – Lockheed Martin, Safra A. Catz – Oracle Corporation, Phebe Novakovic – General Dynamics, Michelle Gass – Kohl’s, Geisha Williams – Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Barbara Rentler – Ross Stores and Vicki Hollub – Occidental Petroleum.

•The weekly newspaper Missoula Independent in Montana has shut down – another newspaper closing. These are tough times for the newspaper industry to survive. So, it is very important that you support the Ventura Breeze by frequenting our advertisers, or becoming one of our advertisers if you have a business, so that the Breeze can continue to bring you the best local news.

On a positive note, the U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that imports of Canadian newsprint does not threaten or materially harm US industry. This decision reverses tariffs put in place by the Trump administration.

•People who repeatedly disrupt public meetings (gadflies they are called) in Los Angeles City meetings could be barred from attending under a proposed regulation in Los Angeles.

Extreme disruptions have prompted this action. The Ventura City Council really hasn’t had any extremely disruptive gadflies at City Council meetings recently but has had a few in the past.

I agree that at times this is appropriate, but such an action of barring some speakers at city meetings must be done very cautiously to protect our civil liberties.

•In what has become their usual 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled – citing the 4th amendment – that the Constitution protects tracking data from a cell phone. The ruling requires police to have a search warrant to obtain cell tower records. I’m sure that the writers of the Constitution anticipated cell phone use when creating this amendment.

•Reservations will be required for popular Ventura County campsites along the Rincon. This is to keep people in Facebook groups from trading the sites among themselves and monopolizing the beachfront property. Campers in 200 spots on the Rincon Parkway, including Faria and Hobson beach parks must make reservations starting Nov. 1.

• In our last issue was the final movie review by writer Manuel Reynoso. Manuel has too many projects on his plate to continue his wonderful reviews for the Breeze. I thank him for the great writing he has done for us but have no fear exclusive movie reviews will continue soon from a new reviewer.

•The new parking meters designed to provide a better experience seem to be working well. They’re meant to be easier and faster and soon will have the option to be refilled remotely.

The city claims that the downtown meters have been successful in helping manage parking issues, such as dissuading employees from leaving their vehicles in prime spots all day long. Plus, the income from them has helped pay for police, security cameras and keeping downtown clean.

The old meters had to be replaced with machines that were compliant with new credit card security standards.

Personally speaking, when I go downtown I tend to park on Poli. Then, I get to walk back up the hill to get some exercise.

Vol. 11, No. 25 – Sept 12 – Sept 25, 2018 – Opinion/Editorial

• Our readers will be happy to know (I think) that I will no longer be making comments regarding national politics. Will be tough, but I think I can do it.

• The street at the new triangle project (231 apartments) off of Sanjon, which is being graded now, will be called Vista Del Mar Place. Since we already have a Vista Del Mar Drive, I think this will be very confusing. People living on Vista Del Mar Drive just say they live on Vista Del Mar. I assume, the people living on Vista Del Mar Place will also say the same. I’m sure many visitors will get lost trying to find their way to these streets when the project is completed.

• On this issue’s cover, we have an article titled “Ventura rebuilds”, written by City Staff. I know that some of you will disagree with this article, so I hope to receive your comments. I think Ventura is trying hard to work through an overwhelming amount of home plans to be checked and processed. Certainly, more than city staff can handle.

•The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has unanimously ruled that prosecuting homeless people for sleeping on public property – when they have no access to shelter – violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The decision will protect the homeless in the Western United States.

The decision tells local governments that the key to getting homeless people off the streets is to provide housing, both short term and permanent, as well as treatment and services.

I know that Venturans are constantly blaming the Ventura Police Department and Ventura City Council for not dealing with our homeless situation. This is somewhat pointless because there is little that can be done about it until there is housing available. Our police and council are just as concerned about this and are working on providing some shelter solutions.

Many, many cities are struggling with homelessness brought on by rising housing costs and income inequality.

•Plans for new veteran’s housing in Ventura is proceeding with the City Council voting 6-0 to select a developer for the 122-unit project.

They chose Community of Friends/U.S. Vets Development Team to build the project on 9.6 acres that the city owns next to the existing 60-bed Veterans Homes of California. Combined, the two facilities will provide 182 units of veterans housing, still less than half of what was originally planned for the site.

• From the Ventura Police, stolen from unlocked vehicles:

Wallet, purse, money, 3 Nikon cameras, football equipment, cell Phone, $20 in cash, social security card, surfboard (from pickup truck bed), Apple mini iPad, Apple iPhone X, credit cards and $600 in cash.

So, lock your cars and even if locked, remove valuables. Be smart.

• These are the candidates for the city council elections in November (for our new city council districts) Irene Henry, Marcos Cuevas, Kevin Clerici, Sofía Rubalcava,

incumbant Erik Nasarenko, Spencer Noren, Ed Alamillo, Mike Marostica, Alec Gasca and Lorrie Brown.

There will be several opportunities to get to know them better (several are noted in this issue).

Very important that you vote so that you have a council member representing the district you live in where you live. Then, you’ll know who to complain to.

• Car manufacturer Bugatti has unveiled its stunning Divo super sports car – a vehicle that the French luxury brand is listing for $5.8 million. I was very disappointed that they would not accept my credit card as payment, but even if they would, they are already sold out.

• A very strange situation existed between Union Pacific and the Coastal Commission. About 5 years ago, Union Pacific installed some fencing on the east end of Vista Del Mar to keep people from crossing over the tracks as a shortcut to the beach. There have been deaths at this location (the trains always win). The Coastal Commission recently discovered this situation and requested that Union Pacific obtain permits for what they consider to be a structure.

The odd part is that the Commission is opposed to the fence because they want people to have access to the beach. Seems to me that there are other ways to get to the beach that aren’t dangerous. The fences have been removed which now provide a nice clear view of the awful graffiti on the buildings next to the tracks.

•A jury has found Plains All American Pipeline guilty of one felony count of causing the oil spill by Refugio State Beach in 2015 for failing to properly maintain its pressurized pipeline. The jury also found them guilty of eight misdemeanors by failing to immediately report the spill. The sentence has not yet been determined.

Glad to hear that. Too often the companies behind oil spills go unpunished.

•Ventura surfers (and others) can be very proud. On August 20, surfing became California’s official state sport. I was hoping it was tennis, so I could be proud of being a tennis player. Sure glad that our legislators have nothing better to do then waste time on this topic.

Women can now drive in Saudi Arabia. This has upset many men there, especially the clerics. One cleric stated, “allowing women to drive would invite promiscuity and could damage their ovaries. Woman possessed only half a brain and half of that was used for shopping.”

I completed disagree – it takes at least ¾ of their brains to go shopping. I had better hear from you ladies.

Vol. 11, No. 25 – Sept 12 – Sept 25, 2018 – Opinion/Editorial

• Our readers will be happy to know (I think) that I will no longer be making comments regarding national politics. Will be tough, but I think I can do it.

• The street at the new triangle project (231 apartments) off of Sanjon, which is being graded now, will be called Vista Del Mar Place. Since we already have a Vista Del Mar Drive, I think this will be very confusing. People living on Vista Del Mar Drive just say they live on Vista Del Mar. I assume, the people living on Vista Del Mar Place will also say the same. I’m sure many visitors will get lost trying to find their way to these streets when the project is completed.

• On this issue’s cover, we have an article titled “Ventura rebuilds”, written by City Staff. I know that some of you will disagree with this article, so I hope to receive your comments. I think Ventura is trying hard to work through an overwhelming amount of home plans to be checked and processed. Certainly, more than city staff can handle.

•The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has unanimously ruled that prosecuting homeless people for sleeping on public property – when they have no access to shelter – violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The decision will protect the homeless in the Western United States.

The decision tells local governments that the key to getting homeless people off the streets is to provide housing, both short term and permanent, as well as treatment and services.

I know that Venturans are constantly blaming the Ventura Police Department and Ventura City Council for not dealing with our homeless situation. This is somewhat pointless because there is little that can be done about it until there is housing available. Our police and council are just as concerned about this and are working on providing some shelter solutions.

Many, many cities are struggling with homelessness brought on by rising housing costs and income inequality.

•Plans for new veteran’s housing in Ventura is proceeding with the City Council voting 6-0 to select a developer for the 122-unit project.

They chose Community of Friends/U.S. Vets Development Team to build the project on 9.6 acres that the city owns next to the existing 60-bed Veterans Homes of California. Combined, the two facilities will provide 182 units of veterans housing, still less than half of what was originally planned for the site.

• From the Ventura Police, stolen from unlocked vehicles:

Wallet, purse, money, 3 Nikon cameras, football equipment, cell Phone, $20 in cash, social security card, surfboard (from pickup truck bed), Apple mini iPad, Apple iPhone X, credit cards and $600 in cash.

So, lock your cars and even if locked, remove valuables. Be smart.

• These are the candidates for the city council elections in November (for our new city council districts) Irene Henry, Marcos Cuevas, Kevin Clerici, Sofía Rubalcava,

incumbant Erik Nasarenko, Spencer Noren, Ed Alamillo, Mike Marostica, Alec Gasca and Lorrie Brown.

There will be several opportunities to get to know them better (several are noted in this issue).

Very important that you vote so that you have a council member representing the district you live in where you live. Then, you’ll know who to complain to.

• Car manufacturer Bugatti has unveiled its stunning Divo super sports car – a vehicle that the French luxury brand is listing for $5.8 million. I was very disappointed that they would not accept my credit card as payment, but even if they would, they are already sold out.

• A very strange situation existed between Union Pacific and the Coastal Commission. About 5 years ago, Union Pacific installed some fencing on the east end of Vista Del Mar to keep people from crossing over the tracks as a shortcut to the beach. There have been deaths at this location (the trains always win). The Coastal Commission recently discovered this situation and requested that Union Pacific obtain permits for what they consider to be a structure.

The odd part is that the Commission is opposed to the fence because they want people to have access to the beach. Seems to me that there are other ways to get to the beach that aren’t dangerous. The fences have been removed which now provide a nice clear view of the awful graffiti on the buildings next to the tracks.

•A jury has found Plains All American Pipeline guilty of one felony count of causing the oil spill by Refugio State Beach in 2015 for failing to properly maintain its pressurized pipeline. The jury also found them guilty of eight misdemeanors by failing to immediately report the spill. The sentence has not yet been determined.

Glad to hear that. Too often the companies behind oil spills go unpunished.

•Ventura surfers (and others) can be very proud. On August 20, surfing became California’s official state sport. I was hoping it was tennis, so I could be proud of being a tennis player. Sure glad that our legislators have nothing better to do then waste time on this topic.

Women can now drive in Saudi Arabia. This has upset many men there, especially the clerics. One cleric stated, “allowing women to drive would invite promiscuity and could damage their ovaries. Woman possessed only half a brain and half of that was used for shopping.”

I completed disagree – it takes at least ¾ of their brains to go shopping. I had better hear from you ladies.

Vol. 11, No. 24 – Aug 29 – Sept 11, 2018 – Opinion/Editorial

•This is a first time I’ve have responded in my column to a letter to our Mailbox, but I feel that this is important enough to justify a longer response.

In our previous issue I made the following comment:

• I am very concerned, and you should be also, about “any” president who tells his country to ignore the media because they are all wrong and to listen to only him. This is the beginning of Dictatorship101. An open exchange of ideas is what makes this country great.

Brian took umbrage with the following comments.

Sheldon- picking up the latest edition of the Breeze is always the highlight of my week. It’s the best local paper I’ve ever read.  Sometimes your opinions leave me laughing and crying at the same time. Your comment about Trump imploring us to “ignore the media because they are all wrong” is one of those times.  I cry because you let your bias affect your reporting – Trump has never made that statement, nor has he ever blasted the idea of a free press. His comments are directed to those publications and media celebrities who publish stories and on-line commentary that distort the truth, such as CNN, MSNBC and others. I laugh because your comment proves Trumps point about the media bias. 

Brian Randall 

Randall:

I don’t agree with your comments. Even though I do admit to bias (noun: prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.). I don’t feel my comments are based upon bias, but on reality.

One of the most important things of a true democracy is the freedom of the press, which is why this concerns me.

The following quotes were not written by me, but appeared, in some form in many many newspapers around the country. Apparently, my bias is shared by others, and I am in good company.

“More than 300 U.S. newspapers are running editorials that promote press freedom to counter Donald Trump’s attacks on the media, in a move coordinated by The Boston Globe.”

“President Trump has often attacked some media reports as “fake news” and called journalists the “enemy of the people,” and “very dangerous and sick,” in a tweet earlier this month.”

“In July, he blasted The New York Times and The Washington Post as “anti-Trump haters” who “do nothing but write bad stories even on very positive achievements — they will never change.”

“The Globe’s initiative aims to denounce “the war against the free press” and it suggested that editorial boards take a stand against Trump’s words regardless of their politics.”

“The president has referred to the media as the “opposition party” to his administration, and he has blamed news organizations for stymieing his agenda. But the language that Mr. Trump deployed on Friday is more typically used by leaders to refer to hostile foreign governments or subversive organizations. It also echoed the language of autocrats who seek to minimize dissent.”

“Oh boy,” Carl Bernstein, the journalist who helped to uncover the Watergate scandal, said on Friday, after a reporter read him Mr. Trump’s tweet. Donald Trump is demonstrating an authoritarian attitude and inclination that shows no understanding of the role of the free press,” he added.

“Historians pointed out similarities between Mr. Trump and Richard M. Nixon, who in 1972 told his national security adviser, Henry A. Kissinger, “The press is the enemy.”

Mr. Bernstein said the president’s language “may be more insidious and dangerous than Richard Nixon’s attacks on the press. But there is a similarity in trying to divide the country, and make the conduct of the press the issue, instead of the conduct of the president.

“Still, the notion of the news media as an enemy of the public — especially when voiced by a sitting president — went a step beyond Mr. Trump’s usual rhetorical turns.

Mr. Trump’s tactic of pitting the press against the public was mirrored in a survey distributed by the president’s team on Thursday, which urged Trump supporters “to do your part to fight back against the media’s attacks and deceptions.”

Survey questions included, “Do you believe that the mainstream media has reported unfairly on our movement?” And, “On which issues does the mainstream media do the worst job of representing Republicans?”

I apologize for getting so political, but this is important to me and should be to all lovers of democracy and freedom.

•I’m glad that Jim Monahan will not be seeking another term on the city council. He has served the city well, but I think 40 years is enough. Time for a change on the council to bring new ideas and new directions for the city. I’m sure that Jim will continue to serve the city in his council retirement as he always has..

•I am sorry that Interim City Manager Daniel Paranick has resigned to accept employment with another agency. I think he would’ve made an excellent city manager. The City is in the process of completing recruitment for a permanent City Manager, and an Interim City Manager has been hired.

• Amazing Noah was 640 years-old when he built a 3-story 400-foot boat. Some say he didn’t look a day over 500.

•There is a fear of everything and an associated word to describe it. For example, Triskaidekaphobia is fear or avoidance of the number 13. It is also a reason for the fear of Friday the 13th, called Paraskevidekatriaphobia or Friggatriskaidekaphobia. The term was used as early as 1910 by Isador Coriat in Abnormal Psychology. I wonder if there is a word for the fear of reading?

Vol. 11, No. 22 – Aug 1 – Aug 14, 2018 – Opinion/Editorial

• Because it is very seldom used, it seems to me that the large outdoor area at the Albinger Archaeological Museum is a waste of space. It’s basically grass, dirt and river rock that were foundations for the old buildings that were located there. Really not much to see outside after you enjoy the exhibits inside the Museum.

“Wouldn’t this make a wonderful Downtown park and open space?”

Why not remove the wall at the street and make it into a nice open space and park? The foundation area can remain with the small walal still defining it. Downtown needs more open area and the cost of doing this is minimal.

It could then become part of the Valdez Alley/Eastwood Park right next to it. A wonderful addition to downtown.

What say you?

•One day last week it was 82 degrees in Ventura and folks were complaining about the heat. The same day it was 121 in Palm Springs. So quit complaining.

• Hopefully the painful episode of the Harbor Church building, located on Preble Ave. in Midtown, will end soon. Painful because the City spent $2.3 million on the property and will be spending another $350,000 (or so) to demolish it.

Even though the property value is much higher now than it was when purchased, the four lots that will become available for purchase will be valued at about $1.4 million. This means the City will have lost about $1.2 million on this fiasco.

The church was – for years – providing food, clothing, ministry and other services for homeless people until the city bought the property in exchange for the church leaving town.

Its location, next to Blanche Reynolds Elementary and a park, were two of the reasons that neighbors opposed Operation Embrace that served the homeless. They felt that the program’s clientele brought in crime and was a safety risk to the neighborhood.

Because of this, the City ordered Harbor to shut down the program. Harbor Church appealed and sued claiming Operation Embrace was an extension of its religious rights. Rather than going through an expensive legal battle the City purchased the property.

•After what they considered to be a mass shooting (hardly considered a mass shooting in the USA these days) left three people dead, including the shooter, Toronto’s conservative mayor backed a proposal that even the most liberal American politicians wouldn’t dare support ― a total ban on all handgun sales.

“Why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all,” Mayor John Tory asked at a city council meeting on Monday.

•For the first time ever, researchers have watched a star race past the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way, verifying that its motion showed the effects of general relativity, as predicted by Albert Einstein. Just what world was he from?

• In 2003, Russell Galipeau (59) became the Superintendent of the Channel Islands. After 40-years of serving the National Park Service he is retiring. He did a wonderful job and will be missed. If you haven’t been to any of the islands jump on an Island Packer’s boat and enjoy our own National Park.

• According to the Ventura County 2018 Homeless Count and Survey, there were 1,299 adults and children who were homeless. This number represents a 147 person or 12.8% increase when compared to the number of homeless persons who were counted in 2017. However, the homeless count in Ventura County over the last 10-years show that even though there has been an increase in the last few years, the amount has declined sharply from previous years. It is down from 2009 by almost 40% and from all of the years between 2009 and 2015.

Housing is a major part of the solution and the City and County have taken the right steps towards allocating funds to open up a year-round shelter – it will, hopefully, be open by the end of this year.

The cities of Oxnard and Ventura account for nearly two thirds of the 1,299 homeless. Even the homeless like living by the beach.

• This reminds me of the old cartoon series Spy versus Spy. Everyone is suing everyone over the Thomas fire and the results could take years. The Ventura City Council voted to take legal action. The city filed a lawsuit against Southern California Edison over the utility’s alleged negligence in starting the Thomas Fire becoming one of the over 2,000 plaintiffs seeking damages from Edison. The city is being represented by Texas-based law firm Baron & Budd.

Electrical equipment and lines have been determined to be one of the leading causes of many wildfires.

The large number of cases and plaintiffs prompted the California Judicial Council to combine them all to be heard in Los Angeles County. The cases involve those affected by the fire and deadly mudslides in Montecito.

At the same time, the City is being sued by some as well.

This gets into some very tricky legal questions. What if a public utility can’t afford to pay the judgements? Can they declare bankruptcy and close down? Can they pass on the costs by increasing customers’ bills as they believe that they can?

They can’t raise rates without the approval of the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) which it is reluctant to do. The PUC declined a request by San Diego Gas & Electric to raise their rates to cover claims from fires in 2007.

•The New York Daily News just cut half its newsroom staff, including the Editor in Chief. I think that I’m the Breeze’s Editor in Chief so hope that I don’t need to fire myself. Tempting as it is, what would I do for fun? As you know, newspapers are struggling, but the Ventura Breeze continues our winning ways with the support of our readers and advertisers.

Vol. 11, No. 21 – July 18 – July 31, 2018 – Opinion/Editorial

•Per the new owners of Carrows Restaurant on Harbor, all newspaper racks have been removed. But not to worry, just go over to Vons to pick up your favorite local newspaper.

•While attending the Ventura Music Festival at the Olivas Adobe, featuring the John Jorgenson Quintet, we couldn’t figure out why there was a lady on the balcony with what appeared to be a hawk. Turns out it was a hawk. The VMF hired a “falconer” who brought a Harris Hawk to keep the trees free of birds who, in the past, have bombed some attendees at the summer concerts.

•On our pet page is news about the new location for the Canine Adoption and Rescue League (CARL) Thrift Boutique at 2750 E Main St. I feel proud that I was able to provide their architectural drawings and help them through the city permit process. It’s a great location, so be sure to support them and the dogs that need adoption.

• Glad to see grading started on the large “triangle lot” development project. Even though it will increase traffic, it is an important part of the Downtown plan with a major public promenade along the bluff to be enjoyed by all.

• I may be in the minority, but I don’t like the fact that Union Pacific has had to remove a large amount of their fencing which makes it much easier to cross over their tracks – very dangerous. Legal crossings (an overpass or underpass) would be great but would cost millions of dollars.

• The dozens of Thomas Fire lawsuits against Southern California Edison proceeded recently when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel J. Buckley approved some procedural conditions and ordered some evidence be shared in the litigation.

The lawsuits allege negligence by Edison, in maintaining and operating its equipment led to the fires and subsequent Montecito mudslides.

Congratulations go to new, or re-appointed, members of Ventura’s Cultural Affairs

Commission, Public Art Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission,

Downtown Parking Advisory Committee and Library Advisory Commissions.

They are Marie Lakin, Ken May, Alec Gasca, Todd Collart, Daniel Saltee, Maline Werness-Rude,

James White, Kevin Clerici, Debbie Giles and Berta Steele.

• The Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to ban vacation rentals that are not the primary residences of owners in the unincorporated areas of the Ojai Valley (not city of). The vote affects homes that are rented for less than 30 days (short term).

Union Pacific has removed their fences so now the ugly and graffiti filled buildings are more visible.

Ventura has been struggling for some time with what some see as this problem, especially in the small Lanes in the Pierpont area.

LeBron James has signed a contract with the LA Lakers for 4 years for only $37.5 mill per year. With his endorsements he might make less than $90 mill for 6-months work, so I’m starting a go-fund campaign to raise money for his kids so that when they reach 16 they can buy their first Maserati’s. My first car was a 1939 Chevy coupe, and I could even work on the engine.

•As we all know, Ventura has had one very tragic murder this year and some locals and news outlets have made it sound as if we are the murder capital of the world. Oxnard has had 9 so far this year, so maybe we aren’t so bad.

•The November election will be the first time City Council members are chosen from the districts in which they live, a total of four seats are becoming up for election. A good opportunity for Venturans who have never thought of running for office. There is not an incumbent in two of the districts which improves your chance of being elected.

The deadline to submit your ballet application is 5 p.m. on Aug. 10. To get listed on the ballot candidates need to collect only 20 signatures from registered voters who live in their district. To run, you must be at least 18 years old, registered to vote, and live in your district.

Four council seats – District 1, 4, 5 and 6 – are being voted on under the new districts. To find out what district you live in go to https://bit.ly/2JB8fm0.

Applications are available at the City Clerk’s office at City Hall which is open Monday- Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The office will be closed July 20 and Aug. 3.

For more information, go to cityofventura.ca.gov/election. If you do run, be sure to send your photo and platform statement to editor@venturabreeze.com for all to see. We have included several candidate overview statements already.

•Built by IBM and Nvidia for the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Summit is a 200 petaflop machine. This means it can perform 20 quadrillion calculations per second. As stated by MIT Technology Review, “Everyone on Earth would have to do a calculation every second of every day for 305 days to crunch what the new machine can do in the blink of an eye.”

Before you consider buying one: The machine weighs 340 tons. The system is housed in a 9,250 square-foot room at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s facility in Tennessee. To keep this machine cool, 4,000 gallons of water are pumped through the system (it couldn’t be in Ventura since we don’t have that much water). The 13 megawatts of energy required to power this behemoth could light up over 8,000 US homes.

Summit is now the world’s most powerful supercomputer, and it is 60% faster than the previous title holder, China’s Sunway TaihuLight. It’s the first time since 2013 that a US-built computer has held the title. And if you turn it over, it doesn’t say “Made in China”.

Vol. 11, No. 20 – July 4 – July 17, 2018 – Opinion/Editorial

• Santa Clarita has approved new rules that bans individuals from sitting on sidewalks and sleeping in cars on public streets. The rules are intended to block homeless people from living in public spaces. At the same time, they also approved spending $1 million to help build a homeless shelter and create a long-term plan to combat the issue.

These signs would be good to have in Ventura.

I’m not sure if it is legal to ban people from sitting on the sidewalk, but taking the next step and providing shelter makes it worth taking the chance. Officials from Anaheim, Huntington Beach and Santa Ana have proposed new shelter sites to help solve their growing homeless situation.

Providing shelters is what is needed – it seems to me. Complaining about (and counting) the homeless does nothing to correct the homeless problem in any city. Pursuant to this, the Ventura City Council has approved spending $600,000 in the new $306.5 million operating budget (roughly a 10% increase over last year) to help pay for the acquisition of a year-round transitional shelter and $250,000 for operating expenses including agencies that work with the homeless community and provide social services and other necessary programs, especially for the approximate 30% of the mentally ill homeless. The funds are expected to be matched by Ventura County which has agreed to provide matching funding to cities opening their own shelters.

The council also directed staff to return with gap funding to continue extra police patrols (and extra security cameras) put into place after the April homicide on the Promenade. The city has been paying police overtime for the additional enforcement and will likely continue that until new full time officers are hired.

Many citizens are still confused, saying, “How come we still have vagrants on the Promenade if there are additional police present.” The police are there to diffuse any illegal activity that might take place (being homeless on the Promenade is not illegal)), and to deal with unruly people, such as a mentally ill homeless person who might be yelling at people. They might also try to get the mentally ill and homeless some help, but there is very little of that currently available.

• In a previous issue, I reported that the temporary ban on leaf blowers had been lifted. Not true – the City Council has not made a final decision. It’s the dreaded “fake news”.

• Ventura resident, Sadiki Shakur, 24, has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm for his role in the 2016 shooting that killed one man and injured another. He entered the plea in Superior Court as part of an agreement with the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office. Shakur was initially charged with murder and attempted murder. If convicted of these crimes, he could have received a sentence of 84 years to life in prison. As part of his plea agreement Shakur is expected to be sentenced to only 16 years.

•Speaking about the North Korean leader, Trump stated; “He speaks, and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

News item – “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly ordered a high-ranking army officer to be executed after he was accused of giving extra food and fuel rations to troops and their families.”

His people had better sit up at attention.

• The City of Ventura owns a very large property portfolio, which they have done a terrible job managing. Ventura owns over 250 properties.

The Brooks Institute situation, where they walked away from space that was being remodeled on the fourth and fifth floors of 505 Poli St. is a good example of things gone wrong. Unqualified staff failed to require the school to pay a security deposit. The space, with unfinished construction, still remains empty.

When Brooks signed their lease, several non-profits (like Focus on the Masters) had to move to another floor or location, all of which turned out to not be necessary.

To solve the problem, the city has hired an in-house property management specialist, Charlotte Modugno, and consolidated all of the city properties and agreements to the public works department.

Other city leased properties include patios used by several restaurants that are located on city property.

City Councilmember Christy Weir asked for more information on 505 Poli St., which has 12 leases and much empty space. The building includes nonprofits, start-up companies and the Ventura Chamber of Commerce. I certainly hope that Charlotte does a good job so that city properties are professionally managed and proper rents are charged.

•A new study validates Einstein’s theory of general relativity in a distant galaxy for the first time.

This study supports my current understanding of gravity (which is non-existent) and provides more evidence for the existence of dark matter and dark energy — two mysterious concepts that scientists know about only indirectly by observing their effects on cosmic objects. Seems simple to me – if there is no proof who could argue?

Einstein’s theory of general relativity, published in 1916, explains how gravity is the result of a concept known as the fabric of space-time. Simply put, the theory predicts how much the mass of an object — in this case, a galaxy — curves space-time. Just look in the sky and you can see gravity bending.

•I’m glad to see that the Pierpont Inn has secured some permits to continue with the remodel of the main building. Construction was stopped about 3 years ago because the owners hadn’t secured the required permits. Hard to believe that a major hotel chain could be stupid enough to build without them. Hopefully the new construction will bring this iconic building back to its original beautiful interior. The rooms at the hotel have remained open.