Vol. 12, No. 7 – Jan 3 – Jan 15, 2019 – Opinion/Editorial

Happy New Year to all our wonderful readers, our vital much-needed advertisers and the dedicated Ventura Breeze staff. Without any of these we wouldn’t exist.

• This will be any interesting year in Ventura watching our “new” City Council and new City Manager dig in to the many issues facing the city. A great opportunity for Venturan’s to contact them or to speak at City Council meetings.

What are your thoughts about legal marijuana stores, building development, freeway access, tourism, water use and rates? With the new districts you know who to direct your thoughts to.

• I have been accused of printing letters from readers only condemning Trump. This is not at all true. We can only print what we receive and are happy to print opinions praising him. We want to hear from Trump supporters and Republicans at opinions@venturabreeze.com. Please limit to about 300 words and tell is why you support him.

• I’m happy to say that Farmers has reinstated my homeowner’s insurance. In the last issue, I explained that they cancelled it for – what I found out later – was too many claims. These were $12,500 for damage from a fallen tree, $2,000 clean up from the Thomas Fire and zero from an auto claim that I cancelled. They reconsidered and basically said, “We didn’t realize that the $2,000 was from the fire so we aren’t counting it.” Does this mean if I only had one $600,000 fire claim they wouldn’t have cancelled?

I’m happy but not satisfied. I never received a letter (or call) that they were considering cancellation so that I could respond, just got a letter one day saying I was cancelled.

• Recently, I was at the new CMH and ate lunch in their dining room. It was very good. Fresh made sandwiches, a salad bar plus other food made on the spot. Really nice outdoor (and indoor) seating. It closes at 8pm so don’t go after that. Who would have thought eating at a hospital could be so good? And if you get sick while dining, help is right there.

• I have received several emails complaining about the condition of the parking lot behind the 99c Store on Main. This lot is owned by the City and leased to the building owners. The City has 3 companies bidding on re-paving the lot. It is a very complex project because the entire lot can’t be shut down at once since it is always full and delivery trucks need to be able to deliver goods. It will probably be done this year, we hope.

• A recent Saturday printing of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune (plus many other papers) was affected by a computer virus. Most papers were delivered later in the day. The Times said in a statement that Sunday’s newspaper might also be impacted but most were delivered on time.

The suspected malware is thought to have come from outside the USA and the reason is not known. Perhaps it was because of all the “fake news” (except for the content in the Breeze of course).

• For those that say athletes should just keep their mouths shut and play, consider this. Former Wake Forest guard and NBA All-Star Chris Paul is donating $2.5 million in support of the Demon Deacons’ basketball team. The donation, announced Tuesday, is the school’s largest by a former Wake Forest basketball player.

He is not alone, as many athletes support multiple causes with their time and money. They have every right to speak their minds the same as any profession in America.

• A teenager in Melbourne pleaded guilty after hacking into Apple’s corporate computer network, where he accessed customer files and downloaded 90 GB of data. He probably also changed all his high school and college grades to A’s, if necessary.

• The new reservation system for camping spots along the scenic Rincon Parkway is working as planned. Officials and campers say that disputes have plunged.

Each camper can only have possession of one site per stay. Those stays are limited to 14 days for the Hobson and Faria parks. They’re cut off at 14 days at the Rincon in the off-season which runs from Nov. 1 to March 31, and five days the rest of the year.

• According to the annual America’s Health Rankings report, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Utah are 2018’s five healthiest states (California was 12th, which ain’t too bad). The five least healthy were Arkansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi and, coming in last, Louisiana.

• A statement posted on Facebook by the Alabama Opp Police Department blames an increase in area homicides on the idea that young people have turned away from God and “embraced Satan.” The post followed two gunshot killings in as many days in Covington County, located on the Alabama-Florida line. The murderer’s defense on trial will be “The devil made me do it!” Case dismissed.

• For two decades, adolescent smoking has been on the decline, but thanks to vaping products like Juul (which has 75% of the market), teen smoking just jumped by levels not seen for 43 years. Almost all the kids who vape are vaping nicotine: a toxic and highly addictive substance. And, to further validate the growth, Altria (formerly Phillip Morris Companies) acquired a 35% stake in JUUL Labs for $13 billion on December 20.

• Recently, one of my most prolific writers quit. Her main reason was because of the way that I treat Trump. At first, I was shocked then disappointed. Disappointed because she, of all people, should believe in the freedom of the press. She never expressed her feelings to me in person and certainly had the opportunity to express it in the paper. And, I always thought that she was a liberal. Maybe the devil made her do it.

Vol. 12, No. 6 – Dec 19, 2018 – Jan 2, 2019 – Opinion/Editorial

This is my last chance this year to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

• I received some complaints regarding articles in our last issue talking about people who lost their homes in the Thomas Fire. The complaints say that we only published articles about those folks who are happy with how the city (planning and building & safety) handled their plans and permits.

We didn’t pre-screen people who lost their homes to see if they were happy or un-happy. We certainly would be happy to accept any opinions regarding working with the city (good or bad). If you are unhappy, don’t just say city (or Breeze) are idiots, please articulate why. Send comments to opinions@venturabreeze.com. Would love to hear from you.

•I met with Deya Terrafranca, The Museum of Ventura County’s new Library and Archives Director, who will manage their wonderful archives. I like the fact that she plans to make the archive library more accessible to all. The previous director thought of it as his own private collection and didn’t easily share content with the community and the media. It is a wonderful resource of Ventura history. Read the article about her in this issue.

•I expect great things from our “new” city council and city manager. Hopefully the council will let the city manager do his job and they will deal with more macro, rather than micro concerns. A fresh, open minded look at marijuana businesses in Ventura should be on their agenda, as we are losing lots of money to nearby cities.

Hope one of the new members brings a great sense of humor similar to what Mike Tracy provided to the council.

•Time magazine has named a newspaper and four journalists, including Washington Post’s murdered Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi, as its Person of the Year.

“They are representative of a broader fight by countless others around the world – as of December 10, at least 52 journalists have been murdered in 2018 – who risk all to tell the story of our time,” Time wrote in an essay titled The Guardians and the War on Truth.

Retired Adm. William McRaven has stated, “I stand by my comment that the President’s attack on the media is the greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime,” McRaven said, referencing remarks he made about Trump last year. “When you undermine the people’s right to a free press and freedom of speech and expression, then you threaten the Constitution and all for which it stands.”

•After a loss, a star player of the LA Lakers stated, “I don’t got nothing to say about that.” Maybe he shouldn’t say anything at all. And when they introduce the players they say which college they attended.

•Ventura County supervisors want to find out why firefighters lacked enough water early on to fight the Thomas Fire. They have directed staff members to look for answers on what went wrong. The action came after they received a county disaster agency’s review of the emergency response efforts that contains no mention of the water problems that slowed firefighting.

Ventura’s report on the issue is still pending a year after the disaster.

Ventura officials blame the shortage to the rapid depletion of water from tanks, low water pressure in the hydrants, the loss of power and an inadequate number of backup generators. Shouldn’t this be known and dealt with prior to the fires?

Our new City Manager, Alex McIntyre, said the city’s draft report on the response to the fire is coming soon. He needs to deal with an issue that he had nothing to do with but maybe that will be a good thing with a fresh new look.

Trump suggested that “raking” would help stop the scourge of wildfires, so perhaps fire fighters should each carry a rake instead of a hose.

•I’m sorry to see Ventura Unified School District Superintendent David Creswell quit (see article on this issue cover). I don’t think it was necessary, but I feel that he might have been looking for a reason to step down. Ventura has had a tough time filling this extremely important position. In my opinion, school superintendent and city manager are the two of the most important positions in Ventura. Closely followed by the head of community development.

•A two-year analysis by two dozen experts at universities found that the notion that immigrants, like the small group of asylum-seekers who traveled from Central American countries to the U.S.-Mexico border recently, are unhealthy and will bring disease into the U.S. This “is a false argument that is used to keep migrants out,” one of the study’s authors, stated Dr. Paul Spiegel, of the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins.

Measles increased 30% over the last year due to poor vaccination rates, the World Health Organization stated. Experts say that people who skip vaccination due to vaccine fears and poor health systems are to blame.

Over 6.7 million people contracted the measles in 2017, with 110,000 dying of the virus, WHO said in their report. Most of the infected people were children.

The measles vaccine has prevented 21 million deaths since 2000, WHO said, but recent, unnecessary fear of the vaccine has lowered the vaccination rate. The goal is for 95% vaccination. No scientific link has been found between vaccines and autism, as some fear, according to science and medical experts.

Measles is still common in many developing countries – particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. The overwhelming majority (more than 95%) of measles deaths occur in countries with low per capita incomes and weak health infrastructures.

Measles outbreaks can be particularly deadly in countries experiencing or recovering from a natural disaster or conflict. Damage to health infrastructure and health services interrupts routine immunization and overcrowding in residential camps greatly increases the risk of infection.

Health authorities in California have more power to insist that a dog is vaccinated against rabies than to ensure that child enrolled in public school are vaccinated against measles.

• When Clinton lied about having an affair all Republicans screamed “Impeach him.” When Trump lied about having affairs Republicans said “It ain’t no big deal.” Conclusion. Okay for Republicans to have affairs, it seems, but not for Democrats.

Vol. 12, No. 5 – Dec 5 – Dec 18, 2018 – Opinion/Editorial

•It is hard to believe that it has been a year since the fire raged through Ventura. From a previous news article; “On December 4, 2017 a fastmoving active brush fire that started North of Santa Paula along Highway 150 and Bridge Road was pushed by strong east winds through the City of Ventura. The Thomas Fire burned 281,893 acres and was 100% contained on January 12, 2018. 1,063 structures were destroyed and 280 structures were damaged. In the City of Ventura, more than 100 structures have been identified as damaged and more than 500 structures have been identified as being destroyed.”

In this issue we tried to capture the feelings and hopes of those directly, and indirectly, affected by the Thomas Fire. It is amazing to me that there were no deaths in Ventura as a result of the fire. A tribute to our fire and police departments and to Venturan’s who listened and acted in a proper manner when told to evacuate.

I remember the midnight call from my daughter-in-law who said, “We have evacuated and need to stay with you.” When I asked “where are you” she told me “we are in front of your house. We didn’t think about calling you until we arrived here.” I responded, “Give me a few minutes so that I can put some clothes on (you don’t need to picture that).”

Eventually more of our kids and family (unusual that 4 of our 5 kids live locally) ended up at our house. Several stayed for a few days because the electricity was out – we were the Grand Hotel.

Once the family was in the house, my son and I immediately went back to his house on Aliso St. where we proceeded (with a couple of neighbors) to put out fires. Some of which could have been disastrous. During the night several cars stopped to help us – they didn’t live in the neighborhood or know who we were– that night brought out the finest in many Venturans. Mark and I also went back and forth to the house of Diane’s family and put out fires there.

If there was a funny part of this, at about 5am I looked at my son and said, ”You are wearing pajamas and slippers.” Which neither of us were aware of the entire night. He of course quickly changed clothes. And to think that he was stomping out fires wearing his slippers.

I spent the next several days going from fire to fire watching as helpless firefighters had to stand by as homes burned to the ground because there was inadequate water. Why there wasn’t water is still a mystery. The Breeze has not been able to get adequate answers about the water problem and has been told that the city cannot comment because of pending lawsuits. Hopefully this will be resolved before the next fire occurs.

I think one of the other reasons that there were no casualties is because we have an adequate street system. So, although there were challenges in certain areas, evacuees were able to exit without being overrun by the fire.

This, of course, was not the case in the recent Paradise fire that claimed an unknown number of lives. Perhaps areas like Paradise – without adequate streets and ways to exit – shouldn’t be allowed to rebuild until they have proper ways to evacuate.

I believe that our planning department and building & safety division have done a great job of handling hundreds of building plans that have been submitted. More plans then they would typically see over a period of many years. I know some people who lost their homes and they are not happy with the city, but even under “normal” times the permit process can be very daunting.

• Kudos to the Ventura outdoor gear company Patagonia for giving the $10 million it saved from tax cuts to non-profit environmental groups. The donation is in addition to 1% of sales it gives to these groups every year.

•People have recently reported seeing a mountain lion in hillside neighborhoods in Ventura.  The wildfires may have brought the animals into living areas.

Mountain lions tend to be solitary creatures and rarely attack humans. However, don’t try to pet them.

Bring small house pets inside during the evening and early morning hours until further notice.

If you happen to have an encounter with a mountain lion, face the animal, make noise and attempt to look bigger by waving your arms to scare it away. You can’t outrun it.

Reminds me of the old joke. Two friends encounter a mountain lion and one says, “Run like hell.” The other says, ”We can’t out run a lion.” And his friend says, “I just need to outrun you.”

•You might not be able to fit it on your wrist, but physicists have created two clocks that are so accurate they won’t lose time in the next 15 billion years. Obviously, the atomic clock uses an optical lattice composed of laser beams trapping ytterbium atoms. Big deal, will it tell you how far you have walked?

• In a sweeping interview recently published in the Washington Post, President Donald Trump asserted that he had “very high levels of intelligence,” and as such, did not believe in the scientific consensus surrounding climate change. “One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers,” said Trump. Hmm, what an articulate assessment.

Trump ripped into French President Emmanuel Macron in a series of tweets — hitting him on everything from his low approval ratings, to the French surrender to the Nazis in World War II, and also suggesting U.S. wine is on par with the French product. I finally agree with Trump that our wine is on par with the French, so I guess he really told him. Don’t fool around with the United States. (opinions@venturabreeze.com)

Farmers Insurance has just cancelled my homeowner’s insurance because “The number of losses you have experienced exceeds our acceptability limits.” Claims paid to me; ash clean-up $2,075 and damage to a deck from a tree that fell $12,409. The total was less than $15,000 for a company that has paid out hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to people who lost their homes. Plus, the tree falling over will never happen again (or perhaps in 40 years when the new one is tall enough). Very shocking to me – why do we have insurance if it can be cancelled whenever the company unilaterally decides (there needs to be some reform with these companies).

Vol. 12, No. 4 – Nov 21 – Dec 4, 2018 – Opinion/Editorial

•I think selecting city council members by district for the first time was a huge success and accomplished exactly what was intended. Ventura moved to district elections in response to threatened litigation that the current at-large voting system disenfranchised minority voters. The new council will have 4 four female members (out of seven) – two of which are minorities. Lorrie Brown is African American and Sofia Rubalcava is Mexican They will be sworn in on Dec. 10.

Congratulations to the new and returning city council and school board members. I think all of the candidates ran professional campaigns and explained their positions very well.

We also have a new City Manager. Hopefully, the new leaders will bring some interesting ideas and new creative thinking to address some of the challenges facing Ventura. I hope that opening of marijuana businesses is addressed because Ventura is losing a large amount of tax dollars, and Venturan’s who use medical marijuana are still buying it in adjacent cities.

The homeless situation in Ventura (and every other city) remains an on-going problem. A lot of progress is being made to address this issue, and I hope the new City Council continues on this path. Neal Andrews was a big advocate for the homeless, so I hope another council member continues what he has started.

I want to personally thank the exiting City Council members Neal Andrews, Jim Monahan and Mike Tracy for their contributions to Ventura and the many hours (for perhaps $2-3 dollars per hour) that they gave serving Ventura. A rather thankless job for the pay and abuse that they endure at times.. I’ll miss Mike’s sense of humor that he brought to the council. Who would have thought that an ex police chief could be so funny?

These are the email addresses of the new City Council members. All city employee emails include their first initials and last names @cityofventura.net.

enasarenko@cityofventura.net;

cheitmann@cityofventura.net;

mlavere@cityofventura.net;

cweir@cityofventura.net;

srubalcava@cityofventura.net;

jfriedman@cityofventura.net;

lbrown@cityofventura.net;

•When the Thomas Fire started in Santa Paula (it should have been called the Santa Fire, but that might have upset little kids) we couldn’t imagine that it might end up here. And, when people living in Malibu heard of a fire starting in Oak Park, they thought that was in another country way on the other side of the freeway.

But with the combination of very dry conditions and high winds, fires, as we now know, can spread very quickly. Many people, including me, were upset because there was not enough water to fight the Thomas Fire. But, watching the recent fires convinced me that even with adequate water Ventura would still have lost hundreds of homes.

There was adequate water to fight the recent fires, but thousands of homes were lost and perhaps hundreds of folks lost their lives.

Another huge concern is what will happen to Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison as they face billions of dollars in potential law suits. What if they declare bankruptcy and there is no power. Could that happen?

Our Dec.6 issue will focus on the Thomas Fire. If you have anything that you would like to share after a year has passed, I would love to hear from you. Please send to editor@venturabreeze.com.

• There seems to be a lot of angry people these days. Maybe there always have been, but social media is allowing them to display their anger to large audiences. Much of the commentary is based upon misinformation that soon becomes the truth.

•The new $2 million+ McLaren Speedtail auto isn’t street legal in California. This is okay with me, because I just plan to keep the one I just bought parked in my living room (might just make it into a bar).

•If you thought that California didn’t have enough laws, our State Legislature agrees with you. They passed 1,016 new laws in 2018 – some of which are so innocuous, they are funny and useless.

I won’t be commenting (much) further on national politics. I will just quote from other sources, like the following.

“Top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway on Sunday said President Donald Trump has met several times over the last year with Matt Whitaker, contradicting the president’s claim last week that he “didn’t know” the newly appointed acting attorney general.

“I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn Friday. “Matt Whitaker worked for Jeff Sessions and he was extremely highly thought of and he still is. But I didn’t know Matt Whitaker.”

But that’s not what Trump told “Fox & Friends” last month.

“I can tell you Matt Whitaker’s a great guy,” the President told the hosts of his favorite cable news program. “I mean, I know Matt Whitaker.”

As always, if you disagree or want to add comments, the Breeze welcomes (and encourages) you to submit these to opinions@venturabreeze.com.

•On the 2006 SAT test, only 15% of the students wrote their essay answers in cursive.

A 2008 nationwide survey found elementary school teachers lacking formal training in teaching handwriting to students. Only 12% of teachers reported having taken a course in how to teach it.

In 2012, Indiana and Hawaii announced that their schools will no longer be required to teach cursive (but will still be permitted to), and instead will be required to teach “keyboard proficiency”.

In a recent study which compared scores of students who took notes by hand compared to laptop computers, it showed that students who took notes by hand showed advantages in both factual and conceptual learning. Another study showed that children showed an acceleration in learning new words when they wrote them by hand rather than on a computer screen

“Mom; “Grandma sent me a letter could you read it to me?”

“Dad; I need to study the Constitution will you read it to me.”

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.