Category Archives: Opinion/Editorial

Ventura Breeze celebrates 10 years providing hometown news

• WOW, WOW and WOW! Pinch me – it can’t be true that we just completed our tenth year of publication. Our first issue, on Oct.24, 2007, is shown on this cover.

Besides not knowing anything about the newspaper business when Staci Brown and I launched the Ventura Breeze, we didn’t know if Venturans would accept a very local newspaper, or if Ventura even needed one. It turns out both of these things turned out to be true. Ventura has embraced the Breeze and has come to love it. What I hear most from readers is, “We love reading the Breeze.”

There are so many people to thank, so I’m sure I will overlook some very deserving people. I want to thank our dedicated readers, our fabulous advertisers who keep us in business, our unbelievable dedicated staff, and our writers, photographers and distributors.

All of the “Breezers” deserve a hearty thank you.

A few of these people have been with us since the beginning:

  • Staci Brown – who is now the Publisher Emeritus
  • Professor Scamp – who almost made it to our 10th year issue
  • Rebecca Wicks
  • Suz Montgomery
  • Studio Nothing (Alfred J. Lewis)
  • Bill Green

A special thanks needs to go out to these people as well:

Alfred J. Lewis of Studio Nothing who does a great job laying out the paper and who also acts as my personal therapist by always telling me, “Don’t worry we will get the issue out, have we ever missed one?”

And a very sincere thank you to Senior Account Executive Breezy Gledhill whose perseverance in selling ads keeps us afloat. Without her, there wouldn’t be the Ventura Breeze for you to read. And, the best part, is that she loves doing it and our advertisers love her too.

Thanks also to Cindy Summers for making our website, and Facebook pages look outstanding, along with writing some of our articles.

And to Jaime and Ana Baker for going way beyond with their great support of the Breeze – from delivering papers, to writing articles and creating great caricatures, to setting-up our (actually their) Ventura Breeze booth at all of the events we attend.

Last, but not least, I want to give a special shout-out to my wife, Diane, who no longer says to me, “Are you nuts getting up to write at 3am, and is this still costing us money?” And, who puts up with me every day (well, some days maybe not so much).

Here are a few lows that we saw during our ten years.

We lost a few wonderful contributors and friends:

The passing of Jim Spencer, who, with wife Shirley, wrote our theater reviews. Wonderful Shirley is carrying on with their family tradition.

Nanci Cohen, a friend and contributing writer.

Professor Scamp, my buddy, who I miss dearly every day.

Lance Cole, who always had a joke to tell.

Alfred Lewis’ wonderful wife Cathi who kept Alfred focused and out of trouble (not an easy task) so he could work on the Breeze.

We also lost several Face of Ventura portrait sitters painted by Johanna Spinks. Not contributors, but they became a special part of the Breeze through their portraits and stories.

There have been many highlights, of course. Here are just a few:

Alfred, lying in a hospital bed at CMH, working on an issue on his large computer screen.

The Face of Ventura portrait series by Johanna Spinks, and the amazing party that we had at the Museum of Ventura County to celebrate it.

Winning several awards (I’m sure I’m missing some) including:

Turning Point Foundation’s Champions of Mental Health

Ventura County Area on Aging Optimal Aging Champion Award Age-Friendly Media Award

Ventura Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year

Sponsoring many non-profits and great events including Pier Under the Stars, CARL (Canine Adoption & Rescue League), and the City’s Music Under the Stars.

Appearing on radio station KVTA and CAPSTV and now having a weekly radio show on KPPQLP (that I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t publish the Breeze).

Getting into trouble with our April Fools’ Day issues –

Sharing just this one. We published a story about the City Council approving an absurd Walmart concept that included golf courses, ponds and bowling alleys. A gentleman who was shocked that the Council had approved this project appeared at a City Council meeting. After assuring him that it was a joke, ex-Councilmember Carl Morehouse looked at the CAP’S camera and said, “Sheldon, we love ya, but don’t do that again.” Just the incentive that I need!

The paper going to all color and increasing in size.

And, personally, just being a big part of our glorious city. The many people who come up to me (from 13 to 93 and above) to tell me how important the Breeze is to them, and to Ventura. This alone makes it all worthwhile, and rewarding. I thank you all again for supporting us.

Here’s to the next 10!

Vol. 10, No.1 – Oct 11 – Oct 24, 2017 – Opinion/Editorial

• WOW, WOW and WOW! Pinch me – it can’t be true that we just completed our tenth year of publication. Our first issue, on Oct.24, 2007, is shown on this cover.

Besides not knowing anything about the newspaper business when Staci Brown and I launched the Ventura Breeze, we didn’t know if Venturans would accept a very local newspaper, or if Ventura even needed one. It turns out both of these things turned out to be true. Ventura has embraced the Breeze and has come to love it. What I hear most from readers is, “We love reading the Breeze.”

There are so many people to thank, so I’m sure I will overlook some very deserving people. I want to thank our dedicated readers, our fabulous advertisers who keep us in business, our unbelievable dedicated staff, and our writers, photographers and distributors.

All of the “Breezers” deserve a hearty thank you.

A few of these people have been with us since the beginning:

  • Staci Brown – who is now the Publisher Emeritus
  • Professor Scamp – who almost made it to our 10th year issue
  • Rebecca Wicks
  • Suz Montgomery
  • Studio Nothing (Alfred J. Lewis)
  • Bill Green

A special thanks needs to go out to these people as well:

Alfred J. Lewis of Studio Nothing who does a great job laying out the paper and who also acts as my personal therapist by always telling me, “Don’t worry we will get the issue out, have we ever missed one?”

And a very sincere thank you to Senior Account Executive Breezy Gledhill whose perseverance in selling ads keeps us afloat. Without her, there wouldn’t be the Ventura Breeze for you to read. And, the best part, is that she loves doing it and our advertisers love her too.

Thanks also to Cindy Summers for making our website, and Facebook pages look outstanding, along with writing some of our articles.

And to Jaime and Ana Baker for going way beyond with their great support of the Breeze – from delivering papers, to writing articles and creating great caricatures, to setting-up our (actually their) Ventura Breeze booth at all of the events we attend.

Last, but not least, I want to give a special shout-out to my wife, Diane, who no longer says to me, “Are you nuts getting up to write at 3am, and is this still costing us money?” And, who puts up with me every day (well, some days maybe not so much).

Here are a few lows that we saw during our ten years.

We lost a few wonderful contributors and friends:

The passing of Jim Spencer, who, with wife Shirley, wrote our theater reviews. Wonderful Shirley is carrying on with their family tradition.

Nanci Cohen, a friend and contributing writer.

Professor Scamp, my buddy, who I miss dearly every day.

Lance Cole, who always had a joke to tell.

Alfred Lewis’ wonderful wife Cathi who kept Alfred focused and out of trouble (not an easy task) so he could work on the Breeze.

We also lost several Face of Ventura portrait sitters painted by Johanna Spinks. Not contributors, but they became a special part of the Breeze through their portraits and stories.

There have been many highlights, of course. Here are just a few:

Alfred, lying in a hospital bed at CMH, working on an issue on his large computer screen.

The Face of Ventura portrait series by Johanna Spinks, and the amazing party that we had at the Museum of Ventura County to celebrate it.

Winning several awards (I’m sure I’m missing some) including:

Turning Point Foundation’s Champions of Mental Health

Ventura County Area on Aging Optimal Aging Champion Award Age-Friendly Media Award

Ventura Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year

Sponsoring many non-profits and great events including Pier Under the Stars, CARL (Canine Adoption & Rescue League), and the City’s Music Under the Stars.

Appearing on radio station KVTA and CAPSTV and now having a weekly radio show on KPPQLP (that I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t publish the Breeze).

Getting into trouble with our April Fools’ Day issues –

Sharing just this one. We published a story about the City Council approving an absurd Walmart concept that included golf courses, ponds and bowling alleys. A gentleman who was shocked that the Council had approved this project appeared at a City Council meeting. After assuring him that it was a joke, ex-Councilmember Carl Morehouse looked at the CAP’S camera and said, “Sheldon, we love ya, but don’t do that again.” Just the incentive that I need!

The paper going to all color and increasing in size.

And, personally, just being a big part of our glorious city. The many people who come up to me (from 13 to 93 and above) to tell me how important the Breeze is to them, and to Ventura. This alone makes it all worthwhile, and rewarding. I thank you all again for supporting us.

Here’s to the next 10!


Bill Green’s first cartoon that appeared in the first Ventura Breeze issue. It has been colorized to celebrate our anniversary.

Vol. 10, No. 26 – Sept 27 – Oct 10, 2017 – Opinion/Editorial

• As a reminder, our web site www.venturabreeze.com has a lot of additional content and goodies, plus some interesting information about some of our ‘Staff”.

•The latest internet rumor had a rogue planet, dubbed either Nibiru or Planet X, striking the Earth on Sept. 23, wiping out mankind. It’s not the first time Nibiru has made its appearance in the world of online conspiracies, though it’s gained such traction this time that even the U.S. space agency NASA addressed the issue.

“Various people are “predicting” that the world will end Sept. 23, 2017 when another planet collides with Earth. The planet in question, Nibiru, doesn’t exist, so there will be no collision,” NASA said in a statement this week.

So I wasn’t sure if I should bother working on this issue but took the chance that the world wouldn’t end (it didn’t, but does seem to be falling apart).

•In 2004, Alice Rogoff (wife of billionaire David Rubinstein) bought the Anchorage Daily News for $34 million. Recently the paper was on the brink of closing down when a federal bankruptcy judge approved a deal selling the paper for $1 million. More than 125 newspapers have folded between 2004 and 2014.

This is why it is so important to support our great local advertisers and community in order to keep your “loved” Ventura Breeze thriving. Unless, of course you want to buy it for $1 million, then I’ll find something else to do (like even retire).

•We have a cover article regarding a community meeting for all Venturans to offer input as to how the city should approach the new pending marijuana regulations. It is about time for our City Council to take their heads out of the pot and deal with this issue.

I know that lots of folks use pot to just get high, and they have no problem getting it, it seems, but people who really need marijuana for their medical needs require an easier way to purchase it.

•Turkish prosecutors began laying out an indictment against turkey’s leading secular newspaper saying it is part of terrorist organizations. In reality, the case is just part of a crackdown against papers that are critical of the government. At least I just receive nasty letters (not from our City Council of course).

•Trump to Kim Jong-un: “your mother wears army boots”. That should shut him up. Maybe they should just exchange lollipops next to make up.

• “Make Argentina Great Again” – the U.S. Department of Agriculture has lifted the ban on importing lemons from Argentina for the first time in 16 years.

•Iran has banned women from dancing , cycling, listening to certain music, watching soccer matches and now…….Zumba. I’ll bet that they are still allowed to cook, keep house and have babies.

•Do you know the 11-states that seceded from the union that created the civil war? A good time to know what they were.

Convinced that their way of life, based on slavery, was irretrievably threatened by the election of President Abraham Lincoln (November 1860), the seven states of the Deep South (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas) seceded from the Union during the following months.

When the war began with the firing on Fort Sumter (April 12, 1861), they were joined by four states of the upper South (Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia).

Are you surprised that Oklahoma wasn’t one of them? During the Civil War, most of the area of present-day Oklahoma, was called the Indian Territory. The Five Civilized Tribes decided to support the Confederacy, and about 3500 of them served in Confederate units. Two major Oklahoma units were the Confederate Indian Brigade and the Union Indian Home Guard.

•A housing development project referred to as Northbank (located off Telephone Rd. at the end of North Bank Dr.), has been making its way through “the system” for more than twelve years. The Ventura City Council approved the project last year but because it is in Ventura’s “sphere of influence” and not in the city it also needed the Ventura Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) approval to turn the county land over to the city. They recently voted 6-1 to do that.

The city will be responsible for providing water, sewer and emergency services to the area’s future residents.

Obviously, water had been the last issue holding up the project. Commissioners approved the project based on the city showing it has the water. Assistant Ventura Water General Manager Joe McDermott told commissioners that he felt very comfortable Ventura can provide the necessary water.

The city’s Design Review Committee and Planning Commission have already approved it, but the project will require some modification to meet the conditions set down by LAFCo.

I am in favor of well controlled and monitored development. Cities become stagnant without it.

•I know that most of you feel that our homeless situation is getting worse, but it isn’t. LA County’s homeless population has increased by 23% over the last year even though there has been an increase in placing the homeless in to housing. Ventura County’s homeless population dropped to its lowest level since an annual survey began in 2007, which includes Ventura. The survey is mandatory for agencies to receive federal funds aimed at reducing homelessness.

Ventura has taken many steps to reduce its homeless population including approving an ordinance that allows full-service homeless shelters (in certain areas) that will provide overnight stays and the many services required to assist the homeless, which includes facilities that can accommodate dogs.

Vol. 10, No. 25 – Sept 13 – Sept 26, 2017 – Opinion/Editorial

• In this issue we have an article which states, “The California Office of Traffic Safety is again announcing that September is “California Pedestrian Safety Month.” This campaign began last year in response to the rising number of pedestrians being killed and injured on California roadways.”

It is amazing watching people (not just teenagers) cross the street in a crosswalk while looking down at their cell phones while never making sure that cars are actually stopping for them. It is if they are saying, “If you kill me while I’m in the crosswalk, you are in big trouble because I will sue you.” Sometimes I have the urge to get close and blow my horn except they might throw their phones in the air and break my windshield.

To me, the red-hands that display on some of our stoplights (downtown mostly) telling pedestrians that they have a red light and shouldn’t cross the street, are a joke. As soon as the light turns green pedestrians walk across the street even if the red-hand is shown. And, cars making turns can’t assume that the person will not be crossing, which makes it even more dangerous. How many times have pedestrians given you a dirty look (and other things) even though you have the right of way?

The police could just write tickets for those crossing against the red-hand for a week and Ventura would have lots of extra money. I’m for removing them completely.

• In one of our police reports in this issue, we have the following information regarding a person who had stolen a car. “During the last month, Marrufo has been arrested on three different occasions by the Ventura Police Department. He was previously arrested on 08/19/17 for a residential burglary in the 100 block of Brent St. and on 09/07/17 for prowling a residence in the 2000 block of Pierpont Blvd.”

I don’t get it – I thought that the three-strike law was supposed to prevent this scenario (though I know judges have a little discretion). Do we need to wait until a person commits murder or some other serious crime to keep criminals in prison?

McGrath State Beach Park just re-opened after being closed for about 3 years. The berm that keeps water from running out of the Park needs to break naturally when the estuary floods. The problem is that it doesn’t break naturally when we are in a drought.

Most years, winter rain and snowmelt force enough water down the river to break through the berm. It can’t be broken manually because of protected species and other state regulations. So the camp ends up under many feet of water.

When the berm breaks, the water drains out to the ocean, floodwaters recede and campsites dry out but are not usable and the bathrooms are destroyed.

There are long-term plans for moving the campground to higher ground farther up the beach and restoring more of this area to wetlands but with all of the environmental reviews and approvals this will take many years.

I certainly hope that the weather cooperates and McGrath can stay open until it can be moved. But it might just be a waste of time, money and effort if it just keeps flooding depending on father nature.

• Upcoming guests on my Face of Ventura radio show (on KPPQLP Ventura – 104.1fm) include Cathy Puccetti discussing Storyfest, Julianna Fjeld, Regional Director Tri County GLAD( Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness), Mark Robinson, who interpreted with sign language for Julianna and Jeffrey Lambert, Community Development Director City of Ventura. The shows air Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 10 am, and some other surprise times.

• If you were wondering why the dirt lot across from the WAV is now fenced off, this property has been sold by the city to a developer who’s looking to develop the entire block. The WAV has never had adequate parking and now have lost some of it (something to do with Ventura becoming a bicycle city, so we don’t need cars).

•If you don’t know who Roger Federer is, he is a great tennis player (maybe best ever) but as a gentleman and roll model he is even greater. After losing in the US Open, he said, ”Of course it is a pity, but Juan Martin deserves it more. I feel I have no place in the finals. The way I played or am playing right now it is not good enough, in my opinion, to win this tournament. It’s better I’m out and somebody else gets a chance to do better than me.”

I wonder why TV networks show the crowd as often as the players at tennis matches? Do they think tennis is boring?

Music Under The Stars presented its final concert of the season last Saturday. My, time goes fast when you are old. If you didn’t make it this year, be sure to attend a concert next year. One of our “funnest” events.

•Amazon is looking for a city to build another headquarters (HQ2). It will bring billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the area that they select. Amazon said it would give priority to areas with more than 1 million people that are within 45 minutes of an international airport, which means that we will probably not be considered.

•The reason that your computer doesn’t get hacked much is that real hackers don’t want to bother with you, but still be cautious. Hackers just breached credit monitoring company Equifax obtaining personal data of 143 million consumers including names, social security numbers, birth dates and driver’s license numbers. If you are exposed, I would recommend monitoring your bank accounts, credit cards and credit reports for suspicious activity.

Vol. 10, No. 24 – Aug 30 – Sept 12, 2017 – Opinion/Editorial

•  KPPQ CAPS Radio (KPPQLP, FM 104.1) is hosting an open house and community information discussion on Wednesday October 4th at 6pm at the CAPS Media Center at 65 Day Road. Everyone interested in community radio is invited to tour the center and join the exchange of programming ideas and direction for the radio station. You may even end up with your own radio show.

My radio show, Face of Ventura, airs on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 10am and some other surprise times. The shows can also be listened to on our web site at www.venturabreeze.com and clicking on “Face of Ventura” where you can also see a photo of my guests.

On my recent shows, we talked about the City Center and the Ventura Botanical Gardens. If you have suggestions of who I should interview, please let me know.

•  In our last issue, I explained why we weren’t revealing the name of the Ventura police officer who attempted suicide. Because his name (Aaron Drake) has been in many papers and other media, we have an article in this issue regarding this terrible tragedy.

•  Our Person to Person article in this issue asks people what they think of the new design at the Harbor Village entrance. Would love to hear your opinions also.

Congratulations to photographer Michael Gordon for this photo.

•  Congratulations to Breeze contributing photographer Michael Gordon for making the cover of the NTSB book (National Transportation Safety Board) with his photo of the grounding of the fishing boat Day Island in Ventura. Another one of his photos is included with the article.

•  Another email you should never open is: “John (or some other name) Urgent Your Pending Payment”. Hackers just trying to get into your computer.

•  The new wing at Ventura County Medical Center (VCMC) has opened. Hopefully the opening of the new CMH will be coming up soon.

The $305 million north tower includes an emergency room, intensive care, outpatient laboratory, surgery, labor and delivery, pharmacy and other departments. It was first unveiled in June with a celebration ceremony.

Glad to see Mayor Eric Nasarenko enjoying the concert at Music Under the Stars. He is the handsome one. Photo by Pam Baumgardner

•  A sold out crowd at the Music Under the Stars concert on August 12th heard the Motown tribute Blue Breeze Band. A great group, one of the very best to ever appear at these summer music concerts. I assume it was sold out because concertgoer’s thought that they were the Ventura Breeze Blues Band.

Only 2 concerts remain this summer: Fantastic Diamond and Lisa Haley. If not sold out, get your tickets and enjoy the wonderful music and venue. See Ventura Music Scene on page 20 for more information and other great music events.

•  The California State University system will no longer require intermediate algebra because “they might rarely use it in everyday life.”

Using this logic, why should students be required to take history or any other classes that they rarely use in everyday life?

•  Per an article in this issue, things might be looking up at the Museum of Ventura County regarding funding and keeping the facility it open. But just keeping it open really doesn’t mean much unless the museum can attract many more visitors on a consistent basis.

• The famous LA Fairfax area Canter’s Deli just received a C grade from the health department. Some patrons are shocked thinking that this is a food rating. This is not a food review, it is a health rating (like bugs, etc.).

• Ventura is in the process of exploring the cost of hooking up to state water and developing a water-reuse program (about time). Water officials are also recommending that the city remain in a Stage 3 Water Shortage Event, which requires households to cut water by 20%, or pay higher rates.

Part of that is driven by the Lake Casitas’ water level, which is at 40.2% and dropping — the lake was at 48% when the rates were adopted and groundwater supplies remain very low.

The Water Commission (an advisory body to the council) approved staying at the Stage 3 level.

Resident Dan Cormode, a frequent speaker at city council meetings about our water concerns, thinks that the supply is overly optimistic and “fails to address the potential impact of several issues adversely impacting the availability of various resources. ”All of the city’s water resources are threatened,”, he said.

I certainly do not like the way some Venturan’s are cutting their water usage by letting their front yards just get covered with weeds. I’d rather see dirt if they don’t want to plant succulents. I just think some folks are using it as an excuse to just not care what the front of their homes look like.

•  Because there was so much information available to print in this issue, a few articles didn’t make it in. You can read them at www.venturabreeze.com, plus lots of other things like weather and surfing reports.

Vol. 10, No. 23 – Aug 16 – Aug 29, 2017 – Opinion/Editorial

•  Regarding the Ventura County Fair, I was glad to see that Harbor Blvd. was left open as an accessible route to the Fair this year. Never did understand why traffic was diverted at Sanjon .So much easier to just take Harbor all the way through.

Odd to me why folks attending the concerts (or comedy show this year) on the main stage start waiting in line as early as 11am for shows that start at 7:30pm. Each row of seats has 80 chairs so the 400th person entering would need to sit way back in row 5. And if a person wanted to stand by the stage, he/she could do that even after the show has started.

“Always keeping my eyes open for Ventura news”.

I was going to bungee this year, but I wasn’t able to because they had to shut the attraction down due to a malfunction. Oh well, maybe next year.

Amazing to me that in just a short few days all of the rides, businesses, etc. are gone and on their way to the next fair.

•  I have always wondered if the Breeze should have a column covering international, state or government news, etc. So we took an informal poll and asked 20 readers to weigh in (poll in this issue). Fourteen people said they like the Breeze just the way it is. Of the six that said yes, only a few were a definite yes, so we’ll keep the coverage just the way it is.

•  The Ventura City Council has approved a funding agreement that will finalize $125,000 of support for the Museum of Ventura County. We’ll have an article on this topic in our next issue.

The agreement reads:

“Approve and authorize the City Manager to execute a Funding and Services Agreement, including milestones, with the Museum of Ventura County for a term of six-months, August 1, 2017 – January 31, 2018; $125,000 to support general operations.”

The document can be found at https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/9152 if you want to read the whole thing.

To me, the most important thing is to hire a professional (curator) to make the Museum much more enjoyable, which the Museum says they will do.

•  I have been getting emails stating that my Capitol Credit Card has exceeded its credit limit. These type of email alerts are just ways of hackers taking over your computer. Don’t ever open emails, even if they look real unless you absolutely know the source. If you aren’t sure, just make a call to the company. All of your credit cards, etc. have a contact number on the back, so use it.

•  An artificial intelligence program just annihilated its human competition at a world championship video game contest. The AI win stunned the gaming community, because bots (robots) are generally considered inferior to expert human players.

This one is from Open AI, a nonprofit artificial intelligence research firm with backing by entrepreneur Elon Musk, of Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX:
Even though he supports it, Musk wants to ensure that AI doesn’t grow unchecked and become the death of humanity. Musk said that AI is “more of a risk than North Korea.” Computers have also defeated the best humans in traditional board games like chess and Go.

Maybe a computer can publish the Ventura Breeze, and I can find something else to do.

•An update on the Ventura Police Officer who recently attempted suicide on July 28th while at the police headquarters. Good news, the officer is expected to survive.

On August 2nd, the Ventura County Star parent company Gannett Co. of McLean, Virginia, made a Public Records Request to the City for the release of the officer’s name.

Even though the City believes there is a strong argument to not release the officer’s name under exclusions to the Public Records Act, they have decided to do so rather than engage in a protracted and potential costly legal proceeding, which would not be in the best interest of Ventura.

The attempted suicide was a very personal and tragic event for the family. To respect the privacy of officer and his family during this very difficult time, the Breeze is withholding his name. We can tell you that the officer is a sixteen-year veteran of the Ventura Police Department.

•  Regarding North Korea, when President Donald Trump stated that he will bring “fire and fury” that the world has never seen,” I assume that he knows that we dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. So the worst “fire and fury” would need to exceed “Little Boy” and “Fat Man”. So, my question is, would we need to drop three nuclear bombs or just one that exceeds the tonnage of “Little Boy” and “Fat Man”? Certainly hope that we won’t find out.

•  According to an annual report compiled by scientists around the globe, 2016 was the warmest year on record for the planet as a whole, surpassing temperature records that date back 137 years. The conclusions contained in a draft federal report on climate change is conclusive that human-induced global warming is real and if left unchecked the consequences could be dire.

So, quit complaining when our local temperature reaches 80 and we are all sweltering.

•  Even though the closing of Ringling Bros. circus is a win for animals and animal rights, I think it is sad that they shut down completely. Still would have been great family entertainment without the animals.

•   As if you care, these are the cities of Ventura County (total population of about 850,000).
Camarillo
Fillmore
Moorpark
Ojai
Oxnard
Port Hueneme
Santa Paula
Simi Valley
Thousand Oaks
Ventura

Vol. 10, No. 22 – Aug 2 – Aug 15, 2017 – Opinion/Editorial

These are the type of nearby (including the original Museum) buildings that should have guided the design of the addition to the Museum.

•  In this issue we have an article regarding the funding for the Museum to keep it “alive”.

Elena Brokaw Interim Executive Director has commented that the museum gets 390 paid visitors per week and they spend 15 to 20 minutes going through the Museum.

15 to 20 minutes? Good grief can we expect people from all over Ventura County (this is the Museum of Ventura County) to drive an hour to spend 15-20 minutes at the Museum. It hardly pays to drive from as far as East Ventura.

And half of that time is undoubtedly spent looking at the amazing George Stuart historical figures.

The Museum is just not fun, or interesting for all family members (the young and young at heart) to attract and hold a large audience. It needs to be much more pro-active and exciting.

Also the architecture of the addition done a few years ago is horrible (my opinion, of course, yours is always welcome). It completely ignored the contribution of the existing Museum and of all of the surrounding buildings.

I’m glad that the Museum has obtained funding to stay open for at least another six months but for me to support it the following must happen:

Hire an architect to completely re-design the exterior (I know there are not funds available) but perhaps donors, and board members could at least get excited looking at some renderings of a proposed re-design.

If possible hire a curator who has experience to develop a museum that will appeal to all ages, and keep visitors returning. Keeping the Museum open just for the sake of a having a museum means nothing.

Dave Grau, of the Ventura County Taxpayers Association, urged the city council to slow down before committing years of money. “The museum hadn’t presented a clear plan for what would change and where the money would go”, he said.

•The City of Ventura’s sponsored Music Under the Stars next concert series presents Orquesta Charangoa on August 5 at the Olivas Adobe.

I am disappointed that I don’t see more of our City Council members supporting this City sponsored music series by attending. I might have missed seeing them (they would have been introduced), but so far Jim Monahan and Neal Andrews have attended. Hopefully, all members will attend some of the concerts before the season ends on September 9. City Manager Mark Watkins and a large group of city employees attended the last event there.

•  On July 24, 2017 the Ventura City Council approved a General Plan Amendment, Specific Plan Amendment, and Sign Agreement within the Auto Center Specific Plan that will make the surrounding area significantly more conducive to economic investment and growth. The amendments will increase economic vitality by improving accessibility, visibility and circulation in and around the Ventura Auto Center. It will also eventually bring many big-box stores to Ventura so that we don’t need to go to Oxnard to make many of our purchases.

The Council voted 6-1 for approval. Christy Weir was the no vote because she (and other residents)opposes the very large sign that is part of the approval. She still supports the other aspects of the amendment.

It prohibits used car dealerships as a primary use. Used cars can be sold by the dealers.

•  When you cross the street in Honolulu, look both ways — but not at the life-changing text your best friend just sent.

Honolulu just approved a law making it illegal for pedestrians to “cross a street or highway while viewing a mobile electronic device.” The law covers video games, pagers and laptops, and the ubiquitous smartphones .

The law goes into effect October 25, giving police time to explain the situation to people who can’t take their eyes off that tiny screen in their hands.

How often do we all see people walking in cross-walks looking at their phones while completely ignoring the fact that a car might not see them? It’s as if “Well, if you kill me in the cross-walk you are in big trouble and I will sue you.”

I would also like to see the City either remove the red hands that tell pedestrians that they can’t walk across the street (people ignore them if the green light is on) or the police should start writing tickets for those that ignore them (which includes me).

•  Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House Communications Director has previously stated “The United States has too many guns .The USA has 5% of the world’s population but 50% of the world’s guns. Enough is enough. It is just common sense to apply more controls.” Who am I to argue with a Trump appointment?

And data from the FBI found that in the US a gun is stolen every two minutes. Most are used in crimes and murders.

•  Deliveries of medical cannabis will soon be allowed in Oxnard after their City Council voted to relax one area of its marijuana ordinance (See Person to Person in this issue for Venturan’s opinions).

By a unanimous vote, the council approved medical marijuana deliveries and requested more information on other commercial aspects of recreational and medicinal pot. It was an indication that other parts of the city marijuana ordinance could be relaxed in the future.

“I’m not really opposed to one commercial establishment if we can do it correctly,” said Councilwoman Carmen Ramirez. She added that one possible location for a dispensary could be in downtown near the police station.

It is about time for our City Council to deal with this issue in a more compassionate manner.

Vol. 10, No. 21 – July 19 – Aug 1, 2017 – Opinion/Editorial

•  My talk-interview radio show on KPPQLP Ventura (104.1FM) can now be listened to at www.venturabreeze.com “Face of Ventura” (top left). I know that the station is low wattage (not to interfere with other nearby FM stations), so some of you have had a difficult time hearing it so here is your chance. Find out more about the VPD, the Rubicon, Ventura Music Festival, the Fair and much –much more.

Always looking for suggestions of who should be on my show and the good and bad of it.

•  Music Under the Stars, at the Olivas Adobe has started another concert season, so if you have never attended here is your chance. Concerts on Saturday evenings until September 9. The next concert, on July 22, is the The Swing Kings. See the ad in this issue for details. And be sure to come say hi to me.

•As reported in this issue, Ventura City Manager Mark Watkins will be leaving his position in December of this year. I was quite surprised to hear of this. In my opinion he has been a very good city manager and will be missed. Some people think that his position is overpaid, but I’m not one of them.

These are the top salaries in Ventura, including benefits:

Kenneth Corney, Police Chief $220,117.00+$124,337.00=$344,454.00

Kris Mcdonald, Fire Battalion Chief $255,634.00+$70,845.00=$326,479.00

David M. Endaya, Fire Chief $198,815.00+$112,906.00=$311,721.00

Darin S. Schindler, Assistant Police Chief Ventura $197,985.00+$107,718.00=$305,703.00

Mark Watkins, City Manager $242,059.00+$58,289.00=$300,348.00

I believe that the city manager should be our highest paid official. He (or perhaps she one day) is similar to a CEO running a very large corporation. He only answers to a board of directors that we call our City Council. His duties are very large, complicated and important. The City Manager and City Attorney are the only positions that are hired (and can be fired) by the City Council. The City Manager hires the head of all departments.

• The Museum of Ventura County is in deep financial trouble. Interim Executive Director Elena Brokaw was brought in to decrease the Museum’s operating costs which she has greatly done, but even she has stated that she is not a museum curator and that the Museum needs one to keep afloat.

In my opinion, the Museum really needs a professional museum curator to run it. The museum needs to be much more interactive and appealing to entire families. In its current state, it is hardly appealing to anyone.

The addition made several years ago to the museum is atrocious. That is my professional opinion (I’m a graduate of the USC School of Architecture and had my own practice starting in 1968, so it means something). This is also the opinion of several museum board members that I have spoken with and also most folks that I speak with. The design completely ignored the Spanish look and feel of the Museum and of the surrounding buildings.

At a recent City Council meeting (referring to the “metal bars” in the front of the Museum), member Mike Tracy (our ex-chief of police) said, with sarcasm, “I like bars” but in this case the bars are not keeping people in but people out.

Our next issue will have an article about the Museum.

•  No one from the six Trump banned countries has killed anyone in a terrorist attack in the USA since 1975. In the years since the September 11 attack, only three of the over 780,000 refugees from these countries have been convicted of terrorist related crimes. In this amount of time, more Venturans have been killed by Venturans. Perhaps the six countries should ban visitors coming from Ventura.

•Some people are willing to take less for the good of the “company”. Kevin Durant is a basketball player for the Golden State Warriors. He recently agreed to terms on a contract worth only about $53 million for 2 years for the good of the team. I certainly hope that he can manage to live on only $26.5 mill a year. My hero.

•  The City of Ventura is now a “Bicycle Friendly City” .The Cycle California Coast

(http://www.cyclecentralcoast.com) has identified the following benefits for communities, nonprofit organizations, businesses and government agencies who are a “Bicycle Friendly City”.

~ Increases the number of tourists visiting Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
~ Increases the positive visibility of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as tourism destinations in print and online media and advertising throughout the community.
~ Fosters a positive impression of bicycling and bicycle tourists within the community.
~ Where practical and economically feasible Ventura encourages the development of bicycle infrastructure, bicycle-friendly businesses and a destination for bicycle tourism.

This will be good if it increases tourism, but I’m not sure if it greatly increases Venturan’s biking to work and using their bikes for everyday use. We are just not a bike culture, but I certainly hope it will increase bike usage. Look for the coming “Grand Loop Signs”.

•  In 2014-15, Ventura paid $13.8 million to its retirement system for past and present employees. That amount could grow to almost $18 million during the current budget cycle.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) oversees Ventura’s retirement system, which is funded through employer and employee contributions and is dependent on a strong showing by stocks, bonds, real estate and other investments.

CalPERS says that the costs will rise even faster in the years ahead.

The City Council voted to pay the annual bill in its entirety at the start of the year, rather than in monthly payments. The move will save $390,000 in interest in 2017-18 and the savings could really add up over time.

This is just a temporary fix, as the cost of Ventura’s retirement system needs to, somehow, be reduced by the City Council.

Vol. 10, No. 20 – July 5 – July 18, 2017 – Opinion/Editorial

•  At a recent City Council meeting, one of the council members didn’t say a single word during the deliberation of an item to be voted on. When it was his time to vote, he said no without comment, which is his prerogative. This bothers me. I think the citizens, need to know what councilmembers are thinking about items on the agenda if they expect us to vote for them in the future.

•  The Thousand Oaks City Council has taken the first step to possibly allow one medical marijuana dispensary and one marijuana testing facility to open in an industrial part of town. The council directed the city staff to write a proposed amendment to the city’s Municipal Code chapter on marijuana, establishing a regulatory framework for the dispensary and the testing facility.

I think that it is time for our City Council to take a similar action. This could bring in additional tax dollars and keep Venturan’s who really need medical marijuana from leaving the city to obtain it.

“Do you know what Focus Area One is, who the City Council can hire and fire? Tune into KPPQ104.1FM Saturday at 10am to hear my interview with Ventura City Manager Mark Watkins to find out.”

• 7% of all American adults believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows (no kidding), according to a nationally representative online survey commissioned by the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy. I would assume that these people also think that brown eggs come from brown chickens and are cheaper because they are plain wrapped.

•  By a 5-0 vote, two future projects have been approved by the Ventura Port District to be located on Spinnaker Drive in the Harbor “For development of visitor serving uses”. The Ventura Port Board of Commissioners unanimously chose the developer and management company, H. Parker Hospitality (who partners with the Fess Parker Brand H. Parker Hospitality), to develop the two parcels that the district owns.

One is at the end of Spinnaker Drive next to the Channel Islands Visitor Center (on the dirt lot). The other site is the large grass next to the former Blackbeard’s BBQ (soon to be a beer and sausage restaurant).

Parker proposed a 64-room upscale facility and spa, with a beach cafe and a high-end restaurant with live music for the dirt lot and a hostel offering 12 shared rooms and 28 private rooms for the grass area. They would manage both.

I think that these projects would be wonderful for the Harbor even though they are many-many years away from fruition. These, along with the large development in the early stages of grading across from the Harbor, will have a large economic impact for the Harbor, its businesses, and the City of Ventura.

My concern, of course, is the large number of additional cars that would come to the Harbor. Parking is almost impossible now when events are held there, and during the summer months especially. The two projects will have their own on-site parking, and I certainly hope that will be sufficient.

Many great events (art, auto shows, etc.) are presented on the open grass area. Hopefully, some grass will remain, so that the many annual events held there can continue.

Likely later this fall-winter they would start the permit entitlement process which will require going to the Coastal Commission for approval.

The Ventura Port District is governed by a five-member Board of Port Commissioners, serving four-year terms without compensation. The current members of the Board are James J. Friedman, Everard G. Ashworth, Bruce E. Smith, Brian Brennan and Nikos T. Valance.

•  The Ventura Planning Commission have approved the staff recommendation regarding making revisions to the Ventura Auto Center Specific Plan. They will be sent go to the City Council which will have the final approvals.

The Auto Center Plan is part of Focus Area One, which includes property behind the auto mall. This property could also contain large big box businesses bringing more people to the auto center area.

Other improvements would include extending Olivas Park Drive and widening the street in front of the dealerships.

Commissioners had extensive discussions regarding the proposed signage that the dealers wanted so the center would be more visible from the freeway. They eventually approved the signs by a 5-2 vote but added that the Design Review Committee retain approval rights of all signage at the center, instead of the Community Development Director as recommended.

A sign roughly 82’ tall and 218’ from the freeway was approved. The sign would sit below the freeway height. There were several community speakers who were opposed to the sign. Part of the approval is that the City has occasional use of the sign to showcase events and happenings in Ventura.

The commissioners also approved the auto dealers’ request that used vehicles sold there must be five years old or newer. Lots selling only used cars are prohibited.

The plan now goes to the City Council for a final vote. It will be an agenda item at the July 10 meeting.

The Ventura Auto Center is the biggest sales tax generator for the city. These conditions could help it bring in even more revenue and taxes.

Unlike Oxnard’s Auto Center, there is little reason to drive by our dealers unless looking for a car (or RV) or going to plays cards at Players Casino. To visit several big box stores in Oxnard, it is necessary to drive through their auto center, so they have much greater exposure. How great would it be to have the only IKEA on the central coast, for example? Imagine how many people from the region would visit Ventura.

Vol. 10, No. 19 – June 21 – July 4, 2017 – Opinion/Editorial

•  In a future issue we will have an article about the “controversy” of the City having two golf courses that are costing Ventura a lot of money to maintain. A few of my friends who play golf told me that if these two courses allowed players to only use 9-holes that more people would play there. So, instead players use the 9-hole course in Saticoy which is not in the City. I’m sure the logistics of how players would use only 9-holes would need to be figured out, but I’m positive that golfers are very honest and would only play nine holes if that is what they paid for.

•  The VCMC (Ventura County Medical Center) had their ribbon cutting ceremony for their new addition (see article in this issue). I attended and was shocked that I didn’t see any Ventura officials in attendance (sorry if I missed you – let me know if so). VCMC is located in what Ventura is calling the Wellness District, and VCMC is an important part of it.

•  I’m glad to hear that the Pierpont Inn has finally (after 18 months) secured their permits to continue with the construction (they previously started renovating without permits). Hopefully, the remodel will restore the lobby and other areas to the Hotel’s wonderful original look. The restaurant and inn have remained open.

•  I think that the Breeze might have suggested that the recently sold Anastasi property located at Seaward and Harbor will not have a project built there. Of course something will be built there but, as always, it could be many-many years away.

•  FOOD Share CEO Bonnie Atmore (aka Bonnie Weigel before her recent marriage) has resigned after nine years running FOOD Share to focus on a land trust she and her husband, Rich Atmore founded. Under Bonnie, FOOD Share grew from serving 38,000 people per month to 74,500.

She and Rich plan to spend more time on the Rancho San Buenaventura Conservation Trust, which oversees 860 acres and is in the process of buying 752 additional acres in the Ventura hillsides.

I wish them much success, and based on her past experiences, they will certainly attain their goals.

•  Residents living on Vista Del Mar Dr. have shown what can be achieved if neighbors get together to try to make things happen without forming an actual community council. By contacting City Council Members and heads of other City departments, they have had informative signs installed and overhanging trees and vegetation growing onto the street cut back to the curb or pavement edges making it much easier and safer to drive this very narrow street. And a special thanks to City Council Member Mike Tracy (and 2 VPD officers) for meeting with the neighbors at one of resident’s homes. If you use the street as a short cut please drive safely and slowly.

•  Once again, thank you all who have reached out to Diane and I by emails, phone cards and personal cards to express your thoughts regarding the passing of Scamp. It has been really amazing and comforting.

•  I’m glad to hear that teen vaping, which has been skyrocketing, fell dramatically last year in the United States. A recent government survey suggests the number of high school and middle school students using electronic cigarettes fell to 2.2 million last year, from 3 million the year before.

Health officials have worried about the booming popularity of vaping products among kids and the potential impact on adult smoking rates in the future.

It’s the first decline CDC has reported in teen vaping since the agency began tracking it in 2011.

If you don’t know what they are, e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that provide users with aerosol puffs that can contain nicotine.

Health officials have warned nicotine in e-cigarettes is harmful to developing brains.

And if you read my column, you know that I have always been opposed to them.

•  Very glad to hear that Patagonia bought the former Brooks Institute property that has sat empty since Brooks went out of business leaving many holding the bag.

The almost 8-acre site, located at 5301 N. Ventura Ave., is zoned industrial so it will be interesting to see what Patagonia does there (especially to the very large sound stages). The property is not actually located in the city of Ventura.

•  Recently, the Planning Commission approved amendments (7-0) to our “adult business” ordinance to forward to the City Council for approval.

Adult businesses must meet some location requirements so they can only in a few very specific areas:

M-1 and M-2 zones (heavy industrial)

Must be minimum of 500’ from defined sensitive areas

There must be 200’ between them

This means that there are only about 80 properties in Ventura where they can be located.

Also, there must be a minimum of 6’ between the “entertainers” and the patrons (so VPD officers will now carry tape measures as part of their regular equipment – kidding).

• The Ventura Port Board of Commissioners have given their blessing to two future developments in the Harbor. It will be many years before anything is built, but approvals include….. the California Coastal Commission plus all of the many Ventura City approvals.

The Board Commission stated that, “The sites are underutilized and could bring more tourism and make greater use of the bigger area that includes Ventura Harbor Village, the Channel Islands Visitors Center and the Harbor beaches.”

One site is at the end of Spinnaker Drive and the other near what was Blackbeard’s BBQ (now being remolded to be a full-service restaurant). While I agree that the Harbor could be much better utilized these projects must account for the many autos that they would bring to the area. Even now there are weekends when there are no parking places in the Harbor and many people just leave. More about this in future issues.