Vol. 9, No. 10 – February 17 – March 2, 2016 – Opinion/Editorial

•  Congratulations to Ventura Breeze Senior Account Executive Breezy Gledhill who is celebrating her 6-year anniversary with us. I knew she’d be a wonderful addition when she told me that her nickname has been “Breezy” her entire life. I didn’t make her change it as some have thought.

•  This November’s elections is shaping up to be a very busy one for Ventura voters; if all of things in the works end up on the ballot. National elections of course, revisions to our city charter, a possible sales tax increase and voting for three city council members.

There are many charter revisions that have been suggested to our city council for consideration by a Charter Review Committee. Selected by the council, a group of concerned Ventura residents spent more than a year studying various options for changing the way our government operates. The council has voted to have city staff draft language for a charter initiative that could appear on the November ballot.

The council can’t directly alter the charter, but can bring proposed changes to the electorate for a vote.

There are too many revisions to consider at one time, so only some of them will be included on the ballot.

They may consist of:

  1. City Council members have received the same monthly pay for the last 30 years. $600 plus an additional $100 for the mayor.

The Committee recommends raising the pay of council members from $600 to $1,200 and the mayor from $700 to $1,500 with automatic increases tied to an as-of-yet undetermined index.

The council has concerns about including a pay increase on the ballot at the same time a sales tax increase may be proposed. I think that an increase in their compensation is long overdue. Altruism is nice, but a dedicated council member puts in at least 30-hours of work per week.

  1. Eliminating the current at large voting system to be replaced by designated council districts. I am in favor of this but think that there should be four members from specific districts and three at large members that represent the entire city. Our city attorney would need to be very involved in this because lawsuits under the California Voting Rights Act have occurred in other cities. Cities with significant minority populations that lack proper council representation have proved especially vulnerable.

Ventura has a large Latino population and the council members are all non-Hispanic whites.

  1. A law limiting council members to three consecutive terms, followed by a four-year break before being able to run again. I am very much in favor of this. New blood brings new ideas.

Other amendments discussed would be to hold a direct election for our Mayor. Currently, our Mayor is selected by other council members from a sitting council member.  I’m sure that this proposed revision will not be considered by the council as they feel that the current system has served Ventura well. I agree with them.

The City staff will return with a final proposed list to be considered by the council to be voted on by Venturans.

•  Speaking of the presidential election, if a Democrat wins, the new president would be either our first female President or first Jewish President.

•  Cities in California have been hastily passing new marijuana ordinances. The State had mistakenly passed legislation that set a March 1 deadline for cities to either adopt their own regulations or comply with new state regulations that may have been more lenient than cities would have wanted. To rectify this, Governor Brown has given cities more time to develop their local regulations on the commercial selling and distribution of medical marijuana.

Included in the regulations, and approved by the City Council, was to disallow the delivery of medical marijuana in Ventura.  I am opposed to this (as were some City Council members), and I hope that they will revisit this restriction. In addition to being unfair, it is just not enforceable by our police department and would be a waste of their time.

•  I’m disappointed that on First Fridays (when our many art galleries hold open houses) the only WAV (Working Artists Ventura) studio open is that of St. Pierre. During the last First Friday, a young lady, Marianne Turner, walked in with a guitar and was asked to play. She gave a wonderful short concert, and St. Pierre also played.

•  This was one of the funniest real estate ad I’ve seen (was in a local paper). Below a photo of a kitchen it stated, “Kitchen includes a basic set of appliances including refrigerator and stove.” Wow, I’m sure people are lining up to buy a house that includes a refrigerator and a stove in the kitchen. It didn’t say anything about a sink, so I hope that’s included as well.

•  Recently, the Ventura Police Department made a presentation to the City Council regarding gang membership in Ventura. This raised concerns from many people who didn’t realize that we had so much gang activity here. The presentation might have made gang activity seem worse than it actually is, so in a future issue we will include an article from the VPD discussing this situation.

•  I have always been against vaping and assumed that it would be a gateway drug to cigarette smoking. New studies show that I was correct. Teens who said that they have “Vaped” are far more likely to try regular cigarettes than those that didn’t.

•  I have always wondered why fast food restaurants (other than Wienerschnitzel) don’t sell hotdogs. That will soon change, as Burger King will begin selling them. I’m sure if they are successful other fast food outlets will also give it a try.

 

Additional funds received for Harbor dredging

Dredging at Harbor will remove almost a million cubic yards of dirt. Photo by George Robertson.

The government FY16 Work Plan has been released and Ventura Harbor received an additional $2.5 million for the dredging of the Harbor federal entrance channel. This brings the total available money for dredging this winter to $7.3 million, which will enable the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge about 850,000 cubic yards of sand. This will put the Harbor in great shape again so boats can safely navigate the Harbor entrance. Storms and strong ocean currents could delay the dredging, though this is not expected to occur.

Harbor merchants and commercial fishing vessels have been hurt financially by the closing of the Harbor entrance and pleasure boats have been inconvenienced.

The Ventura Harbor Patrol has been escorting some essential boats in and out of the Harbor, and some pleasure boats that shouldn’t have been sailing out of the Harbor have been escorted back in by the Patrol.

The Harbor entrance became un-passable when a large amount of sand blocked its entrance due to large swells. It was closed on January 22 as a result.

A network of pipes will carry the removed sand to some local beaches which were eroded by the same winter storms that closed the Harbor.

 

Construction to begin this month

Bridge to link promenade to downtown.

The City of Ventura’s California Street Bridge Pedestrian Project will begin construction this month.  Enhancements include new lighting, decorative railings and sidewalk treatments which will create a safer environment for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists crossing the bridge and will help visually distinguish the California Street off-ramp as the entry to our historic downtown.

It will also make walking across to the promenade much safer and people friendly.

“This project connects two of Ventura’s greatest assets and economic drivers, our Historic Downtown and the Pacific Ocean.  Creating a more walkable environment encourages pedestrians to explore Downtown and patronize businesses,” said Mayor Erik Nasarenko.

Construction is expected to be completed in August.  Access may be restricted during construction work; detours will help guide pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists safely across the California Street Bridge through the project area.  This project will require occasional northbound and/or southbound Hwy 101 night closures at the California Street Bridge; detours will route motorists around the construction.

“Tens of thousands of people cross this highly visible pedestrian path between downtown and the beachfront every year,” said Kevin Clerici, director of the Downtown Ventura Partners business improvement district. “The taller railing, overhead lighting and art elements will go a long way to improve and beautify what is now a pretty inelegant walkway. We are grateful to see these long-awaited improvements completed.”

 

Auxiliary members donate their time and talent

Gary Wilde received a  donation from the CMH Auxiliary for $125,000.
Gary Wilde received a  donation from the CMH Auxiliary for $125,000. Photo by John Ferritto.

On Feb. 5, the Community Memorial Auxiliary held their annual awards lunch at the 4 Four Points Sheraton. At that meeting, Sandy Frandsen, Auxiliary President, and Norma Taylor, Treasurer, presented CMH President Gary Wilde a donation from the CMH Auxiliary for $125,000 to be used by the building fund.

Founded on a tradition of service, the CMH Auxiliary is an organization whose mission is to augment the programs and services of Community Memorial Hospital, a not-for-profit facility.

Auxiliary volunteers are men, women and students, from varied backgrounds, who share a common interest in helping others and providing comfort and assistance to patients and their families.

Auxiliary members donate their time and talents to many areas of the hospital. Their contributions, far-reaching and diverse, are vital for the efficient care of patients and guests. All auxiliary members commit to at least a year of service.

Profits from the gift shop, sales of souvenir birth certificates, and special events such as the book sale and fine jewelry sale, add to their annual monetary gift presented to the hospital.

New members receive individual training and complete a three-month probationary period.

Tickets going fast to Ventura Hillsides Conservancy’s 7th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival

On Friday and Saturday, March 4 & 5, 2016, the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy (VHC) will present the 2016 Wild and Scenic Film Festival (WSFF) at Ventura’s Poinsettia Pavilion, 3451 Foothill Road. Now in its 7th year, the Wild and Scenic Film Festival offers audiences the chance to enjoy a series of inspirational award-winning short films that celebrate the beauty and bounty of our natural world.

This popular festival, which includes a different line up of approximately 10 films each night, helps to connect the Conservancy’s work to similar environmental efforts around the globe. In addition to viewing films, attendees also enjoy popcorn, food, beer, wine and the chance to win high-end items in a raffle that includes original artwork, outdoor gear, dining-out certificates and much more.

“This year’s Wild and Scenic Film Festival line-up is one of our best yet,” said Derek Poultney, VHC Executive Director. “Audiences can experience the excitement of rowing down the Colorado River in a wooden dory, the expansiveness of flying over Baja California with National Geographic photographers and the beauty of exploring underground caves rarely seen by man.”

Ticket prices for VHC members are for $15 for General Admission or $25 for “Silver Circle” seats. Silver Circle tickets include reserved seating + one drink ticket for a glass of beer or wine. Non -VHC Member ticket prices are $20 for General Admission or $30 for Silver Circle Tickets. The event has grown in popularity to the point that tickets sell out each year.

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival, which also serves as a membership drive for VHC, is supported by donations from several local businesses and community organizations. The Ventura County Credit Union is the 2016 Presenting Sponsor. Other sponsors include: Castoro Cellars, City of Ventura Environmental Sustainability, County Commerce Bank, For Your Home Furniture, Great Pacific Iron Works, Patagonia, Poseidon Brewing Co., Two Trees Brewing Co., REI, Ventura Water and Whole Foods.

To purchase tickets, visit www.venturahillsides.org and click on the Events tab. To become a member of VHC, click on the “Donate Today” button on the website’s home page. For more information on tickets or sponsorship opportunities, call VHC at 643-8044.

The Ventura Hillsides Conservancy, founded in 2003, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and providing access to Ventura’s hillsides and the Ventura River. The organization is supported by over 400 members, local business and government partners.

Do you know the way to San Jon?  Ask a librarian.

Ventura 1877 Courtesy Museum of Ventura County
Ventura 1877 Courtesy Museum of Ventura County

By Gail Field

You probably already know the street named San Jon, but if you needed a map or any other information about Ventura, you could very well find it in the Research Library of the Museum of Ventura County.

Charles Johnson, the library director since 1989, makes the case for the library’s uniqueness.  “With over 150,000 resources, our mission is to serve the public—to help them with whatever information they need.  There is no place that has more resources about Ventura County than this library. We house over 300 linear feet of manuscripts, 50,000 positive photographs and twice that many negatives. We have 10,000 maps, 5,000 books, and over 700 architectural plans and drawings. We have an extensive ephemeral collection including such items as war bond booklets and gas ration coupons from the 1940s. In addition, our library volunteers have clipped and saved newspaper articles every day since 1977, when the library opened.”

This year the City of Ventura celebrates its 150th anniversary on April 2. The Research Library is working with the Museum Collections Department, preparing an exhibit entitled “Ventura @ 150: Celebrating the City of Good Fortune,” which will open on April 1 at the Museum and will include photographs, early documents and artifacts.

Johnson has seen many requests come to the library from local citizens, corporations, attorneys, land managers, and more.  “We’ve had such a variety of inquiries—companies wanting information on agriculture, architects requesting plans for renovation projects, land use experts looking to see where the adobes were built and where the walls underneath those adobes still lay buried. Cal Trans recently contacted us about the possible impact of planned highway construction at the California Street off ramp on any important cultural resources. California fourth graders come to our library for their California mission projects.  We’ve been able to give them what they need.”

If you have traveled on San Jon Road, you’ve probably noticed that the spelling of San Jon varies from map to street sign, and wondered, where did the name come from? The museum houses information on street names as well. No one is quite sure about the exact origins of this particular street name, but the Research Library copy of the Ventura County Historical Society Quarterly (winter 1972) devoted to Ventura County place names explains that the term comes from the Spanish word, “zanja, zanjon, or sanjon” meaning “ditch or channel.” The road follows the path of the Sanjon Barranca, which was exactly that—a “big ditch,” that often flooded during rainy seasons.

You already know the way to San Jon, and with the help of the Research Library, you can find a vast resource of even more fascinating facts on our own Ventura County.

The Research Library is housed in the Museum at 100 E. Main St. Phone: 653-0323, ext. 320 or library@venturamuseum.org

 

 

 

 

 

Breeze publisher Sheldon appeared on “Girls On The Air”

stuff KVTAOn a recent Saturday Breeze publisher Sheldon appeared on “Girls On The Air”, a live community radio show every Saturday, heard at 1pm on local station KVTA AM1590. The show’s hosts are Traci Mahone, Liz Selleck, Karen Campbell and Deborah Delaney. They discuss all kinds of topics in a conversational style. Among other topics Sheldon explained how, and why the Ventura Breeze was launched 9-years ago with daughter Staci. He stated “I was possessed by an alien from a parallel universe.”