• We have an article in this issue about the passing of Jim Mangis. Even though I didn’t see him often, I considered him a friend. That was just his personality, all who met him felt this way because he cared and was so genuine. I last saw him a few weeks ago at a get together of volunteers at City Corps. We talked about many things including making compost and using red wigglers worms because was an organic farmer. Sadly enough, he was going to write an article in this issue about organic farming. He will be missed by all who knew him. And only 62, life is a strange creature sometimes.
• The Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura (HACSB) has completed the construction of their 39-unit $11.6 million apartment project (see articled in this issue). Spending this kind of money on 39 very small studio units just doesn’t make sense to me.
Why not take $9.6 million and purchase (25) $400,000 homes and put aside $2 million for maintenance.
25 homes would provide about 75 bedrooms with yard areas and the pride of living in a home – not small studio units. And this would be a much better investment.
• A program to cap home construction, criticized by members of the business and housing communities, and strongly rejected by the Ventura Planning Commission, was recently rejected by the City Council.
If approved, the Residential Allocation Program (RAP) would have allowed no more than 1,050 new units in a three-year period, with a ceiling of 450 units in a single year (with some exemptions).
I think that this was a smart decision by the Council. Ventura now has several ordinances and procedures that can be followed to control growth and just adding another layer would further discourage developers ( the dreaded D word) from building in Ventura.
The Council plans to revisit how the planning process works overall. Including design guidelines (which we desperately need), zoning and the general plan definitions, which sets out what type of development goes where and how.
The council also will have joint meetings with the Planning Commission and the Design Review Committee to discuss strengthening building standards.
I hope that they will also make it easier for developers to really understand the process. Developers need to have a way of obtaining preliminary approval from the Council so that they don’t spend thousands of dollars and many years obtaining other department approvals just to be ultimately shot down by the Council.
• Well, Einstein has been proven to be correct one more time. New findings have proved him to be correct about gravity having waves – I don’t even understand gravity and can one surf in these waves? This was done by observing light emanating from the merger of two black holes “about” 1.3 billion light-years away. I’m glad that they said “about” because they could be off by about 10 zillion, trillion years give or take a few. How can one even fathom this kind of distance?
• I find it interesting that the most violent terrorist organization on earth gets so little interest. Boko Haram’s atrocities make ISIS look like Boy Scouts (if anything could). The northeastern Nigerian Islamist group has been much more deadly than other Islamic State terrorist groups and even more violent in killing school children. Could it be that their atrocities involve poor Nigerian’s and their lives just don’t matter as much as those of Westerners?
• In our last issue, I spoke about the large amount of important decisions to be made in the November elections. The list just keeps growing. There might be 2 different SOAR initiatives and up to 20 State initiatives (6 have qualified so far). So probably best to vote by mail or spend an hour in the voting booth.
• Very happy to see that the entrance to Ventura Harbor has reopened to all boating traffic. The closure (including moving the tall ships to Channel Islands) cost merchants and fishing vessels a large amount of money. SBA loans might be available for merchants who lost money.
• The City has executed a Lease Agreement between Brooks Institute and the City of Ventura to use some of the office space behind City Hall (see article). Getting Brooks to become part of our downtown is wonderful for merchants.
Two council members voted no. Tracy, because he feels that Brooks should pay market value for the space and Monahan because of parking concerns. I certainly agree with Monahan and hope that Brook faculty and students are made to park in the upper parking lot.
Existing tenants of the space that Brooks will be occupying, will be able to move to another floor (if it provides them with enough useable space). FOTM (Focus on the Masters) will need to move a huge amount of material and files so the space available may not be adequate for them. If any of our readers have room for this non-profit supporter of the arts at a really low rent, please reach out (they need about 2,000 square feet). Does not need to be a retail location.
• Sorry that the Ventura BMX track located at the Ventura Community Park was closed down. Was a great idea and nice addition to Ventura, but after they lost their sanctioning body approval, the track was closed.
The Ventura Parks & Recreation Commission has voted to demolish the track which has become an eyesore and a gathering place for the homeless. I wonder who will be paying for this?