Vol. 11, No. 13 – Mar 28 – Apr 10, 2018 – Mailbox

Dear Editor,

I’d like to encourage Ventura County residents to become part of a valuable community service by serving on the Ventura County Grand Jury.

The Grand Jury is a civil, investigative panel of 19 volunteers. This watchdog group investigates issues and citizen complaints and then makes recommendations to improve the operation of local government. The Grand Jury may examine all aspects of Ventura County government, its 10 city governments as well as special districts and other agencies funded by tax dollars.

To become a Grand Juror, you must be 18 years or older, a U.S. citizen and a Ventura County resident for at least a year. A complete list of requirements and other information about Grand Jury service can be found at: http://www.ventura.org/grand-jury/become-a-grand-juror.

Applications are now available for the 2018-2019 Grand Jury at: www.ventura.org/grand-jury/forms. Applications will be accepted until April 6, 2018.

Andrew Ludlum Foreperson
2017-2018 Ventura County Grand Jury
805-477-1600, Ext. 1817


Out of the tragedy of the Thomas Fire, now comes a once in a lifetime opportunity to make our hillside better. The County has done an excellent job clearing the way for those of us who lost our homes to rebuild.

It is now critical for our Planning Department and Community Development Director to find the vision and creativity to take advantage of this opportunity. While I commend them for putting into place an expedited fourteen day approval process for building permits submitted by fire victims, the process is heavily geared toward requiring homeowners to rebuild as close to the original structure as possible. Any home that was previously granted a variance will be excluded from this process if it expands the original building footprint by more than 10%, as will most homes requiring new variances.

The same City Staff that pushed hard to allow an LA developer to totally violate our Hillside Management Program, is now being a bit of a stickler when it comes to allowing individual home owners minor variances to improve their homes and our hillside. The message seems to be, “Either build exactly what you had or get in line and wait with the huge number of fire victims trying to build better.”

I call on our City Council to nudge our Planning Staff in the right direction. City Planning should propose a better process to our Council by which minor variances, that have no real impact on neighboring properties, can bypass the typically, six month long and very expensive process of requiring approval of the Planning Commission. If no neighbors object to a particular variance, the Planning Department or its Director should be empowered and encouraged to approve the building permit.

Instead of rebuilding the hillside exactly as it was, let’s find some vision in our City leadership to allow and encourage us to rebuild it better.

(I note my family’s rebuild project, as currently planned, will not require a variance.)

Nick Bonge- Co founder – Neighbors for the Ventura Hillside

Dear Sheldon:

Many thanks for sending the pictures from the “Six Women’s Epic Swim Around Santa Cruz Island.” I’m so pleased to have them.

Sincerely(your 92-year old reader) Rosena McConica

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.
~ Stephen Hawking

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