Vol. 11, No. 18 – Jun 6 – June 19, 2018 – Mailbox


My name is Stephen Wong and I am a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. I recently saw that you had posted a story about our wildfire evacuation survey to your website with the help of VCTC. Thank you so much for helping out with the distribution process! Our team here at Berkeley greatly appreciates your assistance.

One thing that did come up is that we have received several emails and phone calls from readers who were unable to take the survey. They found that the link in the print version of the newspaper was not correct. They said that the link in the paper was “https://berkeley.qualtrics.com” when it should be “https://berkeley.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5A2yZRTA2HI5ebb”. The entire link does need to be included to map directly to the survey. The first link just goes to our survey management software for all of UC Berkeley.

I should note that the version online is correct! I was hoping there would be an opportunity for your next print to provide the correct survey link so that people can access the survey. Thank you and I look forward to hearing back soon!

Best regards,

Stephen Wong


I’ve read with sadness of the tragedy at the Aloha… along with the shaming of the mentally ill and the homeless. It’s so easy to be judgmental, but much harder to walk in the shoes of those just existing on the streets. Mental illness playing tricks on the mind, blending night into day in a never ending cycle of hopelessness and despair.

Ventura needs more transitional housing combined with targeted services to truly effect change. I look at the successful model of The City Center Transitional Living Community. Transforming the old City Center Motel into a transitional living community for homeless children and custodial parent needing to heal and rebuild their lives. Each room has been transformed into a little “home “, providing respite from the streets and a secure place to change their plight in life. Each is required to get a job, pay rent on a sliding scale, contribute to a savings account monthly, and manage their day to day expenses with the balance. All the while the residents are supported with mentor-ship, counseling, parenting and life skills, along with financial literacy classes all geared toward healing the human spirit. While adhering to rules and responsibilities they learn to rebuild their self-confidence and self-worth.

Since December of 2013 The City Center has welcomed 62 families that were homeless, each received housing and the resources to get off the streets and into a program to help them become self-sufficient. Each of these families has returned into our community, finally off the streets…..but it all started with HOUSING! Please support TheCityCenter.org and make a positive change for both our community and the homeless.

Perhaps the name of the much needed yearlong shelter in Ventura could be named “The Aloha” and really embody to true Aloha Spirit, and the spirit of Buenaventura… one of alliance of one’s mind, heart and soul evident by thinking good thoughts, performing good deeds and sharing goodness with others.

Jeanne Benitez

Ventura Breeze:

Ojai is an anomaly. The population is too small for an accurate reflection of the ratio of population to homeless. The stat should be removed from the analysis. Oxnard is our closest comparable city. Ventura has 2.82 time as many homeless as Oxnard. As noted many times, we have a source for these individuals at the County jail. This is a County problem placed upon us as a starting point. It has been said many times as well: “Take them back”. Take them back to the cities within the County that they came from. That should be a requirement of the County sheriff department. That would give the City of Ventura relief of a never ending input of homeless and problem individuals.

Next, we need to remove the convenience of being homeless. One, remove the river beds as a campground, along with the parks, primarily State Parks. State Parks has that authority now. Camping in the river beds is an environmental, health and safety issue. We have the authority now, just as the City does on occasions. That needs to be done more frequently.

Then we need to start a “no handouts” campaign. Start with public notice mailings, then signage on public places.

Next, secure the commodities homeless use to support their lifestyle. Mostly this is recyclables such as aluminum cans. Other cities have containers in public places that once deposited in them, there is no access to retrieve them. We also have to change our ways and actually use them! Also, take your recycle trash out in the morning, not the night before. If Harrison picked up recyclables first that would get them off the streets and away from scavengers.

Once the convenience of being homeless is reduced, the actual problems can be addressed. Hopefully with tax funding and appropriate mental health and “helping hand” programs.

This will not end the problem, but it will bring homelessness into a more manageable situation.

John Whitman

Hi Sheldon,

Thanks for again mentioning that incredible fiasco of a construction project (“In the past, I have commented on the horrible workmanship performed on the pedestrian crossing bridge that runs over the freeway to the promenade.”) Hard to imagine that even $50000, let alone $400000 was spent on what appears to be poor design, substandard materials, supervision and labor.

Rust now leaks from cracked concrete posts throughout the structure. The uneven hand railing is almost laughable. How the company that built this, Guills, ever received final payment for this makes one wonder about how these officials do business. I don’t see coated plastic truly fixing anything.

On that same note, how about that other new and expensive walkway over the freeway at California? Those now dingy and splattered with who-knows-what gray industrial grates that face the freeway were the worst choice (what was that designer thinking?) and last time I walked it, all the lights were out at night. Only a couple were out a few months back. It does not appear that anyone currently performs maintenance on it.

We deserve better. Thanks as always!

Kurt Triffet -Triffet Design Group


Linda Taylor is founder and chairman of the board of Taylor Design – Irvine, which “designed” the architectural abortion known as Kaiser Permanente Ventura – possibly California’s most visually disturbing building of-the-year as well as a major embarrassment to the citizens of this community. What is more disturbing is the city’s Design Review Committee approved this monster. It would seem the least Kaiser Permanente could do is turn off the lighted duct tape effect at night.

John Stewart

Photo by Bernie Goldstein

John Stewart and Associates

John: I completely agree with you. But I don’t blame Taylor Design entirely, architects can design bad buildings (as a retired architect I know that). I blame the DRC (design review committee) for approving it or it wouldn’t have happened. I keep waiting for the “ribbon cutting”. Ooops, those aren’t lighted ribbons to be removed.


I had to read it a second time

I about fell out of my chair after reading Jennifer Tipton’s article on the City of Ventura new water General Manager: Kevin Brown. In fact I had to read it a second time to figure out which Thomas Fire this person attended. Is this guy for real? He is talking about the largest fire in California’s history: The Thomas Fire??? How dare he make the statement and I quote from the article: “Ventura had ample supply of water with more than enough with what was brought in from Lake Casitas”. He went on to state that there was no problems with the fire hydrants but the largest water tanks were not accessible to his people due to the fire”. Please allow me to set the record and Mr. Brown straight at this point.

The areas of Clear Point, Ondolando, and Skyline were hit the hardest in the fire. Over 500 homes in the city were lost or severely damaged. Those that choose to rebuild are looking at the Fall of 2019 to move back into our beloved foothill areas. The huge holding tank on Foothill and Edison road across from the Brokaw tree nursery was never in danger from the path of the fire. The same is true for the water tank a half mile north of Foothill rd. on Colina Vista. The fire clearly burned well below and above the Colina Vista tank which serves my home.

For the past 2 years the city has invested over 1 million dollars upgrading and installing new 8 inch underground water lines with new fire hydrants and Smart Meters throughout the entire Ondolando residential area. On Colina Vista street they installed 10 new fire hydrants off of Foothill and the fifth water hydrant sits on my property.

And guess what? Not one gallon of water came out of those hydrants that night and not one gallon came out of my garden hoses. So Mr. Brown here are the highlights of the fire in those 3 areas. Six fire trucks sat at the Missionary school church all night watching our homes burn to the ground with no water. Two trucks did the same thing on the corner of Foothill and Colina Vista and never moved once..

Another 2 trucks drove up and down the streets trying to look busy. We were the last to leave after the roof to my daughter’s bedroom collapsed. Not one backup generator was on location at one of the many crucial pumping stations, and there was no water for the homeowners when we turned on the garden hoses to make one last gallant attempt.

Mr. Brown please plan to attend the next Clearpoint, Ondolando, and Skyline homeowners association meeting in late June and feel free to explain to the 500 home owners burned out that your well informed statement printed in the Breeze was fact and not fiction. Thank you.. and we will all rise and build again out of the ashes.

Chris Dryden


Be the Change, See the Change in Homelessness

Homelessness in Ventura is not the kind of problem we need removed; it’s the kind of problem we need solved. That’s not just our responsibility as citizens of San Buenaventura. It’s the responsibility of the state and federal governments, and I’ll tell you why. Because the beautiful weather, clean and safe neighborhood, exceptional police force, and generous social services here draw homeless people from all around the state and country to flock to Ventura.

Why solve homelessness and not remove homeless people? Because we are Ventura. We are solution-oriented, active environmentalists with a strong sense of community. And each and every homeless person is somebody’s mother, brother, sister, father, and child.

How do we solve homelessness? We seek funding at the state and federal levels to help rebuild the Vista del Mar Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, which was badly damaged during the devastating Thomas Fire.

It’s clear that mental health is a driving factor of homelessness, as evidenced by the recent tragedy at the promenade and the aggressive mumbling that we hear at parks and markets around town. According to leading studies, 20-25% of homeless people suffer from severe mental health disorders and about 45% show a history of some diagnosis of mental illness. These are real, diagnosable diseases, and we have real solutions available at treatment facilities.

Yesterday, I was having a rough time looking for new work myself, and as I walked to my car, I was met by the smiling faces of two separate homeless people. First an elderly African-American man with a cart, and then a thin Caucasian woman who’d been dancing earlier, each said, “God bless you.” Those were the kindest interactions I had all day, and I felt real hope thanks to them. I hope through this article, God might bless them, too.

Lisa Love


It’s amazing how someone (Kevin Brown)is so new to the job, was so confident that there was plenty of water to fight the Thomas fire. However, while watching my best friend’s home and many others burn to the ground while fire fighters idly stood by, the problem was not that we didn’t have enough water to combat the fire, the problem was and probably still is, that did the city of Ventura have backup generators in place and online to provide electrical power for the pumps to supply all that water. My guess, as well as many others, is the answer is no. I believe the answer to those important questions will be answered in a court of law when the home owners who lost everything will, in fact, have their day in court.

Bradley Johnston


There are some horrible things happening in this fair City of ours right now but there are great things happening as well…just wanted to share a recent example I was fortunate to experience.

I work in the Ventura College Bookstore where I have the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of students and faculty members on a daily basis. Some come in once a semester to get textbooks, some stop in regularly for snacks and some run in 5 minutes before exams to get test forms and pencils. We don’t know each other’s names, situations or stories. This last week saw finals and Graduation on campus. It was a pretty anxious time.

Last week also saw “A Night To Remember” the annual “Prom” at Seaside Park organized by Mission Church honoring hundreds of students with special needs where each Guest gets the “formal treatment” free of charge. Along with countless unsung others, I have been honored to volunteer for this event the last few years and have seen it grow in scope exponentially. It is a rewarding experience to be part of this event.

This year’s NTR was the best and most emotional experience ever! Included in those hundreds of Guests were some of ‘my’ students from VC. I got to greet and welcome them to their “Prom.” I was surprised to see them and they were even more surprised to see me! There they were in their formal dresses and tuxedos and there I was, the “Bookstore Guy.” Suddenly, and unexpectedly – we were just People. Smiles, laughs, hugs and even some tears ensued.

We are Community.

Sheldon-Right now-some may not have it tough. Some are having a tough time. And some have had it tough for a long time. In those few hours at “Night To Remember,” people were together in one place as one. Happy, Thankful and One.

Friday night we were, and today we are, #VENTURASTRONG!

Clark K. Galbreath


In Santa Fe, Texas, another high school has faced the horror of a school shooting. We do not know the details at this point in time, but the reaction will be part of a pattern–A call for banning guns, a call to disarm the nation, people will defend the second amendment, people will call for more armed officers in schools etc… But then little or nothing of substance will be done.

But, perhaps we need to look at the dehumanized values that the shooters all have. One link that all the shooters share is an addiction to violent video games. Perhaps playing such games for hours, shooting digital humans, somehow makes killing fun, exciting, the thing to do. After killing thousands in a game–people with mental problems may well be compelled to try it in the real world. I say we ban violent video games!

In the 1950s they banned violent comic books like Crypt of Terror thinking such things twisted young minds–I contend that these popular video games are causing a culture of death, murder and violence.

Richard Senate

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.

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