Vol. 11, No. 22 – Aug 1 – Aug 14, 2018 – Opinion/Editorial

• Because it is very seldom used, it seems to me that the large outdoor area at the Albinger Archaeological Museum is a waste of space. It’s basically grass, dirt and river rock that were foundations for the old buildings that were located there. Really not much to see outside after you enjoy the exhibits inside the Museum.

“Wouldn’t this make a wonderful Downtown park and open space?”

Why not remove the wall at the street and make it into a nice open space and park? The foundation area can remain with the small walal still defining it. Downtown needs more open area and the cost of doing this is minimal.

It could then become part of the Valdez Alley/Eastwood Park right next to it. A wonderful addition to downtown.

What say you?

•One day last week it was 82 degrees in Ventura and folks were complaining about the heat. The same day it was 121 in Palm Springs. So quit complaining.

• Hopefully the painful episode of the Harbor Church building, located on Preble Ave. in Midtown, will end soon. Painful because the City spent $2.3 million on the property and will be spending another $350,000 (or so) to demolish it.

Even though the property value is much higher now than it was when purchased, the four lots that will become available for purchase will be valued at about $1.4 million. This means the City will have lost about $1.2 million on this fiasco.

The church was – for years – providing food, clothing, ministry and other services for homeless people until the city bought the property in exchange for the church leaving town.

Its location, next to Blanche Reynolds Elementary and a park, were two of the reasons that neighbors opposed Operation Embrace that served the homeless. They felt that the program’s clientele brought in crime and was a safety risk to the neighborhood.

Because of this, the City ordered Harbor to shut down the program. Harbor Church appealed and sued claiming Operation Embrace was an extension of its religious rights. Rather than going through an expensive legal battle the City purchased the property.

•After what they considered to be a mass shooting (hardly considered a mass shooting in the USA these days) left three people dead, including the shooter, Toronto’s conservative mayor backed a proposal that even the most liberal American politicians wouldn’t dare support ― a total ban on all handgun sales.

“Why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all,” Mayor John Tory asked at a city council meeting on Monday.

•For the first time ever, researchers have watched a star race past the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way, verifying that its motion showed the effects of general relativity, as predicted by Albert Einstein. Just what world was he from?

• In 2003, Russell Galipeau (59) became the Superintendent of the Channel Islands. After 40-years of serving the National Park Service he is retiring. He did a wonderful job and will be missed. If you haven’t been to any of the islands jump on an Island Packer’s boat and enjoy our own National Park.

• According to the Ventura County 2018 Homeless Count and Survey, there were 1,299 adults and children who were homeless. This number represents a 147 person or 12.8% increase when compared to the number of homeless persons who were counted in 2017. However, the homeless count in Ventura County over the last 10-years show that even though there has been an increase in the last few years, the amount has declined sharply from previous years. It is down from 2009 by almost 40% and from all of the years between 2009 and 2015.

Housing is a major part of the solution and the City and County have taken the right steps towards allocating funds to open up a year-round shelter – it will, hopefully, be open by the end of this year.

The cities of Oxnard and Ventura account for nearly two thirds of the 1,299 homeless. Even the homeless like living by the beach.

• This reminds me of the old cartoon series Spy versus Spy. Everyone is suing everyone over the Thomas fire and the results could take years. The Ventura City Council voted to take legal action. The city filed a lawsuit against Southern California Edison over the utility’s alleged negligence in starting the Thomas Fire becoming one of the over 2,000 plaintiffs seeking damages from Edison. The city is being represented by Texas-based law firm Baron & Budd.

Electrical equipment and lines have been determined to be one of the leading causes of many wildfires.

The large number of cases and plaintiffs prompted the California Judicial Council to combine them all to be heard in Los Angeles County. The cases involve those affected by the fire and deadly mudslides in Montecito.

At the same time, the City is being sued by some as well.

This gets into some very tricky legal questions. What if a public utility can’t afford to pay the judgements? Can they declare bankruptcy and close down? Can they pass on the costs by increasing customers’ bills as they believe that they can?

They can’t raise rates without the approval of the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) which it is reluctant to do. The PUC declined a request by San Diego Gas & Electric to raise their rates to cover claims from fires in 2007.

•The New York Daily News just cut half its newsroom staff, including the Editor in Chief. I think that I’m the Breeze’s Editor in Chief so hope that I don’t need to fire myself. Tempting as it is, what would I do for fun? As you know, newspapers are struggling, but the Ventura Breeze continues our winning ways with the support of our readers and advertisers.

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