The Ventura Board of Port Commissioners has new leadership and a new member.
Commissioner Chris Stephens is now chairman of the five-member board, taking the reins from Commissioner Everard Ashworth, and Commissioner Jean Getchell takes over as board secretary. Commissioner Brian Brennan continues as vice chairman.
New to the board is local attorney Jackie Gardina. Confirmed on March 4 by the Ventura City Council, Gardina fills the post vacated by former Commissioner Jim Friedman, who left to join the Ventura City Council after he won that election in November.
With the personnel now in place, the board is set to get down to the task of enhancing life, leisure and business at Ventura Harbor.
There is much to be done, said Port District General Manager Oscar Pena. “Among many other things, in recent years, the staff has been working with the board to make infrastructure improvements throughout the harbor and Harbor Village.”
“The Harbor District is ready for the busy year ahead of it,” said new Chairman Stephens, a port commissioner since 2017 and retired director of the Ventura County Resource Management Agency. “We look forward to the opening of the first units at the new Portside Ventura Harbor, as well as the expanded Holiday Inn Express. In addition, we will continue our efforts to bolster the commercial fishing industry with our pursuit of the Ventura Shellfish Enterprise project, and we will be freshening up the Harbor Village to provide an improved visitor experience.”
“The future of the harbor is very much going to be intertwined with climate change and making sure that we’re creating a resilient coast and a sustainable harbor,” Gardina said. “Coastal communities must address climate change not just for the next five years but thinking ahead, to 10, 20, 25 years from now and beyond.”
A Ventura resident, Gardina is dean and chief academic officer of the Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law. A philanthropist by nature, she has served on multiple professional and nonprofit boards, including with the American Bar Association, the State Bar of California and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
The District oversees the management and operations of the Ventura Harbor, a 274-acre multiple-use recreational and commercial fishing small-craft harbor, with the goal of providing a rewarding and vibrant coastal marine experience.