Vol. 12, No. 18 – June 5 – June 18, 2019 – Opinion/Editorial

∙ Recently, Richard Lieberman, and I had lunch with Jeff Lambert, the City’s former Community Development Director (see cover story). He is now working for the City of Oxnard and very happy there. A real loss for Ventura.

Circus Vargas will not be coming to Ventura this year, but will perform in Camarillo and Santa Barbara. Tried to find out why they are not coming to Ventura, but I wasn’t able to get an answer.

∙ I do not like guns. I think only law enforcement (and not sure about some of them) should possess them. But I have no problem with the Fair board who earlier voted 5-2 to allow Crossroads of the West to put on two shows as the board works on developing a policy governing them. The company is seeking authorization to host three more this year.

Owning most guns is legal, so in my opinion gun shows should be allowed to take place here just as marijuana stores should be allowed in Ventura.

Baseball now has instant replay – it takes 20 minutes.

∙The U.S. Navy has acknowledged that a request was made to hide the USS John S. McCain during President Donald Trump’s recent state visit to Japan. Couldn’t they just add a beard to it, so it is not recognizable?

∙ The California Senate has voted 33-0 to let pet owners, 18 and older, purchase medical marijuana for their animals if they have a recommendation from a veterinarian who has completed a specific course. The bill would give veterinarians the same protections as doctors who recommend marijuana for human patients. So, pretend you have a dog and share their pot.

∙Why do hospitals wake people up to give them their sleeping pills?

∙Ventura’s development process is cumbersome and slow, with many, many planning and review processes to apply for. And, then doesn’t provide nearly enough certainty that the development will ever be approved, even if all procedures are followed.

During a recent City Council meeting, member Jim Friedman stated, “The time to change it is now. We need a plan that tells the world Ventura is open for business. We need to change the way we do business drastically in the city of Ventura.” I could not agree more.

Too often projects are appealed to the council, and instead of looking at the big picture, (should the project have 40 units, or 38, for example), the council becomes the defacto design review committee and ends up commenting on innocuous things, such as the color of the front doors.

Whether you agree or disagree that we need new development (we do), developers should have a clear understanding of what they need to do to receive approval. Often, they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and then decide to just walk away from Ventura.

In order to make that happen, the Council voted to have staff return with information on streamlining, improving and simplifying the current design review process and to consider the following (among other things);

Disbanding the Historical Preservation Committee and replacing it with staff review and, where needed, outside consultants. This I strongly agree with.

Allowing each Council member to appoint her or his own Planning Commission member whose term would run concurrent with that of the elected official.

∙After all this time, the family of slain Anthony Mele Jr. is suing the city and the Aloha Steakhouse where he was stabbed to death by Jamal Jackson, a 50-year-old homeless man.

The widow and daughter of Anthony have sued the restaurant and the City over his death. They claim that the City of Ventura and the restaurant may have some responsibility.

I can’t comment on the City’s liability but to sue Aloha seems absurd. Should they be required to have a security guard sit at every table? In fact, diners at the restaurant and Aloha employees acted in a heroic manner chasing Jackson and attending to Anthony’s wounds. In my opinion, they should be commended not sued.

All newspaper reports (except the Breeze) stated that Mele’s daughter, then 5 years old, was sitting on his lap during the murder. She was present but not sitting on his lap. But this would certainly get to the emotions of jury members.

∙ An REO, or “real estate owned,” refers to a kind of property owned by a lender, like a bank, after a foreclosure. An Oreo is a sandwich cookie.

In a House Financial Services Committee hearing, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson mixed-up the two terms. Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., was attempting to ask Secretary Carson about disparities in REO rates. Federal Housing Administration loans have far more properties that become real estate owned, than other loans from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

“I would also like to ask you to get back to me, if you don’t mind, to explain the disparity in REO rates. Do you know what an REO is?” asked the congresswoman.

“An Oreo…” replied Carson. “No not an Oreo. An R-E-O,” she replied.

E-cigarette flavors can damage the cells that line your blood vessels and perhaps your heart health down the line, according to a new study of human cells in the lab. The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, adds to growing evidence that the flavored “e-liquids” used in vapes can hinder human cells’ ability to survive and function. The authors say these changes, some observed in the absence of nicotine, are known to play a role in heart disease.

∙ After 42 years in business, co-founders Larry Fitzgerald and Mark Hartley have announced they are closing their Management company in Ventura and Nashville, The Fitzgerald Hartley Company. Hartley is very well known in Ventura for the wonderful businesses that he started here including the building where Limon y Sol is now located on Main. He will continue to manage artists and develop film and television properties. He has been missed since he left Ventura.

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