Vol. 13, No. 24 – Aug 26 – Sept 8, 2020 – Opinion/Editorial

∙In June, Downtown Ventura closed its streets to expand outdoor dining and shopping as part of its Main Street Moves launch. This has saved many restaurants from having to close.

The closure will continue at least until September 14.

∙A new free COVID-19 walk-in test site, open to all county residents, is now open at the County Fairgrounds. No appointment is required. The test center is located in San Miguel Hall, and entry is through Gate 2 off Shoreline Drive. The, center is operated by Ventura County’s Health Care Agency and is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

∙The Ventura Unified School District is reviewing its school resource officer program. Ventura Superintendent Roger Rice said the district planned to put together a committee to address community members’ concerns over the program that puts officers on school campuses. The district has a contract with the Ventura Police Department to provide three officers, who split their time among the district’s elementary, middle and high schools. I think that an impartial committee to review this situation is called for before any decisions are made.

∙ In November, some of us will be voting for a city council member depending upon where you live. On September 6, 2017 the City received a letter from Robert Rubin, Esq., of San Francisco demanding that the City Council elections transition from the current “at-large” method to by-district” in order to conform to the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA). Mr. Rubin asserted that the City of Ventura is in violation of the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 because “racially polarized voting” occurs in the city. Based upon this, and possible lawsuits, the city adopted city council districts.

These are the candidates for the districts. We will have more information closer to the elections.

District 2

  • Doug Halter, business owner
  • Dougie Michie, financial advisor/ lawyer
  • Christy Weir, city councilmember

District 3

  • Barbara Brown, professor/business owner
  • William Cornell, small business owner
  • Aaron Gaston, business owner/ realtor
  • Mike Johnson, teacher

District 7

  • Heather May Ellinger, real estate agent
  • Michael James Nolan, realtor/telecommunications manager
  • Nancy Pedersen, business owner/ executive
  • Joel Schroeder, retired financial CEO

∙ The City of Ventura and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, a local environmental group, have announced an amendment to their settlement agreement in the lawsuit regarding the pumping and diversion of water from the Ventura River Watershed. Both Channelkeeper and the City remain committed to ensuring the protection of this local water source and the species that rely on it. The ongoing collaboration enables dialogue toward a locally developed solution to continue moving forward.

Under the modified terms, the City will continue the Pilot Program it implemented in 2019 to reduce its pumping and diversion of water from the Ventura River when flows drop during dry times, in order to help protect wildlife that depend on the river.

Additionally, the City and Channelkeeper have agreed to keep a dialogue open to identify additional ways to work collaboratively on other Watershed and habitat-related public relations efforts.

∙ I’m still bothered by Supreme Court decisions that are made with a simple majority vote of 5-4. These are major, major decisions that greatly affect how this country is run and should not be based on just one vote. I also think that Supreme Court justices should have fixed terms and not be appointed for life. Most Supreme Court nominations by presidents are made simply for political reasons with Republican appointees voting one way and Democratic opponents the other way (except on rare occasions). I don’t know what term limits should be, but I certainly think there should be one.

∙Scientists from Leeds and Edinburgh Universities and University College London analyzed satellite surveys of glaciers, mountains, and ice sheets between 1994 and 2017 to identify the impact of global warming. Describing the ice loss as “staggering,” the group found that melting glaciers and ice sheets could cause sea levels to rise dramatically, possibly reaching 3-feet by the end of the century. The dramatic loss of ice could have other severe consequences, including major disruption to the biological health of Arctic and Antarctic waters and reducing the planet’s ability to reflect solar radiation back into space.

∙NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he should have “listened earlier” to free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick about the reasons behind his kneeling protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Goodell admitted the league was “wrong” for not listening to players who were protesting during the national anthem.” I wished we had listened earlier to Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to,” Goodell stated in a video released last week.

Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, started kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to draw attention to police brutality and racial inequality. Other players embraced his form of protest, but it also gained critics such as President Trump, who decried it a sign of disrespect to the American flag.

Goodell now says he understands the protests were not about the flag and defended players who participated. “These are not people who are unpatriotic,” Goodell said. “They’re not disloyal. They’re not against our military. In fact, many of those guys were in the military, and they’re a military family. And what they were trying to do is exercise their right to bring attention to something that needs to get fixed. And that misrepresentation of who they were and what they were doing was the thing that really gnawed at me.”

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