Vol. 14, No. 03 – Nov 4 – Nov 17, 2020 – Opinion/Editorial

∙ At a recent City Council meeting, the Ventura City Council has reaffirmed its stand against white supremacy and racism. Mayor Matt LaVere stated, on behalf of the Council, “The City Council remains steadfast to its commitment to condemn white supremacy and racism, discrimination and all forms of hatred, none of which will be tolerated in our city. We denounce all threats and menacing behavior used as weapons to intimidate any member of our community from living a full, free and equal life. We value the diversity of our residents who are critical to the city’s economic, cultural and social well-being.”

∙ If the following city ballot Measure I, to tax cannabis businesses, was approved by voters (results too late to be in this issue) Ventura will start allowing commercial cannabis businesses to be located here.

Measure I 2020​ – Cannabis and Hemp Tax ​

To fund city services (public safety, roads, parks, etc.), shall the City tax cannabis (marijuana) and hemp businesses at annual rates not to exceed $10.00 per canopy square foot for cultivation (adjustable for inflation), 8% of gross receipts for retail cannabis businesses, and 4% for all other cannabis businesses, should the city council legalize them at a future date; which will generate an unknown amount of revenue and will be levied until repealed?​

The regulations would allow a limited number of commercial cannabis businesses to open in Ventura. It would allow two retail and five industrial – manufacturing, testing labs and distribution businesses. Actual cultivation would continue to be prohibited here.

Currently, the relevant section of the city’s zoning ordinance prohibits commercial cannabis uses, except for deliveries, which the state requires cities to allow.

The Ventura Planning Commission will need to forward a recommendation to the council to approve an amendment to the zoning ordinance to allow the cannabis businesses. Ventura Community Development Director Peter Gilli said, “That is just one piece of the whole puzzle. It’s just to identify which zoning districts a cannabis business could apply to go into.”

If cannabis and hemp tax Measure I doesn’t pass, the city won’t move ahead with allowing commercial cannabis businesses to open. I certainly hope that it passes. Venturan’s who now need to purchase cannabis must go out of town taking their money with them. Or get delivery from out of town locations.

∙ Ventura is in the process of banning restaurants and others from using food and drink containers made of expanded polystyrene, commonly known by the trademarked name Styrofoam but manufactured by others.

Recently the Council introduced an ordinance to ban these based on grounds that expanded polystyrene is harmful to the environment. The ordinance would prohibit restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores and other businesses from distributing expanded polystyrene food containers to customers.

∙ Sadly, the sale of new guns in California has greatly increased this year due to the unrest that is occurring in this country. A survey conducted by UC Davis researchers also noticed a shift in gun ownership that they feel is likely to see an uptick in firearm related injuries and deaths, including accidental discharges of people not trained in the use of firearms. Though, the majority of those sales were to people who already owned at least one gun.

Who did these guns protect?

A 5-year-old girl was accidentally shot and killed by a juvenile member of her family and the girl’s father was arrested for child endangerment.

A 3-year-old boy has died at his birthday celebration after finding a family member’s gun and accidentally shooting himself in the chest.

∙ Based on comments he made in a new documentary, I’m pleased that Pope Francis called for legislation to protect same-sex couples. This marks a major break from Catholic doctrine. He stated “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They are children of God and have a right to a family.”

“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.” Francis noted he has stood up for civil unions before, but his remarks in the documentary go beyond what he has said previously and are greatly different from the view of his predecessors.

LGBTQ rights groups hailed the comments as a major step but had questions about how much impact they would have on allowing civil unions across the country.

Even if it doesn’t result in immediate change, the fact that he made these comments will certainly open up debate among the Catholic community. I wish he had called for actual marriage, but a great start.

∙ A Ukrainian fitness expert with 1.1 million followers on Instagram has died of the coronavirus – after previously doubting the existence of the deadly bug. Dmitriy Stuzhuk, a buff 33-year-old who promoted healthy living, notified his fans of his diagnosis from his hospital bed, saying he woke up with breathing difficulties during a trip to Turkey and developed a cough the following day.

∙A wedding and birthday party in suburban New York turned into two Covid-19 “superspreader” events that infected more than 50 people and left nearly 300 in quarantine. “This kind of blatant disregard for the well being of others is not only extremely disappointing, it will not be tolerated,” Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone said. “In my opinion people that put on such events should go to jail.”

∙ According to a study published in Nature Medicine, if Americans would stop complaining about face masks and wear them when they leave their homes, they could save over 100,000 lives (and perhaps more than half a million) through the end of February.

The researchers considered five scenarios for how the pandemic could play out with different levels of mask-wearing and rules about staying home and social distancing. All the scenarios assumed that no vaccine was available, nor any medicines capable of curing the disease. Realistically, vaccines will not be available for many months and will only be taken by about 60% of people, so it will not be an immediate cure.

The authors said only 49% of Americans said they “always” wore a mask in public, according to the study. If U.S. residents do not wear mask in increasing numbers, they risk another round of mandatory social distancing measures that could once more shut down the small amount of businesses and schools around the country that are attempting to stay open.

∙Wish I knew the election results prior to this issue. Will comment, of course, in the next issue. You know that I am hoping that Biden wins. In the meantime, congratulations to our new (or returning) City Council members. More about them in the next issue.

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