The Life & Times of Doug Halter

This is a book about Doug Halter’s fight to live with HIV, his family and his love for Ventura.

by Staci Brown

“You’d be expected to survive around 6 months, maybe a little longer if luck is on your side.” This was what Doug heard in 1987. Miraculously, with the help of Dr. Scott Hitt, he went on AIDs cocktails and continues to live today. Sadly, his boyfriend Randy Morrison wasn’t so lucky.

This is a book about Doug Halter’s fight to live with HIV, his family, his loves and his impressive careers leading up to purchasing and renovating homes and becoming a well-known landscaper. He got his first landscaping job at age 15 and eventually was able to do what he was passionate about. “I got an adrenaline rush as we neared completion and the original vision had come together”, he said after one of his first big jobs.

Although Doug had a rocky relationship with his father, Doug has demonstrated great warmth, kindness and honesty with the many, many friendships he has developed in life. He had a great mentor in Grandpa Salvatore who taught him all there was to know about plants, flowers, trees, seeds and gardening. He looked up to his grandfather and has very good memories of being with lots of family members at the Santa Cruz house where grandma and grandpa lived up until the earthquake. Doug ended up buying that house and rebuilding a new one where they have great family reunions. Doug met Randy Encinas coincidentally at the same place he met his previous Randy, and after a slow start, they became partners, eventually being able to marry in a grand ceremonial style at the Botanical Gardens in 2013 which is appropriate considering Doug was instrumental in the vision and opening of the gardens.

Doug stated “I wrote this book to share my life journey and all the unexpected challenges and triumphs; not unlike most others but the success I achieved through it all by having the courage to be the person God created me to be and knowing that every day is a gift to be used to make a difference and to develop and use our own unique potential to make the greatest contributions to our community and society.”

Read more in Doug’s book along with his plans for the city. I agree with every one of his plans and I am grateful that Doug has finally taken a well-deserved seat at the Ventura City Council. Congratulations!!

I hope these dreams come true. Doug has done so much for this city. Besides the Botanical Gardens vision, he bought the church that became the Rubicon Theater and brought exceptional theater to this town, and oh, so much more which you will find out about when you read his book.

And Doug has the greatest collection of photos in his book. You can see young Doug and how handsome he has remained, as well as both Randys’ as well as his brother, sister, grandparents, parents, family, houses, friends, landscaping and Ventura! It is a delight to look at this treasure, young and old.

I am very excited to see what the future holds and I am glad I got to know Doug better in this wonderful book.

You can purchase the book directly from Doug at

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