Vol. 16, No. 21 – July 12 – July 25, 2023 – As I See It

When Liz Campos, who uses a wheelchair, was elected to the Ventura City Council my first thought was the council chamber raised dais wheelchair accessible? After 6 months on the council she is unable to sit with the other council members even after a temporary ramp was built. A solution still seems to be months away to meet ADA requirements.

It’s absurd that the city didn’t immediately take steps to see that she could participate on the Dais with other council members.

The Baldwin Park man accused of being the insider in the theft of $572,020 from last year’s Ventura County Fair was sentenced to three years in prison. Assuming the money has been spent so he can’t return it, that’s not a bad income of $190,673 per year even if he serves the entire 3 years.

The Ventura City Council voted 6-0 to hire Don Penman, 72, as interim city manager. Councilman Mike Johnson was absent from the meeting. We continue with city manager roulette. Hopefully the next one will hang around longer (if he-she isn’t fired first).

An animal virus outbreak has caused cancellation of two horse shows at the August County Fair and could bring precautions for other events involving animals.

Basketball player Russell Westbrook has enjoyed his time playing with the LA Clippers so much that he decided to re-sign with them – he took the biggest pay cut in league history. Westbrook agreed to a two-year, $7.9 million deal. How embarrassing playing a game for only $3.95 million per year. I feel sorry for him.

The Ventura City Council has banned bicycles, electric bicycles, skateboards and other wheeled devices on five blocks of Main St in downtown because of community concerns over safety.

The ban is in the car-free zone from San Buenaventura Mission to Fir St., and the one block of S. California St. between Main and Santa Clara that is also closed to cars. There are exceptions for people with disabilities and people with baby strollers.

Downtown Ventura Partners has a Park Ambassador team that monitors the area and will issue warnings to those who will be breaking the law when it becomes effective on July 26. Once the ban is in effect, violators could receive a warning from police on the first offense. Subsequent offenses will be considered an infraction, which could result in a ticket costing between $100 and $500 for repeated offenses.

Sounds good, but enforcement might be a lot more complicated. I doubt if the police will be involved, but there have been injuries caused by bikes (especially ebikes) driving downtown.

Council member Mike Johnson had this to say; “On a vote of 4-2 (Councilmember McReynolds and I dissenting; Councilmember Campos was absent), we banned riding bikes, skateboards, and the like downtown, on the blocks that have been closed to cars as part of Main Street Moves. While I myself once called the police when a swarm of bicyclists was riding recklessly down Main Street, Council should have tried addressing the specific problems rather than impose a blanket ban.”

“I ride my bike downtown, and I don’t pose any sort of threat. I don’t like riding on Santa Clara, I won’t ride on Poli, and walking my bike the length of Main Street Moves is going to be flat-out annoying. There are people — including families — who go downtown mainly because it’s a nice place to ride a bike, skateboard, scooter, or a one-wheel dealio, and they don’t cause any problems. They help make downtown more fun.”

“I’m concerned about whether and how it’s going to be enforced; we’re not directing the PD to spend more time along Main Street Moves, and if they’re not going to warn or ticket every person they see it’s going to look like selective enforcement. It’s a bitter pill, banning bikes and skateboards while rolling out the red carpet for the X Games.”

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
Mark Twain

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