City News

The City Council voted in June to admonish Councilmember Mike Johnson and required him to apologize to staff members for bullying. The City Council discussed whether to take away Johnson’s committee assignments but decided against it.

As a result Mike Johnson is suing the city for not allowing him to participate in a closed-session meeting that he believes should have been made public and for not giving him an opportunity to defend himself against bullying allegations.

At the meeting in May, the City Council discussed allegations by two city employees accusing Johnson of acting in a hostile and bullying manner during two City Council meetings in 2022.

Johnson’s lawsuit alleges the city violated the state’s open meeting law by keeping him and the public out of the closed-session meeting and failing to disclose the topic of the meeting. The lawsuit also says that the closed-session meeting prevented Johnson from defending himself.

The state’s open meeting law, The Brown Act, prohibits a majority of legislative body members from communicating or taking action on an item outside of an open, public meeting. There are some exceptions.

The lawsuit demands the city abide by the Brown Act, hold open and public meetings,post an agenda 24 hours before each special meeting with a brief general description of an item and make available to the public any materials distributed.

Johnson’s lawsuit also requests the city record the audio of closed-session meetings and preserve them for a period of time.

The Ventura Pier, most of which remains closed to the public because of damage caused by the January storms is anticipated to open early next year.

Construction on the pier should start in late February or early March. It will take 30-45 days to complete the required repairs. Work needs to be done on 7 timber piles and numerous bracings and brackets.

The total estimate for final repairs is about $1 million. The city is in the process of obtaining funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and the state for the project.

The pier’s front is open so the popular restaurants are accesible.

A long-term project to replace an underground pipe has closed one of three northbound freeway lanes until spring 2024. The effort will impact a half-mile stretch south of California Street. The left lane will be closed. Northbound motorists will use the two right lanes.

The closure will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as weather and other conditions allow, said Jim Medina, a spokesman for the agency.

The pipe replacement is meant to remedy the on-going wet spot along the center median that also can go into the left traffic lane. Workers will dig up pavement to reach the clogged or broken pipe.

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