Category Archives: City News

Firefighters’ Ball honors and celebrates Ventura City Firefighters

Money raised will be used to support the Ventura Fire Foundation’s programming. Photos by Mary Thompson

The Ventura Fire Foundation, in partnership with the Ventura City Fire Department, celebrated the Ventura City Firefighters at the 2022 Firefighters’ Ball, presented by Flying Embers. The event was held on June 10, at the Olivas Adobe. Firefighters in their Class A uniforms, and their spouses attended an evening of recognition, camaraderie, and celebration.

The actions of five sworn personnel and one civilian employee were recognized by the Ventura Fire Department and the Ventura Fire Foundation. Additionally, thirty-six employees were promoted, and forty-seven Lifesaving Medals were distributed for excellent service to the City of Ventura.

“The City is blessed to have so many exemplary firefighters and staff who go above and beyond to serve our community. They provide all-hazards emergency response, perform life-saving actions each day, and often times provide care and compassion to people on their toughest day,” said Fire Chief David Endaya. “This year’s event was extra special as it was the first time we’ve gathered to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of our team.”

Engineer Eric Craddock received the Firefighter of the Year award for his dedication to fire and rescue training, leading the oversight at the Fire Training grounds, and embodying the highest standards of the fire service.

The Greg Andrews Safety Award, recognizing a continued commitment to ensuring a safer workplace for all, was presented to Firefighter-Paramedic James Kenney.

Kenney devoted hundreds of hours on developing maps for crew responses to several of Ventura’s large complexes. Without these critical maps and level of detail required to design them, lifesaving minutes navigating buildings would be lost.

The Nancy Merman Paramedic of the Year honor was awarded to Engineer Kyle Tong. “Kyle has worked tirelessly on grant opportunities for the department, including a grant where we were able to purchase LUCAS CPR devices for each apparatus,” said Emergency Medical Services Coordinator Heather Ellis. “He has trained every firefighter on this device. His is a true asset to our agency.”

Captain Mark Nielsen and Firefighter-Paramedic William Nackers were both honored for exceptional duty for their ingenuity in providing life-saving service, going above and beyond the call of duty, and upholding the department’s core values.

Finally, Danielle Motherspaw was recognized as the Fire Prevention Employee of the Year. Danielle provides exceptional service with a smile, can be called upon at any time to assist a coworker, and demonstrates pride in producing quality work.

Health and safety restrictions and a shift in priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the annual ceremonies honoring excellent service and the promotions of employees since 2019.

“We are incredibly excited to celebrate Ventura City firefighters, and join the City in honoring their achievements,” said Joe Booth, executive director of the Ventura Fire Foundation. “The past two years have been especially difficult for first responders and their families, so we are eager to have a night of fun.”

For more information about the Ventura Fire Department, visit www.VenturaCityFire.com.

Arroyo Verde Park’s inclusive playground receives Project of the Year Award

Arroyo Verde Park’s main play structure was destroyed in the Thomas Fire.

The recently completed first-ever inclusive playground in Ventura at Arroyo Verde Park received the 2021 Project of the Year Award from the Ventura County Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) in the structures category for its safety performance, effective construction management, environmental considerations, and community outreach.

During the City Council meeting on May 9, APWA Ventura County director at large Andrew Grubb shared that, “this project stood out for its inclusive play area with unique considerations to children with sensory and cognitive needs along with the community support and donations received for the playground’s replacement after the Thomas Fire.”

The APWA Project of the Year Award distinguishes the project’s efficient and effective construction management techniques, schedule mitigation amid COVID-19 supply chain challenges, construction management, control techniques, jobsite safety practices, and a demonstrated commitment to sustainability.

The 10,750 square foot play area at Arroyo Verde Park features a colorful play surface, new landscaping, gathering areas, swings, hammocks, balance beams, a sensory garden, a motion-inclusive carousel, embankment climbers, and music play areas. It also features a sensory wall with recognition tiles dedicated to those who donated to the project.

In December 2017, Arroyo Verde Park’s main play structure was destroyed in the Thomas Fire. Rather than rebuilding the same structure, the City of Ventura decided to re-imagine the space and create the first fully inclusive play area in Ventura; a space where the community could have fun together without barriers.

The Parks and Recreation Department engaged with the community to understand which features they would most like included in the rebuild. Families, community members, medical professionals, and playground manufacturers were included in the playground design conversations. Extensive renderings and options were presented at neighborhood council meetings, and community feedback was gathered to capture the heart and soul of the project.

To learn more about this project, visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/AVP.

Ventura Police bring back Neighborhood Watch

The Ventura Police Department (VPD) encourages residents to take an active role in crime prevention, reduction, and reporting by starting a Neighborhood Watch group.

The Ventura Police Neighborhood Watch Program is a crime prevention effort that relies on an active partnership between residents and the officers who patrol those neighborhoods. The goal of the program is to reduce crime through education, increased neighborhood reporting, and improved communication among neighbors.

“Many criminals are opportunists,” said Police Chief Darin Schindler. “Neighbors that are willing to communicate and interact with each other are better able to identify and report suspicious activity and safeguard their homes, ultimately preventing criminal activity.”

By forming a group and participating in Neighborhood Watch, residents will get to know neighbors who live nearby as well as learn how to:

  • Recognize and report crimes and suspicious activities
  • Better protect their homes and those of their neighbors
  • Identify quality of life concerns and crime in the area and work proactively with VPD staff to solve issues

Neighborhood Watch does not give residents the power to take law enforcement action when observing suspicious activity. The Ventura Police Department does not encourage residents to “patrol” neighborhoods or put themselves at risk. Community members are the extra eyes and ears of the Ventura Police Department and should report suspicious activity.

To learn more about the Neighborhood Watch Program, please visit www.CityofVentura.ca.gov/NeighborhoodWatch.

Ventura Fire Department announces Brett Reed as Fire Marshal

As the City’s Fire Marshal, Brett will oversee community risk reduction programs.

After a highly competitive, open recruitment process, the Ventura Fire Department has selected Brett Reed as its new Fire Marshal.

“Brett is a lifelong student of fire prevention, risk reduction, and leadership,” said Fire Chief David Endaya. “He has a proven track record of developing, implementing, and leading progressive change and holds himself and those around him to the highest standards.”

As the City’s Fire Marshal, Brett will oversee community risk reduction programs in the department’s Fire Prevention division. These programs include development plan review and inspections, state-mandated occupancy inspections, defensible space inspections, and fire cause investigations.

“I am incredibly excited to continue my service to Ventura as the fire marshal,” said Brett. “It’s an honor to serve a city that I love, and in a role that is vital to ensuring community safety. I look forward to continuing to provide the preventative, high-quality service to our community members.”

Brett has a strong background in risk reduction and has completed State Fire Inspector Training, National Fire Academy fire inspection principles, fire and arson origin, and cause determination courses, and is a certified International Code Council Inspector and Plans Examiner.

Prior to being selected as the fire marshal, Brett served as a fire prevention specialist and the fire prevention supervisor with Ventura Fire. He has also worked in Mono County as a firefighter, fire engineer, emergency medical technician (EMT), inspector, and hazardous materials specialist.

For more information about the City’s Fire Prevention Division and programs, visit www.CityofVentura.ca.gov/FirePrevention.

Celebrate the 4th of July at Ventura’s Annual Parade & Street Fair

Ventura’s annual 4th of July Street Fair and Pushem-Pullem Parade returns to the Downtown District on Monday, July 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This year’s event theme is “2022: Red, White & Blue!”

The Pushem-Pullem Parade, presented by the Rotary Club of East Ventura, will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Main Street in front of Cemetery Memorial Park and continue into Downtown Ventura, leading into the Street Fair.

Both events are free to attend. Bikes, scooters, strollers, and wagons are welcome to participate in the parade. Motorized vehicles are not allowed.

The street fair features arts and crafts booths, live entertainment, a car exhibit, and family-friendly activities. Downtown businesses and restaurants will also be open as part of the Main Street Moves program.

The Downtown Ventura Partners Organization presents live entertainment stages with local bands and community group performances at Mission Park and at the intersection of California Street and Main Street. Several smaller stages will also be placed throughout the event featuring acoustic artists.

Visit www.CityofVentura.ca.gov/StreetFair for more details. For event questions, contact Recreation Coordinator Allyson DesBaillets at adesbaillets@cityofventura.ca.gov or (805) 654-7749.

Ventura police officers carry the torch for the Special Olympics

Photos by Michael Gordon

Over 30 Ventura Police officers and staff participated in the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run on Tuesday, June 7, from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. as the “Flame of Hope” made its way through Ventura. The run started at the steps of the Ventura City Hall.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest awareness and grassroots fundraiser for Special Olympics. In Southern California, it consists of nine different legs, ranging from San Luis Obispo to San Diego. Legs are completed in conjunction with Special Olympics athletes and various members of law enforcement agencies from throughout the region.

“This is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Corporal Ryan Reynosa, Special Olympics Liaison with the Ventura Police Department. “I run each year for inclusion, awareness, fundraising, and camaraderie. “It’s just icing on the cake when community members come out to cheer us on.”

Community members interested in supporting the cause can support financially by making a donation to “Team Ventura PD” at www.CityofVentura.ca.gov/LETR.

Ventura Fire invites community members to fire station outreach events

Community members are invited to join Ventura Fire for a series of fire station open house events, happening June 15 – August 3, 2022.

Participants who attend will have an opportunity to engage directly with City leadership, meet local firefighters, tour fire stations, hear about current conditions, and contribute to conversations about becoming a 21st century fire department.

A community meeting will be held at each of the six Ventura fire stations on select Wednesdays from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on the following dates:

June 15, Fire Station 3, located at 5838 Telegraph Road, 93003
June 22, Fire Station 1, located at 717 N. Ventura Avenue, 93001
June 29, Fire Station 2, located at 41 S. Seaward Avenue, 93003
July 20, Fire Station 4, located at 8303 Telephone Road, 93004
July 27, Fire Station 5, located at 4225 E. Main Street, 93003
August 3, Fire Station 6, located at 10797 Darling Road, 93004

The fire station community workshops will be family-friendly environments, complete with light refreshments, activities for kids, and giveaways.

“Our priority is to keep our community safe and provide the highest standard of fire and medical service,” said Fire Chief David Endaya. “In the last few decades, we’ve seen service demands and call volume increase significantly. We’re looking for community input on how to prepare for future operational needs, apparatus upgrades, call volume increases, and personnel needs.”

Live Spanish interpretation will also be offered at Fire Stations 1 and 2.

To learn more about the Ventura Fire Department, visit www.CityofVentura.ca.gov/FireOutreach.

Michael MacDonald hired as Ventura’s new city clerk

MacDonald joins Ventura from the City of Berkeley.

After a highly competitive, open recruitment process, the City of Ventura has hired Michael MacDonald as the new City Clerk.

“Having grown up in Ventura, I feel lucky to return to this community in a public service role,” said City Clerk Michael MacDonald. “I look forward to this new role and serving as a partner in democracy, ensuring that the residents of Ventura have an open, honest, and transparent government.”

As the City Clerk, MacDonald is responsible for managing and supervising the activities of the City Clerk’s Office including preparation of City Council agendas and minutes, overseeing recruitments and appointments for the city’s advisory groups, coordinating elections, and adherence to the Brown Act. Additionally, the City Clerk is accountable for compliance with the Public Records Act and the Political Reform Act.

With over five years of experience working in municipal government and two years with the state senate, MacDonald joins Ventura from the City of Berkeley where he served as the Assistant City Clerk. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from CSU Channel Islands and is a Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC).

“The city clerk wears many hats, including overseeing elections, council agendas, public records, meetings, and volunteer opportunities on city advisory committees,” said City Manager Alex D. McIntyre. “Michael is a great addition to the City’s leadership team. His experience will help further advance our commitment to public transparency and responsive local government services,” said City Manager Alex D. McIntyre.

For more information about the City of Ventura’s City Clerk’s Office, visit www.CityofVentura.ca.gov.

City announces new Information Technology Department and Chief Technology Officer

Cameron comes to Ventura from Pleasant Valley.

After a competitive, nationwide recruitment, the City of Ventura has selected Mitchell Cameron as the new Chief Technology Officer in the Information Technology (IT) Department.

“The City of Ventura recognizes the essential role information technology plays in connecting public services to our employees, residents, businesses, and community stakeholders,” said City Manager Alex D. McIntyre. “I’m glad to welcome Mitchell as the director of our newly formed information technology department.”

Mitchell was selected to lead the newly formed 23-member IT Department in implementing the City’s strategic plan. This includes managing new and replacement software, identifying emerging technologies, and ensuring strategic business investments are customer-focused and deliver the highest value to the public.

“I am truly excited to continue my work with the City of Ventura in this new capacity. I look forward to leading the organization’s effort to leverage technology and enhance the way we provide services to the community,” said Chief Technology Officer Mitchell Cameron.

Mitchell brings over 12 years of public and private sector experience to the position. He previously working for the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District, GEICO, and the United States Navy. He began his career with the City in 2017 as a Management Analyst in the then Finance and Technology Department. Soon after, he was promoted to Senior Analyst in the City Manager’s Office and was appointed the City’s Business Innovation Manager in 2021. He holds a master’s degree in Management Information Systems from National University, a master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from California Lutheran University, and a bachelor’s degree in Management from American Military University.

Although the City has long had an Information Technology Division within its Finance Department, Council approved the creation of an Information Technology Department in June 2021.

For more information about the City of Ventura’s Information Technology Department, visit www.CityofVentura.ca.gov/InformationTechnology.