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New surfing royalty

Competitor nose riding during the Queen of the Cove competition. Photo by Kaili Reynolds

by Amy Brown

With three days of sun, smiles and shredding, professional and amateur surfers came together recently at the Queen of the Cove, the first all-women’s longboard competition held at C Street. Pro surfer Sally Cohen finished first in the pro division with a $6000 purse, and a range of talented women were crowned in age divisions ranging from 50s to 10 and under.

Olivia Willhite, Sierra Cameron and Elieah Boyd share a hug before their next heats.

Amateur surfers had the chance to compete against some of their idols in different divisions and hone their skills, according to 18-year-old Olivia Willhite, who has been surfing in competitions for years. “I surfed against Rylin Baker (who won the 17-19 division) yesterday, and she’s really good, and definitely someone to look at as a mentor in surfing,” she said, “I like being part of an all-women’s surf event, I think that’s really cool,” said Willhite, who is also a popular local singer songwriter gaining international acclaim with her Indie beach rock style.

Elieah Boyd shared that while this was only her second surf competition, she had placed second in the 20s division the day before. “I follow most of these girls that are professional surfers on Instagram, and I got to surf with them, it was a crazy experience. It feels like they’re there to support you just as much as you’re there to support them,” she said.

Many competitors had to overcome nervousness before being able to relax into the spirit of the event. “I’m new to competitions, and yesterday the nerves got the best of me. I fell on a lot of waves and I got really frustrated with myself,” said 21 year old Sierra Cameron. “But then I realized, I’m just going to go out and really surf in my next heat, because I love this sport. So I did that, and I got second in my heat!”

Ashley Heath competed in the 14-16 division and finished fifth place overall.

Ashley Heath made it to the finals on Sunday and placed fifth in the 14-16 division. “It was really fun, it’s been amazing, and I feel like it’s also a little piece of history, as there aren’t that many women’s competitions around, and I love being part of this one,” she said. “I look up to all the pro girls here, they’re really empowering, and I’ve made some great friends along the way.”

The event was organized by Carla Zamora, who had initially founded a Queen of the Cove event in Malibu. She was thrilled with the success of the Ventura competition and says it will be an annual event. “It was spectacular. Perfect weather conditions, it was so beautiful and sunny, the wind didn’t come up and all the things just fell into alignment,” said Zamora. “We wanted an opportunity to both offer the pros a platform and money and bring the amateurs in to see what they could have in the future.”

The event concluded with a paddle out in sweaters to honor the late great Ventura surfing pioneer Mary Monks, who famously surfed Ventura County breaks in the 1950s in a wool sweater in lieu of a wetsuit, and whose photo adorns the Ventura pier.

Most Optimistic Community

Todd Taylor

The first annual Most Optimistic Community Member Award was given to Todd Taylor by the Sunrise Optimist Club of Ventura at their fall awards event. Todd has lived most of his life in Ventura and is known and loved by all who have met him. He was thrilled speechless when the surprise award was presented.

Todd has a lot of reasons that he could be negative. He was born with Cerebral Palsy making his every movement a challenge. People are not always kind to him. Sometimes he physically hurts.

But Todd always has a smile on his face. He exudes an abounding joy and gratitude for all that he has in his life. When asked why he is so optimistic he said “I’m just a happy person.” Todd says that his deep faith and his family are two reasons that he remains optimistic no matter what difficulties come his way. If you are fortunate enough to meet Todd, you will be given a precious gift: that of being in his optimistic glow—and don’t forget to say “hi” and give him a happy smile.” Todd was nominated by club member Roanna Prell.

The Sunrise Optimist Club has been active in Ventura since 1960 and is affiliated with Optimist International. The Club also recognized Frances Flores, E.P. Foster teacher as Educator of the Year and Sgt. Eric Vazquez, Ventura Police Department as Safety Officer of the Year for their outstanding service to our community.

Sgt. Eric Vazquez

Sgt. Eric Vazquez was presented with the Ventura Sunrise Optimist Club’s Safety Officer of the Year Award for 2022. Club members Roanna Prell and Jennifer Robles visited the Ventura Police Department to honor Sgt Vazquez with the presentation of a plaque and a check that Eric donated to the Ventura Police Community Foundation.  VPD Chief Darin Schindler added his congratulations along with those from the Optimist Club members. With this award the Optimist Club annually expresses their appreciation for the work done to keep our community safe, alternating the award between Ventura Fire and Ventura Police Departments.

Frances Flores

Frances Flores, long time teacher at E. P. Foster school,  was honored as the Educator of the Year by the Ventura Sunrise Optimist Club. Upon receiving her award, Frances said “I was truly humbled to receive the award you honored me with.   You all touched my heart with all of your words.  They took me to my Migrant Education years as a child to my dream of becoming a teacher…  It was truly an honor to be recognized for doing what I love and I know that many others are worthy of this award.” The award was presented at E. P. Foster school with the school staff,  district personnel, Frances’ family and Sunrise Optimist club members  in attendance.

For Information about the nomination process for the 2023 Most Optimistic Community Member or about the Sunrise Optimist Club of Ventura contact or visit Nomination forms will be available on our website at the beginning of January.

Ukraine Ballet stars headline Ventura County Ballet’s 24th Annual Nutcracker

Zhan Mishel Panchuk and Hanna Chudinova share the stage with Ventura youths.

Zhan Mishel Panchuk and Hanna Chudinova, from Ukraine’s Kyiv Ballet, join 70 other dancers as Ventura County Ballet presents The Nutcracker. The curtain rises on Saturday, Dec. 3, with shows at 2:00 and 7:00 pm at Rancho Campana Performing Arts Center in Camarillo. The magic continues with shows Saturday, Dec. 10, at 3:00 pm and Sunday, Dec. 11, at 1:00 and 5:00 pm.

Ventura County Ballet’s The Nutcracker is the only production of this holiday classic in the Ojai/ Ventura/Oxnard/Camarillo area to feature internationally famous professional dancers, local pre-professional dancers and aspiring young dancers from its official school, Ballet Academy Ventura. Kathleen Noblin, founder/executive director of Ventura County Ballet, explains, “For 24 years we’ve brought our audiences the very best in ballet with top-notch dancers from around the world. “

Noblin adds, “We’re thrilled to return to the Rancho Campana Performing Arts Center. It’s an ideal venue for dance, and there is not a bad seat in this state-of-the-art theater.”

Three 17-year-old Ventura High School seniors Olivia Roman, Emma Steiner and Ella Ullrich share the featured roles of Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop and the Snow Queen. The part of Clara, on whom the story is centered, is shared by Hailey Hall, 15, Foothill Technology High School; Abigail Steiner, 15, Ventura High School; and Sylvie Watts, 13, Cabrillo Middle School.

Tickets, from $20 to $40, are available online at A complimentary Sugar Plum Cookie Party for children follows each matinee. Special rates are available for community groups of 10 or more. For group ticket information and purchases, please email or call (805)765-1734.

Ventura County Ballet is also bringing excerpts from The Nutcracker to children and families at VCMC’s Pediatric Oncology Clinic and children served by the Ventura and Camarillo Boys and Girls Clubs.

Through scholarships and outreach, we bring dance to underserved children and families throughout our area.

Reinventing funeral service in Ventura one Memory at a Time

With arms wide open, Michael Boyko invites all of greater Ventura County to stop by and visit the Boyko & Reardon Telegraph Road Mortuary & Cremation at 15 Teloma Drive to say hello and maybe have that important talk about your lifetime.

Boyko finds working with grieving families a calling and being of support to them comes naturally.

In December of 2019, Boyko of the Joseph P. Reardon Funeral Home & Cremation Service on Main Street in Ventura acquired the mortuary property at 15 Teloma Drive. Also in Ventura, this site has been comforting the public since the 1960’s. And, so began the Boyko & Reardon Telegraph Road Mortuary & Cremation nestled at the corner of Telegraph Road and Teloma Drive. The addition of the location furthers their enhanced ability to continue to serve our community at two distinctly different sites: the original funeral home at 757 E. Main Street and 15 Teloma Drive. Residents of our community want convenience, affordability, and a high degree of professionalism and they proudly provide service and fine facilities on each side of the City.

Continuing at this historic site at the former “Candy Cane Lane”, this landmark of a building in Ventura houses a spacious in-house chapel that can accommodate over 250 guests as well as spacious family meeting rooms, parlors, and a celebration reception room. They have upgraded with modern and sleek amenities like contemporary audiovisual equipment, sound systems, and comfortable furnishings to provide peace and a home-like surrounding. The warm decor gives a feeling of comfort that falls just short of opulence. You’ll be greeted by offices and halls painting in comforting beiges, tans, and maroon accents coupled with the smell of a freshly cut bouquet.

Michael already known for the funeral home on Main Street said the decision simply made sense, “Ventura is basically all the same people yet having the facility at 15 Teloma Drive just lets me give people what they want, affordable excellence and either of our fine facilities.”

Boyko finds working with grieving families a calling and being of support to them comes naturally. You can find him locally giving talks, volunteering, and supporting churches, temples, and even hosting community events. Boyko proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the Ventura Music Festival and has hosted concert events in the Funeral Home’s Chapel. The owner shares, “As gatherings resume, I am excited at the possibility of doing more of these types of events bringing in friends for live performances.”

“We find the meaning in life in service and helping others. Navigating the path of loss isn’t something to be taken lightly. No matter the scenario my staff takes time to support our families served in their hour of need and thereafter. Sometimes it’s not what you say, its being there for someone and just lending a should to lean on and an ear to listen to.”

Michael is overcoming the stereotype of the typical undertaker. At 45, Boyko is president of both funeral homes and considers it an honor to be the fourth generation to carry on the tradition of funeral directing, operating one of the state’s oldest funeral homes which recently turned 111.

Constantly, Michael remains vanguard with alternative funeral/cremation/memorial options. He’s known for programs like green burials, whole-body burials of caskets at sea, free grief-counseling seminars, and a reputation for throwing some of the best parties in the City. Boyko does as much as he can to breathe life into the death business. Boyko who is an eager host is quick to answer questions and stress the profound responsibility he has as a funeral director. “People want options and I’ve got an array of numerous distinct options for traditional and non-traditional funerals, themed memorial services, final toasts, paddle out to sea scatterings, beach party tributes, or keeping one’s services private. Within these options, you well know we have caskets, urns, burial vaults, livery, memorial products etc. but what we really sell here is ‘trust’.”

Rather than wait for people to walk through the door, Michael and his staff reach out to our community to offer seminars and talk in regards to the funeral home’s offerings and pre-planning arrangements.

Each day Michael opens his doors and urges all of greater Ventura County to stop by for a visit and have that all important conversation.

4th Annual Witches Paddle

Photos by Patricia Schallert

On October 28, a large group of Ventura witches paddled out on the 4th Annual Witches Paddle in the Ventura Harbor! Anyone with a witch hat, a pair of striped socks, a cape and a paddle board or kayak joined in on the fun event. It also included a few warlocks.

Most witches were on paddle boards, but kayaks were also represented and a large pumpkin.

California’s 24th Congressional District’s candidate Salud Carbajal

Salud immigrated from Mexico to Arizona with his family at 5 years old.

by Ross Williams

Salud Carbajal is currently running for reelection to Congress for the Central Coast, California’s 24th district. With a busy schedule and the election right around the corner Mr Carbajal has a lot on his plate and while pressed for time, Salud was able to answer questions with the poise of a polished politician but with a rhythm and cadence similar to that of a fighter finding his rhythm on a speed bag.

Salud immigrated from Mexico to Arizona with his family at 5 years old and is the youngest of 7. His father worked as a miner in Arizona and moved the family to Ventura County after the Mine closed down. From there he found work in the fields of Oxnard, and many summers Salud would work alongside his father. Here Salud experienced the hard work and sacrifice of his parents firsthand.

Salud attended UCSB where he received his Bachelor’s Degree and joined the Marine Corps Reserves. He is married to wife Gina and has two children, a daughter and a son.

Currently finishing his third term in Congress, Salud states that he has always had a deep appreciation of public service. From serving in the Marine Corp Reserves to protecting our democracy and our freedoms, he believes in stepping up and improving the lives of the people around him. Whether it’s healthcare for children, improving our roads and bridges, improving our healthcare system or child care and housing opportunities, he’s proud of this track record and will continue his work on this path.

How do you make your accomplishments come to fruition? How do you work with organizations and groups to make those things happen?

“Firstly, while still in local government, we passed one of the most significant health initiatives to insure children as the central coast had one of the highest rates of uninsured children. I find opportunities to work across the aisle. When you consider that right now the most pressing issue is rising costs to families; whether it be gas, child care, groceries and housing. Addressing these issues as well as drought and water security issues and fire. We can find ways to work together. “

“I proudly stand behind the work I’ve done in upholding our fundamental rights. For women to have access to abortion and reproductive healthcare, making sure ‘They’ are making the decisions over their own bodies. And the rights of the LGBTQ community, making sure they are afforded the same rights as every other resident and citizen of our country. And of course voter rights.”

For your constituents, what do you think is their current version of the American Dream?

“I think it’s the ability to put food on the table, to provide a roof over your head, to be able to pay rent or a mortgage. To provide accessible and quality child care, pay reasonable prices for gas, have good and affordable quality health care, good jobs, economic opportunities and be able to pursue a higher education. That is the American Dream. That everybody can thrive and live up to their potential and be productive citizens.

Addressing the challenges that we face like climate change, drought and fires and water security is vital. I think those are important, but the first is dealing with everyday essentials; hierarchy of needs, food, housing, health care.”

Going into the election, how are you feeling?

“I feel good. I feel I’ve worked hard. I’ve been a good listener. I’ve been accessible. I have a track record of delivering for the Central Coast and I’ve been able to promote the values and priorities of my constituents and that is reflected upon in the accomplishments that I’ve been able to achieve and the investments that I’ve been able to bring. I feel hopeful that the residents of the central coast will again vote for me to continue representing them in Washington, and continue delivering on the issues that are important for the Central Coast.”

Twelve candidates running for fours seats in the Ventura City Council election

by Richard Lieberman

Candidates will compete for four seats on the city council in districts 1,4,5, and 6 for the November 8th election cycle.

Alyona Brody, Liz Campos, Marco Cuevas, and Helen Eloyan, are the candidates in District 1. Incumbent mayor Sophia Rubaclava has declined to run. Candidate Jim Rundle and incumbent Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios will compete in District 4.

Marie Lakin and Bill McReynolds will face off in District 5. Current councilmember Jim Friedman is not running.

In the District 6 race, incumbent Lorrie Brown is challenged by Jim Duran, Danny Carrillo, and Steph Karba.

The Breeze has given a forum for the candidates to answer questions based on reader feedback. We were able to interview 10 of the 12.

Marco Cuevas

Age: 24 Occupation: Assistant Vice President

Education: Bachelor’s degrees in business and economics.

What ideas do you have to address the problem of housing affordability and homeless issues facing Ventura today?

The same issues I ran on 4 years ago are the same issues today. Seems like they are the same issues today, they seem like the same issues I have seen in my entire life, Homelessness, infrastructure, and the economy. My background is in economics and business. It is a matter of incentive. We have to make sure we have affordable units. We have to work with those people who are building housing in the city. Section 8 and other such programs. We need workforce housing. Teachers as an example, if we could supply teachers with affordable housing in properties the city or school district owns it would be just one example of a step toward affordable housing. With over 70% of the five hundred homeless residents in Ventura unsheltered, we should increase the capacity to shelter these individuals. There is no one blanket solution Looking at the ARCH shelter there are two more floors that can be built out. Using existing buildings before we try and build new buildings would be a start.

What do you intend to do about attracting high paying jobs to the city?

We need infrastructure to attract businesses to Ventura. For example, we need better internet services we need to make our city attractive to have businesses come. We also need to have the highest quality infrastructure. This means having well paved roads, safe walkable sidewalks, and brighter lighting. Many companies are increasing their use of technology, so we need to make sure that we have broadband internet that can support this.

Liz Campos

Age 68Occupation: Retired Teacher

Education: Master’s Degree in English, bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in plant biology.

What ideas do you have to address the problem of housing affordability and homeless issues facing Ventura today? Immediately we need an inclusionary housing ordinance that is truly inclusionary not just use the ambiguous word affordable but require units for all income levels meaning low income, extremely low income, and extremely low income that means not to segregate put them all together and that will help solve part of the problem of homelessness. Put strong restrictions on rent increases even going lower than the state but still making sure property owners make enough to do what they need to do. Change the requirements that allow an owner to come in and buy a big property and say oh it needs major renovations and kick everyone out and also somehow work with people who make a business out of buying a house renting it to someone for 9-12 years and the minute the mortgage is paid off they kick them out and sell, then they buy another house cheap buy it low sell it high. There are lots of people living in boats and cars in Ventura who came through that situation hard working people who cannot find a house now because it is so expensive. There is also a need for immediate help. I know that the school district is working extremely hard to support families that are homeless there is a lot of children who are homeless in Ventura. Our rental costs are increasing and that is why I think we should put a cap on rentals. We need to encourage not discourage the building of ADU’s. We have a broken system, and it needs to be fixed.

What do you intend to do about attracting high paying jobs to the city?

I think that over the last thirty years in government and in the media, there has been so much talk and competition about things like bring Amazon here I do not think that is the way Ventura will grow. Ventura needs to maintain a powerful focus on tourism and prepare for that, however we need to limit short-term vacation rentals, but we have a huge swath of our population unemployed a lot of the unsheltered people have great college educations, but they are not employed. So rather than attracting more businesses where the employees may have to live in Santa Paula and Oxnard and spend their money there, we need to start programs that train the population we have into high end jobs.

Helen Aloyan

Age: 27 Occupation: Environmental/landuse planner

Education: Bachelor’s degree in environmental science and resource management, master’s degree in public policy and administration.

What ideas do you have to address the problem of housing affordability and homeless issues facing Ventura today?

There are a lot of creative entities county wide that can help cut the cost. Also having a one stop shop program so it would be working with Westside community development corporation. Come to us we take care of the management of the whole entire project. Housing and homelessness issues require a collaborative approach to be effective and the following options are a good start:

  • Facilitate lower-density housing solutions like accessory dwelling units, that is, that are reduced in size but offer communal living areas.
  • Offer a “one-stop-shop “development program for property owners who are interested in developing ADUs in exchange for long term affordability.
  • A multi-disciplinary approach to homelessness that incorporates supportive services at each touch point with unsheltered individuals.
  • A Tailored approach to meet each unhoused individual’s needs, whether it be mental health services or addiction counseling.
  • Transportation options to return individuals home after they are discharged from the county jail or hospital.

What do you intend to do about attracting high paying jobs to the city

I intend to create an incubator zone within District 1 to foster the development of a highly skilled workforce and supply local job opportunities for residents. I believe we can leverage the creative and entrepreneurial nature of our community to create more job opportunities that offer higher pay. For example, the development of a vocational school specializing in healthcare, construction trades, culinary arts, business management, etc. would inherently diversify and create a highly skilled workforce that can directly contribute to our local economy. This setting would be attractive for the development of new local businesses and would give residents a chance to pursue their desired employment opportunities.

Jim Rundle

Age:55 Occupation: Emergency medical technician. Education: Bachelor’s degree in history.

What ideas do you have to address the problems of housing affordability and homeless issues facing Ventura today?

The homeless issue is of great concern and we as the City Council, and me specifically, need to look to having a closer relationship with the organizations who are already addressing this issue such as Ventura Social Services Task Force and Homes for All. I would like to have a close relationship with these organizations and look for ways to continue the work they are already doing as well ask work together to see how we can go forward to address the homeless problem even further and find solutions to their problems, not just band-aids.

What do you intend to do about attracting high paying jobs to the city?

Ventura has a lot of higher paying jobs already. We have many jobs in the government center as well as through our hospitals and health care systems. I do not know that attracting more high-paying jobs is the problem. I would like to focus more on retaining our small businesses and addressing the needs of our local businesses that are already a part of our community. There are many fees that these businesses pay that are pure government overreach and need to be addressed such as the fee charged just to hang a sign up at a place of business. We should be working with these businesses to encourage their growth and opportunity, not making it harder for them to even exist.

The city council first has to look at expanding roads and to be honest get rid of bike lanes. I am not in favor of taking away traffic lanes for bike lanes I am never going to favor that. You do not see thousands of bikers on our roads. To be honest they are not safe riding next to 4-6 10,000-pound vehicles.

Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios

Age:48 Occupation Councilwoman District Director for state lawmaker. Education: Bachelor’s degree in women’s studies with a minor in political science, master’s degree in public administration and enrolled in educational leadership doctoral program.

What ideas do you have to address the problems of housing affordability and homeless issues facing Ventura today?

One of the options we do have is we can purchase land and sell the land for dollars where affordable housing developers can come in and build affordable housing which is something the city has not done. At the end of the day, we have to provide all income levels Its about equity making sure everyone who works here has a place to live. As a whole we can start to look at some of those projects where having a workable relationship with developers is so important. Homeless challenges will not be solved overnight. Strengthening partnerships with public housing agencies, private partners and non-profits can help produce a collaborative solution. Also allowing for denser development in compatible areas for affordable and mixed-income housing developments.

What do you intend to do about attracting high paying jobs to the city?

We need to be responsive to businesses when they want to come to Ventura, the city has to be welcoming. We need to say how can we work together what do we bring to the table see how they will fit in our city. One way of attracting businesses to the city is to be responsive to businesses when they want to come to Ventura. Recently, the council voted to further streamline our building permit review process by cutting down on outside contractors by using three firms rather than a multitude of contractors. This allows for cohesion, efficiency, and improved customer service. The city must continue supporting start-up businesses as well as major corporations by providing resources that help start, retain, or grow businesses in Ventura. Working with the chamber, visitor’s bureau, and other community groups to collaborate on attracting businesses to Ventura is also fundamental.

Marie Lakin District 5

Age: 62 Occupation: Non-Profit president. Education: Bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication with an emphasis in public relations.

What ideas do you have to address the problems of housing affordability and homeless issues facing Ventura today?

Much of the housing we are currently building in Ventura is market rate and expensive. We are in need of affordable and workforce housing for the families who work in this community. Ventura should look at an inclusionary housing policy which mandates a portion of every new rental project include affordable units or an in-lieu fee paid to build it elsewhere. The city should prioritize partnering with the county on permanent supportive housing efforts such as building out the floors above the ARCH shelter. Project Room key, which currently houses 198 people in local motels, is set to expire soon. A replacement or extension of this program must happen.

What do you intend to do about attracting high paying jobs to the city?

People and companies can now choose to locate wherever they want. Those with choices want Ventura’s lifestyle. We need to invest in what people already love about this city — the beach, open space, downtown, neighborhood centers and parks. We are not doing enough of that.

New businesses want certainty and timeliness when opening new facilities. Our community development department suffers from staff shortages and tech problems. We need to do better.

Bill McReynolds

Age:51 Occupation: Residential Builder. Education Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

What ideas do you have to address the problems of housing affordability and homeless issues facing Ventura today?

To ensure the creation of affordable housing, Ventura needs to update its inclusionary (affordable) housing ordinance to include rental units. That update will lead to the creation of low-income housing where the demand exists the most. The council needs to advocate to our state legislators for the creation of a dedicated affordable housing funding source, which we have not had since 2011. The opening of the ARCH emergency shelter in Ventura was a step in addressing homelessness. We need to continue working with our public and private partners to expand the social services offered at the ARCH, while continuing to expand the patrol task force, the frontline police officers that are addressing vagrancy.

What do you intend to do to attract more high-paying jobs to the city?

As we enter a post-COVID world, finding a sense of community in a potential location has become more important to businesses as they look to relocate or start-up. This is one of Ventura’s strengths. Ventura needs to market this strength to the business community. That marketing effort must include the story of Ventura’s most successful start-up Trade Desk. Trade Desk started in Ventura for this reason and has committed to remain in Ventura because of the community here. We need to assist Trade Desk in starting construction on its headquarters in Ventura, as this will add to our community and create an energy that will attract other businesses with high-paying jobs.

Lorrie Brown

Age: 51 Occupation Government service Education: Master’s degree in public policy and administration.

What ideas do you have to address the problems of housing affordability and homeless issues facing Ventura today?

I plan to continue being an unapologetic advocate for affordable housing on the dais, in committee and through policy.

I have already done many things in these three positions as chair of General Plan Advisory Committee, delegate to the Southern California Association of Governments and as former chair of the Housing Opportunities, Proactive Engagement, and Solutions committee. It has been my intent to make sure the opportunity for affordable housing alternatives were seriously considered and discussed while furthering the idea that housing is needed for our residents, our workers, our seniors, and our children. I will continue this fight.

What do you intend to do about attracting high paying jobs to the city?

Ventura is attractive because of all it has to offer. Moving into the future, it would be beneficial to partner with the county for workforce investment initiatives, promote local hiring, support skilled apprenticeships, advocate for healthcare requirements to keep our workers healthy and continue to support our vibrant small business community. Many industries in this county are faltering because skilled employees turn down lucrative job offers after discovering they are unable to find a place they can afford. Continuing the fight for housing affordability for starter families, graduates coming out of college and seniors on a fixed income is integral in sustaining a strong workforce.

Danny Carrillo

Age: 61 Occupation: Regional Director for local union, personnel commissioner for college district. Education: Associate degree in liberal studies, bachelor’s degree in business administration.

What ideas do you have to address the problems of housing affordability and homeless issues facing Ventura today?

We need to make sure the builders are in fact providing new housing that fits in to the affordability range where local workers and residents have an opportunity to live where they work. In lieu fees should not always be accepted as a way out for developers to only build high-end homes here. There are many programs, both in this State and throughout the country, where we do not have to reinvent the wheel to help our homelessness problem. This problem did not happen overnight, and a remedy will not be produced overnight either. We have to look at the three components that exists in addressing this problem. Number one is the law; number two is the mental health of those who choose to remain in the streets and number three is making sure we have enough workers and professionals who deal in case management today and have been.

What do you intend to do about attracting high paying jobs to the city?

There are opportunities to continue teaching a better green environment to not only our students who will be learning these programs but to our communities as well. Continuing to explore uses of solar, wind, the ocean and other technological fields will help attract not only green jobs but higher paying jobs. Working with our local school districts and community and university colleges will help to fill up that pipeline for generations to come.

Jim Duran

Age: 61 Occupation: Pastor, executive director of a nonprofit. Education: Associates degree in biblical studies, bachelor’s degree in ministry, master’s degree in theology

What ideas do you have to address the problems of housing affordability and homeless issues facing Ventura today?

Homelessness comes in all shapes and sizes, and we cannot implement a one size fits all to solve this problem. We have some amazing programs, and I plan to continue to support those programs that are making a difference. We need to deal with the top two reasons for homelessness, mental illness, and drug addiction.

With respect to affordable housing, I will support our inclusionary housing plan. I will also work with my colleagues in developing a plan for workforce housing. I recommend that our state money set aside for homelessness be used for affordable housing. If more affordable housing is not built, our homelessness challenge will only increase.

What do you intend to do about attracting high paying jobs to the city?

In order to attract more higher-paying jobs, we need to attract the companies paying these wages. I am a lifelong resident of Ventura, and I have had the opportunity to manage, own and operate several businesses in our city. I am committed to supporting a strong local economy to ensure we have the money to pay for the things we need.

I will work hard at decreasing obstacles in our current process that keep businesses from opening and prospering. I believe we need to treat every business as a customer and do what we can to help them succeed. Because when businesses prosper, so does our city.

Build a home fire escape plan

The Ventura Fire Department urges residents to build a home fire escape plan and start conversations about fire prevention with loved ones.

“Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape!” was the theme for the 100th anniversary of National Fire Prevention Week. This theme serves to help residents understand the simple, but important actions they can take to keep themselves safe from home fires.

“You may have as little as two minutes to safely escape a home fire. Your ability to get out fast depends on early warning from smoke alarms and advance planning,” said Fire Marshal Brett Reed. “During Fire Prevention Week, please check that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly, practice your home escape plan, and make sure your loved ones know how to quickly respond if an alarm sounds.”

In celebration of Fire Prevention Week the public is invited to download a home fire escape plan activity at, complete the activity with their household, and submit it for a chance to win an emergency go-kit and a visit with Ventura firefighters. Submit your completed home fire escape plan via email at

The Ventura Fire Department shares the following home fire escape plan tips:

Make sure your plan meets the needs of all your family members, including those with sensory or physical disabilities. Visit to download the Ready Ventura County Emergency Preparedness Guide.

Smoke alarms should be installed inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home.

Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows open easily.

Establish an outside meeting place a safe distance from your home.

Practice your home fire drill at least twice a year with everyone in the household, including guests. Practice at least once during the day and once at night.

To learn more about the fire prevention and Ventura Fire’s educational resources, visit For more general information about the National Fire Prevention Week, visit

Field truck purchase advances Ventura Land Trust’s Land conservation efforts

“This truck replaces a field truck that was 20 years old.”

Ventura Land Trust purchased a 2019 Toyota Tacoma to replace a field truck lost last year in a traffic collision, bringing the number in the organization’s fleet of field trucks to two. The truck was purchased with support from community donations, corporate support, and a lead gift from Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas).

The four-wheel drive field truck is used daily to transport Ventura Land Trust staff, tools, water tanks, and other gear necessary for conservation work and preserve management. The truck is also used to haul thousands of pounds of trash from the Ventura River.

“This truck replaces a field truck that was 20 years old,” says Ventura Land Trust Executive Director Melissa Baffa. “It feels good to have a vehicle that can safely carry our staff and partners, and that is capable of meeting the demands of land stewardship.”

“We know that people will see this truck driving around town with the water tank we use to care for young plants, or piled high with trash bags from a clean-up. It’s really a moving symbol of the work we do every day to protect and preserve local open spaces. We’re pleased to have the support of the community and partners like SoCalGas, who understood the urgent need to add to our field truck fleet and came through with the support we needed to do so.”

The field truck is used in land management in Harmon Canyon Preserve, Big Rock Preserve, and Willoughby Preserve, which are open daily to public for free, as well as other properties that Ventura Land Trust owns and manages. It will be instrumental in preparing Ventura Land Trust’s newest conserved property, Mariano Rancho Preserve, to open to the public in the next two to three years.

The exterior of the truck is outfitted with an acknowledgement to SoCalGas, as well as a QR code to information about Ventura Land Trust membership. Learn more about Ventura Land Trust at

10th Annual Ventura County Farm Day

Hear the stories about our local farms.

On Saturday, November 5, more than 15 Ventura County farms, ranches and agricultural organizations will invite the public to experience a day of free agricultural activities and tours during the 10th Annual Ventura County Farm Day. This year’s theme is “Meet All The Hands That Feed You.” 

Visitors can map out their day by selecting locations from the Farm Day Trail Map at Each site offers tours and produce and other giveaways. Tour hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Some locations require reservations. 

“Agriculture is Ventura County’s largest industry. Farm Day is the opportunity to see how fruits and vegetables are grown, harvested and then shipped to stores for sale,” says Mary Maranville, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG), which puts on Ventura County Farm Day each year. “You’ll come away with an appreciation of the hard work that goes into growing each piece of produce.” 

Participating in Farm Day include Reiter Affiliated Companies (berries), Driscoll’s (strawberries), Duda Farm Fresh Foods (row crops), Alpacas At Windy Hills (Alpaca fleece), Good Farms (strawberries), Oxnard Historic Farm Park (antique farm equipment, vegetable crops, talks about the agricultural heritage of the Oxnard Plains), Prancer’s Farm (strawberries, tomatoes, avocados), Agromin (organic compost, mulch), The Abundant Table (nonprofit farm), Sow A Heart Farm (regenerative agriculture), McGrath Family Farm (organic farming), SEEAG’s Farm Lab (hands-on farm-related kids activities) and Petty Ranch (also the Farm Day hub). The Ventura County Farm Day Trail Map list of participating locations is updated daily. 

 Ventura County Farm Day sponsors include The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, Driscoll’s, Gene Haas Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Bobalu Berry Farms, Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner, The Port of Hueneme and Reiter Affiliated Companies. 

SEEAG’s mission is to help children understand the farm origins of their food through classroom agricultural and nutrition education and free farm field trips. Through this and other SEEAG programs, over 60,000 elementary school students in Central and Southern California have increased their understanding of the food journey since SEEAG’s founding in 2008. 

For more information about Ventura County Farm Day, visit or call 805-901-0213.