The Ventura County Fire Department rocks! The June 19th, 25-acre brushfire (most of which was on the West End-side of the hill), was a billowing, gruesomely gorgeous sight and scared the hell out of most of us West Enders. 

The firefighters seemed to stand vertically on the hill (like uniformed mountain goats . . . or angels), training hard jets of water on the fire line, while the able gold-and-blue sheriff’s helicopters zoomed back and forth from the river, dumping even more water on the flames.    

These super-heroes put the fire out in an amazingly short time — which I understand is what they are trained to do and may be all in a day’s work, but it still all seemed pretty darned impressive from our vantage point.

Meanwhile, Ventura’s other finest, the police officers, directed traffic and kept key streets blocked. I saw no panic at all — nothing but consummate professionalism and hard work.  

You all “got the tools, got the talent!” Thank you from all of us in the West End, and we’re so glad the one injured firefighter was not badly hurt.   

!Muchisimas Gracias!

Ann Reich,

Letter to the Governor

Dear Governor,

The situation relating to the state’s inability to address prison inmates healthcare has now been turned into an out-of-control situation. Because of your failure to address the situation, court Receiver Kelso has been appointed to build seven prison hospitals to resolve the situation. This I am told is an extraordinary judicial remedy. With our state money, and overriding state and local rules, the Receiver has set about doing the job that the state failed to do.

I live in Camarillo, Calif., about 1,000 yards from the proposed site of one of the prison hospitals planned by the Receiver. While nobody likes a high-security facility close to their home, we fail to see why this city should be chosen for a 1,500 bed hospital which will be four times the size of our largest county hospital. The targeted site lacks drinking water sources. The City of Oxnard wastewater treatment plant that would service this site is old and could not handle increase waste flows.

Our current medical community is already stretched for nursing and other medical staff. Currently, because of the already significant shortage of medical staff, some of our hospitals are offering sign-on bonuses to entice professionals to join their ranks. This new facility would therefore totally exacerbate and drastically undermine an already stretched system.

The current Ventura Youth Correctional Facility has an excellent reputation within California’s correctional system. It is one of the successful facilities that houses young women. Under the Receiver’s plan, this facility is doomed for demolition and all the current staff will lose their jobs.

Did you know that the proposed facility is very close to two schools? The impact on local communities, schools, agriculture and other infrastructural considerations was obviously ignored. When we approached our U.S. Representative, County Supervisor, State Representative and other leaders we are told that the state, and with respect Governor, your office has no plan for improvement of the prison healthcare system. If there is a plan and I’m told it is not too late to generate one, this could be handled in a much more practical and friendly manner following the conventional guidelines for such a major facility. So far, all the stakeholders affected by this facility have been starved of information. Most of us found out when a news article appeared in a local newspaper on May 24.

Governor, please take an active role in this project to ensure an outcome that is right for all Californians.

Concerned Camarillo resident