In Brief

In Brief


Santa Barbara oil spill confirmed on local beaches
Lab tests have confirmed that many of the tar balls found on beaches from Ventura County to Long Beach originated from the oil spill at Santa Barbara’s Refugio State Beach last month.

The May 19 oil spill released more than 100,000 gallons of oil into the Gaviota Coast, resulting in a nine-mile long slick. Initial estimates had put the spill at closer to 24,000 gallons. The spill was the result of a ruptured pipeline owned by Texas based Plains All American. An investigation found extreme corrosion to be the cause of the rupture.

The tar balls appeared on beaches from Emma Wood to Marina Park in Ventura a week and a half after the initial oil spill, but hadn’t been confirmed as originating from the incident until this week.

The lab report shows that some but not all of the tar balls match the chemical signature of the oil being transported by Plains All American’s pipeline.

Analysis of the tar balls was conducted by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and UC Santa Barbara, Plains officials said.

While tar balls form naturally off of the Southern California coast due to underwater oil seepage, the large number of balls that appeared on the coast had officials questioning whether or not the oil rupture had been the source.

Ventura’s “V” will remain intact
Ventura’s famous “V” welcoming visitors into the city from its perch on an east end hillside will remain intact, even if development begins around it, according to the authors of a proposal to construct executive homes in the area.

Residents, concerned over the fate of the V, have taken to the Internet to express opposition to the plans drafted by Regent Properties that would put 55 homes on a 30 to 40 acre parcel of land on the Mariano Rancho property, while 135 more acres will be preserved in perpetuity as a nature reserve. While the entirety of Mariano Rancho is over 1,600 acres, the proposal only includes the 215 acres that reside within city limits.

Daniel Gryczman, president of Regent Properties, says that the claims are unfounded and in fact, during public presentations, says that the opposite is true.

“From the very first time we did any community outreach for this project, we included the V on the site plan,” said Gryczman. “We have never suggested getting rid of the V. We’ve always said the opposite, that we’d be restoring it as part of the project.”

Local environmental activist Jim Hines says that he isn’t so sure about the plans for the V, however.

“They’re going to have to use the exact piece of land to make whatever driveways for the homes to go there,” said Hines. “There’s talk of moving it or it would have to be rearranged, it’s openly been discussed by Regent and maybe even the city of Ventura.”

Gryczman says that the plans, which describe restoring the V, are a matter of public record and are available at the city’s Planning Department, and expects the proposal to go before the City Council sometime this fall.

Ventura to host residential allocation workshop
The Ventura City Council will host two community workshops to discuss the details of the 2015 Residential Allocation Program, which could determine the types of housing, the pace of residential growth, development and the allocation of “limited city resources,” such as water and land for the foreseeable future.

Part of the program will rank development projects on criteria that will be developed based on feedback from the workshops, which will allow residents to provide input on factors that should be considered in drafting the program and will discuss the city’s schedule and process. A second community workshop is scheduled for September.

In April, the Council voted down a temporary ban on new development in the city and allocated $170,000 to develop the program, directing funds to hiring outside help in order to speed up the process and reach completion by December. An additional $138,000 is estimated to be added for in-house costs.

The first community workshop will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, June 30, at the Ventura City Hall Community Meeting Room, 501 Poli St., Ventura. For more information, visit

In Brief

In Brief


Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin’s bills move forward
Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, has received strong bipartisan support for her bills introduced to the Assembly that would help veterans rejoin the workforce and access key services, improve community-college retention rates, address cybersecurity threats and assist disabled persons in creating savings funds.

Assembly Bill 931, also known as the “Hire a Hero Tax Credit,” increases incentives for employers who hire veterans, while AB 171 creates assistance for veterans to apply for federal benefits.

“This not only benefits California veterans, it benefits the California economy,” said Irwin. “Over the past two years county veterans services officers’ work has generated $546 million in new or increased federal benefits for our veterans, a return of $98 for every $1 invested.”

Both AB 931 and AB 171 passed unanimously off the Assembly floor and into committee.

AB 770 provides financial support for updating and expanding remedial college courses to help first-year students succeed in community college, while AB 449, also known as the “Achieving a Better Life Experience” Act, allows people with disabilities to open special savings accounts without risking loss of eligibility for Social Security and other government programs.

“The costs of caring and providing for someone with disabilities can be enormous,” said Irwin. “The ABLE Act will give families and individuals a tool to save money to support their needs.”

AB 670 requires state agencies to conduct a network security assessment once every two years in order to mitigate the risk of a cyber attack. This bill, introduced in light of the recent hacks that exposed federal employee information, was in response to President Obama’s declaration of a national emergency in cybersecurity.

“I am looking forward to working with state departments, the National Guard and private entities to further develop this legislation and improve California’s cybersecurity infrastructure,” said Irwin at a joint hearing of two Assembly committees designed to address cybersecurity concerns.

AB 770, 449 and 670 all passed off the Assembly floor unanimously.

The U.S. Navy Seabees in Port Hueneme have launched a new center dedicated to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, otherwise known as the STEM curriculum, aimed at area students.

The center will feature interactive exhibits and displays focused on tying STEM “to the historical resourcefulness and ingenuity of the Navy’s Construction Force, better known as the Seabees, as well as the Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) and Underwater Construction Teams.”

“It is vital to offer a space of learning for today’s youth in a way that stimulates imagination, fosters communication and teamwork, and allows a free flow of ideas,” said Dr. Lara Godbille, director of the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum. “This is not just a Seabee exhibit, or an Air Force one; it’s an exhibit that embodies the ideals of learning and community that everyone can enjoy.”

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Powell and his wife, Jessica, offered the money they raised for a memorial fund in honor of their middle child, Kennedy, who died Jan. 2, 2014, as the result of a rare bowel obstruction.

For more information on the center, visit

“Sock It to Me” campaign seeks donations for children in need
The National Association Against Child Cruelty’s project, The Children’s Wall of Tears, is seeking donations in the form of socks for its annual fundraising drive, appropriately titled “Sock It to Me.”

The campaign seeks to give socks to foster children, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, veterans and less fortunate individuals, an important necessity not often thought of when collecting donations.

Partnering with the Oxnard Elks Lodge #143’s annual Feed the Needy campaign, which served over 400 guests and distributed clothing simultaneously, will once again be hosted and donations will be distributed at that time.

Donations can be made in person at Ford of Ventura, 3440 E. Main St., Ventura, or at the Oxnard Elks Lodge #143 on the corner of Eighth and A Streets, Oxnard. For more information, call 320-7625.

In Brief

In Brief


Ventura City Council approves new tiered water rates
Ventura City Council has approved new water shortage rates that reward conservation, punish high water use and fund capital water projects.

For the average household, the increase will mean $22 extra every two months.

Community members expressed concern over the ability to conserve more, as many locals said that they have stopped watering yards and taken fewer/shorter showers. The tiered system, which adds a new fourth tier, requires users in Tier 1 to use between one and six HCF (hundred cubic feet); one HCF is around 748 gallons.

Currently, Tier 1 users fall between one and 14 HCF.

The new water rates passed by a vote of 5-2, with Councilmembers Christy Weir and Jim Monahan opposed.

Of contention is the legality of a tiered system, which was the subject of a lawsuit in San Juan Capistrano where a Southern California appeals court found that the city’s tiered water rates violated the terms of Proposition 218 which limits service fees imposed by local agencies.

The new water rates will go into effect Sept. 1.

Ventura County Fusion to face-off against hunger
The Ventura County Fusion soccer club will face-off against the Southern California Seahorses in a match to benefit FOOD Share, Ventura County’s food bank, with 20 percent of ticket sales.

Co-sponsor Ventura County Credit Union will hand out a rally towel to the first 400 kids in line.

Fusion is a soccer club that participates in the Western Conference Southwest Division of the Premier Development League and has won three division titles, reaching the playoffs in six consecutive seasons. Clubs worldwide have shown interest in Fusion for potential prospects.

FOOD Share provides food for 74,500 people per month in Ventura County with more than 180 partner agencies.

llllThe match will take place at 7 p.m., Thursday, June 11 at the Ventura College Stadium, 4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura; $5 for children, $10 for adults. For more information, visit

In Brief

In Brief


Ventura City Council to vote on water rates
On Monday, June 8, Ventura’s City Council will discuss and vote on proposed water rate increases designed to coerce residents to conserve water, the last such meeting before a vote on whether or not to approve the new rates that same night.

The new rates include tiered pricing that would charge higher users more for their water usage and those households that cannot lower their water usage by 20 percent while lowering current rates for the lowest users.

The city’s water rates, however, could face legal obstacles.

California’s Proposition 218, a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 1996, limits service fees imposed by local agencies, and in April of this year, a Southern California appeals court found that the city of San Juan Capistrano’s tiered water rates violated those terms.

“The tiers are designed to force people to conserve water through rationing,” said Charles Spraggins with Save Our Water Ventura. “The people who will be the targets of that are largely single-family homeowners who have yards and [other] properties.”

In order to satisfy the stipulations set forth in Prop. 218, the rates would need to reflect the cost of providing higher volumes of water to those customers facing the higher rates, which Ventura Water General Manager Shana Epstein says they do.

“We feel that we have been following the laws as best as we know them and it has always been our intention to follow the law,” said Epstein. “There are probably more Prop 218 cases to come and the environment is constantly changing. We feel that we’ve done our homework.”

If the new rates are not approved by the council, Epstein says that capital projects – such as incentives for removing turf — would be discontinued.

Ventura has enacted water conservation measures dictated by stages and is currently in Stage 3. On average, a Ventura family will pay $86.33 bimonthly for their water bills; with the new rates, the bill could increase to an average of $108.53, roughly a $22.20 difference, if usage is not decreased by 20 percent.

The Ventura Water website says that the new rebate incentive program, water waste enforcement, and customer outreach and surveys are all responsible for a need to increase revenue, and that conservation due to the drought has resulted in lower water sales.

The City Council approved, however, in January, the Ventura Friendly Landscape Incentive program, which would reward homeowners by giving a $2-per-square-foot incentive to replace turf with drought-friendly alternatives.

The Ventura City Council will convene at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 8, at City Hall. For more information, visit; for more information on the incentive program, go to

Ventura County’s work furlough program ends
A program aimed at giving low-level offenders the opportunity to maintain employment in order to pay restitution and to support their families is being shuttered because it is no longer cost-effective.

The 40-year-old program located on the Camarillo airport grounds had capacity for up to 235 adult inmates but sentencing practices, most notably prison realignment, have reduced the population to 80.

The county will replace the program with a “community-based strategy” that employs electronic monitoring and a daily reporting center.

“The work furlough program has always been about keeping families from financial ruin by allowing the adult inmate to continue working,” said Chief Probation Officer and Director Mark Varela of the Ventura County Probation Agency, in a press release. “We believe this new strategy will continue to allow appropriate offenders to serve their sentences in the community while remaining employed and closely monitored.”

The work furlough program is expected to close by the end of September, and the department expects no layoffs to result from the closure, with agents transitioning to other units.






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  1. Multiple Ones: Contemporary Perspectives in Printmedia

    August 22 @ 8:00 am - October 23 @ 8:00 pm
  2. Sunset Networking Event co-hosted by Ferguson Case Orr Paterson and Ventura Chamber

    September 19 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
  3. Loni Love Headlines Levity Live

    September 20 @ 7:30 pm - September 22 @ 9:00 pm
  4. 2019 Quilt Rooms and Gardens Tour

    September 21 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
  5. 3rd Annual Southeast Ventura County YMCA Reach For The Stars Gala

    September 21 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  6. Premiere Party for “Beyond Function: Fiber, Wood and Clay”

    September 21 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
  7. Fundraiser for Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute (CIMWI)

    September 21 @ 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
  8. Oxnard National Drive Electric Vehicle (EV) Showcase

    September 22 @ 9:30 am - 3:00 pm
  9. Chamber On The Mountain presents Tomer Gewirtzman, Pianist

    September 22 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  10. Morning Stretch to Classic Rock

    September 23 @ 8:00 am - 8:45 am

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