Pictured: Industrial hemp crops in Camarillo, which is considering a new ordinance to ban the crop within city limits. Photo by Michael Sullivan. 

by Kimberly Rivers


Camarillo hosts hearing on hemp ordinance

On Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 7:30 p.m., the Camarillo City Council will consider a Hemp Cultivation Ordinance that will prohibit the growing of industrial hemp within the city limits of Camarillo. The ordinance was considered and ultimately recommended by the Camarillo Planning Commission on Dec. 17.

Prior to Jan. 8, written comments from the public can be sent to council@cityofcamarillo.org. The Jan. 8 hearing will include public comment and take place in council chambers at City Hall at 601 Carmen Drive. The proposed ordinance can be viewed online at www.cityofcamarillo.org/news_detail_T17_R187.php   

The city is also seeking public input on how it can better communicate with the public through an online survey, which will be used to formulate community engagement guidelines. The survey is online at www.opentownhall.com/portals/353/Issue_7929.

State holding unclaimed assets worth millions

Sen. Henry Stern’s office has released a statement informing the public of millions of dollars in property being held by the California Controller’s Office, including about $751 million claimable by residents in Stern’s district, including parts of Ventura County. Property includes cash in bank accounts, uncashed cashier’s checks and stocks.

The assets are protected under the state’s Unclaimed Property Law that applies to assets left to heirs or when a person moves away and forgets about a bank account without providing a forwarding address. 

40,461 properties valued at over $4 million are claimable by Moorpark residents. Properties valued at $17.5 million are held for Simi Valley residents and $15.3 million in assets are designated for residents of Thousand Oaks. Property is held for residents in other parts of the county as well, including Oak View and Oxnard.

Anyone can visit www.claimit.ca.gov to determine if any property is being held in their name, call the Controller’s Office at 800-992-4647 or contact Sen. Stern’s office at 818-876-3352.

Surfer survives shark bite at Santa Rosa Island

On Saturday, Dec. 21, Adam Coons, 37, was bitten in the leg by a shark in the waters off Santa Rosa Island while surfing. His friend, Jeremy Howard, applied a tourniquet, which stopped the bleeding; first responders say the action saved Coons’ life. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter transported Coons to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara where he is expected to make a full recovery. Coons and Howard later estimated the shark to be about 15 feet, and believed it to be a great white. 

Action filed against Oxnard for withholding survey info

On Dec. 2, 2019, the nonprofit organization Moving Oxnard Forward Inc. (MOF) filed an action in Ventura County Superior Court against the city of Oxnard related to claims the city has violated the state Public Records Act (PRA) by failing to provide certain information such as the results of a recent public survey conducted by the city, and information about the city’s requests for “proposals, bids and quotes” for conducting that survey.

According to the court documents the city cited “trade secrets” as a reason to withhold certain information.

“The city provided the quotes and qualifications of the survey consultant in response to Ms. Percell’s [on behalf of MOF] records request,” said Steven Fischer, Oxnard City Attorney, responding via email to the VCReporter. “Any suggestion whatsoever that the city has not been transparent or is hiding something is absolutely false.” Fischer said all of the survey results were presented to the public and city council at a public meeting and are online on the city website. “Did Mr. Starr fail to visit the City’s website for the results?”(www.oxnard.org/oxnard-resident-satisfaction-and-priorities-survey/)

Moving Oxnard Forward was founded in 2015 by Aaron Starr, former candidate for mayor of Oxnard. According to current state records, Starr is listed as the organization’s chief executive officer; his wife, Alicia Percell, is the secretary and Steven Klinger, a resident of Camarillo, is the chief financial officer.

In the event that the PRA is violated the offending agency must produce the requested documents, and the court can order attorney fees to be paid to the claimant.