Pictured: Chumash cave painting at Burro Flats in Simi Valley. Photo by D. Gandy in public records. 

by Kimberly Rivers

Supervisors to consider historical protection for Burro Flats

On July 28 at 1:30 p.m., the Ventura County Board of Supervisors will consider whether the current boundaries of the Burro Flats area in Simi Valley, which is a protected historical place, should be extended to include the entire Santa Susana Field Lab property and be added to the National Registry of Historical Places. 

Last month the Ventura County Cultural Heritage Board recommended that the boundaries should be expanded in order to protect over 100 indigenious sites and one object. The recommendation was made over the objection of local residents and some scientists who have been fighting for the area to be properly cleaned up following a partial nuclear meltdown in 1958 and contamination related to rocket fuel testing over the course of the lab being operational. Opponents say the efforts to list the property as a historical place is really an attempt to skirt cleanup requirements. 

Local indigenous tribes say the historical protection proposal was done at their request. 

The supervisors are not the final decision makers; they will simply determine what recommendation the county will submit to the state for consideration in the process. 

Comments can be submitted to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors via email to clerkoftheboard@ventura.org

More information and documents are online at: vcrma.org/cultural-heritage-board-archive 

County going after legacy oil drilling permits

On July 30 at 8:30 a.m., the Ventura County Planning Commission will consider proposed revisions to the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance and Coastal Zoning Ordinance that would constitute a major change in how the county processes requests for new oil and gas drilling on fields governed by decades old permits. 

The revisions are a result of previous direction from the Board of Supervisors to staff seeking a legislative way to address so-called legacy permits that do not have any limit on the number of wells that can be drilled and have no expiration dates, which allows oil companies to avoid environmental review laws that came into effect after the oil drilling permits were granted. 

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) mandates that new drilling not previously part of a CEQA review be subject to Environmental Impact Reviews. The county has come under fire for signing off on new drilling as a ministerial, or proforma rubber stamp, process rather than subjecting these drilling requests to a full discretionary review to which more modern oil drilling permits are subject. 

The meeting agenda and documents are online at: www.vcrma.org/planning-commission 

Written comments can be submitted in advance of the meeting via email to: Meighan.Batinica@ventura.org 

Camarillo Fiesta president pleads guilty to theft

Nathaniel Newell Hunnicutt of Camarillo has pleaded guilty to a felony count of grand theft related to him stealing nearly $33,500 from the Camarillo Fiesta Association between February and December 2017, and a second theft of over $12,600 from the proceeds of the Camarillo Fiesta that took place in July 2017. Both thefts occurred while he served as the organization’s president. 

Hunnicut returned $30,000 of the stolen money before law enforcement was aware of the thefts. If he pays the remaining restitution amount prior to his sentencing hearing set for 9 a.m. on Sept. 3, 2020, in courtroom 23 at Ventura County Superior Court, he will likely serve 180 days in jail and receive formal probation. Based on his charges, Hunnicutt’s maximum possible sentence is three years in jail. 

Bank of America recognizes summer interns

According to information provided by the Bank of America, more than 10 percent of youth in parts of Ventura County are not working and not in school. Due to the COVID pandemic, it is likely the 2020 youth disconnection rate will spike

The bank manages a paid summer internship program where participants get hands-on experience in leadership, civic engagement and develop workforce skills. 

Ariana Torres, a resident of Oxnard who attends Hueneme High School and Nathaniel Yu, a student at Thousand Oaks High School, are participants from Ventura County in the internship program. 

To adapt to the pandemic, most aspects of the internship are being done virtually and the stipend is $5,000. 

Torres and Yu will participate in sessions focusing on the role of nonprofit organizations in advancing community health, the importance of public-private partnerships in social change, and aspects of the financial and banking sector.