Pictured: Bank of America Student Leaders, Brooke Nind (left), of Simi Valley a senior at Westlake High School, and Brianna Sanchez, also a senior who attends Nordhoff High School in Ojai. Photos submitted. 

by Kimberly Rivers
kimberly@vcreporter.com

Candidate nomination period for Oxnard City Council

The city of Oxnard has announced that the nomination period for candidates in the special election for Oxnard City Councilmember for District 2 is now open through Aug. 5, 2021.

The special election is needed since former city councilmember Carmen Ramirez was elected to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, creating a one-year vacancy in her term. The city council appointed Gabe Teran to serve in the seat until the special election takes place on November 2, 2021. 

To be eligible to run for this office a candidate must live within the District 2 boundaries, be at least 18 years old, be registered to vote and be a citizen of the United States. 

The first step to becoming a candidate is to make an appointment at the Oxnard City Clerk’s office to “pull papers as a candidate.” To schedule an appointment call 805-385-7803. 

The deadline to submit all completed nomination documents is 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. Details online at:  www.oxnard.org/city-department/city-clerk/2021-special-election

Assistant Fire Chiefs White and McNeil retire 

On July 15, the Ventura County Fire Department announced the retirements of two assistant chiefs, Kelly White and John McNeil. 

Each have served the department for over 30 years with White being the first woman to achieve the rank of assistant chief. Her last day on the job will be in mid-August. 

John Skykerman and Scott Quirarte have been promoted to fill the ranks.

Santa Barbara County declares drought emergency

On July 13, Santa Barbara County Supervisors declared a drought emergency in their jurisdiction which, like Ventura County, has a drought level designation from the state of “extreme.”

According to information on a federally managed website Drought.gov, the characteristics associated with extreme drought include extremely low water levels in reservoirs; an inadequate water supply for agriculture, wildlife and urban needs; burn bans are generally implemented; fruit trees bud early and producers begin irrigating in the winter. 

Lake Casitas is at 38.7% of capacity and is one water source supplying water to customers from the Ventura County line to the north, through the Ojai Valley, to approximately Mills Road in Ventura. 

www.drought.gov/states/california

Student leaders named by Bank of America

Two Ventura County high school seniors chosen by Bank of America have begun a paid summer internship with Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County. 

Brooke Nind, a resident of Simi Valley who attends Westlake High School, and Brianna Sanchez, who attends Nordhoff High School in Ojai, will each earn $17 an hour for their summer work in the program. The program is designed to provide career skill-building opportunities so participants are prepared for a shifting job market. 

Woman gets jail time for identity theft

On July 13 the office of Erik Nasarenko, Ventura County District Attorney, announced that Oxnard resident Rita Runyon (DOB 11/06/54) pleaded no contest and was sentenced to six months in jail for a total of five charges related to identity theft and theft from an elder victim. Runyon must also pay $62,000 in restitution and after serving her sentence will be on supervision for 30 months. 

Runyon’s crimes took place between 2015 and 2018 when she lived in the victim’s home. She convinced them to move to a senior living facility, and obtained control of their financial accounts, using credit cards without authorization. 

Runyon is also being charged in Santa Clara County for stealing over $500,000 from the estate of a friend of the Ventura County victim. 

Ventura County property tax roll totals $152 billion 

For the 2021-22 tax year, Ventura County Assessor Dan Goodwin has certified the annual assessment of property taxes across the county, including changes resulting from the pandemic. 

In a written statement Goodwin said his office has been following the “economic impact of the pandemic closely,” and was particularly “proactive in reviewing . . . property declines on commercial and industrial properties.” 

According to Goodwin, residential property in the county did not suffer negative market value fluctuations during 2020, although he cited a lower inflation factor on 209,000 properties, which saw a slight increase of just 1% rather than the standard maximum increase of 2% allowed by Prop. 13. He noted that some property that may have recently sold or had new construction may see a larger increase in tax assessment value. 

 This increase marks the 10th year of annual increases for a total of 3.6% increase over last year. This includes $4.5 million that was deducted from the tax roll for tax discount programs for disabled veterans, hospitals, churches, colleges, museums and non-profit organizations, including those that provide low-income housing. 

At this time, the Assessor’s Office is preparing to send assessed value notices to about 250,000 taxpayers in Ventura County by late July 2021.  There are several tax savings programs, which were also applied to disabled veterans, hospitals, churches, colleges, museums and non-profit organizations such as those that provide low-income housing. This year, over $4.5 billion was exempted from the roll, an increase of 3.86% over last year.

Question and be directed to Assessor staff at 805-654-2181 or online at assessor.countyofventura.org

Assessment Appeal Applications can be filed with the Clerk of the Assessment Appeals Board until Sept. 15 by calling 805-654-2251 or by visiting ventura.org/cob/aab.