Pictured: Areas with water provided by Ventura County are under a Level 2 Water Shortage. Source: Ventura County. 

by Kimberly Rivers


No signatures submitted in support of Parks recall

Ventura County Elections Division officials confirmed that no signatures were turned in by the Sept. 14 deadline from anyone associated with the effort to recall Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks. Proponents for the recall had requested an extension, but Mark Lunn, Ventura County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters, responded that he did not have discretion to grant more time for signature gathering. 

County water service areas in Level 2 Water Supply Shortage

On Sept. 21, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors unanimously declared a Level 2 Water Supply Shortage for the county water services areas that include Moorpark, Bell Canyon, Somis and Lake Sherwood. 

The declaration was made at the request of Joe Pope, director of water and sanitation for the Ventura County Public Works Agency, and only applies to those unincorporated county areas in which the county is the water purveyor. 

The declaration requests that water users in those water service areas “voluntarily reduce their water use by 15%” from 2020 levels. 

To confirm county water service area locations and to report water being wasted, visit: www.vcpublicworks.org/wsd/servicearea.

Four Thousand Oaks teens arrested for alleged hate crime

On Sept. 19, four teen females were arrested after a pursuit on foot. The suspects allegedly stole a pair of shoes and made racially derogatory comments to a group of four other teen females from Camarillo. The suspects are from Thousand Oaks and one is a resident of Pacoima. Their names were not released because they are minors. 

Ages of the victims range from 7 to 12 years and ages of the suspects range from 13 to 15. 

Law enforcement officers also report that the suspects allegedly broke into a vacant business, painted racial slurs on the walls and discharged fire extinguishers, causing damage to the interior of the building. 

The suspects were arrested for charges of theft, vandalism, civil rights violations and resisting arrest. They were cited and released to their parents. 

Thousand Oaks man convicted of wife’s murder

On Sept. 23 a jury in Ventura County Superior Court found Tim Gautier, 56, guilty of first-degree murder for shooting and killing his wife, Gina Gautier, 57, after an argument on Jan. 11, 2021 at their home in Thousand Oaks. 

An in-home surveillance system provided an audio recording of the argument and shooting, and of Gautier verbally abusing his wife in the week prior to her murder. Gautier had legally purchased the gun he used to shoot his wife.

Gautier faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m., Nov. 9, 2021, in Courtroom 26 in Ventura County Superior Court. 

Ventura will start search for new Economic Development Manager

Estelle Bussa, who has served as the city of Ventura’s economic development manager since 2018, will be leaving her post effective Oct. 1, 2021. She is leaving for a job opportunity in Austin, Texas with a technology company that will allow her to work from home. 

While the city conducts a search for her replacement, Meredith Hart is slated to serve as interim economic development manager. Hart is the current manager of the city’s Safe and Clean program. 

The position is listed with an annual base salary of between $105,043 and $140,760, and the job description includes developing, implementing and maintaining the city’s economic development goals and strategy. The position is responsible for identifying “economic job producing opportunities” as well as serving as a liaison between the city and private sector. 

Port receives $5.2 million grant

The Port of Hueneme/Oxnard Harbor District has been awarded a $5.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration program. The funds will be used to increase dredging in Ventura County, designated as an “opportunity zone,” in order to “maximize facility utilization” at the port. 

The funded project will add five feet of depth to the South Terminal, allowing fresh produce container vessels to carry a heavier load into port. The deck and docking areas, fender and mooring systems will be repaired and updated, allowing more ships to use the short side power available to reduce the need for ships to run their engines. 

Port officials reported the project is already fully permitted through the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. 

Sand from the dredging will be placed near beaches to assist with sand replenishment. 

Doug Trapp joins board of Ventura Land Trust

Doug Trapp.

The Ventura Land Trust has announced that Doug Trapp, a resident of Ventura and project manager with Staples Construction has joined the Board of the local nonprofit organization. Prior to joining the Board, Trapp served on the organization’s Stewardship Committee and was involved in the opening of the Harmon Canyon Preserve to the public last year. 

Trapp joins a 10-member board made up of seven men and three women. 

CLU students present to county staff on climate actions and community outreach

As part of their capstone projects, several students of California Lutheran University gave a presentation on Sept. 9 to staff of the Ventura County Planning Department related to actions the county can take to address climate change and recommendations to improve community outreach for the department. 

Capstone projects provide students pursuing a master’s degree with real-world experience in which to apply their skills. 

In this case, students conducted a community survey regarding beach use and preferences, and received feedback about options for adapting or responding to rising sea levels as a result of climate change. Findings indicate both relocation and redesign of structures and infrastructure at the beach were supported, with over 74% of respondents supporting relocation of development that is vulnerable to rising sea levels. 

Government agencies and nonprofit organizations can participate in the CLU capstone project by contacting program director Sabith Khan, sabkhan@callutheran.edu.