PICTURED: Community cannabis meeting at Ventura city Hall. Photo submitted

July 29 deadline for written comments on cannabis dispensary applications

The fate of eight applications to operate three cannabis dispensaries in the city of Ventura will be decided by City Manager Alex McIntyre by September at the latest, according to city officials.

Backers of the proposals packed city hall to hear presentations from the finalists on July 18, and a video of the community meeting is posted on the city’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdAZ9em62hk). 

City officials also extended the deadline for submitting written comments on the proposals until the end of the business day on Friday, July 29.

Another round of applications is planned for two additional dispensary licenses which will include areas in the city’s so-called coastal zone including downtown, which were not considered in the first round of applications. The next selection round will only commence after the California Coastal Commission signs off on the plan.

In 2020 Ventura voters approved Measure I to allow taxation of cannabis dispensaries and the city council then adopted a framework for regulations.

No gun shows at fairgrounds

A bill forbidding gun shows at the Ventura County Fairgrounds has been signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The bill was sponsored by Assemblymember Steve Bennett and State Senator Monique Limón, both Democrats.

Issues surrounding gun shows at the state-owned facility have raged for years with strong opinions on both sides of the issue.

“Unfortunately, the United States experiences far more gun violence per person than virtually every other modern industrialized country in the world,” Bennett said in a news release. “And what accounts for this? The United States has one of the most pervasive gun cultures in the world supported by a powerful gun lobby. Gun shows at the Fairgrounds enhance this.”

Monarchs named a threatened species

Migratory monarch butterflies have been added to the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

 Native populations of the orange and black butterflies known for their migration through Ventura County have shrunk between 22% and 72% over the last decade, according to IUCN scientists. Anna Walker led the assessment for the IUCN.

“It is difficult to watch monarch butterflies and their extraordinary migration teeter on the edge of collapse, but there are signs of hope,” Walker said in a news release. “So many people and organizations have come together to try and protect this butterfly and its habitats. From planting native milkweed and reducing pesticide use to supporting the protection of overwintering sites and contributing to community science, we all have a role to play in making sure this iconic insect makes a full recovery.”

Seventh Tree Farms workers’ rights upheld

The Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) has resolved unfair labor practice charges against Oxnard’s Seventh Tree Farms.

The charges alleged that the company failed to pay for work that was completed and did not provide drinking water and bathrooms for the workers. The company was also accused of threatening to call the sheriff after workers complained.

In a July 12 settlement agreement, the company agreed to uphold the rights of farm workers who speak out about working conditions. 

Company supervisors will also receive new training from ALRB agents, according to a news release.

Library to get AC

Ventura’s E.P. Foster library will soon have air condoning for the first time.

The 60-year-old downtown library currently has only heat and ventilation systems and will be used as a cooling center for residents after air conditioning is installed.

Ventura Mayor Sofia Rubalcava said she was happy to hear about the improvements paid for by federal funding.  “These funds will allow us to provide a much-needed AC system that will enhance the health and safety of this vital community facility.”

The project was announced in a news release from Congressmember Salud Carbajal, who took credit for securing $750,000 for the project. Carbajal also announced that $1,000,000 will be spent to install new stairs to the popular Mondo’s Cove beach in the Rincon area.

Turnbow joins CSUCI

Officials at California State University Channel Islands have chosen a new vice president for student affairs.

Ford Turnbow earned her doctorate in Sociology from Wayne State University in Michigan, specializing in gender and work in higher education, according to a university news release.

“I am immensely excited about serving as the next Vice President for Student Affairs and looking forward to joining the CSUCI team,” Turnbow said via press release. “There is immense opportunity for growth on critical initiatives and I am humbled to be able to contribute to the efforts across the campus.”

CSUCI President Richard Yao said Turnbow has a reputation as a natural collaborator. “Through her educational background in student affairs and her participation and leadership opportunities in professional associations in the field, her demonstrated successes in walking the talk of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education, her track record of building and nurturing effective cross-divisional and community partnerships, and more, Dr. Ford Turnbow brings much to the role of Vice President for Student Affairs,” Yao said.

— Alex Wilson