Dick Lynch - Ojai's Ragged Edge ~ The Ojai and Ventura VIEW
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Ojai Valley Meetings
Ojai FLOW Meeting to
Review Casitas Plan
March 7th, 2013, 6pm
Ojai Valley Inn

Ojai FLOW is hosting a meeting for all Ojai Golden State Rate Payers to review the Casitas
buyout plan in advance of Casitas public forum on March 13th. This is your opportunity to hear what the Ojai FLOW steering committee thinks of the plan and to ask questions.
Attendance is limited to Ojai Rate payers, the press, and invited guests only.

The Casitas buyout plan can be found on the Casitas web site under Casitas Board Agendas for January 29th.
Wed. Mar. 13, 2013: PUBLIC HEARING
Matilija Auditorium, 6pm -
Casitas Municipal Water District Discuss Details: GET INFO. - QUESTIONS ANSWERED!!!
Ojai City Council Meeting (Smart Meters)
>Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 7:00 PM
Ojai Historic Preservation Commission Special Meeting (retreat)
>Sunday, June 03, 2012 at 1:00 PM
Ojai School Board Meeting (OUSD)
>Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 5:30 PM
Ojai Planning Commission Meeting
>Wednesday, June 06, 2012 at 7:30 PM
Ojai Parks & Recreation Commission Meeting
>Thursday, June 07, 2012 at 7:00 PM
Ojai City Council Meeting
>Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 7:00 PM
Casitas Water Board Meeting
>Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 3 PM
Ojai Historic Preservation Commission Meeting
>Thursday, June 14, 2012 at 5:00 PM
Ojai City Council Meeting (Housing Element)
>Tuesday, June 18, 2012 at 7:00 PM
Ojai Planning Commission Meeting
>Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 7:30 PM
Ojai Arts Commission regular Meeting
>Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 6:30 PM
Ojai Valley Sanitation District
>Monday, June 25, 2012 at 6 PM
Ojai School Board Meeting (OUSD)
>Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 5:30 PM
Ojai City Council Meeting
>Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Casitas Water Board Meeting
>Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 3 PM
Casitas Water Board Meeting
>Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 3 PM
Ojai Valley Sanitation District
>Monday, July 30, 2012 at 6 PM
Ojai School Board Meeting (OUSD)
>Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 5:30 PM
Past Meetings
City Council Meeting
>Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 7:00 PM
Ojai City Council (budget)
>Monday, May 21, 2012 at 7:00 PM
Ojai Arts Commission regular Meeting
>Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 6:30 PM
Reprinted From: Ojai and Ventura VOICE, Fri. Mar. 31, 2000,Vol. 13, Number 2, #258, Pg 7
Also Check Out Calendar LINK ~ City Council Meeting Tonight 3/22, 7:30pm; "City of Ojai Poisoning its Youth at Libbey Park..."
Cover Story ~ from Ojai and Ventura VIEW Apr 2011, Issue #35

Ojai "YES" Man

Stonewalls The VIEW!
New Ojai City Manager
Rob Clark Fails To Answer - City Stands

in Support of Illegal Search & Seizure
by Code Enforcement ?
COVER STORY ~ Apr. Issue #35:
Citizens Losing
More Rights

SUBJECT: re: Ojai Public Speaking/Code Enforcement Activities
From: editor@ojaiandventuraview.com
Date: April 14, 2011 4:05:15 PM PDT
To: clark@ci.ojai.ca.us
Cc: editor@ojaiandventuraview.com
Thurs., April 14, 2011
Rob Clark, Ojai city manager, clark@ci.ojai.ca.us
RE: Ojai Public Speaking/Code Enforcement Activities
Mr. Clark,
I understand Brian Meadows, Ojai building official & code enforcement officer, made an unannounced visit to Ojai citizen and State Farm Insurance agent Bob Daddi's home yesterday morning at approximately 9:30am.
As you may recall, during the Ojai City Council (public speaking period) just two days ago Tuesday (April 12), Mr. Daddi spoke on the subject; suggesting Ojai City Code Enforcement put all "Red Tag" violations, complaints, etc., in writing, rather than as is currently a practice of unaccountable "verbal notices". Mr. Daddi stated in council that this procedure leaves no clear direction for property owners to respond to city code complaints, and provides no documented record of code enforcement activities by the code enforcement dept. Mr. Daddi also suggested there that all unannounced/unwarranted building inspections be stopped in the city of Ojai altogether. I am sure you are aware of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which prohibits unwarranted Search and Seizure by government officials.
Bob Daddi said he was contacted by Mr. Meadows several months ago and directed that all city business by Mr. Meadows go through Mr. Daddi's attorney. Bob could no longer speak to Mr. Meadows as he was attorney-represented. According to Bob, Mr. Meadows never contacted the attorney in any way; by phone, email, office visit, etc. Mr. Daddi also said Mr. Meadows has his phone number; both residence and office at State Farm Insurance, but that he was not contacted yesterday by Mr. Meadows, prior to the "visit."
I have several questions.
1. What was the official reason Mr. Meadows paid an unannounced visit to Bob's house yesterday morning?
2. Did any of Mr. Meadows superiors (including yourself) order this action or know about it beforehand, or did Mr. Meadows act independently? Who? (if any)
3. Was Mr. Meadows "visit" a retaliatory action against Mr. Daddi for his Tuesday Public Speaking comment critical of code enforcement?
4. Did Mr. Meadows try to contact Mr. Daddi's attorney before yesterday's "visit"?
5. As a new arrival to Ojai, and new city manager (and also as Mr. Meadows supervisor), what do you think "officially" about Mr. Meadows alleged behavior yesterday?
Thanks very much,
I appreciate your time,
Joel Anderson

EDITOR'S NOTE: As of the time of publication of this issue of The Ojai and Ventura VIEW, Mr. Clark has not responded to our email. Stay tuned.

Code Enforcement?
Why Worry?
It's Only
Your Money They Want

National, local and international governments are in financial disarray from their comfortable relations with bad bankers; governments then turn on the people with creative new taxes to foot the bill, they so incompetently assumed.
Their failed economic policies, created in complicity with big corporate self-interest, have not brought about promised reductions in government bureaucracies and excessive top salaries. Greedy officials are enabled by weak mainstream 'bought' media that prostitutes itself for the greedy side of Wall Street and big city type property developer organizations. They seek expanded revenue streams not by streamlining, but by instituting increased taxes for the little guy. This comes at a high price, often stripping away serious U.S. Constitutional rights.
The City of Ventura is no exception and their experiment in greed has in fact become nationally known as the sick-poster-child for chilling incompetent management. As their selfish vision of a Disneyland-esque dreamland in Downtown Ventura dried up and now blows away, they recently lock-step-installed hideous usery parking meters (called Blue Monsters by many) in an effort to merrily filch more money out of small business owners and shoppers. With the economy already bad these additional taxes have only brought a ghost town atmosphere to an already struggling business district.

Installed last November, Ventura's city-owned newspaper racks have been prophetically called coffin-like. Perhaps this one, in front of Winchester's Grill, can already be labeled as "urban blight" due to the slot vacancies, and ragtag disheveled copies of the VCReporter tossed within the busted-out-plexiglass chamber. Photo taken Apr. 16.

In their efforts to squash dissenting opinion to their unpopular rule, they have also restricted distribution of true alternative publications (the last vestige of independent thought) by unconstitutionally passing a newspaper "Rack" ordinance last year. This, they said, was to presumably keep Ventura-Cowtown "tidy." The edict limits distribution of "unpermitted" publications which have not paid a "permit" tax. This tax is illegal, with long-standing precedence in the long-repealed British Stamp Act of 1765. Ventura's law trashes the First Amendment by attempting to tax the free exercise of it. This limits press distribution, restricting free speech except to those who tow the city policy (often accepting city advertising dollars in return); they pay the unconstitutional tax. The Ventura ordinance is not equitably enforced and in fact favors cities "happy news" media friends. The law is overlooked for some. Free Speech is chilled and the failed policies continue.
Ventura is also pursuing random revenue driven code enforcement policies, under the guise of 'Public Safety' (Trojan Horse). This seems to be the new growth industry; the fines are heavily weighted against those who can least afford. In fact Ventura is the blueprint for what is currently being billed (bulldozed) as the future of Ojai. Ventura's same wonder man, code consultant and pitchman Stephen Stuart has been retained by Ojai staff to in fact bolster the town's backsliding building permit revenues by giving the city building dept. police powers; power to issue excessive fines and seize private property through foreclusure to the govt. benefit.

Wonder man, code consultant and pitchman Stephen Stuart (L) and Brian Meadows, Ojai building official & code enforcement officer tell tall tales... attempting to ramrod unconstitutional revenue driven code enforcement policies down the city of Ojai. Photo taken Mar. 8, Ojai City Council.

Ventura's Big Brother code enforcement policies have already targeted many vulnerable trusting Seniors in their homes, who are often unaware of the now neglected constitutional protections against illegal and unwarranted Search and Seizures. The city often obtains anonymous "Tips" or simply invades the privacy of private citizens' property, trespassing point-blank to fabricate their case; much in the spirit of 1930s Germany. These policies blatantly violate the Sixth Amendment Constitutional "guarantee" to the Right to Face Your Accuser, and Fourth Amendment Right Against Government Search and Seizure.
For more info, www.OjaiandVenturaVIEW.com/

OVVtaArt/VIEWPressReleases.html (VENTURA: New Code Enforcement Policies Monday Night 5/9/11)
- Joel Anderson, Editor

4/2008: Why Ventura is The Broke Capitol of the World!
Who's Money is it Anyway?
Who's Watching The Store Over At Ventura City Hall... ?
The City of Ventura LOST $10 Million Dollars over 3 years ago (well before the recent economic crash), through their ambitious high-risk investment plan; having placed precious taxpayer dollars with Bear Stearns (BS) private assets, which went belly up in the JP Morgan fiasco. This reduced Ventura's get-rich-quick-scheme to pie-in-the-sky. Most cities invest their cash assets in highly safe Treasury instruments and other government-backed securities.
VIEW Detailed Financial Analysis
Go To Page 4 & 5:
Exclusively in The VIEW ~ Dick Lynch
Ojai and Ventura VIEW, Jan 2013, Issue #53

- by Dick Lynch
Jan #53, 2013: It looks like the Carpetbaggers and Slum Lords are at it again.
Sending E-mails, letters and mailing flyers, showing up to influence what will be and how the Housing Element will be finished, then abruptly leaving to go home..... an arrogant display of how disingenuous they are. They seek to impose their will on the Voters and Taxpayers of Ojai, of which they are not. They make the poison Kool-Aid and dispense the elixer of death for us to drink, then leave town.
What Poison do I speak of? The THEFT of our quality of life by hiring and subverting the Housing Element Laws, exempting Traffic studies under of the veil of the LOW income or Affordable housing study exclusions.
How can we afford low-income housing with Unaffordable exorbitantly priced water, held in a Monopoly by Golden State Water Co. (GSW). GSW, who has thefted Millions of dollars in profit from Ojai citizens each year. GSW, a proved deceitful State-sponsored Monopoly supported and (under) regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, (CPUC).
Remember, the CPUC gets a cut of every rate increase; when prices double so does their income. They have a vested interest in gouging you. Yes, they have a CPUC charge on your bill, look at it. How else were they able to go literally jaunt to Rome and study the water system? Now, I grant you that Golden State's water system is old but…. as old as the Roman Aqueduct system (312 B.C.)?
Why do we hire the same failed outside Housing consultants? Why is staff controlling the allowable usages when it was proposed by our FAILED and FIRED prior City Manager. None of the City of Ojai's staff involved in this process lives here, pays taxes here, votes here.... seems just a bunch of carpetbaggers come to town to fleece it. What is wrong with the Citizens? When are you going to stand up and say no, before you let the Outsiders wreck our JEWEL?
Who else am I speaking of? Outside hired guns from X Senator Tony "The Flash in the Pan" Strickland's Staff, paid off by GSWC trying to keep their 300 percent rate advantage over the rest of the water companies. They have more lie's than CCF's allowed for you to supply water to your home, without a penalty price.
Golden State said we only needed 5CCF because we weren't as warm as Simi Valley. Really? Why then, does Santa Maria get 50 percent more water at the lowest Tier??? Screwed, that's what's happening. Ojai is getting screwed.... hard. Golden State has done the screwing. After asking for another 29 percent water rate increase last July....., they now seek to lower it to make themselves look like good guys to BUY the Water Rescue Bond VOTE. They have asked to recover the rate back to Jan. 2013 but are billing last year's rate. Imagine how your rates will look if and when that rate increase takes effect.
To make matters worse, the Ventura Star just got it wrong, way wrong. Your Bond amount will be only once a year not 6 times that amount as the Star reported as a Bi-Monthly charge. Again The CORPORATE "Star" wasn’t much of a Star. They are wrong and have not corrected their mistake. The amount is a guess anyhow, until the feasibility study is done. and the replacement of the underground pipes are complete. Golden State has more than one leak per week in the City now. For years GSW has been getting rubber stamp rate increases from the CPUC, promising to use the money to fix the pipes correctly. Instead they hand over the booty we pay to their stockholders as "record profits" and the pipes only get a band aid. What we do know is that the Tax/Bond will NOT exceed the amount proposed, in spite of what the paid liars kept saying. Look at the tape on the City of Ojai video. There must be a maximum bond. That bond, they said, has pleanty of reserve and can't exceed the maximum bond amount. This is State Law.
Now what does all that mean? It means that all those Lies from the fake concerned citizens but in reality paid spindoctors (at the Jan. 29 Casitas Meeting) were just that, Lies.
Current Casitas water users won't Vote and won't have their rates changed because of Ojai and won't have to pay any costs if this bond passes. It means if you are registered to Vote in the Golden State-Ojai water area you get to Vote on the takeover and the bond. If you own property in the same area but live or have an out-of-state home and don't Vote in that Golden State Water area, you can't Vote.
I hope we aren't being sold out for a "FEW PIECES OF SILVER". If Golden State lowers rates, they will ask for the rates to be averaged in holding accounts to make us pay for the water we conserved and didn't use. Yep, that is correct. What if you spent $50 dollars per week in gas and got a new vehicle that only used half the gas? Under the Golden States Special CPUC Rule they would get to charge you the same $50 dollars even if you only used $25. That's not a reduction, when you hit the 13 CCF rate, your rates will more than double and they also want to be able to recapture a minimum rate of return of 8.9 percent. How many of you are getting even a TENTH of that obsene fleecing of our pocket books.
The deck is stacked and we are in a fixed game with a fixed return with a fixed profit. Looks like the game is fixed. If the truth were told, it is just as important to get away from the CPUC guys.... those same ones who authorized the spending of Billion's to install SMART METERS and charge the cost to YOU.
Wait until you see how much your bill goes up when Golden State wants smart water meters, and the Gas company is already using smart gas meters. You have to pay them for the new meters. Some have said it will be like a Death Ray Shooting Gallery with all the utilities using the streams of beams sending and repeating and re-repeating of each house in a grid throughout the Valley. Kind of like the Gopher repellent that drives away gophers with an electronic signal. Well that may be a welcome side benefit. As for me I am looking for an Aluminum Foil hat capable of repelling the mind melting beams.
Got to love this place..... Only in Ojai.

Hang 'em High !
- Dick Lynch
Exclusively in The VIEW ~ Dick Lynch
Ojai and Ventura VIEW, July 2012, Issue #48

- by Dick Lynch
July #48, 2012: Well Ojai City staff is at it again..... Gone Straight Loco, and I would say unbelievable, but the unbelievable has become the NORMAL in NO-JAI.
I've just heard about the poor people in a moblehome park who are without lights and it appears that The City of Ojai also wants to operate in the dark and join them! We have a Council ready to turn their and "YOUR" lights out, by law. Why would the Council try to join the "Elite" countries of the world.... those without lights, like "NORTH KOREA", a repressive lights out police state?
Can this happen in America? Force citizens to turn off a few inconspicuous lights?
What started out as a plausible idea, identifying a few too many bright lights around town, has turned into an outsider Special Interest Group of hustling wranglers smashing OJAI citizen rights. Why do those without a Vote in town and don't pay a Property tax bill in Ojai persist in imposing abusive rules to enforce their elitist influence and power grubbing will on Ojai??
I think these Few rocket scientist elitists storming into city hall chambers and influencing the (elected by many) City Council is a very deceitful process of bait and switching the message. What was originally to become a process of appraising city lighting has skipped that step completely right to an immediate enforcement process. They are pushing to allow for large quickdraw city fines, expensive permits, retroactive enforcement by a building department that is already proved to be totally without creditability. They kick your door down and tell you they're entitled to do it!
Just look what has happened again to Sea Fresh restaurant. Pathetic! It's not about the lights. It is about the City not listening to what the residents want.
No one elected the Commissioners. No one elected the Staff, and they both fail to listen to what the people of Ojai want. This is not a democratic way of government, but repressive. They invent rules that are not written as law. They do things admitted by their own staff "Practices". That means whatever, whenever, however, they deem acceptable as their Personal Choice does not have to comply with law.
Staff and commissioners have used their own personal preferences to establish how, who, and when individuals and businesses get their chops singled out and busted. The city council only gets the "after" the damage reports. Take the bag ordinance. When the longtime owner of the Starr Market asked the City if he could use up the illegal bags he had in stock before complying with the new bag ordinance he was told a resoundig 'NO.' When Alan Raines asked the same question of his department store he received a resounding 'YES.' Guess it helps when you are the elected Treasurer of the town.
Just look at the pain they have also caused to a fine family like the Garcia's. Born and raised here - now treated like nobody's by these powerhungry guttersnipe newbies. I know we want to keep out those corporations and Robber Barons, but why pick on Sea Fresh? That's one of our own, look around and see how many reasonable projects have been stalled just to ingratiate power for these few self-important and ignoble ones.
This light control thing will be lights out for citizen rights. We will be telling everyone that we have truly gone to the "DARK SIDE" and that "No one is welcome to improve their property" without gestapo approval! Retroactive Enforcement and Harassment from a Faction living outside town is what you can expect. The author of the proposed law, Deborah Pendrey, said "I will dog and be back with an armload of complaints".
Call your Council Person and find out if they endorse this kind of "Social Misconduct". Don't we have enough pressure; economics, traffic safety, living life, without manufacturing more. This group is disingenuous and lacks an understanding of information used wisely to improve our town and environment. Lacking control in their own peabrain lives, they want to go right to LAWS LAWS LAWS, ENFORCE ENFORCE ENFORCE!!!
They want people to be forced to see Green, green with envy of the power racket they are trying to create for themselves.
Speaking of Green, we had those signs to protect Granny from obnoxious traffic in the cross walk on Ojai Avenue. For once something was Too Green, these signs. The Council should take example of that fact, and also of the Bulb Outs and all the other foolish endeavors they rushed to be a part of.
Without proper demonstrations as to the relevance and viability of each project, they are simply a waste of taxpayer time and funds. We need to reign in these town of day in and day out same ole' snake-oil salespeople, constantly thrusting their wares upon the city council.
I think everyone will agree that we have bright lights that are annoying and sometimes dangerous. The City should do a study, which they never do. Do a Light Study, put out 20 lights, show how many CANDLEFOOT? CANDLEPOWER, LUMEN EQUAL WATTS change it has. So we determine what the New Standards are....Then do we find out that Feast Bistro has its lights over the cooking area, which trespass from inside the Restaurant and onto unsuspecting sidewalkers? Is Feast Bistro going to be cited??
Why won't the city do what was asked? Make this an educational process, instead of a Do This because some self-important group thinks immediately they know best. The City can look at directional lighting, correct illumination and the reasons why we need it? Why not identify ten Commercial, ten Government, and ten Residential units that comply and ten that don't comply, compare the difference.
Show us the allowable lighting at a real address and the wrong at a real address. This will allow the residents to make honest evaluations of this "turn out the lights" (the party is over) process. (NO, "What about 'the' Party"?) ordinance!
Naked light bulbs will be outlawed just like 90 percent of all Commercial lighting fixtures. The real reason this is being aggressively presented to council is to run all business out of Ojai. Think about a Commercial-Retail-Business district that is DARK. If shoppers can't see it, shop keepers can't sell it!
What will that tell the Visitors? Street lights are OFF! GO HOME. That's why people, like the one's pushing this lights out ordinance, have moved here from The Soviet Republic of Santa Monica to Ojai, to what? To save Ojai for themselves? It's about what the newly arrived want to impose on the rest of us, those who have long been here already paying dues for years. What gives them the right to stroll into the Valley and demand the rest of us change to suit their self-important imported ignorance? Why didn't they have the Guts to Stay, Fight and Save the Big City where they came from??
So you have a choice. Sit there and be silent and let The people from the DARK SIDE OF NORTH KOREA take over the town or call them out on their power lust. Lights Out is not going to be a simple inconvenience like the No Bag thing, or moving (or not) your car for the street sweeper. This will lead to the rest of the decline and demise of Ojai by pushing an impossible light permitting process.
If you get a bright idea.... like screwing in your own light bulb, THAT will be stopped. There will be outrageous permitting costs that have to be reapplied for over and over again, and your deposit will be used for increased city bureacracy without regard to the laws which won't exist. It will be the personal choice of gestapo staff to deny you a change of a light fixture, or remodel. Do you really trust those people in the Building Department, without rules, to "PRACTICE" their judgment with your money and your property?
Remember to appeal their silly arbitrary light rules and the process, it will cost you, up to and about at the $10,000 level. You will be at the mercy of the appointed-annointed and hired help, elected officials hands be tied. Who is gonna pay for Mr. Meadows overtime, walking the beat at night with his big stick? He will be the air-raid warden from the Light Patrol!
Next time you pick up the check for dining, ask the people at Sea Fresh why they had to go to the Ojai City Council and ask and have to appeal a whole new set of fees after years and years of the city foot dragging their attempts to enhance this property. Only to find frustration and then be thrown under the stagecoach by an unelected staff over the Color of their lights - yeah that's right, the Color of their lights stopped the train!
One Council member asked Doesn't it say "white?" Isn't white White? That is a basic GED question, so why is the City still threatening and not given them their Certificate of Occupancy.
If you haven't seen a good comedy lately, go to a city council meeting. The cookies and the belly laughs are Free! Watch the start of the (Aug. 14, video on the city web) meeting where the elected Council Members look desperate, asking the unelected City Manager what he can do to help this situation? He grins, like he can't help, and the look on the council face is priceless. They asked for a liferaft.... and he said he'll get back to them later. Guess he told them!
It is time to make some Major changes, take back the town, staff and Council, who work for the voters of Ojai, not themselves. They have forgotten they are public servants not Prison Guards.
Hang 'em High !

- Dick Lynch
Exclusively in The VIEW ~ Dick Lynch
Ojai and Ventura VIEW, June 2012, Issue #47

- by Dick Lynch
June #47, 2012: Had Ojai's water system merged with Casitas Municipal Water District (CMWD), instead of taking the Golden State Shaft (GSWC), Ojai Ratepayers would have been ahead $10,000 a day, no $20,000 a day! Add another $10K a day for the GSWC gimmick-to-profit new Well Construction... Adds up to $20K..... $20 Million, more than the entire $16 Million Ojai City Budget. Who is responsible?
Is it CMWD, who hasn't had enough time to look at the 1,800 plus signature petition asking them to take over the Golden States franchise? CMWD has had in the people's petition since last April, 2011. Is it the City of Ojai, who has the franchise to start with, or is it the residents who have failed to contact the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and complain about the cost, taste, color, odor, chemicals and water pressure??
How can so many people be so happy to pay such rates. Only two people have contacted State Senator Assemblyman Strickland's office and just one has contacted Assemblyman Gorell's office. So much for putting pressure on our California State Government.
We should hire the anti-Smart Meter People to petition for us. Those whippersnappers have been much more effective and I congratulate them. Now, if they can get every city in California to join them they will be able to change the law here.
It appears that the residents are to blame for the high water rates. A simple initiative to the Ojai City Council forcing a vote for a Bond for Eminent Domain for the purchase from under GSWC. Then the town can form a Not for Profit, public, separate and autonomous Water District is the straightest line to affordable water rates.
Less than 800 signatures to the City of Ojai will accomplish that, and the destiny will be our own. Success or failure.....we will only have ourselves to Thank for the outcome, not waiting for someone else to form our destiny. As a learned Man, William H. Johnsen, once said "If it's to be, it's up to me."
If Casitas does not accept the request to take the water company by their July 25th, board meeting, I will be seeing you at the Ojai Farmers Market signing Water Rescue Bond Authorization Initiatives.
Ojai's East End Farmers have been pretty quiet, now that Golden State Overdraft Water Company (GS-Oh-WC) has stated they will put in a 1,000' DEEP WELL. They will be able to suck every other well in the East End dry.
Forget the fact that East End Deep Wells have already been tried and Salt Water will probably be produced at those depths, GOLDEN STATES WATER was given $2,200,000 of our money thanks to the CPUC. This has added to our already over-streeeetched water bills, and just so they could replace Mutual Well 5..... another unnecessary expense, but at cost-plus, so how could they not take the money and run? It was said the GSW Carpetbaggers won't do that.... Really? Well, interesting.... they have a huge investment and can make a BIGGER PROFIT at our expense. Why not? No one had objected.
It is time to make someone responsible for this WATER FLEECING. Casitas has chosen to put this in the deep-Freeze! Why? I don't know why? What does your duly elected Casitas Water Representative have to say? CMWD Board Member Russ Baggerly is running for re-election! Why? Can't be to keep you updated with the progress, if any..... Then why would he run again?
He said, "The time for action is right now to defend our Water resource from this threat. We have no time to lose". Russ was not talking about the overuse of the groundwater or the abusive rates of Golden State's water he was speaking of the Quagga Mussel - scourge of Casitas Lake! He does not live in the Golden State Ojai water area and does not pay our high rates. What does he care? Really. He lives in the Meiners Oaks Water District, pays less than a Third our rate for Water, and he is OUR representative? Why? Why? Why?
Shouldn't we have a local representative who understands OUR plight..... every 2 months, when we get these
MONSTER WATER BILLS? Are you happy with absentee representation? It's not about Russ; he is a swell guy, but take a look at the time that has gone by. How much extra it costs us every day the water meter runs..... then ask yourself if we would have had more action if our representative had to endure the same pain if the waiting time would have been the same? We need someone with some SKIN-IN-THE-GAME.
City Council Drama of the Weak - Repeat
The Ojai City Council Meeting was a deja vu of an old Matlock or Columbo episode, relentless. When Councilman Blatz asked (a statement) "I'm kinda confused." (Look out, I've seen that done before ala myriad low-budget Hollywood screenwriters; the scourge of So. Cal.). His question was about the Ojai Day budget, I think.
How could THE OJAI City Council have allocated $17,000 for parks and rec. event, Ojai Day and how could the Parks and Rec. director not want Ojai Day in Her budget? Well, Heck with the public, it has been a very long time since a handfull of employees of Ojai have actually worked for the residents of Our Town. They work for themselves and their attitude? We can either like it or lump it.
Too bad, because we have some really special, very dedicated people out of our 30 some odd Ojai City employees. Our City Commissioners, about 40 percent, are very, very self serving; it's about them.... Alllll about them and they continue to get reappointed. WHY?
Disappointing the same old blood keeps getting reappointed to say the best, disastrous to say the least. Maybe we need TERM LIMITS on Commissioners. Speaking of Commissioners, the deception continues with our Council Members keeping qualified candidates OFF Parks & Rec.
Remember the last Ojai Council Elections..... how expensive a change of 3 votes can be? Just 3 Votes would have rooted out the Deadwood and changed the face of Ojai.
Now we have an Ojai Day problem..... the excuse me excuse of the people at Parks and Rec. and some of the sluggish Commissioners for not supporting those responsible for Ojai Day, needs to be rewarded with their instant removal, Not Ojai Day Coordinator Jodie James resignation in frustration.
Ojai Day has proved a great success for the city and also many of the small businesses. The Parks and Rec program has proven to be an absolute failure. What is their purpose? To include, and get, more people engaged with Parks and Rec programs.
Parks and WRECKED
What has happened with Parks and Rec is just the opposite - like rats fleeing a burning sinking ship. It's time to face the facts.... when you can't change people, "It's time to change people."
With Iron Mike Lenehan gone from the Parks and Rec Commission, the City of Ojai will be hard-pressed to sustain our current needs levels. With a new addition of Sunday Rylander and a few returning, qualified commissioners a change of Chair is necessary.
Mayor Clapp needs to make that Parks and Rec change. Having a separate department is both costly and redundant to our Parks efforts. A merge with the Public Works Dept. was offered to this city, as a remedy and as a cost savings initiative. With a MASSIVE $16,000 City Budget Surplus, the time to make this change is now, not later. A change should not be conditioned as to the success or failure of Ojai Day. A change in structure is necessary and long overdue for such a small over-strained City Budget. Fix it, instead of letting it keep fixing us.

Hang 'em High !
- Dick Lynch
Exclusively in The VIEW ~ Dick Lynch
Ojai and Ventura VIEW, May 2012, Issue #46

- by Dick Lynch
May #46, 2012: Wow, election day showed that, if we take away the ability of Politicians to protect themselves in safe voting districts, we CAN get some change. (way to go Munger, it's ok if you don't get it).
The Ojai "Elitists" have migrated to the Historical Society - a small group of people, some we have known for years. These experts, our friends along with some relatively new comers, seek to tell us their expertise how they DID IT.
Using their own elevated self-importance as a deception, they seek to add a new level of City Restrictions and Regulations that limit and prevent you from you using your home at your sole, or soul discretion.
You will have to Pay a Ton, I mean a Ton of money. What with the regulations and permits, paper work, Inspections and when THEY, the Dreaded THEY, find out someone did an alteration without a permit in 1952, 5 years after permits were required, you will have to go back and permit and remedy that alteration to today's standard.
Impossible? No? Can't happen? No, it can when THEY have an unlimited amount of RED TAPE to tie you up in Knots for years and have the city do what they have always wanted to do - put a notice of NON-Compliance on your home to FORCE you to spend tons to keep an economy-stalled Building Department opened and over employed. THEY should be outsourced to Ventura County, after all, the changes they are making are to conform to Ventura's new-big-city usery standards. Why not eliminate the Middle man and go direct to the source of the bureaucratic infestation?
Why, in the middle of a historic DEPRESSION, is the City of Ojai acting in the most irresponsible way possible? Do we really need this new Non-Compliance Title Recording policy, tantamount to extortion, included in a NEW Building Code which is above and beyond State law? Here are a few tax generators that these government brown shirts and Red Tape worms are pushing for; a new Landscape Ordinance, a new Light or Dark Sky Ordinance. Do you know why it has taken 6 years? Because it is impossible, overbearing, poorly written and was intended only to be punitive for the authors to settle some "SCORES" with others who rattle their cage. Not something we need.
This City should stop taking outside laws proposed by non-Taxpaying non-residents "POSERS," we can't afford it. We charge OUTRAGEOUS staff time rates to get a Permit. So let's start charging outsiders who seek for Force the residents to Change... Charge them for Staff Time, instead of the Ojai Taxpayer paying their bill. LET THEM PAY FOR IT. It is interesting that those who seek changes will not be forced by the same laws. That's equality is NOT equal.
The Historic Survey, handling the leftover Housing Element, and now we want to – even I can't put it into words.... the city wants to Dick Tate which dog breeds would be Castrated at the shelter. Next will they pass an ordinance designating which citizens will be Castrated???
Is The City making progress for the citizens? Or is this just an excuse by The City to employ a bunch of people who give us an Illusion that we are moving in a better direction, when it comes to City government. Can't be the same scheming prior Mayor that said the Realtors are Felons and TAX evaders, like Al Capone. Are these the best leaders we really have to offer? Are these the best informed electorate and public??
If you think so, think about this - we need a Strong Town-Strong Mayor ! We spend, with retirement Legacy payout costs, Health Pensions and on and on, about $800,000 every 4 years. I can think of a few people who could use this money. Why not simply pay a voter-accountable MAYOR? Pay them the $800,000 for 4 years, no more musical "I wanna be Mayor this time" or "It's my turn in the sandbox." We deserve better.
When was the last time we were without elitist power stakeholders running this town who actually lived in this Town. They are fast to promote Tax Tax Tax Fees because they are not paying Lighting assessment fees, high water bills, unusual and obscure permit fees and other jury-rigged expenses, nuanced to this town. Never! Who doesn't live here? City Manager, City Attorney, Public Works and Community Development (Building DEPARTMENT) and our Recreation Department. Even our Commissions have non-residents stepping in, making decisions that will not affect them. They will not have to pay the added taxes they impose on us, nor follow all the added Rules and Regulations. They pass the rules and DRIVE HOME where they are not effective by their decisions. Yes, Ojai is right in Vogue, with its own outsourcing nightmare. We should have a new town spiel There is only one Ojai - The small town with the out-of-town government minders.
This town is being run by out-of-towners along with the "This is how we did it for the newly arrived." bunch. If I wanted the Independent and Sovereign Soviet Republic of Santa Monica I would move there.
We need a Paid, Elected, 4-year Term Mayor. For $800,000, at City TAXPAYER expense. Every 4 years we can hire one and that would require they be a RESIDENT, that is a novel solution!
Yes, we need a Mayor who would be a cut above the ship of fools we have had in the recent past - ship of fools and 3 ring circus/dog and pony show!
Qualified potential Mayors? We have a current Council Member, a Candidate from the Chamber, a Planning Commissioner as well as one from the Board of Realtors. All have shown great leadership and volunteer qualities and all could serve a 4 year term. Each could steer the ship of Ojai back on course to great things. They are all secure enough to be able to serve without being hurt financially and doing a disappearing act.
I would rather that all the City employees work for an elected Mayor than a Hired City manager. We have had too many in the past few years, Belnap, Singer, Baker, Kersnar, Baker and Clark all in less than 15 years. Each of them act independently because there are too many city council cooks in the kitchen to keep them doing the people's business.
We have had and have now, some very decent people running the City. It just doesn’t fit. Ojai once had 8,000 people 20 years ago, 7,800 for the 2000 census, 7,400 at the 2010 census and now we are at less than that..... with all the foreclosures and job losses, under 7,000 residents.
Why are our City costs so high? We could understand if you had taken Golden Skate FREE Water Co. over and had to run the water plant as well, but that's not it. With the new proposed budget, it is apparent we need a 4-year Mayor and so we can have a plan that works 4 years at a time. It takes staff almost a year to produce a single significant change to what we do in Ojai, only to have the MUSICAL Mayor come in next, not wanting to follow that path. We spent so much staff time and money developing only to have the New Mayor rotate in and change the path, and remake the City in their own idyllic small image. Why did the Skate Park take so long? How about the Bowl? Still not much booked there and the locals get the shaft on the Rent Rates, insurance, etc. How about the arcade? Changing direction in The City every year creates Gridlock, waste and inefficiency.
Consistency. Make residency a minimum requirement for all City Commissioners. They need to feel the pain and pay the excessive fees they inflict upon the rest of us. The City needs to stop using the excuse; we don't have enough applicants. If so limit the current commission by the current applicants for a year and see what happens. We need to stop using that excuse. If they don't pay City taxes in Ojai, they also can't vote here, and should not be making the rules!
If we had an elected Mayor we would have already done what we should have done; cancel the Water franchise and saved the residents $10,000 per Day, yep that’s $10,000 per day extra, per day. Get it? For that kind of money we could have bought them out. Like renting a home for twice the amount it costs to buy. Now that's a good deal!
How did we get in such a "pickle", why do we call it that???
Oh well it's your money and as long as you are comfortable with someone else spending it lavishly, just keep on doing what you have been doing, Insanity. Oh well, we're not all Einstein are we?
Hang 'em High !

- Dick Lynch
Exclusively in The VIEW ~ Dick Lynch
Ojai and Ventura VIEW, Apr. 2012, Issue #45

- by Dick Lynch
Apr #45, 2012: So this month Ojai will have paid in excess of $3,500,000 ($3.5million) more to Golden Extortion Water Company in the last year. After having given a petition (last May) to Casitas Water with more than 1,900 signatures so that we could have purchased our way out of this me$$.
That's right folks MORE, not total, MORE. With that kind of money we could have used that extra $3.5 Million to pay off the WATER BONDS we will need to Rescue us so we can purchase and replace Golden Mi$take Water.
Whose fault is it that it's taking so much time? Probably no ones. Really? Really. Well reminds me of a story about a gift of an Elephant, valuable-------- But they take a lot of care, especially the older ones, just feedin' and maintaining, WHOOO lots of costs, lots of mess, lots of work, tons of money.
I can't blame Casitas. If they look at this as the WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT someone wants to unload. After all they didn't announce to anyone that, if they get the Water Co. back from Golden Overcharge Water, Casitas would love to spend A lot of money, time,effort and risk!
Next month, or so, The Ratepayers of OJAI will get Crushed again, not only by Golden $nake Water, but by the California Public Utilities Commmission (CPUC) system that lets the Retired CEO's of Utility companies give rates that are past outrageous and harbor on the near ----------.(You fill in the blank---- impossible? Criminal?).
Casitas doesn't take a rate increase for 3 years, Golden Mi$$tate water blames Casitas for the extra cost of purchased water. GSW purchases from Casitas less than they lose through the pipes each year, in excess of 12%. Golden Mi$calculate water shows the population of Ojai going up. When is 1,500 less that the 1990 census an increase? They show the total not as it is on the Federal Census, but as they need it to get another outrageous set of rates increased.
You know how one set of Utility Executives treats the other Utility Executives? Look at your water bill and tell me out of Sisar, Hermitage, Siete Robles, Sisar Canyon, Ventura River Water and Meiners Oaks Water along with Casitas, who is more than triple in price than all the rest in this valley? The only one that is still Private for Profit.
Golden Double - your taxrate hike water company! They are Triple the price. They have doubled your rate in the last 8 years and in THREE years they will be making so much money on this coming rate increase they will have to PAY DOUBLE on their taxes to the State and FED tax collectors. Wouldn't you like to have your net taxable income double in just THREE years?
Goodbye Ojai, Hello BROWN TOWN. I would find it puzzling if visitors to this TOWN didn't wonder why all the streets are continually TORN up, water is always runnin’ down the street and asphalt put back as speed bumps or a trench in the middle of the street? Why the town is turning Brown and why we have STOP GSWC signs all over this town?
Sadly it looks like we are going to pounded into the ground on this one. This rate increase will really hurt coming on top of that last Giant Rate Increase of just 3 years ago. Isn't that the same period of time that Casitas didn't take ANY Rate Increase??? Why are the Ratepayers sitting on their hands? Why aren't we filling the Casitas Board Meetings each meeting and calling our representitives each time we get a water bill? Why aren't we attending City Hall like those BAG people or the NO-LIGHT People. They are getting changes while you stay at home people are letting Golden Sour-Grapes Water Company get the GOLD MINE and you are going to continue to get the SHAFT. Over and over again with each water bill.
The real winner, APATHY. 2,860 water users, 37 complaints to the California Public Utilities Commmission (CPUC).... not enough for them to mess with.
So I guess the rest of the 2,823 users think Golden $haft Water is providing, Pure quality, clear, sediment free, color free, odor free adequate pressure water for a reasonable cost.... I guess this community is a lot more affluent that I thought? We pay amongst the highest water rates in California and, due to the lack of complaints, we must be satisfied, satisfied with this? When did the people of Ojai lose their stomach for this? Sad I always thought the people of Ojai would fight to preserve this Jewel..
Well, Finally something has got me for a loss of words. Hello, Is this Hanson Well Drillers? Could you come over and start drilling a well, asap?
Hang 'em High !

- Dick Lynch
Exclusively in The VIEW ~ Dick Lynch
Ojai and Ventura VIEW, Dec 2012, Issue #42

- by Dick Lynch
Dec #42, 2011: Water, Water.... anything else on your mind when you get your mail and hope your water bill isn't in there?
Well, we do have some new Heroes in town. Pete Kaiser and the bunch on the board of Lake Casitas for not takin' the decision that would have let enough water go down the drain each year as to supply a town like Ojai, of TEN THOUSAND people. Self-styled bird dog Larry Yuva would have had the water go into the SEA each year so he can Fish?
What do you think Larry? One fisherman or 10,000 people that will have to ration water usage in the future? We will end up protecting everything but us.
Way past the time to fish or cut bait. We have a new Mayor: Mayor Betsy Clapp, so hopefully this is gonna be a busy and benign year, unlike the last!
Libbey Bowl is still out there like an expensive harpooned albatross. City Council Health Care is on the list.... or should that be rephrased as benefits. Council should get some benefits. The Ojai School Board does. Without those School Board Health PERKS they could actually hire additional aids for the K-2 Grade kids (age 2-12), where help is needed most. You remember the "Kids" those things schools were started for in the first place?
Instead, kids from the Nordhoff Music Dept. have to beg for money at Vons like Tiny Tim... while the cream of the crop school board gets cozy free rides and extra vacation time! phD's, attorneys, retired teachers... and the list goes on. Big bucks. Think the elite wealthy school board members can afford their own health insurance?
But back to the City, we are divided as to whether greater harm is done to Ojai by leaving all those store fronts empty or filling them with Formula stores like Patagonia. Now, given, that is a subversive corporate "green" chain store (with products manufactured/outsourced in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Turkey, Portugal, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, El Salvador, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, Bulgaria, the Philippines, oh and in the good ole U.S.A....) Really, no big box stores are really Green or Responsible enough to come to Ojai....like Chase, Bank Of America and Wells? What have we done recently that also repels businesses with backbone from trying out Ojai? Such brave shopkeepers we have here tho, not afraid to rock the political boat you know. Maybe it's just not politically correct in Ojai to promote an opinion, be a free-thinking American, solve old problems? Those empty store fronts just continue on.... after ITI, Lynda.com and Garlic Gold left, they took 150 jobs out of town... Now I hear we have an 11% unemployment rate....No wonder Ojai's finest have nothing better to do than kick around the poor folk for penny revenue.
A wise person once told me, "Just because they won an election doesn't mean they know anything".
So, why do we automatically assume that our elected officials have an average IQ, have the ability to understand complex issues, and aren't biased or paying off political favors, and have a good moral balance?
California Cities are having trouble with Fiscal and Moral balance: Ventura being one of the worst but those folks down there must have saltwater on the brain.... they keep electing/supporting the same crooked individuals. Ventura has become Pottersville in fact with no cuts in city staff salaries, unnecessary parking meters, high rents, myriad empty store fronts of their own. These big city imported cancers have resulted in a neglected quality of life for the 99%, with code enforcement that preys upon those least able to pay - helps them into the grave even. It's NOT A Wonderful Life there except for the crooked politicians and their crooked L.A. developer fiends... the paid for suck ups worshipping a false god, the golden calf. Ojai it might appear, could easily fall into the well too.... Lock Step.
Still tho, Ojai should consider itself lucky. We have escaped most of the problems the other cities are faced with. Don't get me wrong - we have plenty of issues with our elected officials and City staff, but not to the degree of other "SMALL TOWNS".
Our City seems to be like a kid at a Buffet: faced with so many choices, issues, factions, conflicts, cohorts and options that it can't make any one choice stick - civic gridlock. We have become the City of NO-Jai by default!
Council meetings easily go 4 +hours only to have staff say we'll be back with more information next time.... Often the issue and information is forgotten by the next meeting, if not the next minute. Instead maybe staff, when they get the tough questions, should not be allowed to say "we don't have enough information" and hide out on the BE-Back Bus. Seems like council is always waiting for staff to be-back with the rest of the information.
Maybe the council should have 1/2 as many meetings, that go shorter. Heck, I can't go anymore. My Arthritis and Bursitis bother me too much.... 4 hours. My Kidney and Bladder protest and can't stand it either.
A few gift ideas: Maybe council should first get complete reports or complete options from staff to then be able to vote meaningfully and move on to the PEOPLES BUSINESS. Instead, staff directed by overly influential folk hold back pertinent information before the agendized item and the bus has to be backed up yet again.
Staff should be restricted to the agenda only once a month and be allowed to complete their thoughts. Have Public Works at Council once a month, have Parks and Rec there only once a month. Finance might have to be there each meeting because the cat is already out of the bag, but the rest can wait.
No more "last minute" stuff that is always pushed through incomplete. I also don't want to waste your time telling you what Council couldn't do because they didn't get the information.... can you think of what they did get done this year?? On the other hand, why does council always need it now?
We do have one staff member, Steve McClary, asst. to the city manager, whose doing an outstanding job! He's taken on the effort, doing well in answering the tangled web of paper filings and protests to the Public Utilities Commission, (P.U.C.) to protect the residents of Ojai from the outrageous and egregious bulldozing perpetrated on the city of Ojai by Golden State Water.
What's on your Wish List? How about patching the potholes, paying back the.... is it $4 MILLION "borrowed" for the Libbey Bowl? We kinda overspent to only have 4-5 programs swirling the Bowl this season - some were real losers. No planning and last minute promotion by the city. On top of that the rotated-out Mayor orders the Homeless shipped out of the park by law enforcement. Now, is that really in the holiday spirit?
$4 MILLION - How much road paving could we have done with that kind of money - $4 MILLION....lessee? We could have paved, Drown, Montgomery, Shady maybe Fox and Bald. We seem to have all kinds of money for all the wrong things, like extravagant, bronze plaques immortalizing the elite "A-List" in Libbey Park, instead of the dedicated who have performed there over the years.
Then, you have to ask yourself: if term limits are good enough for our national President, then why not for the Ojai Council too? Think how long Flag wavin' Joe hung around, still seen ducking for cover every now and then. I think at the end of the year the city should release a goal-oriented list of changes and decisions they actually accomplished. Also list those that were discussed or were on an agenda and didn't get complete and how long they've been waiting to still be completed.
Writing this fishwrap is pretty depressing, as this is the year of the do nothing Congress. I hope this isn't a start of the do-nothing DECADE for the Ojai City Council.
I thought when the City passed the Blighted Building Ordinance, the obvious vacant commercial buildings would be spruced up? It will take a hundred years or so for the old bowling alley to Rot to the Ground.
Instead, the Ojai code enforcement don legislates from his truck, singling out and discriminating against whomever he or she likes - longtime taxpaying homeowners included. Perhaps Code Enforcement honcho Brian Meadows who lives in Ventura doesn't live far enough from Ojai - perhaps a Santa Monica live and work situation would suit him better. Carpentry?
What the City needs to do is make things easier. A few LEFT TURN SIGNALS on Ojai Avenue. I ride my Bike east past City Hall to Signal St., making a left in front of the Post office. There is a real problem there: sittin' out in the middle of the street is like being a sitting Duck. Someone is going to go straight through the intersection and take out a Flock of Bikers like Bowling pins. Result? We will have a couple years of council discussion and still get nothing done.
Is it true? The G.C./CREW is planning on knocking down more nice historic trees in Libbey Park, habitat for the Barn Owl? Perhaps concrete channelizing the baranca, room for more LA condos? Soon there won't be a tree left standing, save the Grants where the top people make the big salaries and the kids who do the work get minimum wage and a few leftover pats on the back.
Water. Did I mention water? Guess not. Golden Slick Water did! They have a Sham Political Consumer Protection Outfit sending out Slick Glossy mailers.... how much expense did they add to your water bill for that? Now they have a new Disinformation Survey (like they really care about the ratepayers...) It would be interesting to find out just how much your water bill has and will increase... all for GSW to hold back the inevitable.
They will lose. They will lose the Ojai Valley as a Monopoly to SQUEEZE AND SQUEEZE TIGHTER, run people out of town with increased costs that make our already tight business community less and less competitive then continue to dramatically lower your property values.
Lower our property values?? Ask a Realtor how many people are asking about Utility costs before they buy, more than ever. We do have some nice homes in the immediate areas around Ojai that have a Water bill 1/3 of Golden Snakes Water Co. Why not move just a block over in the Arbolata, looks the same, but OH SO much Cheaper. Wonder if they get to ask more for their homes because they DON'T HAVE GOLDEN CHARADE WATER CO. Never thought that could be a big plus. I guess that works for rentals, where the landlord pays the water. Meiner's Oaks could change the name to Ojai Oaks and no one would even know the difference, except for a 2/3 reduction in water costs.
Hang 'em High ! - Dick Lynch

- by Dick Lynch
Nov #41, 2011: A friend of mine has a sayin', "You'd tell a lie, even if the truth would save you." Water, have I been talking about water? Yep. Now it's time to pay the piper. The people of Ojai have seen Water rates go through the Sky, then higher again, really Sky High like Everest! Michael Peavey is the former CEO of a major electric company (S.C.E. International) and he is also head of the state Public Utilities Commission (P.U.C.) that determines how big the rate increases are here in trusty ol' California.
No wonder every GSW rate increase gets accepted, even when it's not necessary.... Golden Mistake already charges 2-3 times higher than the other Ojai water companies.
I almost got up and left the Oct. 24 "meeting" when one speaker said GOLDEN Mistake Water has filed for yet another rate increase. Something in the State government that allows that IS corrupt. A former CEO of an Electric company, the same company that is installing those DEATH RAY METERS, Michael Peavey, needs to be removed as the Chair of the P.U.C. Call Tony Strickland and Jeff Gorell's office. Peavey is about as trustworthily as KEN LAY FROM ENRON. Golden Mistake asks Peavey and the P.U.C. say yes. EVERY TIME.
The P.U.C. never saw a rate increase they didn't like. Who said that profits in Golden Mistake were up 45% in the second quarter, and the P.U.C. allows them to make an 8.9% rate of return. Can you spell Monopoly or is it Mafia? Golden Skates underestimates the people in this Valley.... Casitas was financed with a 50 year bond. The last payment on that bond rolls on in Jan. 2012. Fifty years of responsible management...? and with a reliable water source and resource in Ojai. (Ouch 2012 how did time go by so quickly)? The big topic just yesterday was 1999. Time does go by fast.... no matter how fast it flies by we won't get to the time when we outlive our need for Water. Basic Water, Life-giving Water.
Figures lie and liars figure! GSWC has a slide show about the world's state of water affairs, about 8 or 10 slides. None of them were about "Ojai." These water "experts" had every excuse for takin' our money, and none of the facts.
What GS water did do was Threaten the residents of Ojai. They Huffed and Puffed and threatened to blow the House down. I need to remember to tell my Great Grand kids about the 3 PIGS. Well all their hot air didn't work.
Well now, there ain't a Bull that can't be Rode and ain't a Rider that Can't be Throwed. We had one Battle Scarred Rhino, Stan Greene stand up and tell them they were threatening us in no uncertain terms and they were not welcome to be here and we had been threatened by much bigger companies that lost and had been sent scatterin' away from Ojai with their tail between their legs. Stan, who is your elected Sanitary Board Representative for the City of Ojai, was having none of those threats. Did Stan make some threats of his own? No, he just corrected the record.
A young Rhino, Ryan Blatz also took them to task, as did a number of people. The City Council finally has come to the right decision and backed the FLOW movement to make our water supply fair for the people. The People, isn’t this what this is about?
I reckon this is gonna hurt a little.
When Mayor carol Smith spoke at the Matilija meeting, she was a different person than the one that Whined about losing the Franchise tax. Then she voted Down a chance to hire the Attorney that had already whopped "Tennessee Joe" from Golden Mistake Water. What caused her head to spin back around on Nov. 8 when the council voted UP and hired the attorney to shut down GSW?
Anyhow, seems ole GSW Joe had uh hum represented Cal-Am Water but they soon lost, finding themselves taken over by Felton FLOW and given over to the San Lorenzo Water district to operate responsible-like. They are a NOT-FOR-PROFIT WATER COMPANY.
Carol Smith should be forced to recuse herself on all things with Water because she has been off and on again like a leaky spicket! Why, her husband and personal lacky Larry Yuva writes screwball threatening letters to Casitas (and everybody else......) on a regular basis is beyond me. A lot of people would argue that it's actually the impetuous Carol who writes those letters - we've already seen way to much of her "Carol moments" - tirade's in council chambers to fill 50 episodes of Saturday Night Live! Either way she is standing in your way when it comes to removing GSWater and getting stable water rates for a change.
Annual Franchise tax revenues from GSW to the city amount to a mere $44,000 but cost the Ojai residents a whopping $4,400,000? Not chicken Feed indeed!
How can the Mayor be so selfish?....The new Marie Antoinette... "LET THEM DRINK WATER", but force them to pay the franchise fee"! Ojai rate payers have paid GSW extra for years, well above the cost for the same water from Casitas, of $4.4 MILLION. Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
GSW can actually be purchased with the excess charges that we pay now. The Mayor, Carol had squandered our best chance to get out from under these outrageous rates. A couple years ago she thought it was more important to be Gone Fishin' on a faraway vacation than represent the people of Ojai at the P.U.C. in San Francisco... Gone Fishin'? Maybe she should use that for her next campaign slogan.
A lot of you voted for her, I think you could call and tell her what you think of her actions, or inactions regarding the stalling.... and more stalling at finding the nuts and bolts of the water issue. Backbone? hardly.
Another Lady, Kathleen Richards, seemed to know much more about our 44-year-old Franchise Agreement than The City or GSW. Maybe she should be hired by The City to be an Intervener!
Basically The City IS holding the options; by contract it can kick GSW out of the Franchise Agreement to supply "our" water at any time and appoint a company, like Casitas, free and clear to handle it. Much of the Casitas' supply pipe runs right alongside the GSW pipes right here in town. Just a matter of The City calling in its markers on that Franchise Agreement it owns and controls. Time to call the plumber and take it back. Time is money.
City Staff had been dragging this out.... why who knows? How many of "The Staff" pay GSWater rates? Oh really no pain for them, they don't live here.... Let them get (what on old man said) a $500 dollar water bill.... but, no more than $175 at Casitas. But someone else always drinks upstream from the herd.... Are you aware that Carol Smith pays reasonable rates at Casitas for her water, NO PAIN THERE EITHER!! Wild card.....She needs to be removed from all water votes!
If the voters stay on the sidelines... But guess what, 175 turned out at the Ojai FLOW water meeting on Nov. 9 at Nordhoff. This was a Real Good meeting. Nearly every council member and also members of the Casitas board attended, as well as GSWs "P.R." videographer to record the magic (or tragic) moments. Did the GSW honcho's attend? noooooo..... Now, if we don't build that GSW noose and hoist those boys up the nearest hangin' tree real quick.... then we'll all be payin' higher and higher rates with no end in sight.
What can we do to make this better? Call or write all council people for The City and tell or bitch about the need for urgency, (did I say I stopped watering my Orange Trees). We're getting the shaft every 2 months with our water bills, and The City had been sitting on their hands. The City had been talking about all kinds of things except those that have the biggest financial impact. Time to stop ALL other agenda item's till they solve this one? Do you know of anything more important than this?? No! They need a deadline.
It's apparent from the Group of Commissioners in the All-City Meeting that everyone was totally lost. No one had a clear map or direction, no one had been given clear instructions.
This last year with this Mayor has been a disaster for Ojai. From the non-events in Libbey this year after breaking the Ojai City Bankbook and causing The City to get a LOAN, a line of credit while we Piss away money on every Consulting outfit we can find.
Take the Historic boondoggle.... how did we spend so much more on that bunch than we get from the entire WATER FRANCHISE TAX income ($44,000) and soaring? Our Mayor does have company though, she looks and acts like that distinguished Governor of TEXAS --------PERRY. Tax, Tax, Tax!!!
We sure got our money's worth didn't we? They got the franchise tax and you get taken to the cleaners.
Hang 'em High ! - Dick Lynch

- by Dick Lynch
April #35, 2011: Power Grab, did you see the March 22 Council meeting? Gee WHiZ. What was that about? Did the Mayor Carol Smith attempt to MUZZLE Councilmember Carlon Strobel and limit discussion?? That 'ol boss mare is sure gettin' cranky! Isn't that a First Amendment Rights Issue?? Has she heard of AMERICA, right? (See www.YouTube.com/OVVTaVIEW) What is Carol trying to accomplish? With a little luck she can alienate 3 council members that can send a motion, ask for a second, and vote to remove her from office!!! The Council has only 14 meetings or less left to remove Carol. Now, why would she incite a lynching mob?

- Dick Lynch

She has been Curt, Snippy and Abrupt with the residents of Ojai. She is supposed to lead meetings, bring respect, and be respectful, not admonish speakers, constantly saying "Stick to the Point". It's really up to the speaker. This is called the free flow of ideas, you know Democracy, not Queen Carol's Totalitarian Regime. Maybe the City has enough money for an additional lawsuit like the one they currently have on the barbeque involving Mallory Way.....
This new "OJAI ONLY" Building Code, will surely knock your hat in the creek....it's an attempt by Planning to hide, confuse, mislead and generally pull the Wool over the eyes of the residents of Ojai. This is an end run and a power grab that has no benefits of any kind for the residents of Ojai and property owners. If passed, the local codes issue will displace over a 1,000 lower income residents. Whatever happened to Carol's campaign promise to champion low income housing?
"What exists in Ojai between it's residents and the Planning Department is a lack of Tust." The general practice of stalling, misinformation, lack of effort, incorrect information, an intolerance of citizens asking for help is a complete misunderstanding of the Public Servant role of the City Planning Department employee. Makes a fella half scared to lock horns with the city. Decisions from the planning department appear to be Random, and seem to be made more on who's applyin' than whether or not the project is "Ojai appropriate." Can we say favoritism?. Our current Planning Depot is slooow, offers little if any help or solutions at all. It's like "figure it out yourself and if you can't too bad". Staff stuns residents with statements like "Staff has chosen to interpret" without any written ordinance or explanation or even an offer of recourse. How did staff get the authority to interpret, legislate and make their decision "final", after a lengthy and costly process that discourages discourse and recourse. That is simply a "choose yer weapons," answer. We have problems with "Official Notification" on what to some are important issues, even notification of an effected property next door has resulted in a failure to notify that effected neighbor. Are we expected to be psychic?
You only have to look in our current Planning Department to understand that. Enforcement is erratic and has caused many hard feelings. Information as to what or how to, has given people reassurance prior to purchasing property, only to be denied after the fact. Imagine buying a property, being told you can put in a home studio, and then have them up and change the zoning after escrow closes. Citizens complain, but are told that's not how the conversation went or they must have misunderstood. Remind me to carry a voice recorder.
Questions have arisen as to the motive or to the ability of planning to do a basic job. This incompetence has caused, and will continue to cause litigation beyond the Cities obligation and may, in some cases, result in a lawsuit against the Realtor and Broker for what was thought to be sound advice but later reversed.
Planning is already so slow that for the city to ask for additional "HIDDEN" Codes is despicable and downright dishonest! This Planning Department has neither the will or the resources to add additional duties and will result in a pick and choose enforcement which is just plain discrimination. The intent is to cause further gridlock for more power or higher wages.
"OJAI Code" approval will do a number of things. It will stop all building approval and inspection of projects in any reasonable time frame to a department that is years behind implementing codes and ordinances that have already been "almost" approved (sign and political sign). It will further overwhelm an already overwhelmed city department. It will be the final straw in an already mistrusted Planning Department. This new code will solidify all opinion that this is a "naked power grab" that will decimate the Residential Real Estate Market. Recording a non-conforming title will eliminate all chance of refinance, improvement, "correction" loans and will eliminate all chance of sale except for the very rare "all cash" offer.
The big LIE was that they couldn't separate out the language from the code, but didn't they have to submit the changes, show us what was submitted and make it simple? Are they tellin' us that they inserted the code line by line without an outline and did this and are enforcing the code without the Council approving the changes that become law.
Rotation Mayor "Cash Register" Carol's failure to protect the residents of Ojai as Mayor is unbelievable. How you permit enforcement of codes prior to a vote of the council?
Putting a cloud on any property title, on any and all residents, is an act of confiscation of personal property. The Planning Department should be outsourced or have a survey, in writing, of all actions, calls, permits, applications and interaction that are reviewed directly by the City Manager to discover just what level or reorganization must take place. When it gets to the bottom line "When you can't change people, Change People"
It has come to my attention that a number of people are passing out petitions, handing out signs and askin' for donations. I wish them luck and hope this works. Southern Cal or Golden States or American States whichever it is... running water in the streets should be thankful that the residents of Ojai are too busy minding their pocket books.
This has gone on way too long.... I see the City waterin Sarzotti' Park until the street is awash with water, again you could float paper ships in the gutter. We have so many leaks in town that an aerial photo of the streets would show up like a checker board pattern for all the diggin' and patchin' the water company has done. If we do get some more Obama mad money make them fix the pipes before we patch, please. As far as Golden Slick goes, it looks like they have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar. They are being investigated by the Division of Water and Audits... (DWA)...hmmm...stay tuned as the struggle to protect our freedoms unfurls.
Hang 'em High !
- by Dick Lynch
March #34, 2011: Mayor Pro Tem Betsy Clapp filled in for absent Mayor Carol Smith at the City workshop a couple weeks ago on Code Enforcement. Horgan also opted to no-show for this one. Imagine a well-run, polite City Council meeting with Clapp at head of the herd instead of Smith.
Folks are concerned over the attempted expansion of police powers for code enforcement officials. What tans my hide is the possibility of the city sneakin' in a way to charge massive new permitting fees to line their thinning money pouch. Now then, the next cock-eyed idea to squeeze money out of townspeople....

Code Enforcement.... could amount to kick-the-door-down anytime, anywhere searches in your homestead. Then them big-britches big-city officials, could record a noncompliance violation and cloud any property title.
Monte, our city attorney is riding that horse at the front of the herd. Wonder how much money he'll make for handling all them law suits. That's one crafty attorney. When you finally get as old as some of us geezers and need to add some wheelchair ramps, make a few changes, even though you get the basic remodel permit and inspection fees, you might still find yourself hit with violations, permit fees, investigation fees, processing fees, appeals board fees, title recording fees. Like the termites in city hall, once those buggers git in yer house there's no telling when they'll leave.
Monte Widders' research fees.... Did I say investigating fees? Wonder if he's gonna in-vest-eee-gate those couple recent Ojai Mayors....I hear they have their own bootleg permitless construction/water meter projects?
Since when did we hire a bounty hunter to sniff out old homes, built willy-nilly, then come down on the little guy with blazing guns? Who are those guys anyway?
We came to Ojai to be Free and Express Ourselves, but it appears we're being led into the same "Box-Canyon" as Santa Monica and Calabasas. The way I hear tell it, they chose to Raid the home of a local that was known for "Speakin' up" at Calabasas City Council meetings. Are you next?
Whoa Nelly!!! Monte doesn't need more people to persecute. Pretty soon, not only will they continue with the most UN-AMERICAN rule I have ever seen.... Code Enforcement by Complaint.... But I'll bet they'll be offering a reward for a We-Tip Program like Ventura. Ya know, where people drive around taking pictures of their neighbors and turin' 'em in... for the crime of having an ole home? As Clapp pointed out, most of Ojai is old.
Remember the General Plan which is supposed to protect the quaint small town look of Ojai? The permit posse wants to add big urban Rat Enforcement to quaint Ojai. Them easterners in New York City have Rat Police, are we next? I'd like to know how we get rid of the Rats infesting Ojai's city hall who'er eatin' our cheese???
Adding 43 pages of New Codes to what we already have is scary enough without having Monte say "WE." When did our legal servant take over as owner of Ojai?, I thought he was just a hired hand on contract, not 'Owner.'
Who is "the" revenue-driven code expert? Who authorized a code enforcement consultant (Stephen Stuart) to try and dump big city codes on Ojai? What was he told to do? Where is his report? Where are his credentials and experience? Ventura? How much was he paid and who authorized his fee?
Newbie City Manager Rob "Yes Man" Clark seems to be falling in line after a 'larn'n the ropes session from "Smilin'"Alan Rains and "Big" Bill Burrrrr. Just like cowpokes scarfing at the chuckwagon.... borrow, borrow, borrow... let Ojai go Bankrupt....
The "B" word may be why Wells Fargo has tucked-tail and run from lending the City a line-of-credit to save their bacon, or at least prolong the agony of defeat.
The next Council was stormed by Pesticide Free Ojai Valley, comprised of good ole down home real naturalists. Zorba addressed the council and asked the city council folk, (holding a bouquet of sprayed Scotch Broom) "Do they look like enemies to you? You are polluting our drinking water. It's an excuse chemical corporations make to take a lot of money. It's not for us...it's for the generations to come."
Imagine not wanting chemicals washing into your watershed. Imagine not wanting to take your kids to the park to have them play in the wilting remains of Roundup sprayed plants. Whatever happened go good old weed pulling? Mayor Smith commented that she thought a year or two ago, this issue came up.... "I would like our public works officer ...some information...perhaps he can remember...." she said trailing off... Blatz claimed... "We don't have any control outside the city limits." What about the spraying in Soule Park, in Libbey...that's in the city, Blatz.
Leary warned the council that the use of Roundup could produce a resistant "super Arundel." Dale Hodges remembered when Roundup was first introduced it required HazMat gear to apply. By the way.... where's the Ojai Defense Fund (ODF) and the Green Coalition while our kids are choking on pesticides?
Course, the Big News at the city council that never makes the OVN "Happy News," was the ever-deepening financial rut the city has cut for themselves. Ron Calkins, the new interim public works director, checking in from retirement with the City of Ventura, delivered the bad news after his sugar-coated intro. "There's tough issues being discussed," he claimed...The Budget... "I don't have real good news there. That's a major Challenge."
There was a $262,000 contingency set up at the beginning of this job for cheaping down the 'extras.' "For all practical purposes the contingency has been used up." That smoke and mirrors concept of "value engineering," or in other words, giving you less bang for your buck, has already optioned-out the trees that were part of the original plan along with other amenities. The more you run out of money the more you use up the "cushion" that was written into the bid. Clapp delivered the grim news that overages just mount up faster at the end of a project.
Speaking of trees.... Remember those trees that were removed to build the new seating? Well, NOW there is a shade problem...or ...er...a NO shade problem....at the new Bowl.
Then there's still the Bowl management issue which is still in a twist. Of course Calkins has been meeting with the big honchos Alan Rains and Bill Burr. By the way who is the Service Foundation, that's supposed to be running the Bowl? City Manager Rob Clark apologized for "forgetting" his list of board members. "Sorry I didn't bring it" he said. Only "City Cash Register" Smith claimed to know who they were. She.... "thought they were Steve Olsen (from the City side), and Barney ...mumble...er..."
She couldn't remember who the rest were, but assured the council that all of the board members had only the best interests of the city at heart. "We have taken a leap of faith," said Smith...adding that they needed to wait and see what happens on April 12th (City Council meeting). That's the point where they are supposed to have a contract worked out with the foundation, to manage the Bowl. The big push is to try to book some acts into the Bowl..... to salvage a 2011 season. Funny that hasn't been done yet since Baker told them months and months ago it was probably already soooooo toooo late since most touring acts book two years in advance.
They have finally realized that there are enough differences between the Ojai Bowl and the Santa Barbara Bowl that they can't just duplicate the SB Bowl's contract. The plan is for them to outsource an executive producer to manage the bowl...Course the fly in the pudding on that one is that there is no money for a start-up "business." Did I just say "Business????" Yep, and so did Rob Clark and so the non-profit Ojai Foundation has become a "business"....that's no wonder... Yep...that Foundation thing needs working capitol to get the Bowl off the floor. Course nobody knows how much will be needed to pay for Bowl working expenses or maintenance until they get their feet wet for a few seasons. Where are the numbers? Blatz brought them back down to earth reminding them "The idea behind raising money though commercial concerts is so that we have enough money to maintain the bowl. We still don't know how much each year we will need to maintain the bowl. Until you know that how can you know the scope of what it is you is you want to lease out." On a wing and a prayer Paul...
Newbie City Manager Clark's best advice is to add the start up costs to the line of credit the city has been looking for to keep the City Open for Business. That $159,000 "drop in the bucket" for the Visitor's Bureau, added to the big BUCK BAILOUT for Libbey Bowl and NOW stretched to cover million dollar start up costs are all supposed to be rolled into the line of credit they ain't even got yet.
Clark did float the "rose-colored glasses" comment that there was also the possibility of the city (once again John Q.-Ojai Public) "gifting" the foundation start up money, but thought it would be more fair if the burden were shared between the foundation and the city. Wonder what kind of big lump salaries these wide-eyed foundation commanders are going to demand after they hold up the stage?
That line of credit would then be contributed to, and withdrawn from, as the fortunes of the city and bowl wax and wane. With the hope that the funds withdrawn would be eventually replenished out of proceeds from Bowl events. Reassuringly, Clark said the Bowl people did have a business plan that projected eventually breaking even. Clark said he eventually planned to "wean" the foundation off the city dole, at some undisclosed time, sometime in the future..... The future that's A Lot of infinity! This drew an incredulous comment from activist attorney Len Klaif who said, "Who is the service Foundation? Who are members of this group? Are you really going to give them city money, and let them write checks? I have never heard of that." Ojai, who is your daddy?
Of course the concept of a line of credit has one small snag. First you have to secure one, which has run into a pesky problem for the city. Clark admitted that, as of yet they have not been approved for a line of credit by Wells Fargo Bank. This to-date reticence of that good ole gun totin', strong box protectin', stage coach ridin' bastion of the Old West, Wells Fargo Bank, earned the censure of our mayor-by-rotation Smith. "I am kinda shocked that Wells Fargo, who we have been doing business with for god knows how long... is having a difficult time about the...um...line of credit for other things, such as I think, we.... because of the Chamber of Commerce.... or...r... our own budget.... and If they are being uncooperative well I think if we..... there's other banks we can move our money too. I am.... that's quite disheartening. So ah...haha.... that, to me, is not being a good community partner. Um...also... there was this.... you know..... whatever, I won't even want to talk about........ cities and the actual amount that go bankrupt..... and do not make good on their bonds. It's so minute... that actual amount is... you would think in the headlines that cities there were going broke everywhere..... and going into bankruptcy..... and being taken over by who knows what.... But in reality, it doesn't happen... um.... No I'm not happy about extending necessarily a line of credit to the foundation... I think the board is working on other possibilities though. The grants seem to be..... one particular grant that was not mentioned here but that I know is in the works... could potentially be for start up money... We have other banks to do business with.... if Wells Fargo is not being cooperative to us."
Meanwhile back at the farm... Daddi, Strobel and Clapp all chimed in to suggest that perhaps the remainder of the 2011 season could be run by the city. Feet to the fire, Daddi was ready to beg performance acts to return to the Bowl, even if it meant giving them the venue for "free," just to get people in to see the new facility. Boy oh Boy... Baker sure saw this coming... wonder why they didn't listen...Mayor Smith, now you're talking about the great Libbey Bowl eventually "breaking even" ...what happened to the great Economic Engine that was going to enrich this small county town?
Hang 'em High !

- Dick Lynch

- by Dick Lynch
Feb #33, 2010: Holy Smoke...Ojai has burned through it's dough and is out shopping for a bank loan.
According to former Interim City Manager John Baker, they're going to be in big trouble if they can't secure a line of credit by July. "You're skating on thin asphalt around here....," he said. The Feb. 8 chamber-member-filled city council audience seemed to think that was a laughing matter and broke out into belly laughs and hee-haws... Laughing matter ???
You might be askin' what's a comin' up in July? Well... in May McGillivray Construction will have to be Paid in Full for building that fancy new high-faluting con-struction called Libbey Bowl.
Holy Gee Hossi-fits.. Property Taxes from the rank and file homesteaders of Ojai won't be coming in until December and by then the coffers will be looking mighty thin if not flatter n' a pancake with receipts from TOT and Sales Tax lower than projected. Councilmember Sue Horgan said, "You saw these numbers... the numbers are really bad this year ."
Added to that interest bearin' line of credit being chased after for the Bowl debt is the $159,000 smackeroos for the Visitor's Bureau (OVB), "A drop in the bucket," in the words of Councilman Blatz. All to lure them big-city dudes to Ojai so shop keepers don't have to pay for their own marketing expenses.
Scratching my whiskers here to ponder how much of that OVB dough goes to administrative salaries.... If Ojai is so unique, special and desirable why do we have to send more taxpayers dollars to a slick Ventura marketing firm to tell people what Ojai is? There's a cool $109,000 going to Ballin Marketing firm with $53,950 to the Chamber of Commerce for expenses, some of which are rent and utilities. This year the Chamber is doubling their management administrating fees and hiring a new marketing assistant for $23,000. Nice to know there are some new jobs being created in Ojai. Course this means a little "belt-tightening" down at the hall, with the city light bill going on the credit card, cause there ain't no dough. The Chamber is really flexing some muscle these days taking claim for getting two of "their" candidates elected to the City Council at their recent annual Awards Gala held Feb. 24 at the Ojai Valley Inn.
According to OVB supporters, there were about 60 travel articles glorifying chamber businesses in print last year, which were dished out by Ballin in a frenzy to paint Ojai as a weekend "destination." Yet the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) receipts still went down last year for all but the Inn. The Inn will also be hosting Good Morning America.... seems they get all the business in town. For those of you born yesterday, TOT is the tax money motels pay from folks beddin' down in Ojai for the night.
Now, divide those 60 fluffy articles into $159,000 dollars.... that looks like about $2,700 per article. Whoo-eee that's good dough for a journalist. Perhaps the "OVSnooze" and independent tabloids would like to know what travel 'journalists,' who are being rewarded with freebies in exchange for kiss ass articles, are being paid. Seems they all have to mention (our turn now) Ronald Coleman's 1933 movie 'Lost Horizon' to play the Shangra-lalala Card in the first paragraph. How many ways can one say 'Lost Horizon' in 60 articles?
Speaking on plying the tourist trade, some of the Chamber member shop-keepers who showed up to lobby for funds for the OVB were "squatters" by local standards. Imagine businesses who set up in Ojai to trade on the "Ojai Mystique" by purveyin' not made in ojai arts & crafts? Or merchants who display local work who are not-local work themselves? What ever happened to "Art Sunday" when local artists could just set up their easels without handing a wad of cash to the city or the Art Center?
Horgan drew a line in the sand with her errr uh get-tough no-nonsense attitude and declared that if there weren't "measurable" financial results from the OVB by next year there would be big trouble. Sue said, "If we were to fund this, I think next year when we go through this, there will have to be really measurable results... umm you know"...Tough talk from the little money-guy.... Isn't this the same face-saving approach she used for Libbey Bowl, talkin' caution for a big dollar project and then Votin' for it? She couldn't uh said it better herself, "I'm coming to the very same decision that I came to with Libbey Bowl.”
Betsy Clapp, who ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility, voiced her frustration with the ever widening deficit at the Feb. 8 council meeting. "We don't have the money, what do you suggest we do ? I think it's so unfair to the citizens to have to take out a line of credit to pay our phone bill, to pay the light bill.... to pay the water bill....we've taken huge risks to help this community. We took this risk when we chose to fund the Libbey Bowl....the city was in no position to fund building the Libbey Bowl....and now the taxpayers of this community are having to pay interest to pay our water bill, our light bill."
Dang good thing they hustled up a new City Manager who has experience with Cities that are teetering on the brink of Bankruptcy. Mammoth is just another resort city like Ojai, must be why they picked him. How soon they forget that when they brought lonesome cowboy Jere into town, they were ridin' the red and needed a "hatchet-man" to bring the city reserves back into the black.
Course Jere might not be too much of a dummy since the city is also still paying his salary while they move a new dude into his chair. Two-Two-Two almost City Mangers for the price of Two....or is it Three??
Public comment at them City meetin's always brings in dissidents, activists and "trouble makers." Riding in with smoking guns, the lone ranger (your-three-minutes-are up) Leary, stood up and waved the January edition of The View, challenging the Council to send their liason to the Green Coalition to ask "What the Hell Are You Doing?" It's a confounding, mind-boggling thought that the "green" people are in the business of killing some of Ojai's, 100-year-old trees....
Where was our elected city treasurer Alan Rains during much of this recent financially draining time when the roof caved in...? Where was he when we needed him for moral support? You know 'our' man watchin' the city kitty... the treasurer who owns that big general store in town, and is largely influential for gettin' the funs switched to the Save Libbey Bowl gang. Smiley is also a big outspoken honcho in the Chamber quest for that OVB dough. When all this pilagin' was goin' on he was on 'holiday,' ridin' the range in South America.
The trail-dusty Skate Ojai gang was back again with road weary faces, stunned that they are yet again locking horns with the Council over what should be a no-brainer.... THE SKATE PARK NEEDS LIGHTS!
Ms. Carol (Mayor-by-rotation) Smith, had a couple of words to say about skating just not being in the same class as tennis. Waaall...---- the little lady just might have something there. How much wattage does it take to light a court for two tennis players to play a set, compared to the wattage used to let 50 kids use a small skate park? Darn good thinkin' there Care-ol.....let's get the lead out your pants and get the lights up before summer hits.
Course there is a little stream that needs crossing. Rec. Director Dale Sumersille seems to think that before lighting goes up the city of Ojai needs to go hat-in-hand to the Green Coalition and ask permission. Last time ah took a gander at the Green Coalition it warn't no government agency with off-ici-al powers...
Seems that there is a mighty powerful wallup behind this "non- profit," "politically correct" fringe gang. Hell they got more fringe on their trimmings than ah have on mah riding chaps.... Better watch your back and not get their dander up! Make sure you ain't caught loping into Rainbow Bridge without your eco-friendly tree-saving cloth shopping bag and birkenstocks. We KNOW how they take to the cutting down of innocent trees!
Word has it that residents of the Libbey West Barranca/Los Arboles townhomes, and other streamside residents are hopping mad to have their view denuded for a dewey-eyed idealism that wants to take Ojai back to Pre-Columbian Days. Gone are the 21 Canary Island Palm trees from the Libbey stream. With Golden State Water taking a 26.2 percent rate increase, me-thinks that the city might reconsider the drip lines they have installed to water those "native plants."
Speaking of Carol....cowpokes been sayin' she and the city have a new suit to wear - it's filed!
Residents have been wondering why the developers of the Mallory Way project have been so silent. With a second chance to rehash their plans, from big-city duplexes to big city bungalows which would seriously whittle away at their high density profits, they have decided to stand and fight instead of slink off with thar tails between their legs.
They had been given a chance to resubmit to the planning possee without having to wait a year to re-file and start over from scratch. In the meantime they have been mighty silent while they smoked a pipe and pondered their predicament. Seems like they are getting tired of seeing the same old faces down at the planning commission for the last seven years.
Course City Attorney Monte Widders did warn the council that when you make a decision to turn down a proposal you had better be able to back it up with some darn good reasons. Like it ain't fittin' with the general plan which is supposed to hang on to the "small-town" character stuff. You know that charm thing that brings the big-buck tourists to town? Big money developers just don't cotton to capricious decisions. Darn good thing new-bee City Manager Rob Clark has some experience fighting these rough-n- tumble land sharks. Means extra dough for Monte, with more billable hours for legal services charged to the city! Tough timing though, for an already strapped bunch of village dwellers.
Tough times too for the huge music department at Nordhoff. Schools are cryin' "wolf" as the budget cuts are threatening to curtail music classes for the kids. Tough for Wagner too, who has certainly done a great job. Darn good thing he has an "in" with the Music Festival folks. Since they are so darn good at funraising maybe they can take some of that over-flo from the Save-the-Libbey-Bowl kitty and schlep some dough to the local kids who need education to fulfill their potential.
Can you spend pledges or do you just have to chew on them until they turn into meat? Speaking of cutting the fat...wonder if some of those bigtime school administrators will be volunteering to take a pay cut for the benefit of the school Kids? OUSD Super Hank Bangser, said in front of the en-tiiiirre Ojai Rotary Club meetin' last year at Soule Park (3/12/2010), that he would be making "Administrative Salary Cutbacks" but I ain't heard hide nor hair of the matter from Hank since....................................!
Stay tuned for another excitin' gun-toting, range riding adventure where the good guys wear white and the bad guys could be the guys sitting next to you.
Hang 'em High !

- Dick Lynch

- by Dick Lynch
January #32, 2011: Someone took a pot shot at the Classical elevator music being programmed into the minds and onto the city TV station. I agree. How about harkening back to the days of KHAY, before all them intellectuals decided country wasn't good enough for Ojai, and before the City's huge spending spree on a classical music venue.
So what really happened at the council meeting? Fill-in Ojai City Manager John Baker is really doing a good job - showed Ojai just how much it is the poor man's Montecito by revealing just how broke Ojai is! Hope new Ojai City Manager, Rob Clark (as of Feb. 21) can get a handle on it.... He left Mammoth, Amidst Bullets Flying, to the tune of a lost $30 Million Lawsuit and talk of bankruptcy!
Baker really bellied up to the bar and called a spade a spade. Poker faces all around as the losing hand of this years city income was dealt. I think council is going to get longer and longer...may even have to have a bake sale to raise money. After all it takes time to clean up the streets from years of failed city policies. But coffee and cookies are going to need to be replaced by substance; hardtack and beans might stick to the ribs better as 5 hour meetings are looking like the standard.
OK I know, the Bowl. The Bowl. Can't believe that 9 altruistic artists, city activists or every other new volunteer Ojai doo-gooder who can spell R-E-S-U-M-E is going to be able to run programs flushed round and round inside the Bowl at a profit or non-profit. What is a non-profit anyway? Does this mean no one's making a "profit"? Nope. The only difference between a for-profit and non-profit outfit is the non-profit gets to skate out on taxes as they pay out huge salaries to insider A-list board members, officers and other self-appointed folk. By the way, isn't profit a foreign word to our city officials? Definitely The City Will Not profit from all this... It's looking like the town will be running RED as TOT revenues are down a cool million, just after the hen house has been raided for the Libbey Construction. By fall there may be no hay in the manger and no corn in the crib. This years crop just didn't produce up to par. Even with the $160,000 genius marketing subsidy handed over last year to the Ojai Visitors Bureau to lure dudes to the valley, Ojai will be in the hole a million dollars by next November. In order to pay the city-hands, it will necessitate the need to borrow, borrow, borrow.... which will mount huge bank interest fees, according to Baker, of $50,000 a month, maybe $130K or more... A lot of lean times for the mule team.
Speaking of "transparency," the council meetings need to be ONLINE so the people can watch what the city does, or more often doesn't do. Mayor Carol needs to start respectin' citizens like Dennis Leary who are exercising their brief 3 minute public speaking rights, Yeah Carol should not be saying "Dennis, speak to the subject. Please. It's not your opinion if it (Libbey) is a mistake or not” causing Dennis to remind Mayor Carol, "I believe I'm entitled to my opinions... That's under Freedom of Speech." Looks like so much time has passed and Carol has forgot her supposed social justice roots and can't wait to crush opposing thought and critical thinking with darkness and distractions.
Yes, The City is Brrr-oke! Millions committed, without a plan, without the promised Libbey bridge loan or structure to manage and recoup spent revenues, all with Ojai taxpayers footing the sky-is-the-limit annual maintenance bill too. Any volunteers stepping up to pay for THAT? Meanwhile the City Treasurer is Traveling in South America?
The city needs to figure out what "jobs" the "Libbey 9" are going to do!! And, by the way, who is going to pay them up front? Or should this brand new layer of altruistic semi-government in Ojai be known as the "Gang of 9"? Giving a bunch of money from Ojai's tenuous reserves to rebuild the Bowl seemed necessary for some, not knowing what Environmental Impact on Ojai (other than temporary city manager Baker's "AOK") or how to do it all, or in what form, is classic "new" Ojai. All the while the Skate Park toilet bowl/outhouse smells worse than a rotted skunk, not to mention no water to wash bacteria laden hands. Do kids still suck their thumbs?
Parking is a problem, OH, Libbey Park never had a Parking lot....except for dead horses. Now, it will be much worse. How about a mega level 10-story concrete parking structure in the fine LA sardine parking lot tradition, to park all these LA festival goers? How will that look on the skyline to replace all those butchered palms? Pre-Columbian Spanish Revival Concrete? And how will they hear about Ojai without more subsidy ad monies in the kitty to BS people through the tourism bureau? Anyhow, this LAesque concrete park and walk would make LA folks feel right at home in The Ojai. Now wouldn't it?
Yes, the days of whining for tax dollars, appear over. Looks like we are going to have to pay Ventura County the excesses of the $800,000 Redevelopment Agency (RDA) dollar days. It's about time.
Who was legal council at the time they said Ojai could make property tax and special interest spend policies so freely like it did? So Ojai can tell struggling business owners what kind of signage they can put up, they just can't say "NO" to phoney boulders installed behind the arcade ten years ago in a fluttery attempt to use up precious property tax funded RDA dollars. Now that the goose that laid the golden egg is dying, property re-appraisals have driven revenues down and police, fire services cannot be paid, but Ojai has fake rocks, NO Rupp fountain, and some pretty fat private developers, and multitudes of struggling private businesses sooooo hungry for "success!"
The Gov. Brown Switch-a-Roo is not going to allow us to keep those millions of siphoned dollars anymore, once promised to private development companies and other special interests who successfully positioned their hands in the public cookie jar. You know who you are.
I hope the council isn't going to rely on the $3 increase in parking ticket fines (why are we giving parking tickets in Ojai anyway?). We really can't afford to have Ojai's finest at 40 percent of the total budget acting like tax collectors, writing parking tickets can we? Really? If we have time to write parking tickets lets lower the police budget, eliminate the parking ticket officer and save $85,000, maybe enough to hook up the unusable skate park outhouse to a real sewer.
Hope that gets fixed before the weather gets hot. Fourth of July is going to smell swell. When are the Skate Park problems going to be a priority? How about we spend some time pitching a fit about the pot holes that swallow up an entire tire and wheel? Where is that on the agenda? Only 7 percent of all the time used at Public NO-Works is spent on roads. We spend more time on parking tickets! Maybe at $50 per pothole, if we stopped writing parking tickets we could fix our streets say....in 10 years.
The recently retired Ojai trolleys? You know the ones that Ojai subsidized into the red to the tune of $400,000 and climbing. Whatever happened to the reason they "needed" to be retired? Are we spending to buy two new trollies and paying the penalties to still run the last-years model? Is this outlay worth it to shuttle mobs of people to and fro the concert? Wear your ear plugs and gas masks. Yup, what better use to put the descendants of the coming Redevelopment Agency $500,000 Trolleys? I bet the police/fire departments in the county will really appreciate all that spent funding. This will allow for a smoother if not louder start to another successful Bowl season.
It was said, (by the now obsolete Public Works Director) Mike Culver, that we couldn't sell public property (and the trolleys are public property), without a penalty. How then can we sell out (Quid Pro Quo) Libbey Bowl to non-profits that can exclude public input and restrict and deny public access the ability to serve on those boards and even attend meetings. Those meetings are private, not public.
Non-Profits as such, the city has no control whatsoever as to who they put on the "Gang of 9." Better for the council to do it. The "Gang of 9" so far is going to pretty much be a full time, unpaid job, and so subject to manipulation by out-of-town big money interests. Ojai, as it has always done, is going to determine who wins the personality-beauty contest and only then determine what past or current skills might adapt to the need. One need only look in the Council Meeting audience for the anxious contestants. If non-profits (one is a 'Charitable') were truly interested in getting the best results for Ojai they would require that the Gang of 9 could not serve on any other board at the same time. It is just too important. The undivided attention of all should be at the forefront, not who can sit on the most boards, vying for each outside of Ojai interest. And the draft agreement deal on the Gang of 9? Sounds like a repeat of the Libbey lease arrangement.
When is this Council going to print a list of real projects, things that need to get fixed now - like the leaky City Budget, never mind the leaky, blue-tarped roof at City Hall.
On the Trolley shelter: Why did Public Works design an elaborate Shelter at the "Y" on paper only? What ever happened to the shelter originally presented as a simple Boy Scout volunteer project? The scouts were told to take a hike and an elaborate project was designed to use up precious Grant money. After pocketing the Grant money, the elaborate plan, council has said, will be scrapped in favor or a watered-down version. Watering down? Isn’t that what the shelter is supposed to prevent?
With this new council makeup you can see just how much the discussion has shifted. Lets do this, lets add that to the agenda. That would be a very positive step. How about asking the overburdened taxpayer what they want on the agenda, besides of course to stop misusing taxpayer dollars??
How about suggestion boxes all around town, not just the City Hall lobby (where the same local 'volunteers' pedal their causes) for things the Citizens, the everyday joe, want discussed other than the 3 minutes and please "sit your ass down" time for council open discussion. I would vote to have the lousy microphones replaced, even before the pothole that knocked the front end on my truck out of alignment. Seems like some members still want the behind closed doors agreements. What happened to the Transparency of the election promises?
Looks like Sue Horgan made an announcement to run for re-election. It's time to have an elected Mayor for a two year term and stop all the shuffle, which can favor someone as mayor who would not be nominated Mayor Dog Catcher, except outside Ojai City Limits. Declare and run. If you are elected real Mayor at least you have some time to get things done. It usually takes staff longer than a year to get most things done and by then that person is no longer Mayor and the pro tem's pet-project is shelved. No wonder we don't have the roof at City Hall or a realistic boy scout shelter at the "Y".
Water, did I mention Water? You're going to want to go to the Skate Park and borrow a helmet from a kid before you open your water bill. When you see the extra MILLION PLUS DOLLARS Golden State added to our water bills, your going to want to bang your head against the wall, hence the need for the helmet.
Mayor Carol, Bravo. Good meeting, really, just one thing; have Dale Summersille, City of Ojai recreation director stop and personally check the toilet daily at the Skate Park and send in a written report as to how it's going before it gets ankle deep.
I went to look at the budget online. It's gone. Poof! I hope the smoke I SMELL isn't the cooking of the books. The budget hasn't been preserved? How can the budget disappear???
Hang 'em High !

- Dick Lynch

- by Dick Lynch
June #27, 2010: So now what? Wasn't the Bashin' the Bowl swell. Fun. Lots of people flushed with excitement having fund, oops I meant fun, Yi haaaa, not a bad thing to say about it.
I heard it couldn't have been more successful. Beer lines were long, so was the Wine line. Everything sold, double edge. Wished they had more, but it all went. Fights, drunks well, none of that happened. Just a ton of spiffy people having a great time on a beautiful Ojai Saturday. So this is not me, or is it? Why did we wait to get this thing repaired? Why didn't "RISK TAKERS" like Councilmember Carol Smith demand we have proper maintenance funds back when?
What did they think was going to happen one day? Well that day is here Carol, and if you plan to run again you need to run things much better than the last 8 years you have been on the Council! Now I understand you are going to sell Libby Bowl for a DOLLAR a year for 99 years?
Looks like the Music people out-slicked the Batman and Robin duo, of Jerry and Monte and got a 99 year lease for only $99.00. WOW ! What's in it for the people footing the bill? All the maintainenance costs. Aren't the costs, when complete about $4,500,000. We get to pay that less the million the music people have. That leaves a balance of $3,500,000 (Three Million, Five Hundred Thousand) in pledges and city taxpayer support. That's just this time around.
What about the next repair cycle, who gets that bill? So let me get this straight, Libbey goes from a "Non-Profit" tax-exempt venue to a Full-Time-Promotion 25-times-per-year-use, and the city can't use it for music 1 month prior to the Music Festival!
The CITY COUNCIL IS SELLING THE BOWL - and Cheap! The lease says for the "consideration of the funraising efforts." Not even close. Less than a 1/4 of the money is in Bank. The rest, Some time over the Rainbow....
Why not give the Cluff's, Cluff Park in consideration? Why not the Tennis people, for their efforts for the job they did? Why not Ivor for the grant for the ALMOST LIGHTED CROSSWALKS? Or Rotary for the money and 4 years they spent on the Rotary Park?
It's just too early to award a 99 year lease, for a "non-profit" job that was necessary to get the rebuild efforts started. Let's face it, the Festival people did a FANTASTIC job of organizing and funraising. Yes Really, no tongue in cheek, They deserve this communities thanks. That effort may probably save this town from the continuing BLIGHT that has overtaken OJAI. City Manager Jerry is wrong is his assessment, this New Libbey Bowl, will have a significant impact in increasing the Cities revenues, higher dollar costs, congested traffic, parking paranoia, smog, potholes, and a future BOND on the ballot to pay off the LIBBEY RECONSTUCTION BECAUSE THE CITY IS BROKE....
But a 99 year lease??? They are just guessing at what the actual pledge money collected will be. WAIT. WAIT until the 5-year pledge cycle is in..... Let's see if the City can pull out of the NOSE DIVE the budget is in.
We were told we would be "OK" now "MINUS 20 percent, $8,600,000 to $7,000,000 JERRY" that was really a BAD, BAD guess. I was right about this year's revenue slide last month, too bad it would have been better to be wrong. Next year isn't going to improve until the BUSINESS group gets the Visit Ojai program going.... Maybe we will need Libbey to Sell for real, for real money to keep the exorbitant salaries of our City Manager and Attorney intact.
Lease for 99 years? NO not at this time! Maybe give the Festival people a 90 day lease at This point, and see how confident the City feels about the budget and see what shape this town is in. I really think the Bowl will bring back life and a good deal of prosperity to OJAI....
I am amazed by how many people really knew Mr. Libbey and what he really wanted. No Liquor in the park, that works in a time of the Great War or the Prohibition movement.
Women's suffrage. What if women weren't allowed in the park during Libbey's time? Would we now be pushing to exclude them? Those declarations died long ago, in different times when Ojai was like now, a town of radical people. Radical enough then to change the town's name from Nordhoff to Ojai because Nordhoff sounded too German. How would that go over today?
If Libbey loved this town and wanted all these things to never change, why did he give the Park and the Post Office to the Civic Association instead of the town? Things and times change.
If all you folks that knew Mr. Libbey, preach that he wanted this or that, what would he say after seeing this last Grasp? Would he have been happy to see the park being used for a gathering of Joy and Socializing or would he have been upset with some of the women in spiffy halter tops instead of button up necks and shoe top length dresses? Stop telling us what he wanted for your own personal prejudices.
Now getting back to me, this City has been derelict in its tolerance of its citizen’s getting FLEECED by the Water company. The water smells just as bad, has the same brown-rust color and is as pricey as pharmaceuticals on the Black market, which is what you might need after drinking it and paying for it! Why has our City Manager and City Attorney not been more pro-active and protected us from Those snake-oil selling Bandits? Why hasn't the broken rain sensor water-saver timer been fixed at Sarzotti Park and the sprinkler system flips on at Midnight, come high rain or shine ?
I heard of a 91-year-old woman who pays $11.00 bi-monthly for water and $48.00 just for the honor of having had Golden State's meter parasitically attached to her house like some nightmarish creapy figure out of War of the Worlds? Armageddon? You bet, for her! She is going to shower less. Is that what it has come to. Councilmember Carol Smith thinks we should get rid of the Kids in Ojai and the water monopoly will run out the poor and aged and, in most cases, they are one in the same. Take your water bill to City Council and demand they resign or fix the water rates.
Hang 'em High !

- Dick Lynch

Golden State Water honchos have been freely traveling cities across the State bringing tidings of high water rates and water saving punishments... They told Ojai to "Conserve Water" (which they did...) Funny thing, Ojai was then charged more (punished) for using less water than Simi Valley, who was charged less becaused they conserved less, or used more...? go figure.... ~ Pictured here in Ojai June 17 for the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) scheduled hearing, (left to right) Patrick R. Scanlon, V.P. Operations, Kenneth Petersen, Golden State District Manager, and John Garon, Regulatory Affairs Manager. - Editor

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