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6-18-11 Ventura Citizen Questions to The City
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PRESS RELEASE ~ 6/18/11 ~ Mon. June 20 Ventura City Council Meeting ~ 40 Questions from Citizens: Will City Council Exercise Due Dilligence or is there a Rush to NOT Hear the Public, Is the City of Ventura DEAF TO THE PUBLIC? LUST for MONEY?
Subject: Your Due Diligence
June 18, 2011 8:04:35 AM PDT

Dear Council Members,
I know that an important priority
for you, as council members, is to protect the public from any unintended consequences as a result of actions that you take. Therefore, asking probing questions is crucial to your success in that regard.
A group of citizens have gotten together and suggested questions that would be important to answer, to make sure no harm or unintended consequences occur as a result of your actions. These relate to the 2nd unit ordinance coming before you June 20th, 2011 as Agenda Item 11.
The questions more specifically address the 1987 restriction that was inserted after the VSHC was dissolved, and to which ten of the former members have lodged a protest.
I have submitted the due diligence questions as a public information request, but wanted to make sure you had them in time for the vote. They are:
1. If you narrow the number ofproperties who qualify for a grandfathering program, will you reduce the number of properties who get a safety inspection, thereby ensuring less safe housing?
2. Would a smaller number of legalizations defeat the goals of the year long study by the VSHC as given to them by the Council. In other words, will the restriction reduce economic benefit, continue fear, and discourage permit pulling?
3. How many properties in the city of Ventura have changed ownership in the period from 1987 to February 2011?
4. How many of these properties were purchased without a contact with a property professional, such as a realtor, who would have common knowledge of the disclosure laws?
5. An 80-year-old house could have been resold from 5 to 10 times. Given that a large number of “non-conforming granny flats” might be in that age group, how does the City plan to convince a judge that they can now come down on these owners, when for the past 20 years or so, they have allowed these sales to occur?
6. What do you estimate needs to be put aside to fight lawsuits brought by owners of these properties?
7. Is it likely that most non-conforming granny flats on properties older than 30 years, were converted from a garage, and cannot conform with the new 2004 2nd unit ordinance’s more restrictive requirements?
8. How many granny flats, converted from garages, were legalized between 1987 and 2004?
9. How many granny flats, converted from garages, were legalized after 2004?
10. What was the amount of City fees you collected from these owners, pre-2004 and after 2004. (Please include the average amount per unit)”
11. Given that undocumented granny flats converted from garages, look like garages when viewed from the street, please supply every manner that you have used to determine the approximate number of nonconforming second units converted from garages.
12. What is the estimate of the number of undocumented second units or granny flats who could prove service before 1987?
13. How many do you expect will be unable to prove service before 1987?
14. What area (s) of the city do you estimate have the largest number of undocumented units?
15. Are these areas that have been rezoned for higher density development?
16. Have you checked the census data to estimate the number of disabled, elderly or of minority origin living in those areas?
17. Have you estimated the amount of people who will be removed from their current housing due to the increases that will occur in their rental pricing?
18. Given the assumption that many of the renters of these units are eligible for government assistance, how would this affect the number of “homeless”, or those requiring that our City provide suitable housing.
19. If the City causes a person that has lived
somewhere comfortable for 30 years (for example), what will be the City's liability with this person in the future, i.e. lawsuits, and being responsible to find them an alternative low-cost housing. If there are 3 people living in the same location, will that be 3 times the amount the City will be potentially liable for?
20. If the person is unable to contact prior the owner that was listed on the property prior to 1987, what would prohibit a legal response to be "The Property was used as a rental prior to 1987." Or, that the person would take the 5th, since they cannot be asked to incriminate themselves. Wouldn't the City then be responsible to prove otherwise, either by finding the owner, or finding more than one credible witness stating otherwise.
21. Do you have an estimate of what percentage of the City's records have been lost?
22. How is that number determined?
23. If the City has lost records, how can they legally expect to say, "We potentially lost our records, but it is your responsibility to find yours."
24. Do you have an idea of when they became more accurate, in your opinion?
25. What is the first year that the City can guarantee that records have not been lost?
26. Has it been an accepted idea that the City should be responsible for keeping their permit records?
27. Is it legal to prosecute owners for lost records if the City has lost records?
28. What is the City willing to set aside for lawsuits brought forth from owners whose records have been lost, but the City is requiring a monetary amount from their for this type of permit?
29. Could it potentially be said that perhaps in the past a City employee deliberately destroyed permit records?
30. What would be the City's legal response as to why a City who lost records can be trusted with records in the future?
31. If a 1930 property with an undocumented granny flat, cannot prove it was converted before 1987, will it become subject to compliance with a 2004 2nd unit ordinance which has vastly different requirements?
32. Is it legal to enforce an ordinance retroactively?
33. Does the Laches Law address this practice?
34. Of the cities whose legalization programs you have studied, which one produced the greatest number of legalizations of safe granny flats and safe non-conforming 2nd units?
35. If safe housing is the goal, why would you not use the model which has had the greatest success?
36. Would Ventura be a safer place if we offered grandfathering to all Ventura properties with the requirement of a safety inspection?
37. Given our City's negligence with City permits, why are we not following this logical path?
38. If the 1987 limitation results in existing, safe affordable being eliminated, would that conflict with the portion of the 2005 Ventura General Plan which says to preserve existing housing and remove government constraints for affordable housing?
39. Does the 1987 restriction conflict with any state or federal laws governing 2nd units, affordable housing and protected classes?
40. What makes the City comfortable that it will win in a potential lawsuit by an affected owner mentioning this conflict of City, State or federal laws?

Thank you for your service and your concern for our citizens,

- Camille Harris
"The way to escape from a problem is to solve it."
The People are the ultimate, guardians of their own liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

MORE CODE ENFORCEMENT LINKS... 1930s Nazi Gestapo claimed they were "protecting" the German Public from the Jews... What to do when Ventura/Ojai Code Enforcement Nazi's Come to Kick Down Your Door? What Next? Will Citizens be Jailed?
LINK: Ventura ~ Ojai Code Enforcement SCAM
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