Long Journey to Ojai's Skate Park ~ The Ojai and Ventura VIEW
The Gold Coast's Only Truly FREE Newspaper!

In Print and Online

www.OjaiandVenturaVIEW.com HOME
The Ojai & Ventura VIEWis FREE, edited, and written by its contributors. Printed by Valley Printers, and distributed
in the Ojai & Ventura Gold Coast Region, 15,000 copies printed monthly.
Content is Copyright 2010, StealthKat Graphics/The Ojai and Ventura VIEW
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: All VIEW Graphic/Content is Copyrighted by STEALTHKAT PUBLICATIONS, JOEL ANDERSON. No Parts of this site, its Contents, Photos or Graphics, or Whole may be Reproduce Without Expressed Written Consent. Contact editor@OjaiandVenturaVIEW.com for info. After Publication in the VIEW, the Copyright of All Written, Visual and Artistic Material Reverts Back to the Author, Photographer, Artist or Advertiser.
Kiefer Rylander, Ojai Skate Park, Feb. 21, 2011
Letter/March 3, 2011
People Who
Don't Have Tolerance
How come the people who don't skateboard (or never have) don't respect or understand the importance of the sport for the kids? I don't understand football or tennis but I would never stand in the way of someone doing it or raising funds to make a better place to do it! I love that the parents who grew up skating, still skate and understand that some kids just love and thrive in non-team sports and need avenues and places to do it, just like art and music. Well, I had a great phone call today from a dad in Ojai with a family of skaters (and an amazing mom) who understands how important the lights are to the kids and he is working on one of the legends of skating coming up to Ojai to skate that bowl! This is one of the people I promise you don't see often (ever) and that come from the roots of skating. Once again when the details are finalized I will post. You will never guess.....thank you to my friends who keep thinking about how we can raise $40,000 grand together!
- Sunday Rylander, Ojai
On Ojai.......
"We've been confused the whole time we've been here, like... why isn't there a big park here ?"
- Jason Jessee, Skate Legend
Original Skate Park,
Dated June, 2008
July 17-22, 2008 - Staff to Work on RFQ, Staff to proceed and do soil tests, topo maps (and title), geotechnical tests, temporary erosion control/quality management reports using monies already allocated to the project by City Council.
July 23 - Send out RFQ to design firms.
July 31 - Deadline for letters of interest and RFQ's
August 4-6 - Staff & Skate Ojai to review and grade RFQ's
August 11/15 - Staff to schedule finalists, prepare questions for panels & check on references.
August 18 - Panel to interview top design firms
August 19 - Special City Council meeting/joint meeting with Parks & Recreation Commission and invite Planning Commission and OUSD officials.
Present timeline
Present amount monies raised
Presentation of design build skate park process
August 19/20 - Staff prepare additional report and documentation if needed for Aug. 26 City Council Meeting.
August 26 - Hire designer, and update Council on Project.
City Council Action - Direct staff to
proceed with project, what type park - in ground/above ground/hybrid
September 13 - Designer/Staff to hold community workshop #1, 1-3pm
September 22 - Designer/Staff to hold community workshop #2, 5-6:30pm
September 29 - Final conceptual and 3D renderings submitted to City
September 30 - Site Design Group to give City list of specific materials and quantity needed for October 1 - Planning Commission/Parks & Recreation Commission joint meeting for
designer to present conceptual and
preliminary cost estimate
List of specific materials needed for
the project (publicized)
October 7 - Make conceptual presentation to OUSD Board of Education
October 14 - Make conceptual presentation and preliminary cost estimate to City Council
City Council Action: Direct staff to
proceed and prepare RFP for construction
Site Design Group to prepare construction documents for bid
City Council Action: if additional square footage is needed for the project, direct Monte (Widders)/Staff to write litter to OUSD informing them that the City would like to proceed with and to exercise the option for the additional 3,500 sq. ft. (or square footage needed) effective
January 1, 2009 (which will give time to HELP move and demo and prep site)
October 23 - Deadline for community to donate materials (all donations must be in writing) at 5pm to the Ojai Recreation Center
Oct. 29 - Nov. 6 - Staff to prepare staff report and RFP for construction
November 10 - Deadline for Skate Ojai to have all money/donations in the bank for the project
November 18 - City Council approves RDA to go out for construction
November 20 - Construction bid opens
December 18 - Construction bid closes
Dec. 22 - Jan. 6, 09 - Staff to evaluate and reference checks on construction bids
January 13, 2009 - City Council meeting
City Council Action - award construction bid
City Council Action - Direct staff to
prepare an NOE for CEQA
City Council Action - any other
resolutions and approvals needed
January 19 - Construction begins
May 9 - Construction ends (based on 120 day schedule)
May 16, 2009 - Ribbon Cutting/Grand Opening
EDITOR'S NOTE: In spite of years of heel dragging by the city of Ojai to build the skate park, The Ojai Skate Park was finally opened Oct. 16, 2010, Ojai Day, a year and a half past the above projected "Ribbon Cutting" mark.
Ojai Unified School District
Board Agenda Item Summary
Meeting Date: January 15, 2002
FOR: Action
Title: Approval of Skateboard Park Concept
Exhibit: Memo of Information
Explanation: In April 1999, the District entered an agreement with the City of Ojai to place a skateboard facility on the Park and Ride lot adjacent to the District Office. The placement was temporary in order to determine the impact of the facility on the
District Office site and surrounding area prior to the possible establishment of a permanent skateboard facility.
The facility was recently reviewed by District and City representatives and deemed a success.
Recommendation: Approve the concept of building a permanent skateboard park.
Issue #16, July, 2009: Ojai Skate Park - Another Summer Bummer: Another Skate Park: NOT
Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave, When First We Practice to Deceive: How the City of Ojai
& the Ojai Unified School District
Don't Get Things Done
by Joel Anderson
Click for Story ~ Graphic Version/PDF

Mircrocosm of A Bureaucratic Stonewall

To See What Blew the Lid off the Ojai Skate Park Cover-up, read on... Go to The Ojai and Ventura VIEW, Pages 8 & 9
(story reprinted this page below):
LINK: For FULL PDF Version as published in the
July, 2009 Ojai and Ventura VIEW /The Tangled Web We Weave...
When First We Practice to Deceive....

For the Full Issue Click here --> July, 2009/Issue #16 ONLINE
Ten Years ago current Ojai Mayor Joe DeVito, acting as a city councilman, was going to get things done ! HE was going to arrange a trade with the Ojai Unified School District (OUSD). The school system would get much needed tennis court repairs in exchange for their agreement to support the then temporary skate park with a lease; Ojai's skate kids would get a much needed Skate Park, and finally have one place in Ojai to truly call their own, where they wouldn't be told, "No Skateboarding Allowed." As time (10 years) went on... time just went on.... and on... and on... and now, there is still no skate park, despite recent and solid fundraising, and all those kids who were promised a skate park years ago... well they aren't kids anymore, and time goes on, which is convenient for the forces pitted against them. Several years ago (Oct. 2007), interest was re-sparked in the vision for the permanent concrete park; the new "kids" were told Raise the Money, it will come! So they did. The city put up $100,000 and challenged the community with a 7 month deadline to raise the rest of the money, whatever it took. The newly organized non-profit, Skate Ojai group (incorporated Nov. 2007, www.ojaiskatepark.com) organized the effort. The kids raised $250,000 to reach their $350,000 goal, through enthusiasm, hard work and a lot of family/community support, and met their goal before the June 30, 2008 deadline. Funds were in hand !!! Now THAT'S community spirit!!!
On June 27, 2008, the Timeline for the project set by the Ojai City Council even including a planned "Ojai Skate Park Ribbon Cutting Ceremony," scheduled for this last May 16, 2009! At last Ojai youth would have their permanent Skate Park...! What a great way to offer Ojai's kids an active after school activity.
The city had signed an ironclad contract with Ojai Unified in 2004 to lease the land for the skate park through "December 31, 2023," (which can be extended anytime). The original terms of the lease between Ojai Unified and the City (defined as early as 2002, see OUSD "DOCUMENT" next page 9, at lower right) had held that the currently rotting plywood ramps could be replaced by a solid, safe and permanent in-ground concrete skate park, which Ojai Unified agreed to in January, 2002.
The project started off with great promise. A large enthusiastic Ojai community turned out for "Skate Ojai Day" held May 31, 2008, proudly and publicly celebrating the efforts.
But it was not to be.... quite that way. Over the recent past 12 months or so... it became increasingly evident throughout "The Ojai" grapevine that the school district and the city were really only interested in becoming commercial real estate partners with Developer Ted Moore to tear down the historic Chaparral school, and build a tri-plex theater, hotel, a very few low-income housing units (as an inticement for the city in reaching its Draft Housing Element), convention rooms, and a new strip mall. This was all kept on the hush-hush because they knew "Ojai" would never give popular grass roots support to such an outrage. But whispers turned to a roar and with the stated goal of turning centrally located Chaparral school into a strip/shopping mall for financial profit. They have obviously conspired to do everything they can do to NOT get the Skate Park completed, as promised.
This had become an all-too-familiar-to-Ojai classic; Lucy and the Football scenario where the kids (Charlie) wind up flat on their backs and out of breath... and Lucy (Ojai Unified and the City of Ojai) stand by idly, smugly smirking having once again foiled the ever hopeful and trusting Charlie Brown. With Ojai's Newlywed and Nearly Dead undercurrent (you can visit with your kids, but don’t stay), the powers-that-be in Ojai have never really been kid friendly. Take for instance; NO Bowling Alley, NO Arcade games in the Arcade, NO More Miniature golf, NO Nordhoff Community Swimming Pool... Shoot Down the idea to show Movies at the now-demolished Ojai Frosty, The Frosty itself...
City Manager Jere Kersnar had to be reminded by local private citizen and State Farm Insurance Agent, Bob Daddi, that there were legal liability/workmens comp provisions already in place on the state books which would enable volunteering citizens to exercise their get-it-done spirit and contribute their free labors to a city/non-profit coop project to Get-it-Done. Of course it was nice of Ojai City Attorney Monte Widders, right out in the open of a public city council meeting and with his usual oratory zeal, to take credit for Daddi's liability expertise and detailed homework, without skipping a beat. But Dale Sumersille, director of parks also helped; stopping the planning phase of the project several months ago, and giving the Skate Ojai group no reason for this stall...
Will the Skate Park be just another in a long line of stifled projects ? No construction bids have been initiated, much less awarded... And the kids ? Ask a skateboarder, they'll recall the education they've been given over the past year. And with elections coming, if there is one thing local government and the school system has taught Ojai Youth it is to be wary of politicians, school administrators, and their high-flown fork-tongued promises. Oh, and also of the seething smirky attitude they, the politicial elite, blatantly flaunt; Never mind the kids and what they were promised.
Tim Baird, Ojai Unified's former Superintendent recently ducked out of Ojai for a higher paying superintendent job with Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) near San Diego, educating elementary aged youth. Reportedly he now takes home a salary of over $200,000 annually there, at least $65,000 above what he had been making in Ojai.
Baird showed his true Ojai "community" spirit when he abandoned his sleepy little stepping stone of Ojai. Under Baird's self-promoting tutelage, the Ojai district has already spent well over $60,000 in scarce educational (and public) funds, on attorney fees toward his unrealized pet strip/mall development project.
The school district and its representatives have failed to appear at city council meetings on the Skate Park (save one single meeting in June, which Baird attended); yet Skate Ojai is blamed by OUSD for OUSD being uninformed.
Misinformation began to appear on the Ojai grapevine of public opinion that a public skate park would generate drugs, violence, etc., and pose serious law enforcement problems. Baird had begun filing safety complaints regarding the site, just as Skate Ojai had started Fundraising efforts; however his numerous complaints directly contradicted the opinion of Ojai's former chief of Police Bruce Norris, who was an ardent supporter of the Skate Park. Norris did not see any unsolvable enforcement issues with the location.
And so the seeds of doubt were being actively planted in an effort to undermine and turn public opinion against Skate Ojai and the skate park project.
After serving on the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation (OVYF) and also as founding president of Ojai's Green Coalition, Baird's fleeting actions have become crystal clear; his seemingly altruistic OVYF position was only an ornament to boost his brief "community" image. His actions proved his true motives were more aligned (or maligned) against, not with Ojai school-aged youth.
If it weren’t so sad it might almost be funny; our educational system, an institution established to help kids, but actually bringing them down and promoting the private development aspirations of its public administrators. City officials also were complicit as they withheld official pertinent factual information for over a year [Memorandum dated Oct. 12, 2007] which would have disputed numerous and direct inaccuracies the school district had presented.
On July 1, Ojai Unified Interim Superintendent Jim Berube filed an appeal with the City of Ojai to "Overturn the approval of the skatepark project" by the Ojai Planning Commission (OPC). The appeal issues are purely operational, and legally not grounds to break the lease. As in the original lease agreement Ojai Unified must negotiate these terms in good faith.
So it seems the torch has been passed to yet another pedagogical bureaucrat interested only in stifling kids with publicly expensive and litigious stall tactics, despite contract law and overwhelming community support. Is it any wonder why our schools are broke ?
- Joel Anderson, editor
For Part II of this story, Go To The Ojai and Ventura VIEW, (on Pages 8 & 9) --> ONLINE Aug, Issue 17 Online - FREE
Ojai Councilmember Carol Smith Says "Kids Should Leave Ojai"
Caught on Tape... Click to See...
The outrageous YouTube Video
VIEW Video ~ Smith Says.....
"Kids Should Leave Ojai"
Heckling Carol Smith: Mar. 22, 2010, 7:54pm - As Ojai Mom, Sunday Rylander asked questions, at the Candidates Forum, of candidates Paul Blatz and Leonard Klaif, regarding quality of Life Issues for Ojai's youth,Ojai Councilmember Carol Smith from her perch in the audience, interupts the forum. Smith, who was not up for re-election at the time (She was ! Nov 2. 2010 See Also Ojai and Ventura VIEW ~ Ojai City VIEW to find out how Carol may have jeopardized Ojai Non-profit Tax Status and broken the law...), is heard to heckle that Ojai's kids should leave Ojai if they aren't happy with the way the town is being run.....
Said Smith, "They all hate it at that age. They shouldn't be here. I think for 19 to 30-year-olds, this is an awful, boring place to be. Ojai's kids should leave Ojai if they aren't happy with the way the town is being run..."
As an elected city official, Councilmember Smith is certainly in a position to improve the quality of life for the townfolk and the youth; making decisions to which accountability is absolute, decisions which impact every citizen in Ojai, if not the entire Ojai Valley. Smith is up for re-election during the coming Nov. 2, 2010 General Election.
Smith then abruptly left the forum, a few minutes later, as the subject of City Council Term Limits was approached. Smith also serves on the struggling Ventura County Library Commission which has been under fire for allowing excessive salaries, for example, Ventura County Library Director Jackie Griffin, taking home $197,605, as Ventura County Libraries are forced to close or sell out to private firms (Camarillo Library...?), due to fiscal shortages..... Griffin resigned under fire a few years ago as Berkeley Library Director and hoofed it to Ventura for her current position (more info. www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-147208085.html) .
- Editor,
Ojai and Ventura VIEW
Ojai Unified Superintendent Hank Bangser Gets an Obscene Salary while OUSD Teachers Get Peanuts and Many were Fired: OUSD Music Program in Jeopardy...
Henry Bangser
- Hired by cash-strapped Ojai Unified 7-21-09 as Superintendent at $170,000 annual salary (+ benefits/moving allowance), OUSD said they just happened to find "Hank" altho...
- Daughter, Julie Fioravanti works for Cabrillo Development Corp. which would like to turnthe historic OUSD Chapparal school grounds into a strip mall...
- Also takes home $230k Retirement (from prev. employment in Illinois)
"Mr. Ed" Martel (1935-2011)
...asks "How Do You Get
Up in the Morning?

Statement - Ojai Youth ?
Mr. Ed Tells the Ojai City Council
How it is - Sept. 8
Good Evening,
Thank you for letting me speak.
There's a lot of things I can gripe about. I want to ask you all a personal question. How do you get up in the morning, and shave and put your make-up on when you're doing the kids wrong in this city? Skate Park's on one day, and it's off the next day. What exactly happened? The kids deserve something. That's our youth, that's our future. And if you don't wake up to it soon... well...
Next thing I'd like to know, is on your budget. I didn't see the city budget. I'd like to know what's going on.
I am very upset tonight. I was told, 'be nice'. I'll be nice. And another thing I raised a months ago... the police department up here. How come we went to the county? I didn't see a detailed record said what we're paying the county... the Sheriff's department up here. Look it, I was a kid once, believe it or not. I was a little punk. And I came from a tough part of town. And let me tell you one thing, I wasn't friends with the cops, every cop in town knew who I was but yet I could communicate with them. We don't have this up here. You ought to have a cop walking the beat, at the "Y", downtown... help the kids. You gotta save the kids today, and I thank you tonight, thank you very much. I want to see a detail on the budget and where all the money's going to.
- Ed Martel, Ojai
"Skateboarding is Not a Crime!" - Bart Simpson
info. www.OjaiSkatePark.com www.OjaiRec.com
No part of this website may be reproduced in any form at all. This includes graphic, electronic, or mechanical, and photocopying or information storage, without written permission in writing from The Ojai and Ventura VIEW P.O. Box 1824, Ojai, Ca 93024.
Email: editor@ojaiandventuraview.com