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3-15-11: Look Out City of Ventura/Ojai.... Something's coming down the Pike.....and You're Next....
A Bill About to go to the Florida House of Rep. Protecting Citizens Rights....
CLICK HERE ~ Proposed Florida House of Representatives Homeowners Bill of Rights ~ CLICK HERE FOR DRAFT COPY
Wed. Mar. 13, 2013: PUBLIC HEARING
Matilija Middle School Auditorium, 6pm -
Casitas Municipal Water District Discuss Details: GET INFO. - QUESTIONS ANSWERED!!! It's very important you show up and voice your opinion at this meeting because Golden State has hired out of town organizations and groups to disrupt the meeting in an attempt make the Casitas Board not allow us Golden State Rate Payers to vote. MORE INFO: Golden State Water' Demise VIEW INFO LINK &
Golden State Water Presentation at Casitas Water Board Meeting, Wed. July 27, 3pm
PRESS RELEASE ~ 7/25/11 ~
Golden State Water (GSW) is on the agenda for Wed, July 27, 3pm (1055 Ventura Ave Oak View, CA 93022) to make a presentation to Casitas regarding the feasibility analysis. The Agenda packet contains only a brief memo from Steve Wickstrum GSW did not submit anything in writing at this time:

The Golden State 7/19/11 MEMO

Inter-Office Memorandum
DATE: July 19, 2011
TO: Board of Directors
FROM: General Manager
, Steve Wickstrum
Re: Presentation and Discussion with Golden State Water Company regarding the
Ojai FLOW Analysis and Request for Acquisition.
It is recommended that the Board of Directors receive the presentation by Golden State
Water Company and may provide direction to staff. No action is to be taken at this time.
In May 2011, the Board of Directors was approached by Ojai FLOW with the petitions of
many Ojai citizens and made a request that the District consider acquiring the Ojai franchise
of Golden State Water Company. It is the desire of the Golden State Water Company to
present to the District their perspectives and issues regarding the Ojai FLOW request. The
District and Golden State Water Company have set the time and place for the presentation as
July 27, 2011, at the regular meeting of the District Board of Directors which begins at 3:00PM.
More Information available, Ojai FLOW's web site They can be contacted by e-mail:

Push to Run Golden State Water Out of Town Heats Up
PRESS RELEASE ~ 7/11/11 ~ Ojai FLOW News Release = Golden State Water Agrees
To Return $1.2 Million it Knowingly Pilfered From Ojai Customers for Years
For years, Ojai FLOW and its supporters have complained at public meetings that Golden State Water (GSWC) pays too much for contracted

services. It appears the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has now come to the same conclusion as a settlement has been reached between GSWC and the PUC for GSWC to return $1.2 million taken from Ojai customers. GSWC have also let go two senior managers in the matter.
According to Ojai FLOW chair member Pat McPherson, "This is no surprise to Ojai FLOW and we are glad Golden State Water Company practices have been revealed and hope such investigations will continue. When, in just five weeks, over half the number of people that voted in the last Ojai City election signed a petition to get rid of Golden State Water (see 5/6/11 below), and the City of Ojai and the School District (OUSD) passed unanimous resolutions to support Ojai FLOW's takeover proposal, it's a good bet something is wrong at Golden State Water. I am sure the stock holders of American State's Water (, the parent company of Golden State Water Company (, will not be happy to pay back this money and may change their mind about investing in a company that has such poor ethics and strong opposition by its customers in Ojai. The settlement decision was made public on July 7, 2011 and can be [pdf] downloaded [Here and] from Ojai FLOW's web site"
When asked if the recent settlement has any bearing on Ojai FLOW's move to take over GSWC, McPherson said “The settlement backs up the words on our signs that say Stop the Golden State Rip Off and gives us encouragement that our motives are right. It also makes us more committed which is why we just ordered more signs. Maybe Casitas will be able to use the $1.2 million to help buy them. We should not forget what Golden State did was seriously wrong. If an individual took $1.2 million from the wallets & purses of the Ojai rate payers, it would be front page news for weeks and the person would go to jail. No one from Golden State will go to jail but us rate payers certainly have the right to run them out of town by taking over their business sooner than later."
NOTE: Ojai FLOW is a volunteer organization dedicated to citizen ownership and control of Ojai's water. The group is focused on taking over Golden State Water that charges two to three times as much as public-owned water
companies in the same area. Ojai FLOW has presented petitions to Casitas Municipal Water District (CMWD) [See Below] asking them to take over Golden State Water Company. Their feasibility study and newsletter sign up can be found on Ojai FLOW's web site They can be contacted by e-mail:

Ojai FLOW Collects Over 1,000 Signatures to Remove Golden State Water
PRESS RELEASE ~ 5/6/11 ~ Ojai FLOW Collects over 1,000 Signatures to Remove Golden State Water
In just three weeks, Ojai FLOW (Friends of Locally Owned Water) has collected over one thousand petition signatures asking Casitas Municipal Water District to take over Golden State Water Company.

Ojai FLOW's goal is to get half the registered voters to sign, about 2,500, by Memorial Day. Ojai FLOW launched its campaign on April 13th and has quickly become recognized for reflecting the will of the people. Even Caltrans was concerned about the stir Ojai FLOW has caused when there were traffic jams along Ojai Avenue when Ojai FLOW opened its drive through petition site.

According to Ojai FLOW Chairman Pat McPherson, "It seems the entire community is coming out to support what we are doing, and a lot has happened in just three weeks. In addition to collecting over a thousand signatures, The Ojai City Council has voted unanimously to back the efforts of Ojai FLOW and the Ojai Valley School District has agreed to have a similar vote on their next agenda. We have had more than 2,800 unique visitors to our web site where people have learned about the issues and have signed up to help and donate. The Ojai Democratic Club voted unanimously to support Ojai FLOW and donated $500, over 425 residents and businesses have put up yard signs to show their support, and presentations have been well received by local civic groups such as Rotary Clubs, the Board of Realtors, and the Education Foundation. Volunteers are now needed to walk the streets to get the remaining signatures."

Ojai FLOW says Golden State Water (Golden State) charges homes, businesses, and schools in the Ojai servie area twice as much as what Casitas Municipal Water District (Casitas) and other local publically owned water companies in the valley would charge. In 2011 Golden State will charge $5.0 million for water service and Casitas would have charged only $1.89 million for the same service. According to Mr. McPherson, "When Golden State Water rates become so high that Realtors feel they must reveal this to prospective buyers, then you know something is wrong. It's only going to get worse if we don't do something about it now".

Petitions can be signed at Ojai House, [304 N. Montgomery St., Ojai], Ojai Valley Real Estate, State Farm Insurance near Vons, and at the Ojai Pool Store in Meiners Oaks. Petition tables can also be found at various times at the drive through on Ojai Avenue, at Starr Market, Vons, Westridge Market, & the Farmers Market on Sundays.

You can get petitions to walk your neighborhood and sign up to volunteer by contacting Christine Fay at, phone 798-3442. A single petition is available which can be downloaded, printed out, signed and mailed in if you don't have time to help but want your voice counted.

Community ownership... Community control... Community savings
* SIGN THE PETITION ~ End the Golden State Water Iron Grip on Ojai's Checkbook... Sign the Petition at LINK: Ojai House, 304 N. Montgomery St., Ojai...
Stop Pesticide Spraying
in Ojai's Parks
PRESS RELEASE ~ 3/21/11 ~

Come to Ojai City Council Meeting Tomorrow
3-22-11, 7:30pm

Dear Pesticide Free Ojai Valley supporters,
If you are available, please come to the Ojai City Council meeting tomorrow evening,
7:30pm. We are asking the Dept. of Public Works to implement non-toxic alternatives
for weed management in Ojai.

Come a few minutes early to fill out a card if you would like to speak (3 minutes or less).
The public comment period usually begins 10-15 minutes after the beginning of the meeting.
So plan on being there for less than an hour.

If you are not able to attend, please write city council members and Mr. Ruben
Martinez, head of Dept. of Public Works

Hope to see you at the meeting ~
Patty Pagaling
Creating a Healthy Sustainable Community

Lane Closures Scheduled for U.S. 101 in Ventura County
PRESS RELEASE ~ 3/8/13 ~ The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close one lane of the northbound Ventura Freeway (U.S. 101) nightly beginning Sun., Mar. 10 through Tues., Mar. 12 from 7pm to 6am between Bates Rd. and Casitas Pass Rd. On Tues., Mar. 12 and Wed., Mar. 13, one lane on southbound U.S. 101 will be closed from Casitas Pass Road to Bates Road from 8pm until 9am the next day. The closures are in relation to a six-mile carpool lane project on U.S. 101 from Mobil Pier Road in Ventura County to Casitas Pass Road in Santa Barbara County. Granite Construction is the contractor on the $102 million project, which began in spring 2012 and will complete in late 2015.
City Selects Coordinator for 2013 Ojai Day
PRESS RELEASE ~ 3/8/13 ~ The City of Ojai is moving ahead with plans for Ojai Day in 2013, and the City's first order of business - to find a coordinator for the event - is complete.
Amber Young, who served a key role in helping to coordinate the 2012 event for the City, has been selected as the Ojai
Day Coordinator
and will begin her duties this month. Young, who currently serves as an assistant in the City Managers office, will shift her work duties to focus more and more on Ojai Day as the October event nears.
Last year, the event was a bit of a scramble for City officials, following the resignation of the longtime coordinator of the event. This year, officials are looking forward to having the coordinator on board with plenty of time to prepare.

"We feel Amber has the right mix of skills and vision to carry the event forward," said City Manager Rob Clark. "She has
a real passion for Ojai Day, which became clear last year as everyone chipped in to make Ojai Day happen. Amber is committed to continuing the traditions of Ojai Day which we see as very important to the community
One of Young's primary goals for the 2013 event is to increase the number of vendors and food providers at the event. Another priority, she said, will be to focus on obtaining more sponsors for Ojai Day. And, just as important, will be continuing the traditions of Ojai Day that residents and visitors have come to expect from the annual street fair.
During the lead up to the event, Young will dedicate more of her time to the event, so that she is able to focus solely on Ojai Day duties. "It is important that the event coordinator be able to focus only on Ojai Day as we approach the day," said Clark. "During those weeks leading up to Ojai Day, Amber will devote 100 percent of her time to coordinating the event."
"I am excited to have an opportunity to be a part of this tradition." said Young. "My hope is to fully engage the community to make the event representative of the Ojai Valley, while working towards making Ojai Day self-sustaining." Young has been employed in the City Manager's office since November 2010.
Ojai's annual street fair is a tradition that dates back to the 1920s. The event annually attracts more than 200 vendors
and thousands of visitors who come for everything from the street painting of the colorful Mandala to the festivities of Ojai Night. It's an event that is uniquely Ojai, having been started by Edmund Libbey, who put Ojai on the map when he redeveloped the town in the early part of the 20th Century, forever sealing Ojai's reputation as the perfect get-away from the bustle of life in Southern California and beyond.
INFO: please contact Assistant to the City Manager Steve McClary at 646-5581, extension 101.
Bone Marrow Drive for Gustavo
Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation
Mon, Feb. 12, 9am to 4pm
Location: St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Oxnard
PRESS RELEASE ~ 2/12/12 ~ URGENT: Bone Marrow Drive for Young Ventura County Man, Gustavo, a young, local Ventura County man is in dire need of a bone marrow transplant. Just a few minutes of your time could make the difference in saving Gustavo's life... or anyone else who may be in need of a bone marrow transplant. Join Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and Be the Match. Please Download Detailed Press Release: (Word Doc)
More information/Location:St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 1800 South "C" Street in Oxnard, CA 93033
Healing the Heart of Democracy
Parker J. Palmer - Speaking Engagement
Wed, Feb. 22, 7:30pm
Location: Lobero Theatre, S.B.
PRESS RELEASE ~ 2/22/12 ~ In his first ever public appearance in Southern California, acclaimed writer, speaker and public intellectual Parker J. Palmer will talk about his newest book, Healing the Heart of Democracy. His talk will be followed by dialogue with the audience. Building on his decades of social activism and inner life exploration, Palmer looks with realism and hope at how "We the People" can deal with our political tensions for the sake of the common good. "One of 25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" - Utne Reader, 2011
For information, Tickets: $20 - Res., $10 - Teachers & Students Avail. the Lobero Box Office: 963-0761 or Sponsored by Courage to Lead
Equine Artworks Fundraiser
The Equine Sanctuary
Sun, Feb. 3, 10am to 1pm
Location: Ojai Center for the Arts
PRESS RELEASE ~ 2/3/12 ~ Join our fundraiser for Ojai's by submitting your equine artworks on February 3rd from 10-1pm at the Ojai Center for the Arts, located at 113 S. Montgomery Street. An artist reception to follow on February 5th from 1-3pm with cash awards judged by equine art collector and prestigious Ventura gallery owner/consultant, Sylvia White. All media, and ready for hanging with wire, no saw tooth hangers and framed or gallery wrapped canvases accepted. $15 for 1, $30 for 2 and $40 for 3 submitted pieces for Center members. Non-members may purchase one month membership for $10 or year membership for $35. All works must be available for sale with the Center receiving a 30% commission and part of the Center commission with be donated to the Equine Sanctuary. Please email me for further information and I look forward to seeing you!... Ojai Ventura VIEW CALENDAR OF EVENTS PAGE
For information,,
They can be contacted by e-mail:
Public Hearing
CPUC - Golden State Water
Mon, Feb. 27, 2pm to 6pm
Location: Probably Chaparral High School/Ojai
PRESS RELEASE ~ 2/27/12 ~ URGENT, Public Hearing California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)/Golden State Water (GSW) Hearing in Ojai, LOCATION: Probably Chaparral High School, THIS MAY BE OJAI'S LAST CHANCE TO Avert HUGE Millions of Dollars more in Rate INCREASES in Ojai Alone.... Stay Tuned for Info. UPDATES, Golden State Water (GSW) already Owes Millions to Ratepayers due to "Misconduct" See VIDEO (LINK ABOVE)...
For information,
They can be contacted by e-mail:
X-rated Ghosts of Old Ventura
Tour and Talk with Richard Senate
Fri, Jan. 27, 7pm to 9pm
Bank of Books, 748 E. Main St, Ventura
PRESS RELEASE ~ 1/27/12 ~ Back by popular demand the infamous ghosts of downtown Ventura with a special focus on Hookers and Brothels that once dominated the community in the 19th Century. We will visit the sites when Red Molly walks and the notorious Maggie Sullivan once held court—the richest and most powerful men in the town were her clients. Some of the ghosts, like Sylvia of the bella Magorri Inn, still stroll down the corridors seeking customers! A nice way to spice up the winter with a walk on the wild side. The many books by Mr. Senate will be for sale as well and he will be glad to sign them for his many fans. Recently he has appeared on TV shows Paranormal Challenge, and Ghost Adventures. His newest Book: Ghosts of the California Missions (Shoreline Press) will soon be joined by a collection of Steam Punk adventure stories: Thrilling adventures from the age of Steam. ( & Kindel).
For information, contact Richard Senate: 200-8658
New "EcoRotary Club"
First Organizational Meeting
Thurs, Jan. 19, 2012, 10am
At Help of Ojai Center, 370 Baldwin Rd, Ojai
PRESS RELEASE ~ 1/4/12 ~ New "EcoRotary Club"
There is a NEW kind of service organization coming to the Ojai Valley and the Ventura River Watershed area, EcoRotary, affiliated with Rotary International. The new EcoRotary Club will specialize in hands-on community eco-projects.
EcoRotary invites service-minded people to attend an organizational meeting at 10am Thurs, Jan. 19, 2012 at Help of Ojai Center, 370 Baldwin Road.
The new club will be an official Rotary club but with fewer, shorter meetings and more projects in the field. The club will have lower costs to participate because the club meets only two times a month with one meeting for scheduling projects and the other for sharing eco-project information. Club members will participate in environmental projects as a distinct Eco-Rotary group or in cooperation with other environmental groups.
Our Ojai-Ventura Watershed area is a natural for several reasons. The Rotary Club of Ojai West has its Floating Classroom project at Lake Casitas for environmental education and watershed protection. The EcoRotary will be a partner in this. The Casitas Water District is also a partner in this activity and a resource for EcoRotary projects.
Another significant partner is expected be the education office of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuary Program. Coordinator Seaberry Nachbar has an "Ocean Guardians" program for schools and the EcoRotary club would be natural partners for this program.
For information, contact Jane McClenahan: 798-1345 Rotary is a global network of community volunteers whose motto is "Service Above Self." Rotary International has approximately 1.2 million members who belong to more than 34,000 clubs worldwide.
Ojai Police Blotter - Telephone Money Scam
PRESS RELEASE ~ 12/10/11 ~ Ojai Police Blotter: Telephone Money Scam
The Ojai Detectives have issued the following warning about an on-going telephone money scam in our area. The detectives also would appreciate any further information to help catch these frauds, please contact them directly at the below listed number. Ojai Police are warning Ojai Valley residents of an increase in reported phone scams. The suspect(s) have been targeting elderly residents and posing as family members in need of large sums of money or an official calling on the behalf of the family member because they are in jail and need money to bail out. Victims have reported the suspect(s) request the victim(s) to send the money to locations in Vancouver, B.C. Canada, or overseas to countries in the Middle East.
If any area residents receive phone calls of this nature, or any other suspicious nature, they are encouraged to call law enforcement. This type of phone scam is one of many that occur throughout the year and increase during holiday seasons.
Here are some recommendations to protect yourself from telephone scams: 1. Always know whom you are talking to and get information on the business and a call back number. 2. Never provide your confidential information, such as date of birth, social security number, or bank account numbers. 3. Discontinue transactions if someone coaches you on how to send money or respond to questions from money order service employees. 4. Always check with other family members when a suspect calls and poses as a family member requesting money and call the family member the officials are talking about.
The Ojai Police officers and investigators wish the Ojai Valley residents a joyous holiday and are ready to help with your concerns. Det. Mark Burgess, Ojai Office (805) 654-2417
Pesticide Free Ojai Valley: Occupy Your RIGHT for Clean Air~Water~Soil, Fri. 12/9 10:30-1:30pm
PRESS RELEASE ~ 12/9/11 ~ Ojai: Occupy Libbey - Air, Water, Soil Rights - Friday, 12/9
Please come join us for a FUN morning of painting signs to RAISE AWARENESS for A Pesticide Free Ojai. We will be gathering at 10:30 on Fri. the 9th ~ around the fountain in Libbey Park. Moms please bring your kids, bring the Papas too!! Bring any paints or posterboard you can contribute. We will be painting signs and parading through town. This will all be documented on our upcoming Pesticide Free Ojai film. Dress in bright colors, bring musical instruments, empowered voices. Let's make a peaceful stand to protect our valley for our current and future generations. Please bring fresh fruit and other delicious food to share for a pesticide free picnic! Spread the good word Family! Love You!
Pesticide Free Ojai
Ventura County Public Health Tobacco Education ~
PRESS RELEASE ~ Dec. 2011 ~ Ventura County Public Health Tobacco Education, Prevention, Policy, Cessation program is having a FREE 8 week Stop Smoking Classes and FREE 10 weeks of Nicotine Replacement Therapy Product. (Patches, Gum, or Lozenges). We reimburse up to $125.00 on Pharmaceutical products. This Program is FREE to anyone who lives or works in Ventura County, 18 and over. -Camarillo - Camarillo Health Care Clinic - 3639 Las Posas Rd. Monday's - January 23 - March 5, 5:30-6:30 PM -Oxnard - St. Johns Hospital - 1600 N. Rose Ave. Thursday's - December 1 to January 19. 5:30-6:30 PM -Simi Valley - Simi Valley Hospital - 2975 N. Sycamore Dr. Monday's, November 21, 5-6 PM -Thousand Oaks - Community Medical Group - 612 Janss Rd. Wednesday's - November 30 to January 18, 5:30-6:30 PM -Ventura - Public Health Clinic - 3147 Loma Vista Rd. Wednesday's, ON GOING, 12-1 PM Ventura - Community Memorial Hospital - 168 N. Brent St. Third floor Wednesday's - November 23 to January 18. 5:30-6:30 PM, Info, 805-652-3377

All Valley Water Meeting, Nordhoff Gymnasium
PRESS RELEASE ~ 11/9/11 ~ Wed. 11/9, 6-9pm, All Valley Water Meeting, Nordhoff Gymnasium, Get the real facts about Ojai rate payers buying the Golden State Water Company and why it makes sense. Learn how everyone in the Casitas Municipal Water District benefits from this buyout. Understand why GSWC gets away with charging so much and why they don't want us to buy them. Learn what the City of Ojai and Casitas are doing to help in this buyout. Bring your neighbors, bring your friends and bring your questions. Attend this one-of-a-kind Meeting., Info,

Occupy Ventura City Hall
PRESS RELEASE ~ 10/28/11 ~ Thurs. 10/28, 6pm, Occupy Ventura City Hall, in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.... Occupy Ventura continues its occupation this Friday at 6 pm at City Hall. Ben, a local teacher said, "We are the poor, the working class and the middle class who are no longer willing to accept the government's failure to attend to the needs of the people and continued abuses of the people by corporate interests."
 An increasingly worn out populace, battered after many years of the Wall Street-created economic crisis, has risen up and given birth to a new grassroots movement. Since Sept. 17, thousands of people (the 99%) have "occupied" public spaces around the country in protest, starting with Occupy Wall Street in New York City's Zuccotti Park. It is reported by Wikipedia that Occupy Protests are now going on in over 600 communities in the U.S. and in over 900 cities worldwide.

An official inquiry into the cause of the 2007 financial crisis has identified a toxic mix of widespread failures in financial regulation, risky lending and reckless Wall Street practices associated with mortgage-related securities. As the nation's economy collapsed, $4.72 trillion of our tax money was disbursed to Wall Street as bailouts. Now, four years later, Wall Street barons are sitting on piles of cash and funneling contributions to politicians who promise to unravel the protections set up to prevent future crises.

The Top 1 percent are taking in more of the nation's income than at any other time since the 1920s. In the meantime, income inequality in the United States is at an all-time high, even topping levels seen preceding during the Great Depression. The Occupy movement represents the 99 percent of Americans who have been left behind and are fed up.
The next General Assembly (GA) meeting is Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011 at 7 pm, Bell Arts Factory,, 432 N. Ventura Avenue, Ventura, CA 93001
- Bell Arts Occupy Ventura Exhibit, First Fridays, Nov. 4, 2011
- Move Your Money Kickoff, Friday, November 4, 3-6 pm, Ventura Government Center, Marching Tour of the Big Banks
More info, Facebook Occupy Ventura
Twitter, Twitter
Calendar, Calendar
Forum, Forum
Web, Web

Speaker: David Cobb - Move to Amend
PRESS RELEASE ~ 9/15/11 ~ It's Time To Change The Rules, Thurs. 9/15, 7-9pm, Matilija Jr. High Auditorium, David Cobb, national spokesperson of "Move to Amend" exposes "Corporate Personhood" which distorts politics to serve corporate interests, threatens towns like Ojai that want to control local resources, undermines envoronmental laws, and lets corporations pollute while they charge taxpayers for the cleanup. Last year's Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court was the latest - and most blatant - example of the way corporations now dominate our government. The "Corporate Personhood" ruling opened the door to a flood of new corporate money in elections, leaving ordinary citizens with even less power to influence our democracy than before. Corporations are using OUR legal system against us. Learn about the growing national movement to Abolish Corporate Personhood. Join David Cobb from Move to Amend and local activists, environmentalists, business owners, and other neighbors to hear the implications of the Supreme Court's decision and what local groups around the country are doing to make government more accountable. Presented by The Ojai Valley Democratic Club, $5 suggested donation, refreshments avail. for a $2 donation. - Email (OVDems):
City of Ojai Granted Party Status by CPUC to Fight Golden State Water in Proposed Settlement with Water and Audits
PRESS RELEASE ~ 6/24/11 ~ City of Ojai Granted Party Status by California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to Fight Golden State Water in proposed settlement with Water & Audits; DOWNLOAD STATE RULING (PDF) HERE
Ventura Govt: "A City of snakes" - Helen Yunker
End City of Ventura's Illegal Search and Seizure Policy
PRESS RELEASE ~ 7/15/11 ~ Will the city finally do the right thing and stop spending money on a Constitutionally faulty program? Roadblocks to Grandfathering Granny Flats to be Considered: Monday Night, Ventura City Council Meeting July 18th, 6 pm Item 5 on Agenda
- Camille Harris
Precedents could be set for grandfathering on up to 75% of Ventura's properties, as was recommended by the Ventura Safe Housing Collaborative (VSHC), so your attention and participation is needed for success.
For more information, click on links at end of message
"If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately." - Thomas Paine
On June 20, the 1987 restriction was changed to 2004.

Important Granny Flat killers remain: Unaffordable Fees, Conflicts of Interest, Unnecessarily Stringent inspections, No Time Payment Plans, Self Incrimination issue, unaffordable impact fees.
Granny Flat owners shouldn't be counting their chickens yet, there are more granny flat killers in the ordinance:
1. Unaffordable and Innappropriate Impact Fees: A reduced fee category needs to be established for upgraded existing studio structures for adaptive reuse. The current impact fees are very high because they were designed for new construction of family homes. Impacts from an existing Granny Flat are minimal.
2. How onerous will the safety check list be? The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) form is already accepted by the City, and Code Enforcement performs about 1,000 safety checks a year for the housing authority using this form. In spite of the wheel not broken, they have drafted a whole new document for the granny flat program. Why?
3. Lack of affordable inspections. Certified home safety inspectors are more affordable and specialize in safety, but have not been included as was recommended by the Ventura Safe Housing Collaborative (VSHC) and the public. These inspectors have to complete continuing education units every year. Code enforcement wants to require two separate contractors to perform one inspection. Why?
4. Conflicts of Interest: Contractors, in the proposed ordinance, are allowed to identify repairs and then quote to fix them. Why? This has the appearance of a conflict of interest. Home Safety Inspectors are not allowed to quote on identified repairs needed for compliance.
5. No time payment plans These have not been included in the ordinance as directed by the City Council. Granny, on Social Security, doesn't have the ability to get a loan to come up with the cash.
6. Self incrimination required. Why? Code enforcement wants applicants to disclose any other nonconforming setbacks on the property. There is no guarantee this information will not be used for citations in the future. Old properties have multiple setback issues that could earn them a ticket and a teardown.

Come fill a seat, fill out a comment card, or speak for 3 minutes on what you see as a hindrance or an advantage to a successful grandfathering program.

Click here to View the Staff-proposed ordinance (pdf)
See PRESS RELEASE ~ 7/11/11 (below) for Questions about the proposed ordinance.
“If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately."
Thomas Paine

- Camille Harris, Ventura

Ventura City Council Meeting - Code Enforcement
PRESS RELEASE ~ 7/11/11 ~ Upcoming Mon. July 18 Ventura City Council Meeting ~ Ventura City Council Up To Its Old Tricks Again, BACKSLIDING... Trying to Push Thru Code Enforcement Again... How Much Money has Ventura Paid the City Manager/City Attorney/Code Enforcement Officer to try to Push this Unconstitutional TAX on the People? Do Council Member's Own Illegal Dwellings Get Prefered Treatment?

Subject: Concerns re: Granny Flat Ordinance
July 10, 2011 9:17:05 PM PDT
July 11, 2011,
To: Jeffrey Lambert

Community Development Director
Re: Granny flat ordinance scheduled for July 18, 2011
Dear Mr. Lambert,
We trust that you share our desire for our City's first step in the grandfathering project to receive maximum community buy-in and be a big success for both the Community and the City. To that end, we wish to address three components of this important program that could jeopardize its success, if not sensitively addressed:
1. Fees could be unaffordable
2. Inspections could be unnecessarily onerous
3. Payment Plans could be unavailable

1. On Fees:
A. On the "blue sheets" showing impact fees by year, passed out at the June 20, 2011 City Council meeting, there was no category for improved existing structures, such as guest houses, garages and barns upgraded to habitable studios. The impact fees shown would not apply, as they were for new construction, rather than permit fees for improvements on existing structures.
B. Per a Code Enforcement Supervisor, this type of structure has not been tracked as a category, so the only example we have to serve as a precedent would be our current Council Member's [
Christy Weir] existing guest house/studio conversion and legalization in 2007.

According to public records, it appears approximately $209. was charged in permit fees. However, there was no record of a charge for "impact fees." If the "blue sheet" impact fees for new construction had been charged, the impact fees in 2007 would have been about $11,702 [
Did Christy get to Skate, clear of these fees or what???]. The fact that there was no charge for impact fees for our Council Member's legalization makes sense for the following reasons:
a. A granny conversion is derived from an existing structure and is merely an upgrade of that structure for adaptive re-use.
b. The granny conversions are not new construction, but rather existing, very low impact, sustainable and green answers to achieving greater density.
c. This is not much different than adding a master suite and taking in a roomer or caretaker [
or for Christy a Butler or House Servant?].
d. These studio units are generally used to house just one adult, so there is no impact on schools.
e. Their legalization will save the community millions of dollars in preventing homelessness and keeping people housed in a low-impact environment.
f. The increase in property taxes will accrue to the City’s income.
2. On Inspectors:
A. Inspectors: The Ventura Safe Housing Collaborative (VSHC) requested private Home Safety Inspectors be accepted for the purpose of inspections as an alternative to contractors because, if the inspectors are members of CREIA (California Real Estate Inspectors Association), they are more qualified than contractors and are more affordable.
a. CREIA inspectors are required to take 30 CEU's [Continuing Educational Units] every year to keep up to date on codes and maintain their certification.
b. Contractors do not have that requirement.
c. Home Safety Inspectors can serve as ombudsmen for the homeowner, giving them a confidential preview of what they will need to do to meet the requirements for grandfathering.
d. Per public policy of the Trade Practices Act: California Business and Professions Code, there is less potential for a conflict of interest regarding repair work: Section 7197. (a)
It is an unfair business practice for a home inspector, a company that employs the inspector, or a company that is controlled by a company that also has a financial interest in a company employing a home inspector, to do any of the following: (1) To perform or offer to perform, for an additional fee, any repairs to a structure on which the inspector, or the inspector's company, has prepared a home inspection report in the past 12 months
B. Inspection forms: Code Enforcement performs 1,000 inspections a year for the Housing Authority using the federal forms for that purpose.
a. It would be unnecessarily onerous to require anything more stringent than is already required by HUD and the Ventura Housing Authority
b. The City already accepts the HUD inspection form.
3. On Payment Plans
A. The City Council asked the staff to include time payment plans and they were not included in the last version of the ordinance.
B. Many of these properties are owned by senior citizens on fixed incomes. These owners can only afford the program if they can pay the fees off over time.
C. If the City does not have the resources to accommodate time payment plans, the newly "found money" would provide these resources.
D. A bank or collection service could handle the collections in exchange for a modest interest fee.

A great deal of work has been done by the Ventura Safe Housing Collaborative (VSHC), the Community and the Staff to create a successful grandfathering program. We trust that at the end of the road, you will look at these three areas to ensure the time has been fruitful for our Citizens and our City. Additionally, if the program is to be extended to all Ventura properties over the age of 30 years, as was recommended by the public and the VSHC, we trust you will want this first step to be a successful one that ensures maximum community buy-in.
Camille Harris
Preserve, Ensure and Protect Property (PEPP)

Camille Harris
(805) 901-8188

"The way to escape from a problem is to solve it."

The People are the ultimate, guardians of their own liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

Ventura City Council Meeting
40 Citizen Questions on Code Enforcement
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 of... Continue Reading Citizen Questions

Ventura City Council: Older Parts of City
Now Rezoned for Higher Density....
.......So It's About Money
PRESS RELEASE ~ 6/17/11 ~
- Camille Harris

Please forward this to everyone on your email list in Ventura:
"If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately." - Thomas Paine
In an old town, Code Enforcement's knock can come to almost any door, and your nightmare can begin.

That's why the public recommended grandfathering 75% of Ventura's properties in exchange for a safety inspection and payment of original fees.
Sadly, the Council appears to be accepting Code Enforcement's
recommendations instead to insert a torturous 1987 restriction into a legalization program to shutter existing safe granny flats.
This restriction will severely limit legalization to as few granny flats as possible, increase homelessness, desperation sales, foreclosures, heartaches and lawsuits.
Up to 23 years of safe affordable housing for the low income segment of our city can be shuttered, just when we need it the most.
Ten members of the Ventura Safe Housing Collaborative (VSHC) have protested the Staff's action. Now, everyone must speak and share responsibility
Monday Night, June 20th, 2011
6 pm City Hall, 501 Poli, 2nd floor
Agenda item 11
Attend, fill a seat, fill out a comment card or speak out. Everyone gets 3 minutes and there is no legal requirement for you to give your name and address.
- Camille Harris, Ventura

LINK:Documents and Updates on the Grandfather Project Here

Ventura City Council: Code Enforcement: WHAT Happened Last Night?
PRESS RELEASE ~ 5/10/11 ~
- Camille Harris

Here's my theory on why the people's collaborative got dumped on last night: The Ventura Safe Housing Collaborative, formed to represent the public, did an amazing job, but they were shanghaied in the end by the City Manager [Rick "King" Cole] partnered with redevelopment interests (in my opinion.) The staff proposal for a second unit ordinance last night revolved around the suggestion of the big dissenter on grandfathering, major West side realtor, Roger Case.

The West Side is the second area targeted for redevelopment, and grandfathering could enhance property values. That could make redevelopment more expensive. The proposal from staff with Mr. Case's suggestion, essentially violated the public's desires by inserting a purchase and proof before 1987 qualifier and other complicating issues not recommended by the public.

The VSHC speaking in consensus for the public submitted the corrections to the council that would reflect the public's input.The council members had the committee's recommendations right in front of them as they voted to approve instead, the city staff's recommendations with the 1987 restriction. It was a major betrayal of the public trust by the Council, with the exception of Jim Monahan, who voted against the staff proposal.

Here were the 8 recommendations given to the city council last night by the 10 former members of the Ventura Safe Housing Collaborative that were dismissed by the City Council:
Allow sworn statements to establish date of unit habitability/service.(families who have undocumented units and have not rented them have no way of establishing the date of conversion, since in most cases public records do not exist.)
Delete all reference to the 1987 restriction and extend the requirements listed for 2nd units prior to 1987 to be extended to February 28, 2011. This restriction could wipe out 23 years of affordable housing because after that, most of the restrictions on second units could not be met affordably)
Inspect for life safety issues only, using forms from Housing Authority or State Civil Code 1941.
Currently, the city accepts the form used by the Housing Authority, which is almost identical to State Civil Code 1941) but staff's proposal makes it more complicated and expensive.
Require drawing/sketch only of unit requested to be legalized; showing setbacks, fence heights, drain locations and structure's relationship to primary dwelling.
Most of the older homes have other nonconforming setbacks and forcing a drawing showing all structures on the property could be a form of self-incrimination.
Allow certified home safety inspectors, with errors and omissions and liability insurance, as an option to contractors for inspections.
This is more affordable than a collection of contractors, and certified home safety inspectors are more up to date on codes than contractors. They also do not have other business requiring approvals from staff, so there is no danger of a conflict of interest.
Offer time payment plans for applicant if needed with $50 minimum monthly payment, interest rates same as 30 year mortgage rates at time of billing. Note: Collection can be facilitated by a property management company. Staff says they don't have the resources for collecting.
If homeowner cannot pay, place lien on property to be paid when property changes ownership.this allows someone to go ahead and grandfather now if they do not have the money.
All decisions of the Community Development Director can be appealed to the Housing Authority or the City Council. It is now being considered that instead of no due process, as is the case now for all code violation issues, that homeowner pay thousands of dollars to appeal to the planning commission. So, the choice is No due process or appeal or pay thousands and take your chances at the Planning Commission.
The proposal approved by your City Council members, except Jim Monahan, ignored the 8 recommendations from the Ventura Safe Housing Collaborative, who represented the public.
Helen Yunker, respected philanthropist approaching 90 years of age, was treated shamefully by Mayor Bill Fulton who refused to answer her question which was, "What do you intend to do with all of the people who will be forced out of all the granny flats? Have you made accommodations for them?" He refused to answer her question, called it rhetorical and adjourned the meeting.
The staff will come back with the final ordinance in June, meanwhile wagons are circling and people are going back underground. Sad, there actually was hope for once. I apologize for my naivete, and for being grumpy with all those who said they were afraid to attend. You were right, I was wrong. Camille
Government - If you think the problems we create are bad, just wait until you see our solutions.

- Camille Harris, Ventura

VENTURA: New Code Enforcement Policies
Monday Night, 5/9
PRESS RELEASE ~ 5/5/11 ~
Dear Friends,
The City Council needs your input Monday night! They are considering new code enforcement proposals from Code Enforcement management Monday night. If approved, It will have big effects on the community and your property, so take the time to read it

Please provide your opinion based on your perception of the public's desires. Remember that the Council does not have their own independent staff, are essentially unpaid volunteers and need your support and input. We all need to do our part to support them and stay engaged. Show up to engage or fill a seat on Monday night at City Hall, 6 pm, 2nd floor (park up the ramp behind the building and come in the parking lot door) at 501 Poli at California

Here are the highlights of what's being proposed:
1. A code enforcement volunteer program with a new city vehicle ($90,000.) for volunteers to travel the public streets and photograph code violations. The photos will then be given to code enforcement staff.
2. Increase in code enforcement staff ($90,000.) and a higher budget
3. A complex restricted program for grandfathering second units that includes
a. A de facto disqualification of families who have second units for family member and who have not rented them or used them for humanitarian purposes because
b. the code enforcement proposal requires documentation that would only be available to a landlord or official public records of an existing second unit, denying sworn statements to establish date of habitability..
c. Units from 1987 onward would be subject to more stringent new 2nd unit requirements.
d. Submission of a plot plan to reveal any nonconforming setbacks of all and any other structures on the lot
e. It removes all authority from the City Council, denying any appeal of denial of application at the discretion of one city employee. Even if the applicant has gone through the entire process, the applicant can be denied and the employees is not appealable.

If you think these requirements could either hinder the success of a 2nd unit legalization program, or the other code enforcement recommendations could adversely affect our community, your council is still deliberating. Phone number is 654-7824 (leave a message) OR EMAIL:

"Jim Monahan", "Bill Fulton", "Brian Brennan", "carl morehouse", "Christy Weir", "Mike Tracy", "Neal Andrews"

It's Monday night at 6 pm, spread the word, fill a chair, show you care. We need to have faith in our elected representatives, but they need your support, and silence is consent.
Blessings, Camille

The six recommendations of the Ventura Safe Housing Collaborative, based on public particpation are:
1 A legalization plan for all Ventura properties, including commercial
Status: Michael Mehas stated he and other Ventura attorneys would work with the City Attorney to ensure legality.
2 A practical compliance plan that provides alternatives to demolition or hiring an architect to start from scratch.
Status: to be addressed
3 Improving program guidance (includes revision of definition of substandard to mean unsafe as opposed to just lacking a permit or missing a screen)
Status: Staff is working on an action plan to be addressed
4 Citizens Review Board for tenant landlord disputes, due process, citation review prior to city’s creating conditions for potential financial takings, etc.
Status: Councilmember Andrews requested that the VSHC return with a more specific mission statement and charter for the proposed Citizens’ Review Board.)
5 An aggressive outreach plan…so everyone can sign up!
Status: needs revenue projections to create benchmarking, and could probably use some volunteer help. Any marketing mavens out there?

- Camille Harris, Ventura

VIEW LINK: City of Ventura's Code Enforce TAX SCAM
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6/17/11: Mon. June 20 Ventura City Council Meeting ~ Agenda Item 11; Code Enforcement: A Shameful Betrayal of Public Trust
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5/5/11: VENTURA: New Code Enforcement Policies Monday Night 5/9
3/21/11: Stop Pesticide Spraying in Ojai's Public Parks

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