Ventura's Parking Meter Wars ~ The Ojai and Ventura VIEW
The Gold Coast's Only Truly FREE Newspaper!

In Print and Online 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 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.

Downtown: The effects of the City of Ventura's failed LAesque redevelopment policies ~ high rents from commercial property owners in cahootz with the city which drove out hard working "local" tenants. Even the corporate chain stores the city had promised to fill Ventura with are few ~ witness Urban Outfitters and "American" Apparel whose product is imported from overseas..... The VCReporter "Shopper" (pretending to be "The Press") was co-founded by Ventura City Manager Rick Cole (via Sounthland Publications, see "Press Ownership" at far right) and has come out in support of the high rent Property Owners. The VCReporter (run/owned by LA's Southland Publications) is pro-development, supporting the Downtown Ventura Organization (DVO), (VCReporter's Pasadena-based publisher multi-faceted David Comden is DVO "Vice Chair") a consortium of property owners wishing to jack the rents on longtime established Ventura shop keepers.
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:
From the Oct, 2010, Issue #30, The Ojai and Ventura VIEW

by Joel Anderson

Christie Weir (Ventura Council Member) comes in my store and goes, 'Oh I noticed you are in favor of the parking meters. Do you want to be part of our thing?' and I said, 'NO, and I'm Not in favor of the meters'....for some reason she thought I was in favor.... just because I had gone to some Downtown Ventura Organization (DVO) meeting at one time......." said Steve Tobey, owner of We Olive, a downtown Ventura Business, struggling with significant revenue losses due to the effect of Ventura's failing newly-installed parking meter program, activated Sept. 14.

Tobey said, "Yeah, I remember when they came by to say they were doing their whole little Ad Campaign, to sell to me." The DVO, made up primarily of downtown property owners, is in support of the meter program; however the program is opposed by a significant majority of downtown merchants, including Tobey and many others, who agree that the DVO, with the city, has rallied against retail shops to support and market the their ill-conceived meter program. The Chair for the DVO is Dave Armstrong, an architect with "experience" (conflict of interest) in city planning. (more info.

Ventura property and business owner Randall Richman, however has started a Petition to Remove the Meters ( and said, "The city doesn't support business down here. They don't get it. This is Ventura-Village, but it feels like a police state now. It used to be really kind of mellow and laid back here. Ventura is not West Hollywood. We don't want paid parking on the streets. It's that simple. It's inconvenient and it's unnecessary. "I'd like to know who signed off on this... was it the City Manager Rick Cole or someone in the administration of City Hall....? They should be fired - removed. And there are only two council members who voted against installing the parking meters. That was Neal Andrews and Jim Monahan, which means there are going to be three council members up for re-election next year; Christie Weir, Bill Fulton (Mayor), and Carl Morehouse, and they all VOTED "Yes" to Support the Parking Meter Program."

Gary Parker, owner of American Flags & Cutlery, and also a Vietnam Veteran (Seebeas E4) said, "I know that on the 14th my business dropped, I’m down 33 percent..... so that means one of two things, it's either the economy, or the meters... they're going to eventually destroy the downtown shopping people so it's a real problem. I am sixty-three and I'm going, 'What the Hell is Going On?'" It's been estimated that costs to Ventura for the Meter Program, with the hardware, additional personnel and administrative infrastructures, so far is approaching $1.5 million. It is also estimated this amount could have been used to purchase approximately 1,500 parking spaces, by building a double decker parking lot. Hauntingly this is all beginning to sound like the economically failed Red-Flex ticket camera fiasco, still operating in the red.

According to many other Ventura Merchants, at least 90 percent of whom are against the meters, business is also down over 30 percent for them (some say as high as 90 percent), with many small businesses already looking at vacating their leases and closing their doors altogether. If that happens, this could add significantly to the already numerous vacant storefronts lining Main Street, resulting in another huge sales-tax-revenue collapse; and more financial catastrophe to the city.

But look at it from the city's viewpoint; there will probably be plenty of police on the streets in the downtown area, even if they are just chasing tumbleweeds and a few parked cars. The city had tried to initiate a parking meter program at least twice, a few decades ago. The programs failed miserably and were discontinued, again reaping significant financial losses to Ventura. Said Richman, "This was the absolute worst time the city could put in more fees and more taxes - in a recession - because there are businesses that are just getting by and this may put them out of business altogether."

The current "ghost town" effect, due to the new meter program, has shocked the already struggling economy of the downtown area. Many businesses are already right on the edge and the effect of the new meter program will likely push many more off the cliff. Since the late 1980s and early 90s, when Ventura embarked on their ambitious redevelopment revenue-driven plan to generate "extra" tax revenues from merchants, many retail rents skyrocketed in the area. With Rents often tripling this caused many stores to be pushed out of town and out of business. After the good paying tenants left because they could not afford the new astronomical rents, storefronts have been left empty up and down the street, often for well over a year or even two, resulting in further extended sales tax revenue losses to the city.

Flying in the face of longtime and established small businesses, the city has also been openly solicitous of the out-of-town big box chain stores (witness American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, Buffalo Exchange, Starbucks, etc.) which siphon more 'local' cash from the already stricken area. As city redevelopment schemes escalated beginning in the mid 90s, the city's grandiose policies overtly discouraged many "Mom and Pop" businesses.

With the meter program, yet another nail in the coffin was hammered into the ghostly downtown Ventura area economy. Surely Ventura's ineffective council members should be aware of the numerous closed businesses lining Main Street, especially in the downtown area, hardest hit by the ongoing recession and with already extremely low consumer confidence.

Said Richman, "The city says it's not about revenue enhancement, but it really is because they project how much it costs, how much it will return.... and that's what their attitude is... Not only could it be a big loser where folks don't want to hassle with the meters, but what you lose in Sales Tax is significant..... down now at over 30 percent.... most everyone I talk to is affected. "And we seem to be losing 'the cool' in exchange we are becoming like Watermark-town or something.... We may, in fact, become a blighted and deserted town, when actually what we are is a Surftown.... eventually they will want to put meters at Pierpont, the Avenue, Mid-town, The Mall, the East End and the Foothills...all the rest. "The city is just not with it as far as providing adequate parking for the amount of development that they are adding down there," said Richman.

A "Parking Meter Meeting" was held Wed., Oct. 20 at the Foster Library. In addition to the huge and determined number of Merchants and Citizens, both Ventura Mayor Bill Fulton and council member Christie Weir tried to put on a good face, but were non-committal in response to merchants like Gary Parker who asked for a moratorium, during the coming holiday season only or even six months which would suspend the financially damaging meter program.

The Star Free Press reported Oct. 21 that only a dozen merchants spoke out; however over 50 merchants were present at the meeting and many more citizens (up to 35) wished to speak, however were not granted the opportunity by Fulton or Weir.

Citizens and Council Member Neal Andrews is considering placing a "Policy Change Consideration Request" on the Nov. 8 or 15th Ventura City Council Meeting agenda. The request could ask that the meters be shut down for further consideration, and possibly lead to selling the equipment back to the company that sold them to the city in the first place.

The timing of the meeting, scheduled during business hours; beginning at 8:30am on the business weekday, was just as bad as the timing of the Meter Program itself. Many business owners were conveniently unable to attend during the time selected; normal business hours of operation.

Weir also said that in the past public meetings had been held to present the city's plan to install meters, but that the city was unable to "reach merchants" for public input do to inadequate city hall email lists. Many merchants strongly disputed Weir's claim that adequate public meeting notice had been maintained. Most agree that the city would have failed at any rate to recognize the overwhelming consensus against the meter program among citizens and merchants; that the financially struggling city would have moved ahead aggressively, steamrolling as they have right over any opposition to their Parking Meter Plan. Public Safety is now also in question in the downtown area, as waitresses and barkeeps who are already suffering reduced wages, are having to walk alone often unattended for blocks late at night to get to their parked vehicles and head home.

Few support the Meters. Those who do, however, are made up primarily of people moved here from LA or other fast-paced big cities and are used to high-density parking fee situations, or those already targeted by the cities expensive meter marketing campaign.

Polling a downtown business, one employee said, "I think it's good, the people that want to shop and need to get something real quick, instead of mosey around....they can just jump out of the car and come park and grab lunch, bring business..... some people that can come in during lunch breaks and get a haircut real quick....I think it's really not bad if you really think about's not like you're having to pay $7 to park like when I lived in Santa Monica..... I'm used to paying for parking when I went to work for $7 a day....parking, compared to here? I mean if you know where to park, it's perfectly fine," said Celtic Carma Salon Stylist Maycie Oiampetchakul.

One of the merchants asked Fulton and Weir if the city knew yet that it had made a big mistake. The city officials failed to respond to the question from the citizen. The meeting lasted until around 10:45am as disappointed merchants emptied out onto Main Street in front of the library. The loads of empty spaces were a sad and unproductive sight reaching down the street during what should have been a bustling workday morning; as the frustrated merchants headed back to their quiet little stores.

- Joel Anderson, editor

RELEASE: Fri 3/11/11: Parking Meter Petition
Ready to Sign
Date: Sat., Mar. 11, 2011

Great news! The Ventura Parking Meter Petition is officially ready to sign. Registered Ventura Voters, please help us get the measure on the November 2011 Ballot. If you are not registered but are at least 18 and live in the City of Ventura, we can help get you registered or you can pick up a form at the Post Office and do it yourself. We will be at the Irish Parade this Saturday morning around 10ish near California and Main (B of A) and at the Fairgrounds for this weekend's events. Also, many Downtown Merchants will have the petition for your convenience. We can also come to you for your signature, if needed. Thank you for your support and continued interest. Sincerely, Randall
18 Reasons to
Remove Ventura's Parking Meters
1. Inconvenient
2. Expensive (during recession)
3. Ugly
4. Unreliable
5. Hard to work (unlit keypad at night)
6. Favors some businesses over others
7. Ruins the small town (village) feel
8. Unnecessary solution to a problem which wasn't broken (Santa Barbara method much better)
9. City Failure to demand off street parking from developers (like leasing 60 spaces of garage to 60s California Street project)
10. Cost-ineffective
11. Sunday - Church day fees charged!
12. Capriccio restaurant paying customers' parking fees for business (less profit, need to raise menu prices)
13. Election issue 2011, Rick Cole's black eye failure.
14. Driving business away from downtown Ventura, effectively reducing sales tax revenues for the City of Ventura
15. Shutting down already struggling businesses (see #14 above)
16. Discourages Ventura's middle class, youth, seniors and lower classes from shopping downtown, despite Ventura's predominantly middle class population. Who will shop there?
17. Flawed Reasoning/Revenue Driven - City leaders claim the meters will solve parking problems is part of the switch and bait.
18. Fiscal Malfeasance - on the part of Ventura City leaders driving the city and population to financial ruin.
- Editor
Sign the Downtown Ventura Petition to REMOVE THE PARKING METERS ~ Go To The Website at ~ We, the undersigned, request that the paid parking meters in Downtown Ventura, California be removed immediately. They are unnecessary, inconvenient and are hurting local businesses during this recession. We seek a better alternative for revenue enhancement. Sign the Petition by Sending Your Email to

"Show Me The money" - Cuba Gooding Jr. (in Jerry Mcguire)
Planning Ahead ! Ventura City Council
VOTING OUT Those Who VOTED For the Meters!

~ Send 'em Home for X-Mas! ~

Say "NO" to Re-Election November ~ 2011

Council Members Terms Expire
Bill Fulton (current Mayor) Dec. 5, 2011
Carl Morehouse Dec. 5, 2011
Christy Weir Dec. 5, 2011
Who Owns
Your Thoughts ?
When the News Becomes Just Another Racket
~ VCReporter/Ventana ~ Southland Publications, Pasadena, California. (Paper-in-the-Pocket: Southland Publications was co-founded by Ventura City Manager Rick-'King'-Cole)!
~ Ojai Valley News ~ Buchanan Publications/
Tuscaloosa, Alabama ?
~ Reuters ~ Purchased by the Rothchild banking family in the 1800s. Reuters recently purchased Associated Press, Europe ?
~ Forbes Magazine ~ Malcolm Forbes (billionaire)/
~ Getty Images ~ Getty Communications (J.Paul Getty...)/
Seattle ?
~ The Economist ~ Owner, The Economist Group, half of which is owned by the Financial Times, a subsidiary of Pearson PLC. A group of independent shareholders, including many members of the staff and the Rothschild banking family of England,owns the rest./
London ?
~ VCStar ~ E.W. Scripps Co.,
Cincinnati, Ohio ?
~ Santa Barbara Independent ~ two silent partners from NYC, Marianne Partridge, Randy Campbell.
Draining The Local Pond
In Corporations We Do Trust?
more info.
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.