Ventura City Council Meeting
December 5, 2011
Ventura City Hall - 501 Poli Street
Ventura's City Council voted Council Member Mike Tracy into the office of Mayor while giving new Council Member Cheryl Heitmann the nod as Deputy Mayor.
To View a listing of the agenda items for this council meeting, go to www.cityofventura.net/meeting/city-council-meeting-87.
Mayor Fulton brought the meeting to order with a call of the roll – all present. It was then asked of Council Member Monahan to lead in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor for a Moment – Students from Citrus Glen Elementary School participated in the Ventura Unified School District’s Character Development program which solicits original essays from the fifth-grade class. This month’s character trait was on the subject of Courtesy with the entry from Madeleine Osborne having been selected the winner by Principal Patricia Kingsley. Also present was Madeleine's mother, Michelle McMangiel, her father Mark Osborne along with her teachers Gary Miller and Jerry Weiner. Madeleine began by saying that being courteous is a way to show kindness, and showing kindness is a way to be a good person. As an example it would be the courteous thing to do if someone finds a wallet, to return it to them. Courtesy also means being polite and that it’s best to think before you speak, remembering that if you can’t say something nice it’s best to say nothing at all. The young writer concluded by saying that being courteous is something to be proud of.
Mayor Fulton presented Madeleine with a placard suitable for placing on her desk at school designating her as the Mayor for a Moment, along with a pin displaying the Seal of the City. And last but not least, the Key to the City.
Closed Session Report – City Attorney Ariel Calonne said that Council took action on an item not yet reportable, with the opposing party taking action also.
Council Communications – Council Member Andrews asked that the meeting the adjourned in the memory of Warren Fowl, who passed away November 19. Warren was a former secretary for the local Mensa organization and active in citywide charitable organizations.
Council Member Morehouse mentioned that the Pacific View Mall is hosting the 27th Annual “Light Up a Life” Tree Lighting Ceremony benefiting the Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurses Association. The event begins at 7:00 PM, December 6, with good music and memorial purchases being made available.
Deputy Mayor Tracy wished to acknowledge the retirement of Ventura Police Sgt. Jack Richards, with a special announcement being given in recognition of his position as Coordinator in Chief with the rest of the city and other local organizations. His work with young people in volleyball was one of the hallmarks for people to reflect upon with pleasure.
Council Member Weir thanked everyone involved with the Winter Wine Walk and the Holiday Tree Lighting event. The tree lighting was at the Mission with thousands of people downtown. The councilwoman reminded everyone about the importance shopping local. Sales tax dollars spent in Ventura help pay for our desperately needed services, many of which been cut back recently.
Mayor Fulton commented on the tree lighting ceremony, thanking Father Tom for his efforts in making the event a huge success. Lights were placed in the tall pine trees on mission property, which has not been done in several years, according to the mayor.
Council Member Morehouse thanked the fire crew for bringing Santa Claus in to further light up the evening.
Council Member Monahan also wished to thank the DVO for its part in organizing the event, along with Ron Boldonado for his patience in riding the crane up-and-down to replace strings of bulbs that had a tendency to malfunction from time to time. A function called Light Up Our Landmark is having its kickoff this week, sponsored by the DVO and supported to private donations to support permanent nighttime lighting, all for the enjoyment of citizens and visitors to the historic downtown business district.
Regional Boards, Commissions and Committees – Mayor Fulton reported that last Friday was his final meeting in participation with the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) where among several reports received included the Countywide Transportation Plan, dealing with priorities as discussed with members cities dealing with improvements to public transportation within the county. The possibility of a sales tax measure was discussed, which would require voter approval, and that coming out of that meeting were strong sentiments that the tax increase not be considered in 2012. the consolidation transit services was also on the agenda. Seven transportation service companies currently operate within the county, and for some time there has been consideration given to the possibility of mergers within some of the areas served. The talks are still ongoing with substantive results expected sometime after the first of the year, according to the mayor. Further thank-you’s were offered by the mayor to the council for selecting him as its representative for the past 6 years, and on the Gold Closed Transit Board for the past eight years.
The mayor wished to reorder a couple of agenda items, placing Agenda Item No. 10, report from the Ad Hoc Mayoral Selection Committee, and place it ahead of item 9.
Public Communications, First Monday –Each speaker would be allowed three minutes on any topic, with an additional 2 minutes on any agenda item.
Helen Yunker spoke saying that it is known to all that a new mayor and a new deputy mayor were about to be selected by Council. It was said that up until 2005, the two top positions were selected by rotation among council members. The point to be made was that Council Member Andrews, while having tenure in his position as a council member, has been denied positioning in the normal rotation and has yet to serve as either Deputy Mayor or Mayor. It was suggested that Mr. Andrews has been discriminated against merely for his independent thinking and his desire to place public interest above his own. Apparently, according to the speaker, issues such as not being a team player have arisen.
[Comment] Well, sadly, being a team player (or not) often depends upon whose team you’re on, and now, as everyone will know shortly, Mr. Andrews has been passed over for a third time. This should speak volumes to those who are still looking for an explanation. All we can say at this point is luckily for him, waiting for promotion doesn’t involve tenure (plus benefits) in the art of running into burning buildings. [Ed.]
Lowell Dean Cook, a Country Estates Mobile Home Park representative, wished to compliment all council members for their years of service. It was the speaker’s feeling that the City of Ventura has the best Council in the state.
Laura Gullafson wanted to speak further on the HP Wright Memorial Library issue, asking for clarification on the lease agreement entered into with the college district over the status of the city-owned building. With the 50 year lease due to expire, a seldom-mentioned lease extension of 15 years has yet to be addressed as a possible solution toward maintaining Wright library as a functioning entity. The speaker described the possibility of including a “Friends” shop that would be much larger than the small cubicle at Foster, and the much greater range of options which could be made available by partnering with the college. It was the speaker’s contention that the public has been misled as to the details of the lease. City Manager Cole attended a meeting on Wednesday at the College Community Council, saying that police, fire and library services receive top priority within city management, but that the citizens show no desire to increase funding for these activities, having turned down Measure A [in 2009]. It was wondered where $300,000 for the purchase of golf carts was coming from, and how that plays against cutting essential services to the citizens. It was said that from the minutes of the July 12 meeting the funding was approved under consent for golf carts.
The mayor asked Mrs. Gullafson for information more specific to the lease extension. The speaker then produced a document from the city attorney’s office which specifically addressed improvements such as sidewalks to be paid for by the city to the College District, along with the fact of a 15-year lease extension.
Diane Underhill spoke with additional time yielded by others, also going forward with a PowerPoint presentation, the purpose of which was to update the Ventura Parkway River project for the benefit of the council.
Believe It or Not, showing: (1) Did you know, as recently as 1971 area officials declared the Ventura River “dead” and moved to channelize it with concrete – (2) Public outcry stopped this travesty. Some things are worth protecting.
Friends of the Ventura River, showing: (1) Friends is a coalition of community groups, individuals & businesses that recognize the need for protection and enhancement of the Ventura River to improve our quality of life and ensure future sustainability all this great natural asset.
Supporting Organizations, showing: A list of 30 or more organizations and entities was shown including the Ventura Audubon Society, VCCool, Ventura Citizens for Hillside Preservation, Ventura County Watershed Council, Wishtoyo Foundation along with a host of others.
Promoting River Parkway, showing: (1) Friends’ primary focus is the Ventura River Parkway Plan which was recently completed with a State Coastal Conservancy grant. The plan provides a grand vision to reconnect the community to the river.
City Council Support Critical, showing: (1) In June of 2007, understanding it was time to reclaim the river as an economic asset and to protect its critical resources, the Ventura City Council unanimously voted to support the Ventura River Parkway concept.
Years of Local Efforts, showing: (1) In fact this River Parkway Plan is the culmination of years of efforts by local leaders, government agencies, businesses and environmental groups.
Hwy 33 Cut Off River Access, showing: (1) Before Hwy 33 was built the community used to play, swim and fish in the Ventura River (2) Flash-forward to the 21st Century and the river is all but forgotten – out of sight, out of mind – (3) Now, however, working together we can reconnect to our river.
Why Is the River Parkway Important, showing: (1) The Ventura River is one of the last natural, self-sustaining rivers in Southern California – (2) It is a home to one of the greatest diversities of plants and animals in Southern California – (3) However, for lack of access, it remains largely invisible to local communities.
Funds Still Available to Aid Parkway, showing: (1) Prop 50 and 84 provided funding for river parkways to protect critical water supply and habitat resources – (2) River parkways also provide – (2.1) Natural flood management – (2.2) Ground water recharge – (2.3) Recreational open space – (2.4) Economic benefits
What is the River Parkway Vision, showing: (1) Imagine the river as a vibrant 16-mile network of parks, trails and restored natural areas connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Los Padres National Forest and reconnecting people to the river while also providing –
Natural Flood Management, showing: (1) River parkways provide flood protection benefits for communities by providing wider corridors along our waterways that help store, and provide safe corridors for the passage of, storm waters
Restoring River Floodplains, showing: (1) Building structures in a river’s flood plain restricts the river’s functional area, causing it to run faster, create more downstream erosion and flood more severely – (2) Parkways provide natural flood protection by using river adjacent floodplain land for open space recreation which reduces costly flooding.
Reducing costly flooding, As Well As Fast-Flow Erosion, Plus Parkways Protect Water Quality showing: (1) By slowing stormwater down by allowing water to spread into wider natural flood plains, it facilitates the recharging of groundwater supplies.
River Parkways Also Protect Wildlife, As Parkways Restore Critical Habitat, Plus Reconnect People to the River by Providing Recreational Open Space, showing: (1) The River Parkway will provide our community with new picnic sites, recreational areas, hiking and biking trails, wildlife viewing points and educational exhibits
Outdoor Activity is Vital, showing: (1) Outdoor activity is vital to raising healthy, happy children – (2) The Ventura River Parkway will provide safe areas for families to experience nature and enjoy our wonderful climate
Parkways Enhance Quality of Life, showing: (1) Communities throughout our state have reclaimed their rivers as major natural and economic assets – (2) Good River Parkway design creates lively, diverse places that promote a sense of community and sense of stewardship
Parkways Provide Big Economic Benefits, showing: (1) Along with natural flood management, habitat protection and recreation, the river parkway will also provide other community benefits – (2) River parkways attract tourist dollars that in turn support local businesses and help provide more jobs
Parkways = Local Revenue, showing: (1) A recent study found that visitors to the 23-mile American River Parkway generated an annual $364 million in local revenue for the Sacramento region
Recent Parkway Progress, showing: (1) Friends is the recent recipient of a NPS RTCA technical grant to build on the Ventura River Parkway Plan by more finely detailing trail connections within the plan
Opening Levee for Public Access, showing: (1) Opening the river levee for public access between Main & Stanley is an achievable first step to helping make the Ventura River Parkway a reality.
Parkways Preserve Rivers for Perpetuity, showing: (1) It is time to regain public access to the river and protect this wonderful natural asset so it can enhance ours & future generations lives and can help make our community healthy and prosperous.
Thank You, showing: (1) We want to thank the Council for past and future support of the Ventura River Parkway vision, working together as a community we can make this long-term project a vital attraction for our region.
For More Information, showing: (1) For more information visit the Friends web site at [friendsofventurariver.org]
|Launch in external player|