Sunday, April 30, 2006
Diani Asphalt Plant Draft EIR
Response to Glen Tavern Fire
"On Wednesday, April 19 at 12:57:57 Ventura County Fire Communications received a 911 report from "George" of a structure fire at "Glen's Tavern" at 118 N Mill Street (sic). This of course proved to be the Glen Tavern Inn at 134 North Mill Street.
The following initial fire units were dispatched at 12:58:25: Santa Paula Engines 81 and 82, Santa Paula Duty Chief Kevin Fildes, (Chief Skeels being on vacation in Oregon), Ventura County (VNC) Engines 20 (Upper Ojai), 27 (Fillmore), Light and Air 57 (Somis) and VNC Battalion Chief 1. Santa Paula "PCF's" (any available off-duty firefighters) were dispatched at 13:00:28.
First arriving fire unit was Acting Assistant Chief Fildes at 13:01:13, who reported a working fire (smoke and flames visible) at the historic three story structure. At 13:01:54 he requested a second alarm (more engines), he also reported that people were inside to be evacuated.
SP Engine 82 arrived at 13:03:09, under Captain Gil Segovia. They began fire attack and evacuation efforts. SP Engine 81 under Captain John Harber responded from the City Yard at Corporation Street. The dispatch printout does not show E-81's arrival time but it was not long after E-82's.
The second alarm was dispatched at 13:04:30 and included Fillmore Engine 91, VNC Engine 28 (Piru), plus Ventura City Engine 4, Truck 5 and Battalion 10. Additional units that were dispatched and/or responded throughout the incident included Fillmore Chief 1, Light and Air 91 and Engine 92; AMR Ambulances 421 and 482, plus AMR Supervisor 48, Santa Paula Engine 182 (the Telesquirt) - which arrived at 13:13:04 staffed by off-duty personnel (a more typical response time during the days when there were no on-duty personnel), Santa Paula Engine 181 and Light and Air 81, staffed by off-duty personnel; VNC Public Information Officer, Deputy Chief, Engine 150, Engine 44, Engine 30, and Fire Investigator, Ventura City Engine 6, Oxnard Truck 61 and Engine 67, as well as Battalion Chiefs 2, 13 and 15.
The response included a number of non-fire resources, including of course Santa Paula Police Department units, Building and Safety Director Steve Stuart and his staff, and various Public Works personnel. Red Cross responded to provide relocation assistance. The fire was declared controlled at 14:27:52, with the greatest part - probably over 90% - of the hotel saved. The last unit cleared the scene at 20:33:37. No civilian injuries were reported, and one Reserve Firefighter/EMT was transported to the hospital and treated for heat exhaustion.
The estimated property value before the fire is $3,000,000. As of this time the damage estimate is incomplete, but I will venture to say unofficially $200,000 to the structure and a like amount to contents. The exact cause is undetermined at this time, but is not considered suspicious. It appears that the fire started in or adjacent to a container of linens that was next to the exterior wall at the SW corner of the building. It is not certain at this time how long it will take to make the repairs and re-open, but it certainly is feasible to do so.
I am convinced that had this fire occurred 12 years ago the Glen Tavern Inn would have been completely destroyed, and it might have taken other structures with it, such as the residences on Santa Barbara Street to the west. In my opinion, the following factors clearly made the difference:
1. Station 82's on-duty engine company, implemented in January, 2005;
2. The fire sprinkler system retrofit required by the City for the Glen Tavern, completed in 2004/05;
3. Station 81's on-duty engine company, implemented in 1995;
4. Acting Chief Fildes' excellent work at the command post;
5. The excellent working relationship and very hard work of all of the local and mutual aid responders."
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Relay for Life
An overcast sky is not dampening the spirits of the several hundred people taking part in this weekend's American Cancer Society Relay for Life at Santa Paula High School. Congratulations to event chair Councilmember John Procter for an excellent event supporting an important cause.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
More College District News
Newsy Items on Monday's Santa Paula City Council Agenda
1. Presentation to Lauren Schmidt, Story Editor from "The West
Wing" in recognition of her efforts to get Santa Paula named as Senator
Arnold Vinick's hometown.
2. Presentation by Dr. Sam Edwards on status of reopening Santa
3. Closed session to discuss potential litigation against the
Ventura County Community College District.
4. Consideration of participation in monument signs on Santa Paula
Freeway for the Heritage Valley Tourism Bureau.
5. Review of city street maintenance program and comparisons with
other Ventura County cities.
6. Consideration of resolution urging the Santa Paula Housing
Authority to call for an election in November, 2006 to consider
authorizing them to develop 150 affordable housing units. Voter
approval is required for Housing Authorities to do this. Eight of ten
Ventura County cities have already authorized their Housing Authorities
to do this.
7. Authorization to move forward with construction of new community
center at Las Piedras Park funded by a private concern, Homeboys Inc.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Barbeque Honoring Police and Fire Departments
Jim Garfield and the staff of Cal West Realty held a great barbeque at Noon today to honor our Police and Fire Departments. We are lucky to have such dedicated police officers and firefighters. We are also lucky to have great people like Jim Garfield in our community.
Taking Positions on Initiatives
The City Council placed the initiative on the ballot. As part of their actions as the sponsor of the initiative, they had first crack at deciding who would write ballot argument in favor. The Council chose to designate Councilmember Aguirre to do this. However, under law, no public funds could be used to write the argument.
These are the only actions the Council has taken on the initiative. The City Council has not taken a formal position on Measure E6. The Council, under law, as a body can take formal positions on measures and has done so periodically over the years for various state and local initiatives. However, no public resources can be used to advocate for these positions.
Hope this helps.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Reminders on Blog Comments
There are some things that will never get posted:
1. Personal attacks. Say if you like or don't like an issue or a specific comment made, but you can not directly attack a person.
2. Profanity and racial slurs.
3. Campaigning. With the Fagan Canyon measure and Council elections coming up, I will not post comments that directly urge a Yes or No vote on Measure E6 or directly endorse or oppose a Councilmember or candidate.
People have generally been great about making comments and following these heretofore unwritten rules. I have maybe rejected about 10% of comments submitted in 15 months of Blog, but that's all. Thanks again for making this Blog such a vital part of dialogue about Santa Paula.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Presentation on Public Safety Funding Options
50 Largest Tri-County Based Public Companies
In the April 21, 2006 edition of the Pacific Coast Business Times, they
list the subject ranking (based on market capitalization). Of these
fifty companies, nineteen are based in Ventura County. Of the Ventura
County companies, three are based in Santa Paula: Calavo Growers Inc.
(17 overall, 5 in Ventura County); Limoneira Co. (20 overall, 7 in
County); Santa Clara Valley Bank (45 overall, 17 in County).
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Public Safety Utility Users Tax Workshop
The City will be holding a workshop on Monday, April 24 at 6:30 PM in
the City Council Chambers, 970 Ventura Street, to discuss a proposed
public safety utility users tax to potentially be placed on the
November, 2006 general election ballot. City staff will provide an
overview of the issues related to the proposed tax, the resource needs
of the Police and Fire Departments and receive feedback from the
community on the proposed tax. For further information, contact City
Hall at 933-4200.
Glen Tavern Inn
The City and the Chamber of Commerce unveiled a new tourism website for
Santa Paula at Monday night's Council meeting:
http://www.discoversantapaula.com This one website lists all the great
things to do in our City in one place.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Measure Y Defeated
Unofficial election results for Measure Y: YES 2,082 (48.6%); NO 2,201
(51.3%). Final results will be available in a few days.
The Ventura County Community College District voted 3-2 (with Miller and
Hernandez voting no) approving the staff recommendation to defund the
new Santa Paula Center of Ventura College from the Measure S bond
program. Lots of interesting things were said by the Trustees. Mostly
it was just a sad commentary on the state of affairs in the District.
The Santa Paula City Council will discuss further legal action against
the District because of this action at its next meeting on Monday, May
Measure Y Election Results
Election results will be posted on the City's website:
http://mail.ci.santa-paula.ca.us/measure%5Fy/ and will be available on
Adelphia Cable Channel 10 beginning sometime after the polls close at
Monday, April 17, 2006
Council Discusses College District
Orangeburg County, SC Council Discusses Quorum
Highway 126 Closures
From Monday through Friday, the entire freeway will be closed from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. between Wells Road in Saticoy and Briggs Road west of Santa Paula.
From Monday through Wednesday, the following onramps and offramps will be closed from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Victoria Avenue, Kimball Road, Wells Road, Briggs Road, Peck Road, Palm Avenue and Hallock Road. One eastbound lane also will be closed between Peck and Palm roads in Santa Paula.
Drivers traveling between Ventura and Santa Paula can avoid the freeway by taking Telegraph Road.
This week's closures are part of a $10 million repaving and repair project that should be finished by the end of the year.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Easter Egg Hunt
Over 200 people (and at least two bunnys) attended this morning's Easter Egg hunt. The hunt was moved to the parking lot of the Community Center because of wet grass across the street.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Special Meeting of the College District
Easter Egg Hunt / Earth Day Celebration
So Why Is The College District Board Meeting at the Ventura Marriott?
Several people have asked this question. The Academic Senates of the
three colleges requested what is known as a Technical Assistance Visit
(TAV) regarding the perceived lack of participatory governance by the
College District administration and the Board. This TAV team is
sponsored by the Academic Senate of the California Community Colleges
and the Community College League of California. According to the
description of these teams found on the web: "The purpose of the program
is to help districts and colleges successfully implement state law and
regulations that call for effective participation by faculty, staff and
students in district and college governance. The services offered will
be most effective if used before major conflicts arise and prior to a
heightened level of local unilateral addition by any of the parties
involved in the local decision-making process. The TAV team be meeting
with various constituents at the Marriott during the day and then will
be in attendance at the Board Meeting. They should get to see quite a
lot. More details on the Academic Senate of the California Community
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Santa Paula "Broken Promise" Report
The City of Santa Paula has compiled a 217 page report based on
documents received from the Ventura County Community College District
under the California Public Records Act and other sources that document
and analyze the efforts to build a new Ventura College East Campus
facility using funds from the District's 2002 Measure S bond.
The report, "Broken Promise: The Story of Measure S and the Failure to
Construct the New Santa Clara Valley Advanced Technology Education
Center (aka Santa Paula Ventura College East Campus Center" will be
presented to the Santa Paula City Council on Monday, April 17, 2006 and
the Board of Trustees of the Ventura County Community College District
on Tuesday, April 18, 2006. It is available on the City's website at:
Newsy Items on Monday's Santa Paula City Council Agenda
1. Closed session on anticipated litigation and open session item
regarding Ventura County Community College District's Board decision to
defund New Ventura College East Campus facility.
2. Presentation of new Citywide Parks Master Plan. This is a major
City Council initiative to update the master plan that was previously
adopted in 1970.
3. Consideration of final adoption of redevelopment master plan for
Teague Park. This would include a new artificial soccer field and other
4. Award of $400,000 construction contract for the development of
the new Green Street Paseo project on Main Street. This project is the
long awaited redevelopment of the Green Street Alley into a pedestrian
paseo with benches, planting and new public fountain.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
News from SPPD
Monday, April 10, 2006
What Could Have Been.....
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Vinick Returns Home to Santa Paula
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Toyota Grant to Elementary School District
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Filming on Saturday
Teen Center Visioning Workshop Report
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Ventura College East Campus Santa Paula Center Proposed to Be "Defunded"
This issue was also before the College District Board's Construction Subcommittee Tuesday night (Board Members Mary Anne Rooney and Robert Huber)where they decided not to discuss the recommended defunding and instead forward the issue without discussion to their full Board forconsideration. The issue of funding for the new facility in Santa Paula has been debated for sometime and the City of Santa Paula, along withthe Santa Paula Union High School District, Santa Paula ElementarySchool District and the Limoneira Company have done everything theCollege District has asked to secure property for a facility that thevoters of Santa Paula and throughout the county approved to fund in theMeasure B bond initiative.
I spoke to the Construction Subcommittee last night on behalf of the SantaPaula City Council about this pending recommendation. The City Council had added this item to their agenda Monday night by a 2/3 vote of memberspresent since the issue of the meeting tonight arose after the posting of the City Council's agenda. I expressed the City Council's grave concern about this recommendation and the commitment of the City to makesure that all Ventura County residents are informed of the issuessurrounding this proposed defunding prior to the Board's April 18meeting. In addition, I informed the Board that the City will also present onApril 18 information from its review of documents received from the College District under the City's California Public Records Act requestthat provides important information on how a project of such a greatpriority in the original bond campaign could now be proposed to be completely defunded. The actions and inactions of the College Board as described in these documents are critical to understanding this issue. The City believes that this information will be informative to all.
The City of Santa Paula will be working over the next several days toorganize interested community organizations and individuals to attend the April 18 College District Board Meeting. In addition, the City willinvestigate transportation options to allow as many Santa Paulans aspossible to attend the meeting. Please contact City Hall or watch the Blog for details as the meeting gets closer.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
"West Wing" Election Night Party
The City of Santa Paula is hosting an election night party to watch the
NBC Television program, "The West Wing" on Sunday, April 9 from 7:30 PM
to 9:00 PM at the Santa Paula Community Center to cheer on our favorite
son, Senator Arnold Vinick, as he competes to become the first
(fictional) Santa Paulan elected President of the United States. Santa
Paula was named the hometown on the series of Senator Arnold Vinick
(played by actor Alan Alda) and the City has been supporting his
election ever since. The program will be shown in projection High
Definition and there is no charge to attend. For further information,
check the City's Vinick campaign website.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Bettarun Fast out kicks El Mirage Queen in Santa Paula Stakes
"Bettarun Fast added the first graded stakes win to her blooming record as she edged out El Mirage Queen with a game closing kick in the $105,650 Santa Paula Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park on Saturday.
Candy Jo and El Mirage Queen, winner of the Tapestry Stakes at Santa Anita on March 5, vied for the early lead. Bettarun Fast stalked the pace from fifth with Aaron Gryder aboard. Ladies Souvenir, the 9-to-10 favorite, pressed the pace from third in the early going.
Bettarun Fast, slipping through on the rail, found another gear and came charging down the stretch to scamper past El Mirage Queen and score by a half length in 1:15.08 over a wet fast track. Grade 3-placed Acceleration, closing with a late burst, finished third, edged out by a nose by El Mirage Queen.
" [Bettarun Fast] ran great," said Gryder. "It was a race that was full of speed. Vladimir [Cerin] said 'Just ride a smart race. Give her a chance,' whatever that might be. She broke well and settled in behind [the pack]. There was a little gap and my filly responded when I called to her. She took advantage of it, and made the difference."
Cerin always believed in Bettarun Fast's talent.
"We always believed in her," said Cerin. "After the Sunshine Millions, she hurt herself behind coming off the airplane, and ran a good second in the La Habra [Stakes]. Aaron did just a super job."
Bettarun Fast, owned by Patricia and Stephen Fitzpatrick, won the 2005 Catcharisingstar Stakes at Calder Race Course last September. Her earnings improved to $168,505. The three-year-old daughter of Kelly Kip has won four of eight races.
Bred in Florida by Shamrock Thoroughbreds, and Helen and Michael Reynolds, Bettarun Fast is out of Split Decision, by Dispersal.
Thoughts on South Africa Trip
1. South Africa is a democracy of a little more than ten years. Nearly everyone I met lived through the change from apartheid. It was like going back to Colonial America and talking to people in the 1790s. They knew they have seen great change and are living great change, but still not sure of perspective. I was ashamed I did not know more of the basic details of the time from the late 1970’s to today. I had a vague recollection of the milestones (Nelson Mandela, who is their George Washington), but not to the detail I have today. The people are all proud of the changes, but still frustrated not more is happening.
2. The poverty and lack of basic resources (water, electricity, sewer) and structures for housing in the townships and informal settlements I saw in Johannesburg and Cape Town was stunning. The oppression of the apartheid government to allow people to live they way they did for so long will remain one of the great crimes against humanity in world history. There are certainly third world countries that have similar conditions, but what was so awful there was the proximity to first world conditions just a mile or two away. It is a challenge of all levels of government to address these issues and there have certainly been successes. However, all this has to be done in place in existing neighborhoods with people living there while change in going on.
3. Local government has its hands full. The people who ran local government throughout the entire country were largely removed in the mid-1990’s. The men and women managing municipalities today don’t have very much experience doing it and are faced with substandard infrastructure and economic development skills to get the job done. There were national elections early in March and an issue in the election was the ability of local government to implement these changes. The voters naturally blamed the elected officials, but there is a real shortage of capacity of professional staff to get these projects done in an economical, efficient and effective way. Groups like ICMA are helping with training, but still lots more needs to be done. I do what I do because of the impact it has on people and the experiences in South Africa reaffirmed for me what important work good city management is to a community.
4. Africa looked and felt a lot like the USA. I guess the globalization of nations (especially those that speak a lot of English) is here to stay.
5. I mentioned to someone how I thought that most Americans give little thought to Africa and they were surprised at first by my comment. The person went on to say how much American culture and lifestyles were a part of all South African lives on all socio-economic levels that he assumed that America was more tuned into African issues. He then came to the realization that the US/South Africa relationship is really a one-way street. Americans are very focused on America.
6. The safari day was great fun. I really worried that the experiences that Disney, San Diego Zoo and the old Lion Country Safari recreated would take away from the real thing. It was exciting to see the animals up close and not know when, where or what you would see. The surreal part was talking about the new water recycling facility with the Nesbitts in the car touring around and then almost running into a rhino.
7. I will definitely go back and spend more time in Cape Town, which I really liked. Irony there is that it reminds many people of San Francisco and I dislike SF more than any city in the world. While no harm came to me or anyone I was traveling with, Johannesburg is really one of the world’s most dangerous cities. Car jackings, home invasions and other violent crime are just a part of life there. I saw one police car in a week in Joburg.
Well, that is the trip to South Africa. We now return the blog to its regular programming.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Visit to Cape Town
Friday I took a day trip to Cape Town about 800 miles south of Johannesburg. Thanks to some assistance from the City of Cape Town's City Manager's Office I was able to arrange a tourguide/driver to take me around in a whrilwind day. Unfortunately, the news of the City Manager's "sacking" was all over the front of the Cape Town newspapers that morning. It seems that one big difference between SA and USA managers is that they take sides in elections. The CM was perceived as supporting the party that lost reelection and the new Executive Mayor declared that his contract had not been properly extended a year ago. Now the City Council hires and fires the CM, so we will have to see how it all turns out.
I was very impressed with Cape Town. Someone in Joburg referred to it as Africa's San Francisco. It is on the water, cosmopolitan feel to it, wine country just outside town and a prison on an island off-shore. The one thing that sets it most apart from other places in the world I have visited is Table Mountain (no I didn't take picture, but wanted to find shot that conveys magnitude of this mountain). It is something. The other big tourist part of the day was a visit to Robben Island where political prisoners (principally Nelson Mandela) was held. A very sobbering experience. The day ended with another Syracuse University event. Expected five or six alums from the area, but only two showed up. It was a fun, spirited two hours at the lobby bar of the hotel I was staying in. Saturday morning began the long trip home.