Ventura City Council Moves Forward With Clean Energy

Will receive renewable energy in near future

By Lori Denman

The City Council meeting on October 15 was full of positive energy as Mayor Neal Andrews was appreciated by community members for this service and it was voted for the city to use clean renewable energy.

The chair of the Ventura Social Services Task Force did the first special presentation. She thanked the mayor for his work for the past decades and thanked him for working towards establishing a year-round shelter. She asked that a plaque honoring Andrews be placed in the permanent shelter. They saluted Mayor Andrews as he was reaching the end of his service on City Council. The City of Oxnard had a councilperson speak and thank Andrews for helping the homeless as well. A county social worker for two decades thanked Andrews for his attendance and hard work in helping the homeless.

Andrews thanked the speakers and said that he received help from many individuals over the years. He named these many individuals with gratitude, who worked for many groups who help the homeless.

Councilmember Monahan led the second formal presentation, which gave gratitude to the American Flag Program in Ventura. They honored those who help with this program. Those who contribute their assistance with the veteran programs also spoke and were honored.

City Council Communications

After speaking about the success of the Seaside Highland Games – the mayor read through the consent items. It was recommended that the matters appearing on the consent calendar that were non-controversial be acted upon by City Council a one time without discussion unless a councilmember, the administration or a member of the public requests it to be discussed.

Consent Item 8C was “Additional Community Development Resources for the Thomas Fire Recovery Plan.” It was recommended to authorize the city manager to execute a Professional Services Agreement with Rincon Consultants, Inc. in the amount of $272,045 for a term of 14 months to Dec. 31, 2019 for Professional Services relate to Thomas Fire residential rebuilds.

Nasarenko pulled item 8J and asked about the locations of rented emergency generators and also inquired about purchasing them. The item was: “Ventura Water Emergency Generator Rentals.” It was recommended that council –

  1. Approve and authorize the Mayor to execute a rental agreement with United Rentals for the rental of ten (10) emergency generators, for a 12-month term from October 2018 to September 2019, not to exceed $500,000.
  2. Authorize the City Manager or designee to execute an amendment or change order to United Rentals for this contract in the event the permanent replacement requires more time pursuant to Section 4.600.200 of the Municipal Code with an aggregate contract amount not to exceed $660,000 for an additional four months
  3. Authorize Finance and Technology Department to transfer/adjust appropriations and revenues to the proper fund, project and accounts for this rental amount.

It was explained that Ventura residents should inquire about applying for permits for emergency portable generators.

Councilmember Weir

Councilmember Weir pulled Item 8H, “Funding Strategy and Conceptual Design for a New Parking Structure in Downtown Ventura- Engineering Services Agreement.” Weir had a few questions and said that the council should weigh in on – there is an architect chosen and they are creating a conceptual design. The parking structure is in a historic area of downtown Ventura and Weir was asking if the designers had experience with that. Examples of design were shown. There is a design review committee and the council can monitor the progress.

The next consent item (8K) discussed was “Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) Grant Application.’ Councilmember Heitman commented on the item and started talking about the finances. She was also concerned with permanent low income housing being available to those clients exiting the shelter. Funding covers the temporary emergency shelter and only part of the permanent shelter, so the shelter operator is asked to have experience with raising funds. It might cost the Ventura over one million a year to run the shelter each year for three years. The cost is shared between the city and county of Ventura.

There was a discussion on “Clean Power Alliance Rate Options,” and it was explained by Mary Joyce Ivers that the Clean Power Alliance would be another line item in customers’ Edison bill.

Changes for the customer with the Clean Power Alliance:

  • Competitive and stable pricing
  • Choice of energy providers
  • Higher renewable energy content
  • Lower greenhouse gas emissions
  • Local management and control

Many speakers commented on this topic, including Michelle Allison, who serves on the the Clean Power Alliance Board representing Ojai. She supported renewable energy and asked City Council to seriously consider the choice of clean energy and asked them to select the 100 percent default. She said that the city should select 100 percent renewable energy by default, one of their three choices available, versus a lower default. This would lead to a cleaner, healthier and sustainable tomorrow.

The timeline for the CPA Implementation is:

  • Oct. 31: Deadline for member cities to select a default rate
  • Nov. 15: CPA Board meeting to set residential electricity rates
  • Feb. 1: Residential customers enrolled in CPA service
  • May 1: Non-residential customers enrolled in CPA service

In the end, council unanimously moved forward with the 100 percent default rate. Councilmember Mike Tracy said that the council and public should be fully knowledgeable and aware of what this means. He asked that the city does outreach with the public on this topic and it was said that this would occur. Heitman stated that her grandchildren influenced her vote, in hopes for creating a cleaner Earth and that younger generations do not have a problem with paying an extra 7 or 9 percent for their electric bill, if it meant saving the environment.

This decision received appreciation from speakers during public communications.

Culver City is another area going for CPA. To view more information about this, visit their city’s site. Residents should be on the lookout for opt-out notices if they wish to not participate in the CPA program. Four notices will be sent out by mail in early December, January and February.

Agenda, Oct. 15:

Video, Oct. 15:

Lori Denman has been a professional journalist since 1996. She has worked as associate editor for the Los Angeles Daily News TODAY Magazines and has freelanced for LA Weekly, and more. She is now the Ventura reporter for Citizens Journal.

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Robert Hassebrock

Can someone tell me if any of the current slate of candidates voted against the 100% default rate so I can vote for them???

William Hicks

From the article, it looks like the Council voted 100% for the default rate.

Citizen Reporter

If so, same as T.O and Ventura.

William Hicks

Year around shelter = year around population of homeless. Is this a leg up for temporary misfortune or a hammock for the perpetually homeless?