Santa Paula: Engaged Citizens Speak at Council

By Sheryl Hamlin

The February 20, 2019 Santa Paula Council saw citizen participation in multiple areas: 1) the Ventura County Community College District, 2) Clean Energy, 3) Construction Information, 4) the Santa Paula Chamber and 5) Homelessness.

Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD)

This topic is not new and the presentation reflected little change from the 2017 presentation when the VCCCD explained that the numbers of enrollees posed challenges for expanding services. Details of Santa Paula’s expectations may be read in the document entitled “Broken Promise” which details the 2002 parcel tax, monies collected and lack of deliverables by the VCCCD.

Dr. Laura Espinosa of Santa Clara Valley Together reminded the audience that knowledge is power and is a source of economic development. Former Mayor Mary Ann Krause spoke of the January 22, 2019 announcement that the district might be moving to Fillmore, which would cause all of Santa Paula’s students to commute either to Fillmore or Ventura or drop out. Rev. Audrey Vincent spoke of the district’s feasibility study wherein Santa Clara Valley population exhibits the perfect demographics for community college services. There are available jobs for which VCCCD offers no courses. Lorenzo Morazo of Latino Town Hall spoke of the LTH focus on education of low socio-economic Latino residents. A better educated community adds to the vitality of the community, he said.

Green Energy

Maria Ventura, a communications director for SoCal Gas, spoke of “balanced energy” rather than 100% electricity. She was incorrect in saying that AB3232 did not pass. It was signed by Governor Brown in September 2018. AB 3232 affects all new construction and requires some upgrades on existing buildings using upgrades to the building codes rather than mandating which applicances must be changed. Ms. Ventura spoke of “renewable natural gas” and “power to gas”.

Construction Costs

Ward Goodier responded to City Manager Rock’s statements at the previous council meeting wherein the CM stated that the nearest asphalt plant is 45 minutes away. Goodier said such a plant is 10 minutes away. Goodier also said that the City Manager’s statement about contractors refusing to bid was also false.

Joy Cummings

Living adjacent to the Sparkuhl development “Aldersgate” not only has brought noise from rock movement, but fear of tree destruction. Citizen Cummings stated that it appears the 93 Conditions-of-Approval for this project are not monitored. If she loses a mature tree, the high replacement costs will behoove the city to enforce the COA.

Richard Rudman

Mr. Rudman reported on an upcoming Chamber Chat where the topic is the Santa Paula Warming Center with speaker Kay Wilson-Bolton and March 13th is the State of the City at Palazzio.

Homeless Issue

Five speakers recounted personal experiences with homeless transients either as a customer or a business owner on or around Main Street. They described unchecked anti-social behavior and potentially dangerous situations.

Judy Rice has walked the streets saying the merchants are concerned and has personally observed public defecation, yet they all have cell phones and cigarettes. She suggested Kay Wilson-Bolton pool resources and buy a building elsewhere for a center.

Ms. Swift said her classes start at 4:45 am ending at 7:45 pm. Transients watch and stare through the windows with men touching themselves inappropriately while watching. She has seen drug deals on the street and has called the SPPD dispatch to report. Why wait, she said until something serious happens.

Angelica Leslie grew up in Santa Paula and moved away, but is willing to serve on a committee to find solutions.

Casey Addison who has owned a business on Main Street since 2006 said that it is ironic with the lowest employment in years, we have a crisis in drugs and homelessness. See sees people lined up at the meth clinic and questions if the clinic is helping or enabling. There will be an Aloha Steakhouse moment in Santa Paula, she said. No one is advocating for those trying to keep the city together and women businesses are not protected.

Edward Sellers owns a nail salon on Mill where his wife works alone. His electric meter was vandalized and the shop has been without electricity for days. He has seen a homeless person covered in blood at Angels Donuts asking for help and feels the mech clinic is enabling.

Warming Center

This was approved by the City Manager and reported earlier. Read article here. What was not reported was the 30 day extension. No one asked what the limit of extensions could be.

To watch the meeting, click here.


For more information on author click sherylhamlin dot com

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