So Cal Edison Presents to Ventura City Council

By Lori Denman

The Ventura City Council meeting on October 8 opened with a special presentation by Southern California Edison, who aimed at providing information of fires, their current and added technology and safety issues and advice.

The presentation was by Rondi Gunthrie, Government Relations Manager of So Cal Edison, regarding “Wildfire and Emergency Procedures.” Andrews said that the power shut-off program would only be used under the most extreme weather conditions.

Gunthrie’s presentation was called “Wildfire Mitigation, Safety and Grid Resiliency.” She said that there is no such thing as a fire season and that it’s a “threat we must learn to live with year-round.”

She said that Edison has taken steps to reduce the risk of wildfires within their service territory.

Within high fire service areas, there is new technology like a cover conductor, invented and used by Edison. She said they have 20 arborists on staff to assist Edison in clearing brush and tree branches out of fire areas. They are also installing Weather Stations to measure threat of fire, wind and heat, to offer real time to fire stations. There is also a “Public Safety Power Shutoff,” implemented, which will be used only in extreme circumstances, such as if something blows into the power lines. The winds have to “be higher than a red flag warning,” they said.

Mayor Neil Andrews said that he is on Medical Baseline and critical care and at the time of the fire, he said that he is the type of person that Edison should have special arrangements for. Andrews said that a couple weeks ago, the power was shut off for repairs that affected about 6,000 households. Andrews said he called Edison and he claimed the company told him, “we don’t have anything we can do for you.”

“That disturbed me,” Andrews said of the incident. “I thought that they (Edison) would at least be able to come in and bring in some generators or batteries because I am entirely dependent upon electricity. If not that, then some other devices or methods of assistance.”

An Edison representative said that the company does not provide generators and to keep in mind about personal preparedness. Andrews said that it is important that the customers who are on Medical Baseline are aware of this. Edison said they will continue to do updates for customers. Another Edison representative said that if there is a person affected, they will try to get a generator to him or her. And that the company gets an increase of calls during outages and it may have been a “planned” outage.

City Council Communications

Erik Nasarenko commented on district elections. He said that it occurs to him that one of the candidates running in district four that in the past support for candidates with signs on lawns “used to spread amongst the city but are now concentrated within geographic areas of the city.” This may make for the arise of “raw emotions” and make it “more personal.” Nasarenko added, “but I think that we have a proud tradition in this city and that is “not engaging in mean spirited attacks.” He said we should run clean and fair campaigns and not use social media to let Ventura turn into the nation’s ways of negativity.

Heitman recommended Measure 3, which is a water bond. She also mentioned October as Breast Cancer Awareness month and thanked the fire departments for wearing pink T-shirts as raising awareness.

Public Communications

In 2019 there is a pilot program the first public speaker mentioned –  there will be pods available at the Fairgrounds for the homeless to take showers. This speaker asked for warm showers to be available now and earlier than this pilot program. Ventura Missionary Church on Oct. 22, there will be a large meal available. This is called, “Family to Family” and will be at Catholic Charities on the Avenue.

Consent Items

It was recommended in the agenda, starting at 8B to “move all resolutions and ordinances presented tonight be read in title only and all further reading be waived.”

8B: Conflict of Interest Code – Biennial Review/Update. Recommendation was to: Adopt a resolution updating the Conflict of Interest Code for the City of San Buenaventura, updating designated employees, officers and disclosure categories and rescinding Resolution No. 2016-057, title as followed: the resolution for the city to update designated employees, officers and disclosure category list for fair political practices act requirements (conflict of interest) and rescinding resolution no 2016-057.

8C: Consideration of Resolution Re-Confirming the Existence of a Local Public Health Emergency. There was a recommendation to: Adopt a Resolution re-confirming Local Public Health Emergency, title. The resolution of the City Council was to re-confirm the existence of a local public health emergency.

Councilmember Weir made a comment on 8D, which was for: Approval of future projects utilizing the State Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 Project List and Appropriate Funding (SB 1). The recommendation was to: Adopt an updated resolution for the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Project List adding future project(s) on the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 project list.

Weir stated that Proposition 6 is to repeal the gas tax. She claimed that the City of Ventura has 1.9 million this year to pave numerous roads. Weir said if Prop 6 passes, then these funds are at risk to pave the streets. Weir moved to pass the items of the agenda.

Formal Items

The first formal item was a follow up on So Cal Edison’s presentation and presented a letter to council which they wanted approval for. Recommendations on the agenda included: A. Authorize the Mayor to sign a letter to Southern California Edison providing the City’s position on the impacts of their public safety power shutoff to the Ventura community. B. Authorize the City Manager on behalf of the City Council to transmit a copy of the letter to the California Public Utilities Commission.

The next formal item: it was recommended to adopt a resolution appointing Alex McIntyre to the position of City Manager and also approve an Employment Agreement for City Manager Alex McIntyre. He has 33 years experience in municipal work.

The third formal item: Consideration of Ordinance Requiring Sellers of Mobile homes in Mobile home Parks Subject to the City’s Mobile home Rent Stabilization Ordinance to Make Certain Disclosures to Potential Purchasers of their Mobile home

Council also discusses another formal item: Public Works Strategic Plan Fiscal Year 2018-2019. It was recommended that an oral report on Public Works Strategic Plan Fiscal Year 2018- 2019.

The public notices were read by the mayor and there were recent decisions on the planning commission. These included design review permits and allowance of certain licenses for a restaurant and liquor store.

Ventura City Council Agenda, Oct. 8:

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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