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    T.O. City Council – Residents Respond to “805 Resistance” Barbs; New Method to Wastewater Charges

    By Kevin Harris 

    Thousand Oaks residents responded in number Tuesday night to accusations made by a social equity group that the city, like the broader nation, suffers from inherent systematic racism and white supremacy. The group, called “805 Resistance,” also demanded that Thousand Oaks pass a resolution of diversity, inclusion and equity, and form an “Equity Commission.” These accusations and demands were initially set forth during a “Special Meeting” of the City Council on March 30, 2021, following a prior City Council Meeting that featured an “Environment and Justice Equity Element” section to be added to the city’s General Plan – a recent state requirement for all cities to wrestle with. 

    The first substantive part of Tuesday night’s City Council Meeting was Item 6 – Public Comments, where it was announced that 22 residents requested to speak. Due to covid restrictions, speakers were piped in to the meeting by video or audio, and were limited to 3 minutes each. Though a couple of speakers spoke in vague terms, supporting the idea for an Equity Resolution and Commission, nearly everyone else spoke strongly against the ideas. Following is a sampling from those speakers:

    Brooke Foxworthy:  A 12-year Thousand Oaks resident, is not pleased with the 805 Resistance issue, and doesn’t believe the community is racist. She said that, according to the local Sheriff’s Office, there have been only three “hate crimes” in Thousand Oaks since 2018. That being the case, Ms. Foxworthy said she would like to know what the purpose, goals and justification are for 805 Resistance to establish a local office.

    Dr. John Rady:  “There’s no empirical evidence to support that Thousand Oaks and our city government are systematically racist,” he said. He also pointed out that there are already protections in place against racism built in to the state constitution with Proposition 209 – the California Civil Rights Initiative.

    Babette Preciado:  30-year resident of the Conejo Valley. Said she is appalled at the racism accusations. Told the council she’s a Hispanic who has never experienced local racism. “Please do not let these extremists ruin our community. There is just not a problem with racism,” she added.

    Suzanne Strong:  Thousand Oaks resident. “I’m proud of my city of Thousand Oaks, and I’m sure you’d agree that the majority of us would all welcome all races and all cultures in our community, and I’m tired of political agendas and propaganda,” she said. “I ask that you do not bow to any outside pressure, and say no to any social justice commissions,” she told the council.

    Sasha Epstein:  Newbury Park resident, 3 years. Prev. Los Angeles resident, and prior resident of Ukraine – both before and after Communist rule. Said that he and his family hold Thousand Oaks near and dear to their heart. “During last week’s City Council meeting, 805 Resistance not only wrongfully perpetrated this unfounded, ignorant lie that the U.S. is a systematically racist nation, but also that Thousand Oaks is, as a city and as a community, an offender,” he told the council by video feed.

    Mr. Epstein also suggested that no evidence was presented of any systematic racism, and urged the council to reject the group and their requests.

    Sasha Epstein

    As a general reminder, the previous testimony was from the “Public Comments” period of the City Council meeting, so no council vote or response was required. In fact, under state law, council members may not respond unless an issue is listed on the current agenda. Issues discussed during Public Comments can, however, be forwarded to the City Manager for follow-up. 

    Other Important Local Business 

    The Way You Pay Your Wastewater Bill is Changing

    Also during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting was Public Hearing, Item 8A: An ordinance changing the way wastewater service charges are to be collected in Thousand Oaks. The purpose of the Public Hearing, presented by Revenue Operations Manager, Sheri Johnson, was to receive public testimony on changing the collection method. It was not about a rate increase, but simply a different way of paying the same bill.

    The new, “different way” being, beginning July 1, 2021, wastewater charges for single family residential customers would appear on your Ventura County Property Tax Bill. 

    The same flat wastewater rates would continue to apply as before, though obviously the dates and frequency of the payments would change to match receipt of your property tax bill.

    But why make this change? According to Johnson, the new billing method will save the city $70 thousand in postage and printing costs, and over 3,200 hours of city staff time.

    The one public speaker was Peggy Joslyn, a local landlord who spoke via audio to the council. Joslyn complained that the new method is just pushing wastewater collection responsibilities from the city onto property owners, and that by having to add the wastewater charges to her tenant’s leases, it will make those leases look even more expensive than they already are.

    While Johnson’s response did not speak to any of Ms. Joslyn’s concerns, Mayor De La Pena then asked Johnson directly if the city is placing the burden of collecting the bills onto landlords. Johnson replied, “yes,” but pointed out that it will help keep wastewater rates low for the city.

    Mayor De La Pena: “It does pay off sometimes to have a city-owned public utility, because your rates are lower than what I pay in Westlake and what others pay in Newbury Park, with the other privately-owned purveyors,” she said.

    Mayor De La Pena


    The council vote had the ordinance passing unanimously.  

    Note: Thousand Oaks has the lowest wastewater rates in the county.

    City Council Extends Franchise for Cal American Water Company

    Another Public Hearing during Tuesday’s City Council meeting was Item 8B: An ordinance granting California American Water Company a public franchise within the city. More specifically, the council was asked whether they wish to extend the water company’s long time existing franchise.

    The California Public Utilities Commission requires the city to conduct a public hearing to consider the approval of any new franchise agreement, which this extension technically is. Cal American Water’s current franchise agreement, which they’ve been operating under since 2006, expires this June. Last month, the City Council adopted a “Resolution of Intent” to extend the franchise to 2036.

    Cal American Water is one of four water purveyors that serve Thousand Oaks. The franchise agreement does not reference water rates in any way – those are structured through the public utilities commission.

    The council vote had the ordinance passing unanimously.

    Kevin Harris

    Kevin Harris is a reporter, editor and journalist, previous President of Cal State Northridge’s Society of Professional Journalists, and having worked for the LA Times and Newhall Signal. He is now also an author and videographer, and lives with his two children in Thousand Oaks. 

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    1 year ago

    We Refuses to Peacefully Coexist with Leftist/ Commies or SJW’s . You Free to Move. We except nothing you have to Offer..

    Mike Smith
    Mike Smith
    1 year ago

    More proof Thousand Oaks is being communized.

    Don’t believe it?

    See the 45 Communist Goals (Congressional Record, 1963, Democratic Rep. A.S. Herlong, Jr.) and mark every one already completed by the T.O. City Council, Conejo Valley Unified School District, or both:

    Linda Miller
    Linda Miller
    1 year ago
    Reply to  Mike Smith

    Thank you! Extremely informative and eye opening!

    Citizen Reporter
    1 year ago

    Re: “But why make this change? According to Johnson, the new billing method will save the city $70 thousand in postage and printing costs, and over 3,200 hours of city staff time.”

    Hidden agenda? … Does it also mean they can slap a lien on your house if you don’t pay?

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