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    Thousand Oaks | Passionate Protest of 5G – Council authorizes $10,000 seed money for local homeless agency

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    By Michael Hernandez

    Thousand Oaks residents show up at City Council to passionately protest 5G

    THOUSAND OAKS—City Council members heard more than one hour of testimony from residents passionately protesting the installation of 5G towers in the city (17 opposing and only one; a Moorpark Community College student in favor).  Residents complained about potential harm particularly to young children and seniors (citing scientific studies) as well as the devaluation of property values.  They sought amendments for higher towers and did not want usage or placement of towers in residential areas and at least 3,000 feet apart.  Public speakers spoke on how other cities were dealing with 5G with some citizens resorting to court rulings on the issue.  Many expressed disappointment in the City Council for not listening to them as their elected representatives and said that the city would be facing citizen lawsuits if 5G went forward.

    A protesters flyer gave the following website for more information:  http://mystreetmychoice.com/venturacounty.html with non-telecom sponsored information from: SaferEMER.com and EHTrust.org.  Other websites from those opposed to 5G included:  Physicians For Safe Technology (https://www.mdsafetech.org); and the BioInitiative Report (https://bioinitiative.org/.

    City Manager Andrew Powers said he understood how the public was “frustrated on this emotionally charged issue.”   However, he claimed that Thousand Oaks were responding “to federal law” and “not a city initiative.  We are being forced to respond by the federal government to take action on this FCC matter of 5G. Municipalities are governed by laws and we can’t decide what laws we follow and which ones we violate.   Any actions in conflict with federal laws put cities in legal jeopardy.  Our attorney provides guidance to the city based on the best interest of the city.   In February, new laws were enacted that effect every city in the United States and we cannot consider health impacts in regards to wiring.

    “Telecommunication companies went directly to the Federal Communications Commission and were successful in getting laws passed.    I suggest you seek a federal response.  There are two ways to fix this issue:  through the courts or through federal legislation.”

    Assistant City Attorney Patrick Hehir said, “The ability to file an injunction is gone.  FCC 18133 is a valid regulation.”  City officials said they would post on the city web page the differences of various cities as they addressed 5G issues.

    The City Council approved a $10,000 seed grant for Harbor House—a homeless case management and support service agency—assisting 50 of the 103 homeless residents of Thousand Oaks.  The work of Harbor House and Lutheran Social Services (which housed 66 homeless this past fiscal year) was part of an update by Assistant City Manager Ingrid Hardy on the Thousand Oaks Ad Hoc City Council Homelessness Committee (which meets monthly).  Council members were also given a report on the 2019 Ventura County Point in Time Homeless Count and an update by Tara Carruth of the Ventura County Continuum of Care—a regional coalition that deals with homelessness in the county.

    Council authorizes $10,000 seed money for local homeless agency

    The 103 homeless residents in Thousand Oaks (most are long-time residents of the city) represents a 28 percent increase from the 80 homeless reported last year—giving Thousand Oaks the sixth highest rate of homelessness  in the county.   Some 43 percent of the Thousand Oaks homeless were first-time homeless,  42 percen had mental health issues and 41 percent had substance abuse issues.  Some 25 percent of Thousand Oaks homeless live in encampments while 20 percent are living in their vehicles.

    Meanwhile, the homeless count in Ventura County also has gone up from 1,299 last year to 1,669 this year.  The average length of homelessness is 141 days.  Some causes of homelessness include: mental illness, substance abuse, minimum wage, cost of affordable housing, transition from foster care, domestic violence, and lack of employment opportunities.

    According to city employee Ashley Humes, the Ad Hoc Homeless Committee’s education and outreach campaign is geared to educate, motivate, and activate.  The campaign goal is “to build a shared understanding of homelessness as an issue that touches all of us, to spotlight existing efforts and amplify strategies that drive positive change.”  Thousand Oaks has developed a web page entitled:  www.toaks.org/homeless.  “We have met with faith communities, have built a web presence, designed and printed outreach collateral materials, have collected stories, leverage the existing platforms, identified opportunities and gaps, and have been working with community champions,” said Humes.

    Mayor Rob McCoy and City Council member Claudia Bill-de la Pena are members of the Ad Hoc Homeless Committee.  

    Mayor McCoy spoke on how the interfaith clergy council and evangelical faith clergy have met recently to hear about the homeless situation in Thousand Oaks.   McCoy said:  “There are many misconceptions in regards to our city’s homeless population.  Many think the homeless come from outside the city while most homeless have been living locally (for years).”

    “I am really encouraged with the progress we have made,” said Bill-de la Pena.  “I am also excited about addressing solutions.  (The direction) with the faith-based community could become a national model.  Few cities have managed to get the entire faith-based community to sit at the same table.  Congratulations Mayor McCoy.”

    Thousand Oaks Police Chief Tim Hagel said the department has two officers that work with “vulnerable” populations who regularly get assistance from Denise Cortes of Harbor House.  City Manager Andrew Powers said, “Homelessness impacts our business community.  We are looking for solutions and are talking to all our stakeholders”

    Thousand Oaks does not have a homeless shelter in the city.

    City Council approves citywide traffic fees

    Transportation Planner Kathy Naoum reported to the city council that 16 intersections in the city required improvements with the worse freeway offramp was the 22 at Olson Road.  Not included is the Hampshire interchange that costs $60 million (to widen the bridge) and will be dependent on grant funding. The total cost for 24 improvements identified is an estimated $26 million.   Fees are raised by charging property developers.  Most of the city’s intersections are operating at top levels or “as good as they should be.”   The motion for the citywide traffic fees passed 5-0.

    City Council approves citywide user fees

    City Council approves 2019 user fees, fines, penalties, rates and assessments (user fees) with non-compliance fees by a 5-0 consent vote.  A distinction was made between city taxes and fees.  A local tax is any levy, charge or extraction of any kind imposed by a local government while a fee or rate charge is to an individual or group that receives a private benefit from services provided by the city. 

    Special Presentations and Announcements

    The City of Thousand Oaks declared May as Older Americans Month with a proclamation and photo taken at the start of the city council meeting.  Council members heard how seven adults turned 65 every minute.

    Stephanie Wilson, Director of Development for New West Symphony made a presentation of the June 22 (Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with festival doors opening at 5 p.m.) performance of Titanic Live at Cal Lutheran University’s William Rolland Stadium in partnership with California State University Northridge/The Soraya and California Lutheran University.  Ticket prices range from $25 to $73 and can be purchased through Ticket Master.

    Thousand Oaks employee Mike Newman received the Employee of the Year commendation.  He has worked for the city for 36 years.

    The Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce will host its largest mixer (Mega-Mixer & Business Expo) of the year on Wednesday, May 15 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Los Robles Greens with 60 exhibitors and 250 attendees expected.  Cost for chamber members is $5 and for non-chamber attendees is $15.

     

    Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service, founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor.  He has worked 24 years as a middle school teacher.   Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].


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    William Hicks
    William Hicks
    3 years ago

    Like the city council meeting in Simi Valley that attempted to address Gun show’s when Simi Valley has never had a gun show, so was the 5-G issue held in Thousand Oaks City Council Meeting the wrong place to argue the safety and efficacy of 5-G

    Citizen Reporter
    3 years ago
    Reply to  William Hicks

    All politics is local. Pressure applied locally can affect these.

    William Hicks
    William Hicks
    3 years ago

    All politics can affect local issues but not all issues can be addressed locally. If they were, then local politic’s would be like the tail wagging the dog on issues that are made at County, State and Federal venues.

    William Hicks
    William Hicks
    3 years ago

    CITY COUNCIL BEWARE……Be extremely careful how that “$10,000.00 Seed Money” is used. Do not just throw money at this homelessness issue like San Francisco has done and just create a magnet of homelessness to Thousand Oaks.

    Also, stick to what you can fix and understand what private organizations are already doing. You don’t have to duplicate what existing charitable organizations are already doing.

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