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    Women: Enjoy Walking on Ormond While You Can…Time is Limited



    By Christina Zubko – Hueneme Voice


    On Saturday, I, a member of Friends of Ormond Beach, walked the entire length of Ormond Beach–From Hueneme Pier to Arnold Road and back ( a 5.0 mile walk).
    While it is true that I walked with my husband and another couple, I’d admit that Had I walked alone, I would have felt relatively safe as a woman.  The only vagrants I saw were those who have made their “home” next to the Halaco slag pile (see pictures).  Fresh tracks on the sand indicated that OPD was keeping up their rounds vis-a-vis their ATVs.  
    In March, Friends of Ormond Beach coalesced and began a relentless campaign to bring awareness to Oxnard and Hueneme residents about the desecration of the wetlands under Oxnard’s watch…then this summer, Port Hueneme residents experienced first-hand the encroachment of the vagrant population on to Hueneme Beach, culminating in the violent act of one vagrant against the junior lifeguards and a vulnerable little dog named Sophie.
    Is is over? not likely.  But for the time being, women can walk the beach again.  Maybe the wind is helping keep the vagrants and their floaty tarps and tents at bay.  But I’d like to think that my peaceful walk on Saturday was, in part, a direct result of the progress Friends of Ormond Beach et al. made this summer by demanding that both cities–Oxnard and Hueneme–give us back our right to walk the beach alone as women.
    As for the wetlands, for now, there is some healing.  Sadly, politics continue to lock up any conservationist plans for Ormond Beach.  While the State Coastal Conservancy (SCC), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and Oxnard all agree that the existing partnership has failed to manage the land well, the partners seem impotent to negotiate a viable solution; they say, for instance, the Ventura Land Trust costs too much money; the CA State Parks management proposal will invite even more human activity on the wetlands and ultimately won’t eliminate transient scofflaws; and the CI State preserve idea goes against the Local Access Plan, which supports public access to the wetlands area.  These politics don’t even account for Oxnard’s decision to declare itself a sanctuary city or the left-leaning propaganda that promulgates that the rights of the “homeless” trump the rights of law-abiding citizens–and endangered wildlife.  Add to that Oxnard’s fiscal problems, a group of VC Supervisors who claim they can’t help Oxnard save Ormond Beach, and the statement TNC and the city of Oxnard are in over who ultimately is responsible for the vagrants living on TNC’s property (for many years, I might add), and it’s not difficult to see the unforgiving political gridlock around the wetlands.
    Even more tragic, politics even works against generations of Ormond Beach environmentalists, many of whom have allowed ego and petty differences to splinter them and distract them from their unified cause–to save Ormond Beach. Environmentalists from the 1970s that created watchdog groups such as the Ormond Beach Task Force, the Pt. Magu Wildlife Center, and the Savier’s Road Design Team et al. should once and for all find a way to work together and solve the problem called Ormond Beach. Friends of Ormond Beach, brand new to the scene in March 2019, feel the cumulative tension of these fractured groups, and it’s awkward to say the least.
    Since the 1970s, Ormond Beach has been a paradise that has suffered from human encroachment and activity–and the Least Terns and the Snowy Plovers and other birds of global significance have had to adapt.  It’s a shame that nearly a half a century later there really is no viable plan in place to halt human encroachment on this habitat which serves endangered and threatened birds. 
    Some what the Ormond Beach and Restoration and Access Plan (OBRAP) to move forward at all costs (and ironically, not one of the partners can identify who will pay those costs).  Others think the birds deserve a break from all the foot traffic and the designated family picnic areas (and the inevitable trash will attract wildlife, some of which will devour plover chicks) supported by the visionaries of the OBRAP.  I’m one of those that believes that once a species is lost, it is lost.  I’m not willing to put my name next to any plan that compromises vulnerable species by promoting human activity in the wetlands area or that fails to solicit feedback from all groups that have a vested interest in protecting the wetlands and the species therein.  As a Hueneme resident, are not my concerns about the wetlands as important as the concerns of an Oxnard resident? A half a mile from my Port Hueneme home lies the gateway to the wetlands, and I’ve been told politely by elected officials of both Oxnard and of Port Hueneme that Ormond Beach is not any of my business.
    Lyricist Joni Mitchell once said it best: “You don’t know what you got until it’s all been gone…they’ve paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Therefore, women, in the meantime, walk Ormond Beach while you can.  Better yet–walk with your children and grandchildren.  Walter Fuller will tell you that if there is hope for the Ormond Beach wetlands, the hope lies with the children.  Show them the birds, for there may be even fewer species of birds to enjoy in the near future.  Take lots of photo–no one will believe you in 50 years from ow that there used to be wetlands in Oxnard unless you have proof.  Maybe the children can teach the adults to set aside their political differences and get their collective acts together before Ormond Beach becomes just another parking lot to one of the dozens of parks Oxnard’s city’s budget simply can not prioritized.
    Original post: Hueume Voice

    Christina Zubko is a reporter for Hueneme Voice

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