1 Pierpont Community Council January 18, 2011 Monthly Meeting Dan Scully called the meeting to order at 7:05PM. Dan Scully introduced Chris Schertzer and Chelsea Sutula of South Seaward Gardens. Chris, who is a renter in the area, was largely responsible for converting the vacant lot next to Harbor Realty filled with weeds on Seaward to a public garden. He approached the owners of the property with the idea of converting the eyesore to a garden, which seemed like the impossible dream, but somehow managed to get them to allow him to put in this beautiful little park. Chris has a verbal agreement from the owner of the property that as long as the space is open, it will remain a clean public garden. Chelsea Sutula was a partner with him on this project and helps with the administrative duties, as well. When asked to explain how they accomplished this, Chris says he really didn t do much except ask the right questions. First he came to PCC board and asked for approval. Thanks to Napolito Nurseries, neighboring businesses and residents, everyone pitched in and helped. Chris went door-to-door collecting cash donations to pay the annual liability insurance payment, which will be due again soon. The plants are all native and drought tolerant. They would make great additions to your yards and require very little water. People have shown an interest in vegetable gardens and they are available now. Chris will build additional boxes, as needed. The City has provided compost boxes for the garden. Water for the garden can be collected from rooftops. There is no water or electricity at the garden. Chelsea suggested that anyone interested in gardens on similar lots should contact her. Sandy Bothman asked: What is the cost of liability insurance and can anyone make contributions to that? The Kurtwood Corporation is the 501C3 was formed by Chris. Web site: It takes PayPal. There is a garden tab and a direct link to make donations of tools, supplies as well as cash. Neighbors have made all the donations of benches and a recent pagoda was constructed. Cost of annual insurance is roughly $1,000.00, less if it is made in one payment to the insurance provider. Additionally, Chris has posted a local businesses directory (similar to a local yellow pages) at All donations are welcome. Dan expressed everyone s appreciation for the project and thanked Chris and Chelsea for their contributions. Police Report - Commander Mark Stadler Violent Crimes - Homicide is down 40%, rape down 11%, robbery down 13.6% and aggravated assaults down 38.2%. This is attributed to proactive enforcement with bars. Property Crimes - Our crime analysts tell us that our trends are in line with State and across the Nation. Violent crimes are down and property crimes are up. Burglaries are up 6%, primarily non-residential burglaries. Storage sheds and vehicle burglaries are up 18%. Larceny is up 16.6% (unlocked vehicles). Thefts from unlocked vehicles in the neighborhoods and residential burglaries will have special focus for the next two years. Year-to-date totals for these types of
2 crimes were 2,276 for 2009 and 2,654 for Motor vehicle thefts were down 14% and arsons were down 70%. Total property crimes for 2010 were 3,465, and with violent crimes added in were 3,728. Combining part one crimes with property and violent crimes, there was an overall crime rate increase of 8% in the City. Traffic - Injury-related accidents were down 13% for the year, attributed to more tickets written. DUI arrests were down 7% due to checkpoints and roving DUI patrols. Gang Activity - Gang arrests were up 9% and gang crime was down 10%. Increase arrests caused crime to decrease. There is a recent resurgence in gang activity, which is a reflection of the loss of active officers dedicated to gang crime: There are three groups: Pierpont, Mid Town, and a new group called BAT (bad-ass thug). Gang units are actively working this increase in gang activity. Tagger arrests are down 37% crime is down 41%. He reported they measure response time on high priority calls from the time the call comes into dispatch to arrival on scene, which is currently an average of 5 minutes. Dispatch goal is to receive call and send to officer in 90 seconds, which is included in the 5 minutes. Goal is 90% and after making the proper adjustment to data they are at 74%. Daytime traffic has a direct effect on their response time 50% of the time. Sandy Bothman asked about the status of the Key s murder investigation. Commander Stadler responded that there has been no arrest as yet, but the investigation is active and ongoing. Dale Jaedtke asked about the crime activity in Marina Park. Commander Stadler responded that the locked gate with the spike strips are working to allow people to leave the park after hours. Occasionally, there are gang fights. Recently, one resulted in felony assault charges being filed against three suspects. Dave Davis mentioned a neighbor who had been burglarized and inquired how a suspect goes about finding someone to fence stolen items. Commander Stadler advised that they have entered into an agreement with City of Oxnard for pawnshops to log received items with digital photos of items and pawn tickets to their web site. Ventura pawnshops will be doing the same thing, as will gold shops. Digital photos can be ed to victims to see if items match their stolen property. Neighborhood Improvement Committee Kioren Moss said there was nothing new to report. Speaker Kioren introduced Lynn Jensen, Executive Director of the Ventura County Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business (COLAB), and a registered geologist. Her family owns Jensen Design Survey (the largest engineering firm in City of Ventura), a civil engineering firm working on the
3 Anastasia project, with Kioren, as well as many other projects. COLAB, a non-profit 501C6 organization formed in September of 2010, is primarily dedicated to the scientific view behind project City and County staff reports, and are primarily agricultural folks. Other businesses have come together out of frustration with the system. Obtaining City or County permits is extremely difficult. Their goal is to hold Ventura County and City Public agencies and politicians accountable for the policies and new regulations they pass that affect our businesses and private properties. They want to be informed, credible, well funded and they want to analyze new and revised land use policies. Studies being used to pass new regulations are based on complicated computer models that throw in some garbage, you get some garbage out and new regulations are thrown at you, which agencies use to justify their actions. Contributions help fund their efforts to hire respected professional scientists. They have scientists, attorneys, and civil engineers on board to critically review the policies these studies are based on and force them to justify themselves. They have two projects going on right now. County Supervisors of Ventura decided to revise the grading ordinances, particularly agriculture grading on hillsides. Some of these changed regulations could cause huge financial hardship for our County farmers. Their members agreed to serve on a weekly grading committee, which includes: ranchers, farmers, engineers and lots of technical people. They also meet with some of the other agriculture associations, as well to assist the County in revising grading ordinances. Their second project is the Biology Initial Study Assessment Guidelines. This regulation is a detailed 32-page document, describing thresholds and methodology for CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act). They have organized with other agriculture organizations to review this document and hired biologists and technical people to look at it before it is approved. They are representing agriculture stakeholders to provide help and have hired an expert biologist from San Diego who has worked on their CEQA document, as well as attorneys consultants also. They analyzed the document page by page and submitted a redline in January Now they have negotiated and scheduled a meeting with the County and anticipate others. Some things that are in documents are restricted covenants. County has come up with new deed restrictions. These restrict how property can be used. Wildlife Corridors is being used for restrictions also. South Coast Missing Linkages is a conservational organization whose website states they set conservation targets for agencies. County of Ventura has decided to reference this report in their guidelines. This report has not been reviewed in any kind of public review process. You can t get to the detailed information. If you go on their website and ask to see their computer models etc, you are not allowed to look at the data. The model is extremely complicated. They believe the report is going to be misused, particularly while analyzing wildlife movement under CEQA. Food Safety Regulations applied to farmers require that no animals be allowed on the property. The farmers will not be able to meet Food Safety Regulations with animals roaming through their land. They believe all this comes from UN Agenda 21, called the Wild Land s Project HR5101 Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act The system is charged with identifying, prioritizing and describing key parcels of non-federal land (private property and State lands). If a property is proximate to these imagined wildlife corridors, there is a new habitat created. The Government will decide what kind of use you can have on your land if you are near these corridors. This is to protect animals, but is this done to take private property and control human population? A map of Ventura County was displayed. There are 140,000 acres in these wildlife corridors. They are as large as possible. She stated that she lives in Camarillo and regularly we have wildlife coming through our streets because we are by the Beardsley wash. It is a large area and people in these corridors are worried about how they will be able to use their private property. Lynn s COLAB is perfecting a process beginning with the County of Ventura with respect to agricultural stakeholders and they think it has broad applications to other regulations and
4 agencies. They want to influence the regulators with their own research. They are not trying to do anything tricky, harm animals or non preservational. However, they do believe that this legislation is full of unintended consequences for property owners. The process is timeconsuming and expensive in terms of hiring consultants, but very worthwhile. They think we need a full-time presence here with a well-funded group to be successful. Thank you. Murray Robertson: Do you have any involvement with California Coastal Commission? We have had quite a bit of conversation with Pacific Legal Foundation (they do most of the litigation against CCC). CCC is the most aggressive agency when it comes to people s property rights. Dale Jaedtke: How are you being received at the County level? For about a year prior to forming VC COLAB, we had been going with large groups to the board meetings. We had people get up and truthfully tell what is happening to them. It is hard to look all these people in the boardroom in the eye without realizing there is a problem out there. I believe we have had quite an effect on their march. The County used Scenic Protection to keep farmers from terracing their hills to plant tree orchards. We are very credible and facts that the biologists come up with are sound. We don t have environmental agencies coming to us saying this is a problem and what you are doing is wrong. Part of the problem with the County of Ventura is their staff biologist graduated from UCSB in She has very little experience in biology and she is putting this entire 32-page report together without the background or experience. She looked to the environmental community and federal agencies who don t work with CEQA much. Most Counties use consultants to write similar documents. We are funding the consultants to do the work. What difference is there between agricultural grading and other projects? It was actually different in the past. The Resource Conservation District, a Federal and State agency, looked at agriculture grading to plant agriculture. Agriculture grading, like on a hillside, is to prevent soil erosion. With the County taking over grading, they may want people not to add more agriculture to the County. I take exception to that. Under that system, you will probably not see hillsides planted in the future. Sandy Bothman: You said something very interesting; County doesn t want to see any more agriculture? Could you explain that? There is a conflict regarding preservation of pristine land, like a hillside. The Scenic Guidelines determined agriculture is not scenic on hillsides. Flatland agriculture on flatlands is as developed as it is going to get. So if you are going to add agriculture to the County, it is going to be on the hillsides. In my opinion the orchard on the hillsides are beautiful. Homes and development are taking the agriculture lands.
5 Observation: Murray Robertson: There is a Sand Management Plan that was given to our community. It was developed by biologists. No geologist was used in the creation of the plan. There is no good science in that plan. You are looking at science as it is and you don t have a conclusion before you start the project. What I find really unscientific is these guys (biologists) decide what there conclusion is on biology and then they do the project. Possibly the pendulum has swung too far. When you see scientists that have worked in the field for 20-plus years that say this isn t right, this document is wrong, concepts are theoretical and you should not have thresholds based on theoretical concepts. There is something wrong. At some point we need to draw a line. We want to go back and look at the science. Are you working with Farm Bureau? They are on board with about half of the agenda. Most of our board of directors are Farm Bureau members. Local farmers that want to subdivide their land for their kids could have problems with these land usage issues. Personally, I want to keep family farms in Ventura. Farm Bureaus is wrestling with the land-use issues, but they are part of the talks on grading and also submitted comments on the biology study initial guidelines document. We appreciate their good comments. We have a few more issues than they do. Dan Scully thanked Lynn for her presentation. Councilman Brian Brennan It was acknowledged that the councilman was attending our meeting. Beach Committee Report Rosemary Icardo Lots of sand has accumulated at lane ends and on the lanes. Murray Robertson sent out his monthly photo journal critique to all, including City Council today. Since the City no longer keeps sand away from turnouts or below them, the sand just accumulates. The negotiations between those folks involved in the lawsuits are still ongoing. Those of us involved, as well as the people in the community would love to see some conclusion. Whatever the conclusion is, hopefully it will benefit everyone that lives and visits here in Pierpont. Vacation Rentals - Sandy Bothman I have checked with the City Treasurer s Office and there is currently $90, in the trust account that is being held subject to decisions on how it is to be spent. As you all know, there is an informal agreement between the City and Pierpont Community Council as to how that money is to be spent. Hopefully it will be a collaborative decision. We have a priority list and hope to have a dialog with the City very soon as to how to progress on that issue. There are now a total of 48 properties registered in the program, which as been ongoing for over 2 ½ years. One incident this year that involved a trash pickup problem was resolved successfully. Murray Robertson: Rosemary, how much would it cost to remove the sand from Shore Drive?
6 Rosemary s response: If we hired private enterprise probably about $100, That would sweep about 10 feet and move the sand but not transport away. Discussion followed about lack of progress on this. The lanes are filled with potholes. Is it possible to have the money spent on lane repairs? There will be a dialog to determine how it is spent. Our goal is to not use this money for those projects that the City would ordinarily provide and pay for. We want to use this money for the improvement and benefit of this community, as opposed to paying for items that the City is responsible for. Social Committee - Barbara Asbell: We are still going to do the Pancake Breakfast fundraiser for Pierpont School. Now it has been moved to end of March or the first part of April. We will establish another committee meeting, as some members have not been available due to holiday schedules. The school is very enthusiastic about this. Breakfast will be provided on a Saturday or Sunday at Pierpont School. We will raise some money for the school and have a social time to gather as a community and have a good time. Business Committee - Jim McCaslin We have been working on the Pierpont Redevelopment Agency project for some time. We are getting together tomorrow with many commercial property owners to come back to the City Council with an approval letter. RDAs are on the chopping block statewide. We are not sure what will happen. We will wait and see what occurs. A RDA is for commercial property only. Improvements or changes to that property increasing base value to enhanced value, approximately 65% of that increase would stay within the local agency area. We should have a positive outcome. Treasurer s Report - Dave Davis The report is posted on the website. Current balance is $2, We are always looking for more. This is a new year and your voluntary annual $50.00 dues would be greatly appreciated. We are cutting waste. We have moved our post office box from more costly to downtown U.S. Post Office saving $ The new address is: P. O. Box 664, Ventura, Ca Dan Scully introduced Councilman Brennan. Councilman Brennan advised our community of high tides, with large surf swells over the next few days. The flashing boards should be in place. Dale Jaedtke asked why the City does not build a block wall at San Jon along Harbor Boulevard to keep the mud and debris from closing the road. Response: San Jon is closing up because the lagoon goes underneath. We got a permit from Corps of Engineering to bulldoze San Jon, the little wetlands that could. This used to be done yearly. CCC stopped that. They have drainage issues. Somehow, they got a permit with the Corps of Engineers and will use it. We are looking on reducing the amount of drainage ending at San Jon. Murray asked about sands covering the drains.
7 Councilman Brennan responded they try to keep on top of that. High surges can overtop walls especially down at Camden. He sent an about that to public works the day before. Dan Scully adjourned the meeting at 8:15PM. Rosemary Icardo, Secretary