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God Bless The First Lady Of France Who Is Her Husband's Senior By 24-Years - Her Husband, The President Of France. ~~~ J. B. Robinson


CITY PUTS BRAKES ON FIVE
POINTS IMPROVEMENTS


Provided By:
Midtown Ventura Community Council
Posted: 07/04/17

The Ventura City Council voted in May to delay pedestrian and bicycle improvements to the Five Points intersection in Midtown.

Citing the need to focus staff resources on starting repaving projects because of the damage to roads from winter rains, the council voted 6-0 to reject all bids related to the project. Councilman James Monahan was absent.

City Council members indicated they expect the project to be completed; however, agreed with City Manager Mark Watkins that getting repaving projects underway is a higher priority for the staff's time.

The project at the intersection of Thompson Boulevard, Telegraph Road and Main Street was expected to include two pedestrian crosswalks with signals, two flashing beacon crossing on Thompson Boulevard along with the construction of access ramps, sidewalk and passages through the medians.

The city had applied for and received a $300,000 Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant to cover the $407,850 construction costs. Granite Construction Co.'s bid was about 5 percent below the engineer's cost estimate. Watkins asked the council to reject the bid because it did not receive city council's approval to advertise.

Several people spoke, including members from the Midtown Ventura Community Council, urging the city to send the project to bid as soon as possible. In a letter to the city council, the board wrote, "We finally have a chance to correct a bad example from the last century of how NOT to be pedestrian friendly. The plans to improve this intersection seem to be very prudent and well thought out. We urge you to move this project forward and send this out to re-bid as soon as possible." (See the letter here.)

The Five Points intersection was identified as a major concern as part of a 2008 Citywide Mobility Plan. The project was originally bid in December 2014, however, was rejected when the bids came in higher than estimated and the city had to seek an additional $250,000 in funding.

# # #


RESPONSE TO CITY COUNCIL
FOREMENTIONED ISSUE: MIDTOWN
VENTURA NEED TO BECOME
PEDISTRIAN FRIENDLY

Date: 05/15/17
To: Mark Watkins, City Manager
mwatkins@cityofventura.net
Erik Nasarenko, Mayor
Neal Andrews, Deputy Mayor
Cheryl Heitmann, Councilmember
Matt LaVere, Councilmember
James Monahan, Councilmember
Mike Tracy, Councilmember
Christy Weir, Councilmember
council@cityofventura.net
Midtown Ventura Entrepreneurs
From: J. B. Robinson, Publisher/Editor
Our Town Biz (an Internet newspaper)

"The Ventura City Council voted last month to delay pedestrian and bicycle improvements to the Five Points intersection in Midtown."

In reference to the above, I always have to remember, "NO TODAY" does not mean "NO TOMORROW". The fact that the much needed issue of "pedestrian and bicycle friendly improvements to the Five Points intersection in Midtown" is getting in front of the Ventura City Council is a STARTING POINT...and yes, with the new sewer lines to support CMH, road repair is much needed job. More tools in front of us, i.e.:
  1. The more pedestrian friendly Midtown becomes, the more shoppers, eating out and playing. The more shoppers, eating out, and playing, the MORE REVENUE earned by entrepreneurs. The more revenue to the entrepreneurs, the more sales tax. The more sales tax, the MORE MONEY INTO CITY COFFERS - a "WIN-WIN" for everybody. Eventually, that added sales tax should pay for traffic lights.
  2. Added potential customer bases for Midtown are (a) all the employees and patients in the Midtown Health Community, (b) people living in Midtown Ventura, parents picking up students and students themselves, plus (c) the 10,000 - 20,000 drivers of cars some with passengers that zip up and down Midtown Ventura's Main Street and Thompson Blvd. daily; however, who just keep going to God's knows where.
  3. And very, very important, POLICE RECORDS OF TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS in Midtown on Main Street and Thompson Blvd. This issue alone should open the doors to get grant funding from the Department Of Transportation (DOT) and/or others both on a state and federal level for traffic lights.
Furthermore, I question whether partial blinking yellow lights make a road more pedestrian and drive able friendly or do we need full traffic lights to accomplish that and keep the flow of traffic smooth? Surely, such a study has been done elsewhere on the effectiveness of blinking yellow pedestrian lights verses full traffic lights - a study that would be part of public records and without cost to the City of Ventura.

J. B. Robinson


CITY COUNCIL APPROVES
WATER RIGHTS CONTRACT
[RESULTS OF NEW AGREEMENT]

Res Publica Editors:
Published: 07/04/17

Ventura could lose one-third of its water supply because of legal maneuvering and backdoor negotiating. As it is, Venturans pay too much for water and could pay even more in three years.

On May 8, 2017, the public learned that a new contract between the City of Ventura and the Casitas Municipal Water District has been approved and executed by the City Council. That new contract places Ventura in jeopardy of losing all rights to water from Lake Casitas.

To maintain its current water rights, Ventura must reach Water Balance by 2020. To achieve water balance, Ventura must find an additional source of water.

The expedient solution is to exercise Ventura's option to use State Water. The city currently pays $1.2 million per year for that option (which the city never used) and has been paying for that option since the mid-70s. If Ventura does not tap into the State Water Pipeline within three years, Ventura's water situation will be in dire straits.

NEW CONTRACT IS TOO VAGUE

The old 1995 Contract with Casitas Water allowed for a minimum of 6,000-acre feet of water per year. That water could be used in the western part of Ventura (everything west of Mills Road) and the eastern part of the city, if necessary. Under the new agreement, that changed.

The new contract does not specify the amount of water Ventura's entitled to receive. Instead, the "projected water demand of the prior year" will determine the amount (Article 4.1). That projected demand will come from Ventura's annual water report. Should Casitas dispute the amount of water, it opens the Ventura up to a possible "Dispute Resolution."

What determines the projected water demand of the prior year? Who determines that amount? Does both Ventura Water and Casitas Water have to agree on the volume before the start of each year? There are too many unanswered questions for this agreement to be tenable, and the fact that the Ventura Water Commission recently "received" , however, did not approve the 2017 report is not encouraging.

NO SCIENCE IN THE COMPREHENSIVE WATER REPORT

The Ventura Water Department provided inaccurate and incomplete information in the Comprehensive Water Resources Report dated April 7, 2017. That data formed the basis of the Contract with Casitas Water District.

The financial statements used are suspect because of misleading expenditures. Other assumptions such as using the average water demand are questionable, too. The report includes no real science-based estimates of current water availability or capacity. And there are no timelines for water delivery improvements.

This same report also lists the use of sewer recycled water as a reliable source for potable water in the city. Ventura Water's General Manager authored that report. She subsequently quit her job and moved to the City of Angels after submitting the report.

THE NEW AGREEMENT PUTS EAST
VENTURA AT A DISADVANTAGE

The 1995 Contract allowed Ventura to blend Casitas water with the East End water. Water from the lake was used to mix with water from eastern wells to achieve better quality. Casitas considered the use of their water for that purpose as "rental water." Ventura was required to return it or to pay for it. The new contract does not allow Ventura to use water in the East End.

Ventura may only use Casitas water within the Casitas District (western part of the City). If Ventura uses Casitas water outside the Casitas District in any one year, then Ventura must reduce the amount of water it uses in the western part of the city until it achieves "water balance."

If Ventura fails to reach Water Balance within a 12-month period, Casitas may terminate the Water Services Agreement. Overnight, Ventura would lose approximately one-third of the water needed to run the city. Those living on the Eastside will suffer the most from the loss.

(Continued Top Of Column #5)


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CITY COUNCIL APPROVES
WATER RIGHTS CONTRACT
[RESULTS OF NEW AGREEMENT]
(Continued From Column #3)

Res Publica Editors:
Published: 07/04/17

WATER PRICES NEEDLESSLY OVERPRICED

Based upon a very reliable source, who worked in the water community for the last four decades, management decisions by Ventura Water and City Hall over the past 25 years have led to monetary, clerical and water rights losses in the Ventura River. These bad choices forced consumers to pay higher fees even under drought conditions than they should have incurred.

THE CITY COUNCIL SNUBBED
THE WATER COMMISSION

While we know the Ventura Water Commission does not have any rights or authority regarding contracts, their experience and knowledge could have been invaluable. But, the City of Ventura Water Commission never had the opportunity to review or discuss the Casitas Water Agreement. The City of Ventura never presented this contract to the commission and didn't ask for their counsel.

Neutering the Water Commission is a recurring behavior for Ventura Water. The staff's unwillingness to allow the commission to do its job has existed for years. It appears they would prefer the commission to rubber-stamp every decision. They are perturbed when the commission doesn't do what they want. Given the poor decisions Ventura Water has made during the previous general manager's tenure; it's little wonder commissioners might be critical of every issue brought to them.

THE THREAT OF A LAWSUIT
EXCLUDED THE WATER COMMISSION

Casitas Municipal Water District intended to sue Ventura's water department and notified them of their intention according to the City Attorney. At that point, the attorneys determined that they would treat the new agreement as a pre-legal settlement, thereby, closing negotiations to outside parties and masking all records or documents from public scrutiny.

Editors' Comments

As part of the new contract, Casitas forgave an estimated $2 million debt (based upon 4000+ acre feet of water) Ventura Water owes for "rental water". The Parties agree that as of the commencement of the Agreement, the City is in "water balance." The City and Casitas are not subject any further legal or financial obligations under the 1995 agreement.

The success of this contract depends on whether Ventura can achieve water balance by 2020 by finding an alternative source of potable water. If that does not happen, Ventura faces the prospect of the termination of water from Casitas Water District.

If Ventura doesn't find an alternative potable water source within three years and Casitas terminates this agreement, in effect Ventura will have sold its rights to Casitas Water for $2 million

Ventura can only hope that the new water department management will provide full disclosure and transparency, and will lend its voice to the importation of 10,000-acre feet of water from the State Water Project. Forty-eight percent of the voters chose that option in the 1992 election.

Now, will the government listen?

Res Publica Editors:

R. Alviani..K. Corse.. T. Cook..J. Tingstrom
..R. McCord....S. Doll... C. Kistner....B. Frank

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