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APRIL - MAY EDITION 2017
TOPIC LISTINGS BELOW

FRONT PAGE COLUMNS
Scroll To The Right On Front Page
  • VENTURA COUNTY- DROUGHT
    STILL HANGS ON IN WEST
    COUNTY
  • WATER: UNADDRESSED ISSUE #1
  • TSUNAMI PREPAREDNESS
  • SENATE BILL 54: BAD FOR THE
    SAFETY OF OUR COMMUNITIES

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PLUS MOUTH-WATERING RECIPES

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EDITOR NOTES


LAKE CASITAS A JEWEL OF
VENTURA COUNTY - DROUGHT
STILL HANGS ON IN WEST COUNTY


Columns History By Richard Senate
Column Update By: J. B. Robinson
Posted: 04/18/17

Its not natural; it is a thing made by the hand of man perhaps inspired by the Spirit of God, fashioned out of the need for water, for drinking and agricultural irrigation. The movement to make what would become Lake Casitas started in Oak View when the wells ran dry in the 1950s. Something needed to be done.

A group of dynamic locals gathered and formed the Ventura River Municipal Water District in 1952 and asked the help of Congressman Charles Teague.

The United States Bureau of Reclamation got into the act and proposed that an earthen dam be built at Coyote Canyon to form a reservoir - one that would become Lake Casitas. A bill was introduced to Congress and the measure was placed on the ballot. Some were opposed to the idea claiming a desalination plant to turn seawater into drinking water would be cheaper. A study was commissioned and came back with the recommendation that the dam be built.

On August 27th 1956, the groundbreaking took place and bulldozers began to move the 9,500,000 cubic feet of dirt and gravel to make the 2060-foot dam from one side of Coyote Creek to another. Once the water began to collect, the original highway 150 was moved to high ground, and the Santa Ana School demolished.

It took four years to fill the lake. A small island marks the center of the lake with a peak 500 feet over the water. In 1984, the LA Olympic Games held their rowing event at this site giving worldwide attention to Lake Casitas.

The dam was strengthened in 2000; and, it will survive an earthquake of a 6.5 magnitude of the Richter Scale. With the droughts of the last few years the foundation of the old school and homes, as well as the original highway 150 were visible once again.

During the rainfall from late 2016 and early 2017, water levels at Lake Casita Dam have risen back to 43.8%, which has help reduced the drought-ridden Oak View, Casitas Springs and Ventura areas. However, according to the Casitas Municipal Water District, while most of California's drought problem is over, the water level at Lake Casitas needs to rise to 50% approximately another 6.2% before the drought in these areas no longer exist. Water levels vary daily to weekly. See Water Level Chart:
Lake Casitas Municipal Water District Chart

Boating, rowing, and fishing are permitted; however, no human contact is allowed. Why? The lake provides drinking water for Oak View, Casitas Springs and Ventura - the reasoning was made so long ago.


WATER: UNADDRESSED ISSUE #1

By: Res Publica/VREG
Posted: 04/14/17

For 150 years, Ventura has failed to find an alternative source for water. In fact, with the loss of the Ventura River water wells, there are fewer resources. In 1972, Ventura opted to import 10,000 acre feet of water from the north. Ventura has paid and continues to pay for that every year without any pipeline with which to receive it.

In 1989, the community faced a drought, and 52% elected to pursue desalinization. 48% chose to build a pipeline as an alternative. For the last 26 years, nothing has happened even now with another 7-year drought that may or may not be ending.

"The department's poor handling of Ventura's water has created an avoidable "perfect storm.

"The loss of Lake Casitas water will force it to adapt cross-town pipelines and start pumping east-side water to the west side to meet demand. Continued implementation of the horribly timed housing boom on the east side will further exacerbate water shortages and leave residents with high-priced/low-quality water and not enough of it.

"Meanwhile, the city is frantically trying to dig replacement wells rather than moving ahead with new ones, and consumers' water bills will go even higher to offset that cost."

In January, the Ventura City Council authorized a $430,976 study (or as low as $297,176 depending upon the results of the engineering study) to research the cost to connect to the State Water Project. The State Water Project that has existed for 46 years. Yet, Ventura cannot use it without extra infrastructure.


CITY COUNCIL NOT CONSIDERING
ALL AVAILABLE OPTIONS

Our Mayor has also shared that Ventura is looking at potential sites for a water reuse plant. Dubbed the Ventura Water Pure, the plant is an advanced treatment facility. It will take 8 years to build the treatment facility. Projected costs range between $120 million and $142 million.

Water from this treatment facility could cost less than state water and would be more reliable. It is also about half the cost of energy-intensive desalinated water. From the start, such a plant could yield about one fourth of the city's current annual water demand. According to our Mayor, the plant could later expand to meet future supply needs of Ventura.

One advantage of connecting to the State Water Project is that it will not take 8 years like the Ventura Water Pure plant will require.

Is there another water rate increase in the offering?


TSUNAMI PREPAREDNESS


By: Ashley Bautista, VPD
Posted: 04/18/17

March 26th marked the beginning of National Tsunami Preparedness Week, a nationwide effort geared towards encouraging individuals, families and organizations to be prepared for tsunamis through education and awareness.

Tsunamis are a series of waves created by underwater disturbances such as an earthquake, landslide or volcanic eruption. From the area of origin, tsunami waves travel outward in all directions. Once the wave approaches the Ventura County coastline, it slows from open water speeds of over 500 miles per hour to around 30 miles per hour in the shallower coastal water. The topography of the coastline and the ocean floor influence the size, intensity and overall impact of the wave.

Tsunami waves can be very dangerous and destructive and the areas in Ventura County most at risk are our beaches, harbors, ports and river mouths. The maximum tsunami inundation zone for the county can be viewed on a map by visiting Ready Ventura County at www.readyventuracounty.org and downloading the READY VC mobile application.

As a designated Tsunami Ready county and to continue our efforts at enchaining tsunami preparedness, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services, the County of Ventura, City of Oxnard, City of Port Hueneme, City of Ventura, Navy Base Ventura County, the Port of Hueneme, the American Red Cross of Ventura County, the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services and the National Weather Service partnered in revising, updating and exercising response and recovery plans that address possible tsunami events.

Additionally, two tsunami preparedness town hall events took place where coastal community members could hear from tsunami experts and learn how to get prepared.

For more tips on what to do prior to, during and after an emergency please visit Ready Ventura County at www.readyventuracounty.org and download our mobile application - READY VC.

To receive emergency alerts, warnings and notifications register for VC Alert by visiting www.vcalert.org or by text messaging VCALERT to 313131 on your mobile device. When an incident in Ventura County occurs please visit www.vcemergency.com for real time information.

Ashley Bautista, VPD
Civic Engagement
Ventura Police Department
805-339-4317
Facebook [nextdoor.com]
Nextdoor Twitter
www.venturapd.org


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SENATE BILL 54: BAD FOR THE
SAFETY OF OUR COMMUNITIES

Geoff Dean
Ventura County Sheriff
Posted: 04/18/17

Recent conversations surrounding federal immigration policies have caused fear amongst segments of the population and debate at all levels of government. One of the most recent and serious legislative entries in the immigration debate is California State Senate Bill (SB) 54.

Local law enforcement has been repeatedly clear in spoken and written word - we have not and will not be involved in immigration enforcement in our communities. We believe that a strong relationship with our communities built on trust is essential.

Some people believe that once someone is in our country, legally or illegally, they should be allowed to stay regardless of what crimes they commit. I DISAGREE, I believe when people are booked into jail for a criminal offense and they may be in the country unlawfully, they should be vetted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Criminal immigrants are not representative of the immigrant community as a whole; however, we cannot ignore the fact there are undocumented immigrants, as well as citizens, that commit crimes and represent a threat to the people of Ventura County.

Our local immigration policy has been the same for the past 20 years. Immigration officials come into our jail, then independently determine against whom they will pursue immigration processes. Sheriff's Office staff makes no attempt to investigate the immigration status of any arrestee. Per California law, our practice is to notify those incarcerated immigrants when ICE desires to interview them and to ensure the individual knows they have the option of either consenting to or declining participation in an interview. For those arrestees who do not consent to be interviewed, ICE is not allowed to speak with them while they are in the custody of the Sheriff's Office. Moreover, our policy - as supported by federal judicial rulings - is that no one should be unconstitutionally detained past the date they have resolved all of their local charges.

Advocates for SB 54 argue the bill allows ICE to target those criminal immigrants posing the most serious threat to the public: those who are currently sentenced for felonies or misdemeanors and have either a current or prior serious or violent felony conviction. The bill ignores a wide spectrum of crimes from driving under the influence to murder, sexual assault, child molestation and domestic violence to name a few. It prohibits ICE access to jail facilities. Criminal undocumented immigrants who are currently serving time in county jail for serious or violent crimes would simply be released back into our communities upon completion of their sentences.

Should any of these people become eligible for pre-trial release, the restrictions sought by this bill would force me to release dangerous offenders back into our communities without any communication with immigration officials.

Misleadingly called the "California Values Act," supporters of SB 54 argue it will help build trust between local law enforcement and immigrant communities. I am concerned there is a real risk it will have the opposite effect. If Federal immigration officials are barred from jail facilities, and local law enforcement is barred from communicating with them, it stands to reason ICE would have little choice but to take their investigations into the communities. ICE raids in our neighborhoods increase the likelihood federal agents will come into contact with undocumented persons who were not the target of their investigations. This, in essence, would create the fear and mistrust that SB 54 purports to prevent. Allowing ICE to vet those in jail for criminal offenses will help specifically target the criminal immigrants we do not want returning to our streets.

Scare tactics have fueled misplaced concern about local law enforcement teaming with ICE to conduct raids and arrest individuals for immigration violations. Some have even gone as far as to say local law enforcement will be surrounding schools and arresting mothers for immigration violations as they drop off their children. This type of rhetoric is absurd and only serves to unnecessarily heighten tensions and strain communication between local law enforcement and people in the community they serve.

It is important to understand that allowing ICE agents access to those booked in our jails has not resulted in mass deportations. Between September 2015 and September 2016, over 27,000 people were booked into our county jail by various law enforcement agencies. Of them, only 238 (less than 1%) were removed by Immigration officials. Their charges ranged from homicide, rape, possession of weapons, to driving while under the influence and vandalism. Many of those removed had been previously deported under orders of a federal judge and had other past arrest charges. Our communities are better served when those who are determined to commit crimes in our neighborhoods and are in our country illegally are properly vetted by immigration officials.

The issue of immigration and immigration reform is complex and there is no perfect solution. I have only written opinion pieces such as this a couple of times during my six years as your Sheriff. However, I felt compelled on this very important topic to express my deeply held concerns regarding the public safety consequences SB 54 will have on the lives of the residents of Ventura County and the State of California. My guiding light is public safety and I truly believe SB 54 is bad public policy and is dangerous for everybody, including the undocumented persons it is designed to protect.

SB 54 has passed the State Senate and is currently in the Assembly. I encourage you to contact your Assembly representative and urge them to allow immigration officials to work with local jails in keeping our communities safe.

Their contact information is:
  • Monique Limon
    37th State Assembly
    District Capitol Office
    916) 319-2037
    District Offices
    (805) 564-1649
    (805) 641-3700

  • Dante Acosta
    38th State Assembly
    District Capitol Office
    (916) 319-2038
    District Office
    (661) 286-1565

  • Jacqui Irwin
    44th State Assembly
    District Capitol Office
    (916) 319-2044
    District Offices
    (805) 482-1904
    (805) 483-4488
Additional information regarding the Sheriff's Office policies on immigration, an example of those in custody that would be released back into our communities, a list of crimes for ICE removal, ICE Rights sheet, can be found at the following link: http://www.vcsd.org/co-local-law-enforcement-immigration.php
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