This November is shaping up to be a pivotal election year — especially when it comes to the future of Ventura County.
Already on the ballot are a countywide measure to provide transportation improvements on the Highway 101 corridor and far beyond. And there will be dueling ballot measures to chart the future of SOAR, the growth limits that have sharply curbed the conversion of agricultural land to other uses – with decidedly mixed results.
On Sept. 6, the city of Ventura announced its own effort to pass Measure O, a half-cent sales tax that would advance downtown revitalization efforts, make sure that police and fire stations are fully operational and provide a dedicated source of local funding for beach and infrastructure improvements.
The newly formed Committee for a Better Ventura has drawn support from the head of Downtown Ventura Partners, homeless advocates, open space advocates as well as Mayor Erik Nasarenko and City Councilman Mike Tracy. Supporters also include firefighters and Mike Coulson, a retired Amgen executive.
While the Measure O list of potential projects is pretty long, it is also impressive. At 150 years old, Ventura is a city that’s emerging from years of neglect of its city center and in need of new funding sources to make sure that the city really is able to capitalize on its natural assets — an attractive beachside promenade, historic buildings and increasingly vibrant neighborhoods.
Since the first fledgling efforts at downtown improvements in the late 1990s, Ventura has come a long way toward realizing its potential.
Securing long-term funding via Measure O will enable Ventura to take the next step in maintaining and improving its natural assets and developing new programs.
Along with the proposed countywide sales tax increase Measure AA, which would fund a long list of transportation improvements, and the hotly contested measures to extend or amend SOAR, 2016 will be a pivotal year.
Home is where the 805 is
The 805 region is going to get a big wake-up call as the California Public Utilities Commission debates the future of telephone numbering schemes for our three counties.
So far, the consensus emerging from the business community is that it would be better to “overlay” a new area code on top of the existing 805 region than to split the region in two or carve it up into smaller pieces.
We share that view — along with the caveat that many of us will have to reprogram our cell phones and other devices to dial 10 digits instead of seven. Still that seems preferable to bidding adios to San Luis Obispo County, the home of the “805” beer label, or Thousand Oaks, where “805 Living” magazine is published.
It seems that just as for Dorothy, Toto, Kansas, 805 and everything else in life, there’s no place like home.