May 27, 2022
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Our View: War abroad sheds new light on energy and infrastructure at home

IN THIS ARTICLE

As a journalism organization it is hard to witness the destruction of cities in Ukraine and the Russian government’s despicable action to threaten jail terms for any publication that uses “war” or “invasion” to describe what’s going on.

The war in Ukraine has hit home in California, which, it turns out, is one of the larger landing points for Russian oil in the United States. It means the embargo will hit harder here, as we rethink many things about how we relate to the world.

Here are a few items to ponder:

• In South Oxnard, near the Port of Hueneme, an otherwise worthwhile consolidation of parking lots to allow an expansion at Glovis, a Hyundai-owned automobile shipping and logistics company, has roused the ire of the activist group Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, or CAUSE.

CAUSE does important work in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and it is correct that industrial development must be undertaken with care for the neighbors. But its consistent opposition to port expansion is misguided. The Port of Hueneme generates well-paying blue-collar jobs in Ventura County, and helps fill our country’s need for a vibrant trading economy with friendly nations. Oxnard and Port Hueneme will be better served if they embraces their economic role and charts a path toward becoming modern industrial cities. Europe has many examples of cities that have made a successful transition without losing a valuable base of high-paying jobs.

• On March 8, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors shot down a proposal by ExxonMobil to get offshore oil to refineries by trucking it and bypassing the shutdown Plains All American Pipeline system. Santa Barbara County must decide if it wants to allow more domestic production to fill the gap left by the oil import ban against Russian crude or stick with its anti-fossil fuel agenda, at great potential cost to consumers.

• Wind energy is advancing quickly off the coast of Morro Bay, but the question of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, scheduled for shutdown in 2025, remains open. We continue to believe the smart thing is to allow the plant to keep operating, even at reduced levels of power output, until a fully viable alternative set of power sources is in place.

The price of freedom is not cheap. And climate change is a battle that must be fought and won. But creating a modern, industrial community in Oxnard and Port Hueneme, providing a short-term workaround for domestic oil supplies and keeping Diablo Canyon up and running may just be the price we pay.

A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION ON HOMELESSNESS

The California District Attorneys Association, led by former Ventura County DA Greg Totten, has given its tentative support to a proposal by Gov. Gavin Newsom to se up a CARE Court to provide mandatory mental health care for homeless people who are suffering from mental illness.

CARE stands for Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment. In a statement, Totten, known as a tough law-and-order DA, called the concept an “innovative and humane approach that would help thousands of Californians.”

The CARE Court would operate under the civil wing of court divisions in every county and provide for new treatment options that would be overseen by the court. That would give law enforcement a new tool — other than arrest or emergency room treatment — for people who need treatment but don’t have access to care or the means to pay for it.

Homelessness is tragic and unhealthy for those it afflicts, and the current methods of dealing with it have proven both insufficient and very expensive. The CARE Court appears to offer a way to help those in need and reduce costs.