Ventura’s vortex for progressive ideas
By Shane Cohn 07/03/2013
Something in the Way.
Besides being a Nirvana song about that dark, ethereal “something” that invades personal satisfaction, it could also be the motto for progress in the city of Ventura. There just seems to be something in the way of executing cool, progressive ideas.
In last week’s issue I wrote about how a summer concert series, for the second year in a row, was postponed. The series would have been produced by Nederlander, which operates venues such as the Santa Barbara Bowl and the Greek Theater. It would’ve taken place in the foothills of the Botanical Gardens during the summer and early fall seasons, had a 1,900-person capacity, attracted national attention for the caliber of acts and generated around $1.5 million to the local economy.
But a lawsuit involving a Ventura bed and breakfast and a restaurant/bar about noise somehow managed to put a screeching halt to the entire concert series. The promoters apparently felt that the city needed to iron out its noise ordinance before going forward with the series. It’s nobody’s fault. There is just something in the way.
Thousands and thousands of words ago, I suggested in this column that the city of Ventura brand itself as the New Massage City. I thought it would be a great economic revenue stream for the city. With more than 60 massage parlors in the city, the infrastructure would already be in place. The billboard was to read something like, “Tired? Let us rub you down. Ventura: The New Massage City.” It would be great for tourism purposes; and people on long drives could exit, get massages and be so relaxed they might get hotel rooms for the night, visit local restaurants, buy antiques and take in some shows. Funds from this new booming industry, I wrote, could be diverted to policing the parlors affiliated with alleged sex trafficking. In one column, I felt that I had proposed the solution to cleaning up the massage industry, boosting the city’s tourism and bringing heaps of cash to the local economy.
But no one at City Hall listened or even attempted to pass the idea off as his or her own.
Sigh. But I understand. There is something in the way.
The idea was too progressive, and that goes against the natural order of things in this one-horse town. There seems to be a metaphysical vortex that swallows or stalls bold ideas and possibilities, preventing them from coming to fruition.
In this vortex, you could find such things as California State University located at Taylor Ranch, all-ages music venues, 24-hour homeless shelters and now, the Summer Concert Series.
Many would argue that people choose to live in Ventura for its natural simplicity — the oceans and mountains and such — and that most of the above projects would complicate the city, attract too many outsiders and make for a crazy mess of a beach town.
I understand all that. It’s just a drag when some of the most visible things to escape the vortex are R2-D2 parking meters and the neon bike rack-thing in front of Starbucks at Chestnut and Main streets.
Anyhow, if you’re looking for some entertainment this summer, the city, along with several partners, is unveiling Ventura’s newest attraction this week: a trolley.
Boy, there is something in the way.