More of the same
Deputy Mayor Christy Weir, Councilman Bill Fulton and Mayor Carl Morehouse received the most votes in the Nov. 6 Ventura City Council election and will continue their service on the council.
Weir is expected to be chosen to serve as Mayor.
Incumbents Debbie Golden and Barbara Fitzgerald also won seats in the Ventura Unified School District Board of Education.
About 23 percent of registered voters cast a ballot.
— Hannah Guzik
Coast Guard haltsClearwater Port LNG
A proposal to convert an oil rig into a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility 10 miles off the Carpinteria coast came to a standstill Oct. 23 after the U.S. Coast Guard delivered a litany of environmental questions to the Clearwater Port project.
The coast guard stopped the clock on the project — which is awaiting an environmental review — to give the company time to assess and explain the details of the facility.
“We anticipate, for example, additional requests for information concerning potential impacts to marine mammals and other aquatic species (including sea turtles) from the proposed project, which will be closely coordinated with appropriate state and Federal agencies,” says the federal letter and signed by Deepwater U.S. Coast Guard officials M.A. Prescott and Keith Lesnick.
Kira Redmond, Executive Director of Santa Barbara Channel Keeper, called the project hiatus “a victory.”
“We’re very gratified that the U.S. Coast Guard has taken our concerns seriously,” Redmond said. “Given the long term and devastating effects that the LNG terminal could pose to our marine life and our resources, we feel that a stringent environmental review is essential.”
Channel Keeper has also hired the Environmental Defense Center to thoroughly review the project.
Clearwater Port, a subset of NorthernStar Natural Gas, plans to go ahead with the project, despite the time extension.
“It’s an expect part of the process because it’s a large process and there’s a lot of information,” said Clearwater Port Vice President Billy Owens. “We think we can respond to those questions. We don’t believe it will result in a significant delay for the project.”
— Hannah Guzik
Bachelor party turns fatal
What started as a celebratory party the evening of Nov. 4 turned into a violent crime scene at a home on Lighthouse Way in Port Hueneme after shots erupted, leaving one man dead and four others injured.
20-year-old Sophear Riem, a resident of Oxnard, was shot multiple times and pronounced dead upon arrival of Port Hueneme police at 12:09 p.m.
Several neighbors called 911 around midnight after they heard gunfire at the home where a bachelor party was being held.
Four other Oxnard men, whose names have not been released but whose ages range from 23 to 33, were injured during the shooting spree, police said. As of Nov. 6 two of the men were listed in critical condition and two were listed in stable condition, said Sgt. Peter Freiberg, spokesman for the Port Hueneme Police Department.
No one had been arrested for the shooting and the shooter had not yet been identified as of Nov. 6, police said.
“This was an unusual incident and it’s being investigated,” Freiberg said.
As of Nov. 6 police had not released any information on the motive of the crime or disclosed whether it was gang-related.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Investigative Division of the Port Hueneme Police Department or call 385-TALK anonymously.
— Hannah Guzik
City approves sustainability report
The Ventura City Council on Nov. 5 approved an ambitious proposal designed to make the city a leader in the nation in sustainability. Goals of the proposal include drastically reducing city carbon emissions, eliminating styrofoam products, and developing entirely within the city\’s existing footprint.
Councilmember Christy Weir singled out the recommendation to double the planting of city trees as a priority for her, noted that the Avenue area especially could benefit from more trees.
\”There\’s nothing greener than a tree,\” she said.
Councilman Brian Brennan said he wants the city to help schools improve indoor air quality and reduce the amount of toxic pesticides they use outside.
\”Climate change is a growth industry,\” he said, noting that there are 100 \”green\” businesses in Ventura already.
Councilman Jim Monahan supported the initiative, but asked \”How are we going to fund it?\”
Ron Calkins of Public Works said much of the funding could be found in existing programs with some modifications, but also admitted that the project does not have a timeline. Brennan responded that \”green jobs\” tend to be \”high value and high wage\” and that he hopes Ventura can become known as a center for green thought, the way Hollywood is a center for the entertainment business, and Silicon Valley is a center for the computer industry.