ePilot Number 17 September 2015

The National Tsunami Warning Center has issued a Tsunami Advisory for the California Coast between Ragged Point and San Onofre due to an earthquake in Chile. The alert was issued at 6:43 PM on 16 September.

Action at the Beach

With a stiff Westerly blowing on Tuesday, units from Port Hueneme, Oxnard, and Ventura County responded to a call of a kayak in distress.  Lifeguard service ended with Labor Day but the rip currents didn’t. Be careful out there!

Water Contact Warning
The Ventura County Environmental Health Division and the City of Port Hueneme remind all that contact with ocean water is to be avoided for up to 72 hours after a rainfall event.  Storm water runoff has the potential to carry disease causing bacteria.  Thouroughly rinse skin and any items that may come in contact with contaminated water.


Photo BMK

Diane Mautner as Mollie Bard and Connie Korenstein as Lucy Levy  discuss old times in old Wynema.

The Friends of the Bard were treated to a tea time conversation between two friends who witnessed and created much of the history of modern Ventura County.

Mollie Bard (Diane Mautner) was the wife of Thomas Bard who built the wharf at Hueneme and later became a United States Senator.

Lucy Levy (Connie Korenstein) was a fashionable Parisienne who married the self-advertised “San Francisco entrepreneur” Achille Levy who began his business by providing financial services to the farmers waiting to ship their crops from Bard’s Wharf.  The Bank of Hueneme eventually became the Bank of A. Levy, one of the largest financial institutions in the state.

From pioneer days, through World War I, and into the Great Depression, these two friends were pillars of the social and charitable structure of our community.  Between them, they seem to have been everywhere, helping to build the city we know today.


Castles in the Sand
Second of Two Parts
Beverly M. Kelley

The sand is back on Hueneme Beach, and with it, the Fifth Annual City of Port Hueneme Sand Sculpture Contest arrived as well.  During the summers of 2013 and 2014, the event had to be cancelled, not due to a lack of participants, but to the absence of sand.

In reality, Hueneme Beach Park itself could be considered a 20-acre sand sculpture—fluctuating in size and shape from year to year. When the Navy built the jetties at the Port of Hueneme in 1940, they interrupted the littoral flow of sand to Hueneme Beach while also creating a corrosive eddy current that scours away 1.25 million cubic yards of seashore every year.

Two Federal laws mandate that the Army Corps of Engineers replenish the lost sand.
The River and Harbor Act of 1954 authorized the creation of the Channel Islands Harbor sand trap, whose contents were to be used to nourish down-coast beaches.
The Water Resources Development Act of 1996 sanctioned a 100 percent federal cost share split between the Department of the Navy and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Since 1960, however, the powers-that-be have been behaving like a deadbeat dad on the run. The volume of sand transported by the Army Corps has steadily declined from an average of 1.5 million cubic yards during the first decade to 600,000 in 2013.
Since Army Corps activities are subject to the Congressional appropriations process, during this recession “It’s the economy, stupid” has become their tired mantra.
Granted, sand replenishment is expensive. It costs over $5.35 million to move just 600,000 cubic yards. Yet Army Corps representatives don’t seem at all concerned that their dwindling sand deliveries—coming up various degrees of short during past decades— created an emergency situation for the second time in 2014.

When Hueneme Beach eroded to Surfside Drive after a significant deficit in 1994, emergency funding came through. In 2014, however, Port Hueneme was told by the California Coastal Commission that no emergency existed a week before the sea wall fell down.  The City of Port Hueneme armored what was left of Hueneme Beach with strategically placed boulders—yet rocks don’t roll for free. Their cost lightened the already stretched-to-the-max Port Hueneme coffers by a cool million.

But there’s more. We are expecting an El Nino year in 2016—when anything can happen.  This summer, we’ve already have experienced hurricane-like weather.  By January we could well get ferocious winds, abnormally high tides, and killer waves that might easily wash away much of the 2.25 million cubic yards of sand, courtesy of the Corps of Engineers, that finally gave us our beach back.

So what’s happening with the Feds?  There’s no guarantee that Port Hueneme will get any more sand until Congress passes the budget for next year.  According to our U.S Representative Julia Brownley—”the whole federal process ground to a halt over the Confederate Flag.”  So, business as usual—as far as Port Hueneme is concerned?

I’m hoping that next year the Sand Sculpture Contest will still take place as part of the Toni Young Hueneme Beach Festival.  In all likelihood (unless eliminated by badly needed budget cuts) the third weekend in August 2016 will be a balmy 69 degrees and Port Hueneme will be welcoming hundreds of cash-spending day-trippers to the our friendly little beach town.  In addition to chowing down on roasted corn and funnel cakes, we hope that dozens of amateur teams will be sculpting sandcastles as well. We can only pray that these talented sand sculptors won’t be required to bring their own sand.

Camerata Pacifica in Ventura

Camerata Pacifica opened their 26th season with a powerful and passionate performance at Meister Hall at Temple Beth Torah.  This virtuoso ensemble is never afraid to push boundaries, even when presenting a program firmly rooted in the Romantic era.  Time and again the audience was reminded that what is now settled and familiar was once unsettling and new.

The first notes of the new season were sounded by Paul Huang on his “Wieniawski” Guarneri violin, an instrument with amazing depth of tone.   Mr. Huang is a young player with formidable technique who maintained an impressive sense of line and voicing through the triple stop dazzler that is Eugène Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 3. 

It is hard for a modern audience to conceive that Johannes Brahms was once considered a radical innovator. “The most modern of the moderns,” sniffed the Boston Globe’s music critic at the time.

By the 1860’s the Romantic rediscovery of Bach, begun by Mendelsohn and the Paris school of the 1830’s, was well underway.  The E Minor Sonata No. 1 for Piano and Cello, Op 38, is heavily contrapuntal owing much to The Art of the Fugue.

Accompanied by the cooly competent Warren Jones on piano, the volcanic Ani Aznavoorian redefined the meaning of passion while navigating the technically treacherous cello part. 

Brahms gives both instruments plenty to do, and balance in this piece has historically been a difficult problem to solve.  While initially Ms. Aznavoorian answered the question of whether or not a cello could overpower a nine foot Steinway, the players were soon locked in, and by the third movement Allegro, produced some breathtaking unison runs.

The culminating fortissimo passage was essayed with such vigor that the bow struck against  the cello as Ms. Aznavoorian tore into the instrument, but such a crime of passion is easily forgiven in the heat of a transcendent performance.

In the late nineteenth century, Pablo de Sarasate laid claim to being the greatest violin virtuoso in the world.  In an era when virtuosi were expected to write their own showpieces, Sarasate left many compositions that have become part of the standard repertoire.

The Spanish Dance No. 3, Op. 22, “Romanza Andaluza” is such a piece.  Unabashedly designed to make the ladies swoon, Mr. Huang brought a lyricism and delicacy to this light piece that stood in contrast to the pyrotechnic bombast of the Ysaÿe.  The triple pianissimo diminuendo that concludes the piece was handled with a deftness that brought a shiver to the spine of the listeners.

The second half of the concert was given over to César Franck’s Quintet in F Minor for Piano and Strings, an intense piece that roils like a troubled dream.  As the story has it, Franck had intended to dedicate the piece to his mentor, Camille Saint-Saëns who played the piano at the premiere.  Supposedly the composer of Carnival of the Animals was so disgusted by the piece that at the end of the performance he hurled the score into the piano and stormed off the stage.

Once again, the audience was reminded how modern the Romantics could be.  And once again Camerata Pacifica in performance matched the passion and intensity of the piece.

Mr. Huang, Mr. Jones, and Ms. Aznavoorian were joined by Agnes Gottschewski on violin, and Richard Yongjae O’Neill on viola. Mr. O’Neill, in particular, brought a modern intensity to his performance that had some of the more conservative members of the audience clucking in disapproval.  Thoughts of Jerry Lee Lewis come to mind.

With the exception of some tuning difficulties in the second movement, these five virtuosi harnessed their exceptional talents and delivered an ensemble performance with real heart and genuine emotion.

If your image of a classical concert is dour performers grimly soldering on in the name of art, then you’ve never experienced Camerata Pacifica. 

Camerata Pacifica’s performance season runs from now through May, in venues from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, with a new program each month.  Their next Ventura performance will be on October 11 and feature a world premiere of Belfast born composer Ian Wilson‘s Flute Trio in G Minor.


Brick Wahl


I‘ve been accused of being a reactionary, a fascist, a Reagan Republican, a racist, a white devil, a genocide enabler, a communist, an America hater, a right wing Donald Trump supporting expletive, you name it.

Keyboard warriors make the best name callers.

I rarely mention the fact that I am not a keyboard warrior, that I have had several years as a real world activist. Among other things I spent a stretch there back in the 1970’s working with the United Farm Workers. Did all kinds of stuff for them, even handling security for Cesar Chavez at rallies.

There was one scary day in a park in La Colonia in Oxnard. I still haven’t gotten up the nerve to write about it. Some things perhaps should remain unwritten.

On a keyboard, political opinions are nothing, really, but in real life it can be harsh and vivid and terrifying. Sometimes you live, sometimes you die. Mostly you never know.

I think of this whenever I opine my non-radical political opinions and get yelled at by the keyboard warriors. They do love to yell sometimes. So dedicated they can be, so fierce and uncompromising and always right. Sometimes they are. Sometimes they aren’t. Does it matter?

It’s so easy to be fearsome and uncompromising on the internet. But reality has repercussions and things that can still keep you up at night, wondering, nearly forty years later. Haunted by what might have been and never knowing for sure.

Martyrdom is a strange concept, your name on a plaque in a park named for you.

Read more Brick Wahl at http://brickwahl.com/

Poet Wanted

The Ventura County Arts Council is seeking its second poet laureate. If you know a poet who could advance literary arts in our county click here and get your nomination in by the November 30 deadline. 


Environmental Analysis Supports Expanding China Lake Operations
Increased activity necessary to develop new weapons.


Congress Needs to “Get on Board” for New BRAC Round
While the Pentagon argues for cuts, Congress says “No”.

Beach Cities Neighbors and Newcomers

The Beach Cities Neighbors and Newcomers Club, (BCNN ) is a group of active women of all ages who live in Ventura, Oxnard, or Port Hueneme and enjoy activities such as hiking, bridge, dining, wine outings, reading, mah jong, cooking etc.
For more information, please come to our monthly meeting on October 7, 2015 from 9:30 AM to 11AM…    Meeting will be held at the Ventura Museum Pavilion located at 100 E. Main Street, in historic downtown Ventura   No charge for meeting and no reservation is required.  Coffee or Tea is available at a nominal charge of $1.00.

Speaker:                    Kate Nash
Title:                          Owner of Cosmotion
Subject:                     The Joy of Movement – Dancing through Life

For additional information, please visit our Website at: bcnnwomensclub.org
Or call:  805-647-8105 or 805-985-8085 

Port of Hueneme Exhibit Grand Opening!

4th Annual Banana Festival

When: Saturday, September 19, 2015
Time: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Where: Port of Hueneme

Support Live Music!

Solimar holds forth at the Waterside

Copyright 2015 The Hueneme Pilot  All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

516 Island View Circle
Port Hueneme, California 93041

J. Sharkey, Editor and Publisher

ePilot Number 16

Surfside Sunset

Rush Hour at Hueneme Beach

Julia Brownley in Port Hueneme

OHD General Manager Kristin Decas, Julia Brownley and Board President Jess Herrera 

County Losing Out on Transportation Dollars

Member of Congress Julia Brownley stopped by the offices of the Oxnard Harbor District to discuss transportation issues with port customers.

The good news was a $1.5million Economic Development Administration grant for harbor and shoreside improvements that she helped secure.

The bad news was that much needed transportation investment is stuck in the Congressional quagmire.

“Transportation, Homeland Security — all these things we’re constantly putting band-aids on,” complained the Congressmember.  In regard to transportation, she acknowledged that there’s “universal agreement on both sides that we need a long term solution.” She pledged to “support any proposal out there.” 

However, despite some early optimism, the budget process “came to a screeching halt over the Confederate flag issue.”

On the local level, Brownley lamented the fact that Ventura is the only county of its size in the State of California that does not have a sales tax dedicated to transportation.  So-called “self help” counties are able to use that tax money to match Federal funds for transportation improvements.  Without such a tax, Ventura County cannot even apply for Federal grants.

In recent years, Ventura County voters have twice defeated transportation tax measures.

Ventura County is “walking away from money,” said Brownley.  “L.A. County is taking all of Ventura County’s money.”


The Sandcastle Contest Returned in 2015
Sandcastles by the Shore
The First of Two Parts
Beverly M. Kelley
Isaac Newton once wrote, “I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore… whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

Speaking of seashores, in my humble opinion, there is no better way to learn about Newton’s law of gravity, falling apples aside, than trying to construct a sandcastle at the beach.

For five years now, (a hiatus was called during 2013 and 2014 due to the absence of sand), the Toni Young Hueneme Beach Festival has featured a Sand Sculpting Contest—giving out-of-towners something to do in addition to visiting the vendors, grooving to the bands, and touring the lighthouse or the Port of Hueneme.  

This cycle of contests was originally the brainchild of Donna Breeze, who is passionate about keeping Hueneme Beach Park from remaining “the best kept secret in Ventura County.” Since her family has always enjoyed digging in the sand, she figured that a castle competition might provide the perfect introduction to “The Friendly City by the Sea.”
In 2011, Breeze gently twisted committee members’ arms to start planning the contest 12 months in advance. As part of her research, planner Marietta King unearthed photos and documents belonging to Sheryl Malone and Marian Foster, who labored on sand sculpture contests during 1984, 1985. and 1986 in conjunction with Port Hueneme Harbor Days.  The genesis for the mid-eighties digs was a group of art, culture, and merriment-minded residents of the Anacapa Condo Owners Association in Port Hueneme.  

When asked why there was never a 4th Annual Sand Sculpture Contest in 1987, Malone acknowledged that volunteers tend to vanish when the workload proves too great or the payoff proves too small.  Even non-profits that endure for decades are at risk—dying off as their members do the same. The last production of Port Hueneme Harbor Days, a class act that ran for 51 years, occurred in 2005.  

Happily, however, the efforts of Malone and Foster now pave the way for sand sculpture contests to come. We can see further by standing on the shoulders of those who come before us. Yet said shoulders do not have to belong, as Isaac Newton also once insisted, to “giants.” They can be attached to quite ordinary folks—like those who now live in and love the sleepy little beach town that is Port Hueneme.

Labor Day
President Cleveland Didn't Like Unions
Grover Cleveland
In 1894, striking workers from the Pullman factory attempted to disrupt rail service in the Midwest. Based on the rationale of protecting the US Mail, President Cleveland ordered Federal troops to guard the trains. Before the strike ground to a halt, more than 30 people were killed in the action.

In response to the bloodshed, Samuel Gompers and others persuaded Congress to pass legislation setting aside a holiday to honor the workers of America.  The President quickly signed it into law.

Grover Cleveland was a man who mistrusted concentrated power, be it governmental, capital, or labor. He was elected to his second term after the Benjamin Harrison interregnum just as a brutal recession gripped the country.  He resisted calls to devalue the currency and, presaging Keynes, advocated increasing the amount of money in circulation.

Although he ostensibly represented the Northeast “Business” wing of the Democratic Party and was decidedly opposed to William J. Bryan and the nascent Progressive movement, some of his views and the problems he faced resonate today.

‘A truly American sentiment recognizes the dignity of labor and the fact that honor lies in honest toil,’  he said.  Going further, “He mocks the people who proposes that the Government shall protect the rich and that they in turn will care for the laboring poor.”

In 1888 he warned of the power of corporations: “As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear, or is trampled beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters.”

Sound familiar?


Holiday for Bees

A swarm of bees took over a trash can at Hueneme Beach.  Lifeguards secured the area with yellow incident tape.

Brick Wahl

Know Nothing flag, mid-1850's.

Native-American didn’t always mean American Indian. That definition took hold in the 1970’s*. Back in the 19th century, at least until the Civil War, it meant native-born American, and American meant White, English, Protestant and especially not Irish.

In fact, many people in the 1850’s hated the Irish flooding into American ports after the Potato Famine of the 1840’s, hated them so much they formed a political party, the Native American Party. It was a secret, at first–secret societies were all the rage back then–and if asked a member was supposed to say I know nothing. Hence the common name. (Seriously, that explains the name, as stupid as that sounds.)

Later it called itself the American Party, but it wasn’t around long enough for that name to stick. To this day we know them as Know Nothings. Only the Anti-Masonic Party of a generation earlier (they really hated Freemasons) had an odder appellation for a major American political party.

If the Know Nothing movement’s Native American Party had been a secret it was a badly kept one, because for a couple years their party made a meteoric impact. It went from nothing to the most dynamic new force in American politics, and then disappeared in a flash.

The Know Nothings’ congressional delegation grew from zero seats in 1852 to 56 seats (out of 233) in the House in 1854. They also landed 5 senators (out of 62) in 1856.

The party was especially strong in areas with large Irish populations, particularly Massachusetts. Boston’s political battles were often pitched fights between Know-Nothings and Irish immigrants.

There was worse violence elsewhere.

On an election day in Louisville in 1855 a Know Nothing mob descended on polling stations in the Irish and German wards. Twenty-two died. In New Orleans vigilante groups occupied polling stations to repress (they called it monitoring) the Democratic immigrant vote and ensure a Know Nothing victory.

Things grew even worse on election day in Baltimore where Know Nothings and Democrats fought with fists, guns, and then artillery. (How the sides got hold of cannon I have no idea.) The Know Nothing slate won in a landslide after massive voter fraud.

Catholics were targeted as well. In Bath, Maine the Catholic church was burned to the ground by a Know Nothing mob, and in a nearby town Know Nothings tarred and feathered the parish priest.

In a time when armed mobs were increasingly part of the national political culture, local Know Nothing leadership had no qualms about unleashing them on the Irish and Germans (but especially the Irish). It was a popular tactic.

Party membership skyrocketed from 50K to one million members in a few months over the summer of 1854. As with the explosion in Ku Klux Klan membership in the 1920’s, the sudden nation-wide popularity of George Wallace in 1968 (and until he was shot, in 1972), and Donald Trump now, every once in a while millions of Americans decide that millions of other Americans aren’t American enough to be real Americans.

Of course, the Know Nothings certainly benefited in the mid-1850’s from the implosion of the Whig Party. Forgotten now, the Whigs were the dominant American political party for a stretch there. Founded in 1833, four Whig presidents occupied the White House from 1841-1853 (two of their presidents died in office).

Then, torn apart by the slavery issue, they suddenly dissolved in 1854, leaving a lot of politicians with no place to go. Many jumped to the Know Nothing party, now that it had adopted the more palatable name of American Party (though everyone still called them Know Nothings).

Even one of the more nothing Whig presidents, Millard Fillmore, ran again as a Know Nothing. Oddly enough he was neither a nativist nor a Know Nothing, didn’t support any of the tenets of the Know Nothing platform, wasn’t even at the Know Nothing convention, and no one bothered to tell him he was being nominated. He ran anyway, though, coming in third with nearly 25% of the total votes, the highest percentage any third party candidate has ever received in an American presidential election.

Thereafter the party faded as quickly as it arrived. It had only had the one issue, really: immigration. The Know Nothings didn’t like the Irish and they didn’t like Catholics. They didn’t like German Catholics either.

In states chock full of Catholics, however, like Louisiana and Maryland, they recruited native born Catholics but didn’t like immigrant Catholics. (In fact, Maryland was the only state Millard Fillmore carried in 1856, presumably with a lot of native born Catholic votes.)

In San Francisco they didn’t like Chinese. In Maine, where Know Nothings were very popular, they probably didn’t like the French Canadians. In Texas the local Know Nothings no doubt couldn’t stand Mexicans. If there were any immigrants from anywhere attending a Catholic church, the Know Nothings no doubt hated them.

But by the end of the 1850’s more people hated slavery (or, in the South, they hated Abolitionists) than hated Irish or Catholics, and most of the party’s northern members defected to the new Republican Party which wasn’t nativist at all. Southern Know Nothings joined the fleeting Constitutional Union Party (which sought to preserve slavery without secession). The Know Nothings were back down to zero seats in the House by 1860, and none of its five senators remained in the Senate. It was a miserable end.

What had happened, of course, was that the Republican Party had filled that vacuum left by the sudden disintegration of the Whig Party. The impending crisis over slavery (especially free state outrage over the appalling Dred Scott decision in 1857) and the inevitability of the American Civil War had pushed nativism to the background again. The Know Nothing’s obsession over Catholics and immigrants seemed ridiculous in comparison.

Slavery was overwhelmingly the pre-eminent issue of the day, indeed it split the Know Nothings themselves (as it had the Whigs) and once war broke out everyone was called to the colors, native born or not. 150,000 Irishmen served in the Union Army (along with several Irish born generals), and indeed the Irish Brigade in the Army of the Potomac was one of the war’s most renowned units, always in the thick of combat, taking tremendous losses.

You can’t tell an Irishman who’d lost and arm or a leg defending the Union that he should go back to Ireland. You couldn’t tell a German Catholic veteran to go back home either. Civil rights are often earned in combat, and the Civil War squelched nativism in the North for years.

Later in the 19th century and into the 1920’s Republicans attracted the nativists (though the Democrats held onto them in the South where Republicans reached out to black voters). Irishmen again became targets.

Once southern Democrats turned Republican after 1980 the modern nativists are pretty much Republican (and Republican-voting independents) again, though we’ll see what Trump does this year.

He’s the wild card. He could go independent and revive what had begun as the Know-Nothing party over a century and a half ago. He’s certainly riding that wave high. You could slip lines from a Know Nothing speech from 1854 into Trump’s teleprompter and you probably would never tell the difference, as long as you changed “Irishmen” to “Mexicans”. He probably couldn’t tell the difference, either.

It seems this Nativist (as they used to call it) streak explodes on the scene periodically and then disappears just as quickly. You could go back through American history and list the various movements and trends and politicians who took advantage of the opportunity presented by angry people, from the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798 (which targeted French and Irish) to Donald Trump targeting Hispanics today.

That anger really roils the waters for a while, though. We’re seeing them boil now. If history is any guide, it’ll pass.


Securities Fraud Possible in Plant Explosion

It’s not just the wastewater that smells in investigation of privately owned treatment plant.


US on Alert amid Ships Coming from Tianjin

Watching for toxic contaminants headed our way.


Piano for Sale — $2.4 Million

Steinway serial number 600,000, a special “Fibonacci Edition”, would look good in your living room.


NRG eVgo: Take Charge

eVgo: Take Charge CA

Remember what it felt like when you had to own a home in order to own an electric vehicle? Not great. We’re changing that through our Take Charge program.

Right now, charging station installation is free for qualified apartment and workplace properties.

And now that people know they can get car charging installed for free at apartments and workplaces across the state, nearly 2,000 properties have already taken part, from San Francisco to San Diego.

But we need your help to go from 2,000 to 20,000. The more people that request electric vehicle charging, the more charging stations there will be, making it easier for you to charge up and hit the road.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Forward this email to your friends and tell them to visit www.takechargeca.com. If their property is eligible, we’ll wire their property to support EV charging at no cost.  
  • Spread the EV love on social media: Next time you charge up, snap a photo, tell the world how much you love your EV and add #TakeChargeCA.

The Take Charge offer is only available for a limited time. Tell your friends to take charge of their future today. 

The EVgo Team

Hidden Track : “Laugh at Me”— Mott the Hoople

Copyright 2015 The Hueneme Pilot  All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
516 Island View Circle
Port Hueneme, California 93041

J. Sharkey, Editor and Publisher

ePilot Number 15

Beach Fest Impressions




Ready to Go

Chloe the Wonder Dog Stands Guard


Mayor Sylvia Muñoz-Schnopp on Opening Day

Over the Line!

Our Favorite Beach Babe

Bella Donna Channels the Mac

Filling the Seats


Sand Sculpture is Back!

Looks Like a Winner!

Meanwhile, Floating Serenely Overhead…

Hard Work Pays off for Team RSL

Supervisor Candidate Mike Morgan Takes a Break from the Campaign Trail

Disco Inferno Burns Down the House

While Cathy Penprase and Cathy Thomasson Dance the Day Away

Los Amigos rock the Surfside Seafood Crowd with a Latin Beat

Sunday, 6:30 PM — Loading Out


And Then it Was Gone…

See you next year!

Supes to Examine Community Choice

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has decided to contribute $50,000 toward a study of Community Choice Aggregation.

Community Choice is a system for the direct purchase of electricity by local agencies instead of the Investor Owned Utilities such as Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric.

Ventura County was approached by a consortium of cities and Santa Barbara County that are looking at this option. 

The money will be used to study the feasibility of establishing a Community Choice structure in the two county area.


Budget Proposal Available for Examination

The City of Port Hueneme’s proposed budget is available on the City’s website.
Cuts in State funding as well as emergency expenses related to beach erosion portend a $2M shortfall.

Cancelled Meetings?

A Camarillo-based daily newspaper recently criticized Port Hueneme for a number of “cancelled” city council meetings.

Historically the city council has stood in recess during the month of August.
“Don’t they realize that most cities, the Board of Supervisors, and even the United States Congress are dark in August?” wondered Mayor Sylvia Muñoz-Schnopp.

Brick Wahl

The Real Campaign

“Obama still was able to convey a sense of progressiveness and realness that was nonetheless very exciting. You don’t think of the middle as being an exciting place…”

Depends on your point of view.

Most candidates on the left of the Democratic party have been spinning essentially the same hackneyed ideas since Adlai Stevenson, just as those on the right of the GOP are still tossing the same raw meat that was tossed to their ancestors in the fifties.

Almost invariably new ideas come from the center, where workable plans have to be developed out of compromise.

On either end of the spectrum the candidates know there’s no real hope of attaining almost anything they promise, so they promise the moon because the audience out there loves it and, to be honest, doesn’t care if any of it ever passes or not — they’re just there for the show.

Only twice in the last hundred years has revolutionary reform been possible after an election: under FDR and then under Reagan.

After that you have various candidates pretending it’s 1932 and 1980 again respectively. Just like now, with Bernie Sanders on the Dem side making impossible to  implement proposals, and nearly all of the GOP cast of crazies on the other side promising to do exactly what Sam Brownback is doing to Kansas now.

It’s complete crap on both sides, but it’s good theater, and it sure gets Facebook worked up.

But you ask any of these Bernie Sanders fans just how his proposals will be implemented in real life they will not be able to answer — nor will they care. And it goes without saying that the GOP is the same.

This campaign is not about change, it’s about show biz. Once the press begins focusing on Bernie Sanders for viable explanations of how to pass, fund and implement his proposals, that’s when it gets hard. Right now he and all the GOP are playing to Facebook.

This is still recess. The real campaign hasn’t even started.

Read more Brick Wahl at http://brickwahl.com/


Shooting Down Drones
The Navy practicing defense against unmanned aircraft off the coast of Point Mugu during Operation Black Dart.
UAV Regulators Face “a high tech Wild West”
Non-commercial use of “drones” is outstripping the regulations designed to control their use.

Navy Signs Massive Solar Power Deal
Eight Navy installations and six Marine Corps bases in California are scheduled to purchase power from a Sempra solar plant to be built west of Phoenix.


Hidden Track: “It Won’t be Long” — Deanna Bogart

Copyright 2015 The Hueneme Pilot  All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
516 Island View Circle
Port Hueneme, California 93041

J. Sharkey, Editor and Publisher

ePilot Number 14

Sunrise in Port Hueneme

We’re No. 1!

According to The Washington Post, “Ventura County, Calif., is the absolute most desirable place to live in America.”

PHWA to Proceed With Project

In a three and a half hour meeting, the Port Hueneme Water Agency (PHWA) board agreed to spend $70,000 of a $308,000 budget to contract with KEH Associates for analysis of the feasibility of constructing the Double Pass Reverse Osmosis Project at the PHWA water treatment facility.
If constructed, the project would recycle effluent that is now being sent to Oxnard’s wastewater plant, generating over 1 million acre feet per year of “new water”.  

KEH will study both the engineering and financial aspects of the project that is estimated to cost $2.5 million in total.

Port Hueneme Public Works Director Chris Theissen also briefed the board on discussions with Oxnard regarding impacts from proposed upgrading of that city’s wastewater plant.  The PWHA facility sits on land leased from the City of Oxnard.  

Renewal of the lease is complicated by the need to virtually rebuild the wastewater plant to account for potential sea level rise.  The two plants sit on adjoining parcels. Should the Oxnard plant need to be relocated, that could impact the PHWA plant as well.  Cost estimates for the Oxnard project alone could exceed $800 million.

PHWA board member Doug Breeze (Port Hueneme) pointed out that the lease can only be terminated by “mutual agreement” and that there were “lots of options” for working with Oxnard to improve water quality and supply. “Flexibility’s the name of the game when you’re talking water,” he said.

In other business, the board voted to continue to meet monthly, rather than revert to quarterly, meetings.  Staff estimates the cost of each meeting to be $5435.


Community Choice Coming to Ventura County?

The Ventura County Regional Energy Alliance (VCREA) heard a presentation on Community Choice Energy at it August 13 meeting.

Community Choice is a mechanism for cities and counties to take over the purchase of electricity from the for-profit power companies such as Southern California Edison or Pacific Gas and Electric.  While the actual power lines would still be owned by SCE or PG&E, the electricity itself would be purchased and sold by the community agency.

Presently in California, Marin and Sonoma Counties as well as the City of Lancaster have formed Community Choice agencies.  While Marin is reporting 3-5% savings in electricity rates, there are, nonetheless, cautionary notes to be sounded.

A study for the City of Arcata puts the cost of conversion at $1 million, in contrast to the “large amounts of revenue” predicted by an earlier study. http://www.northcoastjournal.com/humboldt/arcata-eyes-costly-divorce/Content?oid=3170926

Several Santa Barbara cities led by the County have begun exploring Community Choice.  They recently approached Ventura County with an invitation to join in a feasibility study estimated to cost about $50,000. 

VCREA, chaired by 3rd District Supervisor Kathy Long, agreed to contact Ventura County cities to see if any were interested in participating in such a study.  The Board of Supervisors will consider the matter separately.

VCREA is an association of the County, local cities, shcool districts, and special districts formed to promote energy conservation in Ventura County.


A New Look for Oxnard?
Dao Doan discusses a vision for Oxnard Blvd

A Vision for Oxnard Blvd.
By Dao Doan
For as long as Ventura County residents can remember, Oxnard Boulevard has been a busy, somewhat unattractive State Highway that traverses the heart of Oxnard.  Indeed the Boulevard, in connecting Pacific Coast Highway in the south to US Highway 101 in the north, cuts right through Downtown Oxnard.  Owned by the State and operated by Caltrans, the Boulevard spawned commerce and business, along with a healthy dose of truck traffic throughout the day and night.       
                                    Last year the City engaged a consultant to help re-envision what the Boulevard should look like in its new role of still linking the south to the north while no longer accommodating heavy truck traffic.  The consultants were tasked with outreach and engaging the community for public input through a series of workshops.  Among the participants of the workshops, a private citizen group was independently formed under the name Oxnard Community Planning Group (OCPG) to provide informed feedback.  Roy Prince, Frank Nilsen, Roger Poirier, Steve Nash, Claudia Lozano, Aurelio Ocampo Jr., and Gary Blum, are some of the active members among many others.
The Group’s main concern is that the Boulevard’s final vision should closely reflect that of the community:  the Boulevard as a thoroughfare that accommodates all users, from pedestrians to bicyclists to vehicle operators, from toddlers to persons with disabilities to seniors, all in a pleasant, safe and vibrant manner.  It should not be redesigned mainly for drivers as is often the case of street design.  To the OCPG, a street is more than just the pavement on which cars are driven.  Its sidewalk, its trees, its landscape, its furniture, and the buildings lining it help define whether it is a healthy and “complete” street.  The OCPG recognizes that intense development in the form of housing is needed in order for inject more life into such a robust vision.
A key focus of the OCPG is how the Boulevard can help foster a vibrant Downtown with economic development and housing, rather than splitting it into two halves with fast and noisy traffic.  In the mind of the OCPG, the transformation of the Boulevard should be centered on people rather than cars; it should re-link the east and west side of Downtown, and be a “place” for socialization along with commerce.  Ways to achieve that goal include enlarged sidewalks at intersections (also referred to as curb extensions or “bulb-outs”), dedicated and protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and curb-side parking. The main focus is place making.
With that objective in mind, the OCPG retained Mainstreet Architects of Ventura to create a series of images illustrating how more intense development along this important corridor would have the ability to change how it is perceived (disclosure: this writer is responsible for the graphic creation of those images, now shown in this article).  Just as important, the OCPG supports retaining valued historic properties such as the old Teatro downtown theater, the Asahi Market, as well as the Golden Chicken Restaurant building.  The group wants to show how Oxnard’s historic buildings can fit in a new context of increased intensity and vitality, and how new development will still show respect to them.
The visioning process is still on-going at press time.  The OCPG hopes that the ultimate plan will adopt many of concepts depicted in the illustrations, and that when realized, the Boulevard will look and feel something like a place teeming with life, people walking, biking, and driving.

This article originally appeared in the Livable Communities Newsletter and is reprinted with the kind permission of the Ventura County Civic Alliance.

Dao Doan is the CFO/ Senior Principal of Mainstreet Architects + Planners, Inc., and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Ventura County Civic Alliance.

Loran Lewis

A kind word from an old friend, the editor and publisher of our predecessor Hueneme Pilot.


Congratulations to the editor of the ePilot for resuscitating the Hueneme Pilot. As the publisher-editor-janitor for the Hueneme Pilot, I know firsthand how important a local news outlet is to a community.

What makes a town a “community” are the voices and actions of the people who live there. That includes, but is not limited to, city government. It includes what people do to have fun, improve their town and raise their children. You simply can’t do that effectively from several towns away.

I could not have been happier with the reception of the previous incarnation of the Pilot or of getting to know the people and sharing their stories. I wish the new ePilot the best of luck, and I look forward to following the activities of my adopted hometown from afar.

Brick Wahl

The Disappearing Middle Class

From the “Harper’s Index” in the September 2012 Harper’s Magazine….

Percentage change since 1970 of the share of metropolitan American families residing in affluent neighborhoods: +121

Residing in poor neighborhoods: +108

Residing in Middle Class neighborhoods:  -34

The math there is just brutal. There are more than twice as many–almost two and a half times as many–affluent households now than there were in 1970. There are over twice as many poor households as they were ion 1970. And the number of middle class households is down a whole third.

If you consider that the total household wealth money supply has been fairly fixed over that time, you can see how this happened.  The upper class has increased their share by taking it from the middle class.

Their increased wealth didn’t come out of nothing. It’s not like there was a Gold Rush that increased the money supply several fold over night.


It’s just that the salary structure and profit taking and were fundamentally altered so that most of that cash went to the rich and upper middle classes (who are now the lowest rung of the affluent  class.) They’ve locked in this bias, too–when the recession hit, that they themselves caused, the upper class–the top 20%–suffered almost not at all. All the pain was born by the middle and lower classes, especially the middle class, who have been so stripped of cash that they can no longer even afford to be middle class.

That’s what has made this downturn so devastating, and why the middle class can’t seem to recover: there’s no money for us. Almost all of the benefits of the recovery have gone to the top twenty percent.

The redistribution of wealth in this country has been profound…one of the greatest economic shifts in our history. The recession made that gulf even wider, and hardened it…and the endlessness of the recession has only continued that process.

There can’t be a reversal of this trend for a generation or two. The middle class of even twenty years ago will not regain their position, not in their lifetimes. Our best years are long behind us.

So we’ve adapted. We live poorer, spend less. We live in a totally separate world from the top twenty. The businesses that succeed nowadays are ones that cater to the twenty percent. Businesses that cater to the middle class fail.

I don’t see a way out. We’ve lost the class war. Got our asses whipped before we even realized that there was a class war.

Read more Brick Wahl at http://brickwahl.com/

Forecasting the Next Pandemic

Can Big Data spot emerging diseases before they have a chance to spread?

Copyright 2015 The Hueneme Pilot  All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:


516 Island View Circle
Port Hueneme, California 93041

J. Sharkey, Editor and Publisher