The ePilot No. 22 —November 2015

Autumn Sky

A Cold Front Brought Ventura County a Sudden Taste of Fall

Water, Water Anywhere?

“The way we’ve done things in the past is not going to work in the future.”  With that admonition from moderator Joe Gibson, the participants in the Ventura County Association of Water Agencies’ 24th annual Water Symposium tried to envision the future of water in Ventura County.

While the problems are clear — Lake Cachuma is at 13% capacity — the solutions are more problematic.

Australia in response to a crippling drought, instituted a system of market-based water pricing ( that responds to demand in various sectors – municipal, industrial, agricultural, etc.  Although interested, the local “water buffaloes” doubted that such a system was likely to come to Ventura County in the near future.

The general consensus was that the future would bring increased regulation and higher prices.  

An increased reliance on “local” water was believed to be in the cards.  More reuse of wastewater, more treatment of salty groundwater, and possible seawater treatment are all on the horizon.  

More local storage of water would also make Ventura County more resilient in the event of natural disaster or Sacramento Delta levee failure.  

Camarillo City Councilmember Mike Morgan promoted the success of the new water reclamation plant which is producing “four million gallons for Camarillo parks and two million gallons for agriculture”.  As recycled water becomes cheaper, Mr. Morgan predicted that Camarillo would soon be using all the recycled water produced by the plant “reducing the need for groundwater pumping.”

The participants agreed that the water world twenty years from now would be significantly different. “Water is now where electric power was twenty years ago,” Mr. Gibson remarked.


Pumps Ready to Go

Karl Novak Inspects the Pumps at the Bubbling Springs Pump Station

During El Niño of 1998, only one of the three pumps at the end of the Bubbling Springs channel worked.  The other two never started pumping leading to flooding and evacuations at various points all the way back to Hueneme Road.

Since that time, the Ventura County Watershed Protection District has completely rebuilt the pump station and the J Street channel as well.

Karl Novak, the Deputy Director of the Watershed Protection District, recently toured the facility and is confident that the pumps are ready to handle whatever the predicted El Niño may deliver.

The pump station is necessary because the Bubbling Springs channel is lower than the water level in the J Street Drain.  In order to keep the water flowing, it must be pumped up to the level of the bigger channel.

With five pumps installed, three at a time can be online with two in reserve or in maintenance. With three pumps going at full speed, “We can fill an Olympic swimming pool in less than a minute,”  Dr. Novak boasts.  “You can actually see the water level going down.”

The Pumps can be Controlled at the Station or from the Main Control Room in Ventura

People Making a Difference

Beverly Merrill Kelley

When Larry Downing of the Port Hueneme Historical Museum Commission got the idea for the People Making a Difference award he wanted to honor “ordinary people doing extra ordinary deeds.”

“The idea is to recognize a person in Port Hueneme that is helping to improve the city or helping people in our community while seeking no gratification.”

The first award was given to Dorothy Ramirez.  This year’s award is going to Beverly Merrill Kelley, past President of the Friends of the Preuter Library, author, and columnist.

On November 14 at 11:00 AM at the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum, 220 North Market St.,  Dr. Kelley will present “A Love Letter to Port Hueneme” referencing some of her columns from the Ventura County Star

In addition to her two decade career as a newspaper columnist, Beverly Kelley founded the Communication Department at California Lutheran University from which she retired as Professor Emerita.  She began KCLU-FM as well as iCLU, the student on-line streaming station.

The author of the Reelpolitik series of books on cinema, she is also the creator of the Hunter Triplets series of mystery novels.


Brick Wahl


We went out to Elliott Caine’s pad in South Pasadena last night, like we do every year. We cover the door while he and Lei take the kids trick or treating.

South Pasadena–as old as it gets in Southern California, full of Victorian homes–is Halloween heaven (now there’s a concept). All the houses are tricked out in ghoulish finery and kids are drawn from all over like moths to flame.

They come in a trickle at first, then grow from bunches to throngs to armies to a vast herd of tiny little princesses two feet tall and rangy punk rockers in old Thrasher t-shirts, and all the leggy moms herding them along.

Trick or treat they all yelled, over the crazy screeching free jazz Elliott had put on–I remember a little bumble bee dancing to Ornette–and Fyl and I took turns dropping in a Snickers or Reeses or Butterfinger or whatever. We had more than enough candy, we thought, twenty bags full–about twenty pounds of it–but we didn’t, and after dropping them singly into an endless array of paper bags and pillow cases and plastic pumpkins, we were wiped out before 9 pm.

Elliott Caine had already returned before then, exhausted. “It’s crazy out there,”  he said, giddy with it all. I dropped in the last few candies and apologized to the line of little ones that we were out. You try saying that to a pair of four years olds in matching Superman outfits without feeling guilty. Their mom smiled and walked them off to the next place. I would have given her two candies. Though I gave the dads candies too.

Empty of treats, we turned out the lights and blew out the jack o’ lantern and turned off the flapping bat with the glowing red eyes and shut the door. In the dark, ghostly, the armies of the night shuffled along, little ghouls and cowboys and monsters and superheroes. Elliott’s kids, home and exhausted, were packed upstairs to bed, and the neighbors departed with their own sleepy broods. The music had gone from screaming to swinging–Miles, Dizzy, Lee Morgan–and the air turned sweet and fragrant, the brandy was good, the beer cold, the pizza cold too. We talked of jazz and everything else late into the night and on into All Saints Day. Yawning. Time to break it up.

As we drove home, grown up ghosts and monsters and super models and a Donald Trump or two walked unsteadily down the sidewalk.

I’ve never been much for grown up Halloween myself, I like to see all the kids in costumes. They’re mostly handmade now, little hand sewn princess outfits or zombie get ups made from shredded hand me downs and liberally applied make up. I like it better that way.

As I dropped candies into the bags it took me back to frosty harvest nights in Maine, the moon full, a chill wind blowing through the leafless trees. The ancient empty house up the street was haunted, the older kids told us, and we believed them. A whole family of headless ghosts lived there. They’d all seen them. None of us had, and we didn’t want to. We kept walking. There were unhaunted houses a half block up, with real people living in them, and big jack o’ lanterns out front.

I tried not to look at the old cemetery as we passed it, wishing I wasn’t wearing a ghost costume. A cold wind blew across the headstones. Dead branches creaked and moaned. It was an endless walk, past the unruly dead in the cemetery, past the ancient wall, to the first house with all the squealing kids scurrying to the door. We were almost to the wall and I reached out to touch the lichen covered brick. A mistake. Out stepped a zombie. We shrieked and nearly bolted. Trick or treat he yelled, and laughed a dead man’s laugh.

It was the best Halloween ever, and as I drifted off to sleep that night I thought about the Great Pumpkin, wishing it were real. That was our last Halloween in Maine, and not a year goes by that I don’t remember just how perfect it was.

Read More Brick Wahl at

A Message From the Mayor



(PORT HUENEME, CA) The Port Hueneme City Council met Saturday, October 31st to discuss Council relations in an effort to deal with issues stemming from inappropriate and verbally abusive behavior from a fellow City Council member during a recent closed session. In an effort to address this issue and others, a majority of Port Hueneme City Council members decided to provide direction and leadership in support of a cohesive effort to move the city forward during these difficult times.

“Three of us felt it was in the best interest of the citizens of Port Hueneme to confront some very destructive behaviors we were seeing more and more frequently, and with that abrogate the effects of the two members who have stymied the City from moving forward in a positive and meaningful direction,” said Port Hueneme Mayor Sylvia Munoz Schnopp, who provided the impetus for the City Council to bring in a management consultant to conduct the teambuilding exercise for the entire group in an effort to turn the City in a positive direction.

“Today’s exercise helped us set necessary boundaries and norms which we hope will help provide a safe work environment for Council members and employees so
that we can collectively be effective in the running of City government.”

Although the meeting started with all five council members present, only three
members remained at the end of the day: Mayor Schnopp, Council Member Jonathan Sharkey, and Mayor Pro Tern Doug Breeze. The two other members left separately shortly after the commencement of the meeting, with one escorted out of the meeting by Port Hueneme Police Officers after a verbal outburst where he threatened a fellow Councilmember.

Neither Tom Figg nor Jim Hensley returned for the balance of the meeting,
leaving the three remaining Council members to proceed on their own.

Mayor Pro Tern Doug Breeze commented, “Council Members Figg and Hensley
have continuously refused to work as a team with the other Council members for the betterment of the City. Instead they take actions to hinder progress while also making unfounded accusations and veiled threats to staff, seriously harming morale and productivity. And when the City Attorney advises us that their behavior poses a significant potential for substantial liability to the City, I feel it is our duty to call a stop to their actions.”

The teambuilding meeting was facilitated by management psychologist Dr. Bill
Mathis and key issues were dealt with, including Council members’ concerns with regard to members disclosing confidential, closed session information, members creating hostile work environment for City staff, and undermining the work of the City Manager and City Attorney.

The three Council members who stayed provided an abundance of detailed examples of the inappropriate behaviors they had witnessed over the past year, which have created potential liabilities for the City. They also discussed possible solutions and proactive efforts to provide constructive direction to staff.

Council Member Jonathan Sharkey said, “Any employer has to take allegations of
workplace harassment seriously. Bullying cannot be tolerated, no matter who it comes from.”

Mayor Schnopp added that the exit of Figg and Hensley was not a surprise, but was unfortunate. “They showed us and the community they don’t want to govern the City,” she said. “Figg and Hensley have shown us time and again they don’t want to be team players, and with their actions Saturday, they’ve certainly failed not only the City, but have failed to uphold their commitment as Port Hueneme elected officials. It’s sad to think they have essentially thrown in the towel, and an indication that they have not taken the time to understand they represent the entire community and not just themselves or a small group of constituents.

For those of us that remained, our commitment is to make the best decisions we can, using the best information we’re given, to move the City and organization
forward in a positive direction, deal with the critical issues at hand, and provide a safe work environment for staff and the City Council. These were the main reasons for the exercise.

While only three of us stuck it out for the entire day, I believe with the progress we made, we will be able to do just that.”


Sylvia Muñoz-Schnopp, Mayor

Guard Band Returns to Oceanview

The Air National Guard Band of the West Coast winter concert tour featuring the Jazz Ensemble and Concert Band will present a free Holiday concert in the Oceanview Pavilion Performing Arts Theatre by the Beach located at 575 E. Surfside Dr., at 7PM on Saturday, December 5. The concert is sponsored by the Oceanview Pavilion Performing Arts Theatre by the Beach.

Under the direction of Commander and Conductor Captain Vu Nguyen  this is one concert not to be missed!

The exciting rhythms and energy of Jazz in all its forms are the repertoire of the 30-member group that composes the Air National Guard Band of the West Coast.

From swing to contemporary pop, to holiday music, the sounds of yesterday and today come alive when they perform. The ensemble, benefiting from the unique talent of each member has excited civilian and military audiences wherever they play.

The Air National Guard Band of the West Coast is composed of citizen-airmen whose civilian occupations range from professional musicians and music educators to computer programmers, accountants, engineers, and law enforcement offices. Members meet two days a month to rehearse and perform. They also participate in an annual two-week summer tour. During the tour, the bands function as active-duty units, rehearsing, traveling and performing concerts for local communities. Past tours have included trips to Alaska, Australia, British Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Peru, the Middle East, Guyana and all throughout the United States. As musical ambassadors, they are proud to represent the State of California, the Air National Guard, of the United States.

A maximum of four free tickets are available for each household. For tickets and additional information call our box office (805) 986-4818 ext. 101


Lean and Mean on Energy

The Navy goes full speed ahead on alternative energy.

More Germany, Less France

Joe Mathews takes a trip on Germany’s high speed rail

Cyber Security in the Baltics

Electronic signatures seal the deal.


The Ventura County Regional Energy Alliance is teaming up with participating local E-waste events to provide County residents with FREE energy saving LED light strands this holiday season. Enjoy the festivity while saving energy and the environment!

NOVEMBER 7 : 8.00am-12.00pm
Camarillo United Methodist Church– Eagle Scout Project
291 Anacapa Drive, Camarillo (Contact 805.499.0050)
Open to all Ventura County and Unincorp. residents

DECEMBER 5 : 8:00am-12:00pm

Ventura County/CSUCI Co-Hosted PC Recycle E-Waste Event
Ventura County Government Center, 800 South Victoria Ave
Parking Lot B (RSVP 805.654.3664)
Open to all Ventura County and Unincorp. residents

Hidden Track: “Tessie” — The Dropkick Murphys

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

The ePilot No.21 — October 2015

Tim Flynn Sounds the Call

Oxnard Mayor Tim Flynn addresses Knights of Columbus

In a major speech to the Knights of Columbus, Oxnard Mayor Tim Flynn issued a passionate call to public service for everyone in the community.

Asking “What’s going to become of this great country of ours, and which direction are we heading?”  the Mayor tossed down the gauntlet.

“The calling to duty should be self-evident.” ” The idea of public service should begin in childhood.”  “Instead of building mission replicas, what would happen if students were asked to restore mission grounds?” “Imagine 16,000 high school students required to perform community service. Imagine that they would want to commit to community service.”

Mayor Flynn offered a challenge to government employees as well.  “Most government employees are honest, dedicated, committed, and hard-working, yet the public doesn’t feel that way.”  “The focus is on those who have egregiously exceeded base salary. This does not bode well for public service,” Mr. Flynn warned.

“It’s time for unions to focus on why we are here — to serve the pubic.”  Continuing the call to volunteer, he added, “Public employees should be called upon to perform public service that is not a part of their job.”

Acknowledging his father who was in attendance, he recalled the long-time County Supervisor John Flynn ” working sixteen hour days while raising six kids.”  “Are public officials active in church, non-profits or a company that serves the public?” he asked.

Mayor Flynn finally recalled the influence that John F. Kennedy had on his parents and him, instilling a “sense of altruism and optimism” that led  him to seek a life of public service to “get things done”.


Tea for 140

A Winning Table

The Friends of the Library Board is pleased to report that receipts for  the 14th Annual Victorian High Tea (invitation only) which included seat ticket sales (@$30) and the two drawings ($10 tickets and 6/$5 tickets) broke the all-time record this year.   JoAnn Van Reenan made a very significant deposit into the FOL checking account to be used to support the various programs we offer at the Prueter Library.  In addition, the number of guests was the highest ever (140 men and women) but because of the additional space created by removing several stacks on the library floor, we all enjoyed plenty of elbow room and easy access when we walked between our tables to get food or to check out the phenomenal creativity of our hostesses.

The one thing that sets the FOL Victorian High Tea apart from all others is the food — the quality, variety and generosity are unparalleled anywhere, and explains, in part, the popularity of our invitation-only event.  A special thanks has already been extended to our inspired chefs by the guests who either piled their tea plates high or partook of seconds and even thirds.  The two food tables actually groaned under the weight of all those delicious bites of baked goods, finger sandwiches, fruit, and candy.

Kudos and credit also goes out to our hard-working board members as well as our volunteer hostesses (Bette Alburtis, Amy Arroyo, Heather Behrens, Donna Breeze, Veronica Centeno, Carol Chapman, Marian Drabkin, Natalie Ferentz, Bonnie Goldstein, Jackie Griffin, Debbie Hernandez, Fran Hruska, Edna Ingram, Beverly Kelley, Marietta King, Miriam Kozlovskis, Colleen McCarthy, Bernadette McDowell  Carmen Nichols, Susan Nielson, Mary Neil, Cathy Penprase, Ellen Rosen, Robin Sills, Cathy Thomason, JoAnn Van Reenan, and Charity Winiarski) who made this event such a huge success.

Results of the Voters Choice for Best Table: Colleen McCarthy (Halloween Theme), Debbie Hernandez (Golden Elegance) and Amy Arroyo (Mad Hatters Tea Party).

Results of the Voters Choice for Best Hat: Amy Arroyo, Carol Porto and Christina Weiss.

—Beverly Merrill Kelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       A Winning Mad Hatter

Scones and More

Photos by BMK

“There Will be a Flood”

Gerard Kapuscik speaks at the Preuter Library

In a presentation at the Ray D. Preuter Library, Gerard Kapuscik of the Ventura County Watershed Protection District explained the County’s efforts to prepare for a possible El Niño event.

While an El Niño does not necessarily guarantee heavy rains, sooner or later “there will be a flood,” Kapuscik warns.

With 80% of flood control infrastructure over 40 years old, the VCWPD has been engaged in a vigorous program of maintenance and repair.  Nonetheless, there is not enough funding to bring the system up to optimum condition.

The pumps at the end of the Bubbling Springs channel are owned by the Watershed Protection District.  During the El Niño event of 1998, two of the three pumps failed to operate. Since that time the pump station has been completely rebuilt. Kapuscik expressed confidence that they would be up to the challenge.


The next installment of the speaker series at Preuter Library will be on October 28 at 6:00PM:

Take a “LOAN” Off Your Shoulders

14 Simple Tricks
for Graduating
Debt Free

By Nick Marinoff

Author Nick Marinoff shares his easy tips to graduate from college debt free. Many students take out large loans but graduate without any effective means of paying them off. Don’t miss these important steps to save you money on a college

Navy Secretary Visits NBVC

The Honorable Dennis McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment recently toured Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) as part of a West Coast inspection tour.

In brief remarks at the SeaBee Museum, he emphasized the importance of NBVC to the Naval mission as well as the environmental importance of the surrounding wetlands.

Environmental protection is not “zero sum” he asserted.  Citing Camp Pendleton, he noted that the Navy is responsible for “some of the most pristine coast line anywhere.”


A Love Letter to Port Hueneme

       Beverly Merrill Kelley

Local author Beverly Merrill Kelley will receive the second People Making a Difference award from the Port Hueneme Historical Museum Commission at the Museum, 220 North Market Street, on November 14 at 11:00 AM.  Dr. Kelley will present “A Love Letter to Port Hueneme” referencing some of her columns from the Ventura County Star

In addition to her two decade career as a newspaper columnist, Dr. Kelley founded the Communication Department at California Lutheran University from which she retired as Professor Emerita.  She began KCLU-FM as well as iCLU, the student on-line streaming station.

The author of the Reelpolitik series of books on cinema, she is also the creator of the Hunter Triplets series of mystery novels.

Beverly Kelley is past president of the Friends of the Ray D. Preuter Library.

Brick Wahl

Atmospheric rivers

Just got back from the Antelope Valley.

We drove out to Littlerock on the Pearblossom Highway for a date shake at Charlie Brown Farms. It was a perfect day for a drive, hot as hell and crystal clear, and the air in the desert was so dry it was enervating. Sweat evaporated off the skin instantly, giving the illusion of a chill, and we touched fingers and jumped at the static spark. The sky was a perfect blue, the wind promising fire, and off in the distance the Grapevine burned, a billow of smoke, a brushfire burning over itself, dying.

The 14 is such a gorgeous run, all that maddening geology, layer upon layer, millions of years of time bent into ridiculous angles. There’s one layer that must be ten, even fifteen feet thick of rounded rock and rough gravel cemented into conglomerate. Sandstone above and below.

Even whizzing past at 75 mph I was awestruck at the violence in it, the tale of an atmospheric river of Amazonian proportions that one wet winter millions of years ago filled this long dead river valley thirty feet deep in land scoured roughly off the surrounding hills. If anything had lived in that river before, it was dead then, gone, washed away or buried.

The debris and stones and hilltop soils remained, and were buried by sand left as the river, renewed, coursed its lazy way above, shifting with the season and laying down sand in fractions of inches. It hardened into sandstone that, like its equal below, trapped the layer of rough conglomerate.

More layers–sandstone, shales, some lesser flood debris–are laid down slowly overhead, hundreds of feet thick, and eventually the pressure compresses over thirty feet of flood debris into its current compacted ten. It’s cemented now, like a badly mixed concrete, full of rocks that tumble out in the rain. But even from down here on the highway it’s an impressive sight, one year’s worth of sedimentation, one rainy season really, perhaps even just a few day’s worth, compacted into ten or fifteen rough feet, between who knows how many centuries of hardened sand above and below it.

Uplift and seismic pressure–the San Andreas Fault is just behind the Sierra Pelona that we’ve been driving through–have left the tale of this deluge in a sheer rock wall a hundred feet above us. Nothing sits still in California, nothing stays in place a billion years as in Australia. There are perfect fossil beaches in the outback billions of years old, while an hour north of Los Angeles there is bottomland a few million years old now high in the Sierra Pelona with the hawks and circling vultures.

I drove past, quietly awestruck, and as the rock disappeared in the rearview mirror I thought about the atmospheric rivers to come, and alluvial plains full of homes on streets full of water.

Read More Brick Wahl at


Are Ports Open to Cyber Attack?

Coast Guard says security efforts are ongoing, but GAO expresses skepticism.,0

Russians Deploy “Tiny” Ships

Missiles launched from Caspian Sea hit Syria.

Texas Seeks to Limit Development Near Ft. Hood

Texas’ version of JLUS process similar to Ventura County effort.

An Evening with David Blasucci & Friends

Sunday, November 1, 2015 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM (PST) 
Don Harper/Sessions at the Loft
2465 Ventura Blvd.
Camarillo, CA 91310

View Map

If you enjoy lots of vocal harmonies, smooth memorable melodies, and uplifting messages of faith and love, you will enjoy David Blasucci, and special guests, The Melvin Doo, and the songs from David’s new album, I Will Surrender, that was just released Oct. 6, 2015. David’s album includes a compilation of soulful, heartfelt original songs as well as a few covers sprinkled in. Join us at 5pm on Sunday, November 1st for some beautiful music and delicious appetizers!
Background information on David Blasucci:
Born in Chicago, Illinois, David has been involved in many different aspects of the music business. As a guitar player and vocalist, he has toured with artists such as Bobby Kimball (TOTO) and Bo Didley, as well as bands like the Coasters and the Drifters. He has opened for acts such as Rod Stewart, Hootie and the Blowfish and the Eagles’ Glenn Frey. David made his big screen debut as a member of the New Main Street Singers in the Christopher Guest comedy, “A Mighty Wind,” starring Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara and also appeared on the Academy Awards with Eugene and Catherine as they performed their Oscar nominated song, “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow.” David was a featured musician on the Mighty Wind soundtrack and was recognized by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for his guitar and vocal work on the soundtrack. The title track won a Grammy Award for Best Song in a Motion Picture. David also appeared in the Christopher Guest comedy, “For Your Consideration,” and is making an appearance in Guest’s new film, “Mascots,” which begins shooting this fall.

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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 November 4, 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:                   Amy Tyrell
Title:                          Chef & Owner, Morsels as you Wish
Subject:                    Behind the Kitchen Door

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

Hidden Track: Wish I Hadn’t Stayed So LongHayes Carll

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

The ePilot No. 20 — October 2015

“I See Growth Opportunities”

Vice Adm. Shoemaker addresses RDP-21

“They keep asking, we keep delivering,”  Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker, Commander, Naval Air Forces, Commander, Naval Air Force, US Pacific Fleet reported to a recent meeting of the Regional Defense Partnership for the 21st Century (RDP-21).

RDP-21 is a group of local government, technical experts, and defense contractors formed to support the interests of the military in Ventura County.

Adm. Shoemaker decried the “dysfunction” in the Washington budgeting process that is putting the readiness of the Navy in jeopardy.  Repair depots have been shut down, affecting the “material condition” of aircraft and carriers.

The Joint Strike Fighter is still seven years from deployment while the venerable F-18 is expected to still comprise 50% of the air wing as far out as 2030.

Despite the demand for swarm boat training, the target facility at Port Hueneme is badly outdated, being able to handle only one third of the demand for small boat targets.

Despite the challenges, the Admiral asserted that “we’re doing OK,” but cautioned that the maintenance backlog had to be addressed in the near future.

In response to concerns that China had developed enough missile capability to disable US aircraft carriers, Adm. Shoemaker assured the group that while “we are closely watching China,” he was convinced that China could not “break that carrier.”

The Admiral had nothing but praise for the local test range. With the closing of the Vieques, PR, range, Point Mugu was the “only place left” for real time overwater testing. “You can’t replicate what we have here anywhere else in the United States.  I see growth opportunities.”


Infill, Density,and SOAR

County leaders meet to discuss housing needs

This year’s 14th Annual Ventura County Housing Conference examined the interface between land use policy and affordable housing.

Stuart A. Gabriel, Professor of Finance and Director of the Richard S. Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA, proved to be a provocative keynote speaker, bringing economic analysis down from the global to the local level.

With China, Japan and much of the rest of the world battling recession, the flow of capital into the US, the only bright spot in the global economy actually “slows our growth,” he said.  

“Will global recession bring us down, or are we strong enough to bring everybody up?”  he asked.  Three month Treasury bonds are actually producing a negative rate of return.  There’s not much left that can be done with monetary policy. “We’ve shot our wad,” Dr. Gabriel warned.

On the local level he noted that ” It’s hard to put cheap housing on expensive land.” Affordable housing is “about vibrancy of economic growth.”  “Shouldn’t we be able to build more affordable housing in Thousand Oaks?”  When we talk about quality of life, “Who’s quality of life are we talking about?”  

Smaller breakout sessions discussed more focused topics.  

A presentation on the use of shipping containers as “factory made” buildings gave the example of Oak Park High School that constructed a classroom facility from used shipping containers in three months, achieving a building that meets the Net Zero energy standard.

During a discussion of infill development, Ashley Golden of the City of Oxnard discussed plans a series of “urban villages” in that city.  Roy Prince of the Oxnard Planning Group, a citizen-based organization, advocated a more urban approach. “Three story development isn’t going to be enough to meet our needs,” he said.

The conference concluded with a panel discussion on the SOAR ordinance which will be coming back to the ballot next year.

John Krist of the Ventura County Farm Bureau noted that to a fourth generation farming family, the notion propagated by “well-to-do suburbanites” of Save “our” Agricultural Resources was “profoundly insulting.”

 County Supervisor Steve Bennett defended his signature achievement, “The core values of  citizens are reflected in land use decisions. … The right to vote has given us better projects.”


Exploring a Forgotten War

Mayor Sylvia Muñoz-Schnopp speaks at the Port Hueneme Museum

Mayor Sylvia Muñoz-Schnopp delivered a presentation on the Cristero Revolution, sometimes referred to as the “Mexican Civil War”.

While her parents worked in local packing plants in the Port Hueneme area, her grandparents were in the thick of what is now a largely forgotten, but very bitter and bloody struggle.

From conversations she had with her father shortly before his death, Ms. Muñoz-Schnopp gleaned the history that would become her soon to be published book of historical fiction, Abandoned Angels.

The revolution of 1917 gave Mexico a secular constitution, but it was not until “El Jefe Maximo” Plutarco Calles came to power that brutal repression of the Catholic Church began.The assault on both priest and parishioner eventually led to an uprising in Jalisco State that grew into the Cristero Revolution.

Ms. Muñoz-Schnopp’s connection to the era is immediate and direct: her grandfather owned a ranch that, because of its strategic location, became the headquarters of a Cristero general. Another relative was a municipal mayor and enjoyed Federal protection.

The three year conflict eventually came to a close with an agreement negotiated with the leadership of the United States ambassador.  

Even though 86 years have passed since the end of the Cristero Revolution, the tension between church and state in Mexico remains.  Ms. Muñoz-Schnopp recounted how, on a 2007 visit to Mexico City she encountered a political demonstration that spilled over into the cathedral, disrupting the mass and frightening the congregants.

In the end she left a question for all to ponder, “What would you do to keep your religious freedom?”


Brick Wahl

Thirty Bands

Wow this thirty band thing. It’s like some kind of plague. Infected, I tried coming up with thirty bands I shared the stage with and all I could come up with was Beatlemania, the Norman Luboff Choir and Corrosion of Conformity. Then I remembered I wasn’t actually on the bill, that was just the line up of the Lollapalooza no one talks about.

I was supposed to be on a Gong Show once, sharing the stage with Chuck Barris, but cell phones weren’t invented yet. I played drums for Sky Saxon twice in one night, neither time voluntarily. And I remember once opening for Green Day.

They were the 13th band on the bill, we the first. We were so first, in fact, the manager wouldn’t open the doors and our half dozen fans stood outside, listening through a window. Sort of like the sound check we never had.

I actually played with Joe Baiza a couple times at Al’s Bar on No Talent Night, but his attorney told me never to mention that. I also opened for Black Flag the very weekend they got arrested for playing punk rock music. In fact, they had just gotten out of jail.

I did have a guy leap stark naked into my drum kit once. To make things worse he was the guitar player. One of the guitar players. The other was slithering across the stage like a snake. That left me and the bass player, or just the bass player, actually, as there was a naked stoned guitarist flailing about where my drums used to be.

I remember another time when the stark naked daughter of the district attorney ran screaming across the floor into my drum kit but didn’t fall in.

I don’t remember if I said anything.

When this stuff stopped happening I got bored with drumming and became a jazz critic.

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