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Despite the demand for swarm boat training, the target facility at Port Hueneme is badly outdated, being able to handle only one third of the demand for small boat targets.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

Read More Brick Wahl at


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How Much Worse Can it Get?

Airbus proposes a seating plan that would make flying even more unpleasant.

Hidden Track: “Take it to the Limit”  — Etta James

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


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