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


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