ePilot Vol. II, No.2 January 2016


Tall Ships Return

The Hawaiian Chieftan Makes Way out of Channel Islands Harbor

The Lady Washington and the Hawaiin Chieftan will be visiting Ventura Harbor until February 8. More information at historicalseaport.org

“The Base Is Growing”

Capt. Janke addresses base support group

In a recent talk to the Regional Defense Partnership for the 21st Century (RDP-21) Captain Chris D. Janke, Commanding Officer, Naval Base Ventura County, left no doubt about the importance of NBVC to Ventura County.

With over 80 tenant commands, three warfare centers, and 19,000 employees (66% civilians), the base is the largest employer in the county. That adds up to a $1.9 billion impact to the local community.

NBVC is uniquely positioned for testing and training. 67% of National Military Airspace is in the Southwest. All air carrier wings train in the Southwest.  Military airspace directly abuts the shoreline at Point Mugu, making operations in the Test Range much simpler than other locations in the Continental United States.

San Nicolas Island is an important strategic asset in the middle of the Test Range providing an observation and support base 65 miles offshore.

“Everything about island life is difficult,” the Captain cautioned. “Logistically, it’s a challenge.”

Supplies for the 200 or so workers on the island are brought in by barge — unless the water is too rough. Otherwise SNI is supplied by C-130 aircraft.

Capt. Janke was sanguine about the future of NBVC. “The base is growing,” he said, citing an extra E-2D squadron, and the arrival of a Coast Guard helicopter detachment which will be constructing a new hanger.  A reserve Seabee unit is also on the way.  Addtional testing for the Triton and Firescout programs should bring more work to the test range as well.

Nonetheless, there are challenges. “I’m not afraid of what I can see,” the Captain warned, “I’m afraid of what I can’t see — utilities and infrastucture.”  From a new marine barracks at Port Hueneme to El Niño preparations at Point Mugu, there is much work that is needed.

Unexpectedly, guard rail improvements on Channel Islands Boulevard also made the list when a section of fence was knocked down by an out of control vehicle.
“A gentleman installed a remote control driving device on his van. It didn’t work,” deadpanned the Captain.

Captian Janke concluded by emphasizing his desire to strengthen partnerships throughout the community citing a new relationship with the National Park Service devloped over the issue of unexploded ordnance on San Miguel Island.  “That’s forced me to have a lot of discussions with the Park District. We’ve built a really good relationship.”

Although still closed to vistors, Captain Janke was pleased to announce that San Miguel “will open again soon.”


Mike Morgan Campaigns in PH

Mike Morgan answers questions from Larry and Roberta Downing

Mike Morgan, the Mayor of Camarillo, has announced his candidacy for 3rd District Supervisor, the seat presently held by the retiring Kathy Long.

Meeting with voters at a Port Hueneme eatery, he handled numerous tough questions on subjects ranging from finance to SOAR to county politics.

“My main focus is water,” he said. “Thirty years ago when I was first starting out, I predicted that water would be the number one issue in Ventura County.”

With long experience on the Camarillo City Council, Mayor Morgan was instrumental in the effort to build Camarillo’s water reclamation plant.  An advocate of treating more local groundwater, he explained, “We’ve worked to build a desalination facility to collect and purify the brine water that sits underground.”

“My job as a Supervisor will be to represent your interests,” he concluded.


County Unaffected by Gas Leak


The Ventura County Air Pollution Control Board recently heard a report on the Aliso Canyon gas leak in Los Angeles County.

Air Pollution Control Officer Mike Villegas reported that there had been no reported effects from the leak in Ventura County.  Even in Simi Valley, the county city closest to the leak, Mr. Villegas asserted that it was “not likely” that there would be any impact.

Colby Morrell of the Southern California Gas Company told the Board that the Aliso Canyon well was the largest gas storage facility in the Western United States, and rendering it unusable would have major impacts on the supply of gas in this part of the country.

In operation since 1973, Ms. Morrell described the leak as an “unprecedented event,”  and promised that the Gas Company was “committed to mitigating the effects”.  Such mitigation could take the form of carbon dioxide reduction in other locations.

Subject to yearly inspection, the Aliso Canyon leak occurred shortly before its annual inspection was due.  In an effort to “drain” the well, Ms. Morrell explained that the Gas Company was “not withdrawing from any other facility”.

In contrast to other utility failures where ratepayers were stuck with the bill, Ms. Morrell stated that it was “most likely that shareholder dollars would be used” for repair and mitigation.

The sheer size of the leak has outweighed a great deal of the greenhouse gas reduction achieved on the state level. Mr. Villegas lamented, “It’s one step forward, one step back. This balances out everything California has done so far.”

More information is available at alisoupdates.com 


History by the Minute

Beverly Merrill Kelley

Let’s face it, we’re all busy people.  We’d love to learn more about our hometown but who has the time?  This column will feature highlights that can be read in a minute or two.  And rest assured, the information comes from the considerable resources of the Port Hueneme Historical Society.  If your interest is piqued to learn more, visit the museum on Market Street or send your questions via email to Kelley@callutheran.edu.

Even though the Bank of Hueneme, which opened its doors on August 6, 1889, was bigger ($100,000 in capitalization) and grander (housed in Hueneme’s first brick building), for Achille Levy, it was business as usual.  He was allowed to co-mingle his brokerage accounts with bank funds as well as his own personal assets as he saw fit—totally unhampered by present day banking industry standards.  Yet not one single person ever claimed that Levy cheated him—something that bankers today can hardly contend, despite the astronomical number of federal and state regulations.
Levy lived on Main Street in Hueneme with his wife Lucy and six children until 1912.  His public service to the Friendly City by the Sea included an early stint as postmaster, membership on the Hueneme School Board, supporting the Hueneme Club (the forerunner of the Chamber of Commerce), and as Ventura County Supervisor during the contentious time that the sorely needed Santa Clara River bridge was being proposed and built.
Levy entertained the idea of running for State Assembly but a falling out with Thomas Bard—when Levy favored the railroad over Bard’s Wharf for transporting perishable produce to market—-may have dried up Levy’s support.  Historians have also suggested that a move to Sacramento would have interfered with Levy’s attention to family and customers—two top priorities for the banker—and which may have caused him to withdraw his name as well.

Brick Wahl

Giant Inflatable Robots

I love Hollywood & Highland. Inside is that trippy interior courtyard with theIntolerance elephants overhead and tourists everywhere, shuffling and staring and wearing stupid tee shirts they picked up on the Boulevard.

It can be surprisingly blissful in there though, and sometimes they have jazz concerts, and sometimes it’s just full of people chatting or reading or napping. Yet just a hundred or so feet away, out on Hollywood Boulevard, it is utter madness, with demented superheroes and people who will never wash their hands again after touching John Wayne’s boot prints.

You never know what will be happening out there.

One night a few years ago we left the courtyard after a concert and nearly walked into the path of a police chase at 5 mph. A hundred police cars with lights flashing proceeding ever so slowly down Hollywood Boulevard and the lady they were chasing ran out of gas right there and coasted to a stop right in front of the Chinese Theatre. You couldn’t imagine anything more cinematically perfect.

The throng of tourists, like extras, rushed into the street to touch her car as she emerged. The cops pleaded through bullhorns for the people to stay clear of the vehicle, the suspect might be armed. But it was Day of the Locust, baby, and nothing could stop grandma from getting that selfie. The suspect emerged from her little car, unarmed and exhausted and infinitely sad.

She laid down on the pavement. A zillion cell phone cameras flashed. A man in a Superman get-up rushed into the street to pose in front of the scene.  A Michael Jackson impersonator moonwalked past.  Spiderman watched, then slunk into the shot.  The cops waved him off, and he slunk away.

I’ve always wondered what ever happened to that car chase lady. It was the most pathetic car chase I ever saw.  I mean you could have pushed that car faster, with all four tires punctured, and running out of gas right there in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard.  It was a scene from a Buster Keaton silent.

Just a week before, though, in the very same spot, giant inflatable robots stood for some movie premiere. Every premiere ever it seems has taken place there with crowds and limos and red carpets, but this one had giant robot balloons too.

That was different.

I remember we came out onto Hollywood Blvd after one of the Tuesday night jazz gigs in the courtyard and saw them, those giant balloons, looming. Then, as we maneuvered around the premier on side streets, heading home, we came upon another giant inflatable robot balloon held in reserve, looming in an empty parking lot, just in case.

Just in case what I’ll never know.

As we stopped at a light I watched that extra giant robot in the rear view mirror, and it looked both spectacular and idiotic, like the coolest stupidest thing you ever saw. I can’t remember what the movie was that was premiering, it sank without a trace. But somewhere, somebody has three giant deflated robot balloons, and not a clue what to do with them.

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


Mugu Weapons Center gets More Milage from old Targets

What if you could rip the engine out of your 1979 grocery-getter and make it run like a sports car?



Springtime for Stalin?

With all his faults, they love him still.


Algorithm Identifies Humorous Pictures

Could a self-driving cab tell you a joke?






Copyright 2016 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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