The ePilot

Vol. II, No. 21, November 2016


Autumn at the Beach


Be sure to vote, Tuesday, November 8!


From Paris to Old Hueneme

Connie Korenstein and Diane Mautner as Lucy Levy and Minnie Cohn

Connie Korenstein and Diane Mautner brought their reinactment of Ventura County pioneers Lucy Levy and Minnie Cohn to the Port Hueneme Historical Museum in a program entitled “Lucy Levy — From Paris Socialite to Ventura County Humanitarian”.

Staged as a tea time conversation between Korenstein’s Levy and Mautner’s Cohn, the stories of Levy’s husband Achille covered much of the early history of the town known as Wynema.

Escaping the German draft during the Franco-Prussian War, Achille, along with 300,000 of his fellow Alsatians, found refuge in the New World.  After working in his uncle’s store in San Francisco, the 19 year old entrepreneur made his way south to the small town of Wynema where he joined the Wolff family store making it Wolff & Levy.

Prospering in the new Ventura County, in 1882 he sold his store in Springville (Camarillo) and headed back to France in search of a wife.  Hiring a matchmaker, the self-styled “entrepreneur from San Francisco” made quite an impression on the stylish young Lucy.

The newly married couple headed back to California, with Lucy expecting to join high society in San Francisco.  She recalled that ocean travel didn’t agree at all with her new husband, Achille being seasick all the way across the Atlantic.

The train ride from New York made quite an impression on the young Parisienne. Lucy was, after days on the rails “amazed we were in the same country.”

The stage coach ride from Los Angeles proved to be no less an adventure.  It was February and the roads were muddy and rough. The Conejo Grade was “too slippery” for the horses and so Lucy, bedecked in her Paris finery was forced to trudge for two hours in the mud.

The Levy mansion was also something of a disappointment. It was a three room house, but the new bride was surprised to learn that she and Achille would be sharing it with his partner Moise Wolff and the store clerks as well — six people all together.

Bard’s Warf was the major transshipment point for Ventura County crops.  Achille became a successful agricultural broker, shipping to markets all over the world.  Levy had one of the first telephones in the county, and one year ran up the outrageous sum of $241 in telegraph bills.

By 1890, Achille Levy was known as “The Bean King of Ventura County” shipping trainloads of lima beans to markets back East.  At the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, the Ventura Bean Pagoda boasting “The Best Beans in the World” proved to be a popular attraction.

Education of the children fell to Lucy.  The Levy children were always invited to the Methodist Sunday School whenever the Old Testament was being studied.  A rabbi in San Francisco provided lessons through the mail. High Holy Days were always observed at home.

Achille began holding accounts for farmers, and in 1889 along with Thomas Bard, he founded the Bank of Hueneme with a capitalization of $100,000.  Later, as The Bank of A. Levy, it was known as “the bank that beans built”.

Adolfo Camarillo was also on the board of directors. He and Achille were known for their practice of “character credit”.  If a farmer wanted a loan, the two men would rise before daylight and make their way to the farmstead.  If the lights were on in the house, they knew the man was industrious and would probably make a good credit risk.

When the new sugar beet factory was built a few miles to the north, Achille proclaimed, “Oxnard is the town of the future.”  Lucy, however, was more skeptical. She saw a town with “17 saloons and shootings on Saturday nights.”  With his wife refusing to live there, Achille was forced to commute to his new Oxnard bank from Hueneme.

The couple headed back to Europe for the 1900 World’s Fair, and when they returned, Hueneme was a ghost town. Their son Joseph was an architect who built a new family home on D St. in Oxnard and Lucy and Achille decamped for the new metropolis.

The Levy legacy of community works is extensive: support for Jewish orphans’ homes and charities in Los Angeles and San Francisco, financial help for immigrant families, and the L.A. Sanatorium now known as The City of Hope.

When Achille died in 1922 his obituary read, “His reputation for square dealing is as wide as the county.”  Son Joseph carried on the legacy, making loans from his personal funds to keep the bank open during the Great Depression.

Lucy’s dedication to charitable endeavors encompassed work with the Red Cross to care for returning WW I veterans and going door to door to collect supplies for victims of the St. Francis Dam Disaster.

The one-time Paris socialite’s good works earned her the title of “Oxnard’s Angel of Mercy”.

She passed away in 1934 at the age of 71.


70 Years at Point Mugu

Capt. Jahnke speaks while Kathy Long, Adm. Corey, and Director Johnson look on

Capt. Chris Jahnke, Commander of Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), confessed that he was a little apprehensive about California’s reputation when he first received orders to come here.  However, he soon recognized the strong support NBVC enjoys in the local community. “The base is stronger than ever,” he told an audience assembled to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD).

NAWCWD is the branch of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) charged with developing weapons for the Department of the Navy (DoN).

The base at Point Mugu, the first for pilotless aircraft, was developed during WW II because it provided “an unobstructed sea test range and great weather,” the Captain observed.  He pointed with pride to the excellent record of “protecting and respecting the environment” while developing the most advanced technologies.

“Let’s hope for another 70 years of the Navy here at Point Mugu,” he concluded.

Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long echoed the spirit of community support. “The people of Ventura County look to Point Mugu as a good neighbor,” she said.

NAWCWD Executive Director Joan Johnson noted that the history of the facility is recorded in the street names on base, many of which are named after the missiles that were developed there. Today’s emphasis on electronic warfare is nothing new. “For 65 years Mugu has led the charge on electronic warfare,” she said.

Rear Admiral Brian Corey, Commander, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, was the featured speaker.  Adm. Corey recounted the history of NAWCWD recognizing many of the key figures, some of whom were in the audience.  “We have the best technology in the world, but what really sets us apart is the people — the men and women in uniform,” he said.

Considering the world situation, he was sanguine about the future of NAWCWD. “The ‘good old days’ at Point Mugu will be 2017-2022,” he promised.

A humanikin “mans” a target vessel


It’s the Money

Pat Schuett discusses issues on the Test Range

In a recent address to the Regional Defense Partnership for the 21st Century (RDP-21), Mr. Pat Schuett, Technical Director, Navy Test Wing Pacific, gave a harrowing account of what it’s like to run a large, complex organization on a shoestring budget. 

The Sea Range at Point Mugu is a unique national asset providing a test facility for all types of Naval weaponry.  “People all over the world want to use the Range,”  Mr. Shuett said.

The VX-30 “Bloodhounds” provide aircraft for range clearance and telemetry, “one of a kind capabilities” and “world-wide test support,” according to the Director. The data collected are “extremely valuable when things go wrong,” allowing for analysis and evaluation of the systems being tested.

The problem is that the aircraft needed for testing on the Range are reaching the end of their useful life.  The two P-3 Orion aircraft used for range support officially ran “out of airframe life in 2013.”  One was rebuilt. “They put new wings and tail on a 50 year old aircraft. The other we just had to let it go.”

Mr. Schuett stated that nine aircraft are needed for proper operations.  The Navy is getting three 30 year old C-130‘s from the Marines, but “one showed up with a warped wing.”  The plan is to acquire six Gulfstreams. One is presently being outfitted for Range use, a process that takes 2-3 years.

Until the new aircraft arrive, operations on the range are at “a high risk until 2017 or ’18.” With only one aircraft available for telemetry, Mr. Schuett sees a gap until at least 2019 when the first new aircraft comes on line. Should that aircraft be down for repair or otherwise unavailable, “We will not be able to to support these big programs,” he said.

With operations on the Range valued at millions of dollars per day, “What is the cost when missions don’t go?” he asked.  While the Test Range is technically down only 4% of the time, tests not scheduled because the support aircraft are not available don’t show up in the statistics.

How did the Test Wing get into such a tight situation? “It’s the money — alright?” Mr. Schuett explained in frustration.


State of the City Video Available

A video recording of the recent Port Hueneme State of the City Address is available on the City website.

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

So back in 2009, a modest Sand Sculpture competition with a $15 entry fee and donated trophies was held, and a handful of families showed up.  The following year, the number of participants tripled—lured to participate in part by a generous $1000 cash prize.  Then before the 2010 entries had even melted away with the tide, Donna Breeze was gently twisting the arms of the planning committee members to start envisioning the 2011 contest twelve months in advance.
As part of her research, Marietta King unearthed photos and documents belonging to Sheryl Malone and Marian Foster, who unbeknownst to the 21st Century planners, labored on sand sculpture contests in 1984, 1985. and 1986.  These contests were held in conjunction with Port Hueneme Harbor Days.  The genesis for the competitions was a group of art, culture, and merriment-minded residents of the Anacapa Condo Owners Association of 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 have endured for decades in Hueneme were at risk—dying off as their members did 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 paved the way for sand sculpture contests to come—more than three decades later. As Isaac Newton also insisted, we can see further by standing on the shoulders of those who come before us.

Brick Wahl


Baby boomers.

We are the worst generation politically since the 1920’s. We voted Republican in most elections, and if not Republican we came close, even in 1968. It was we who dismantled the New Deal. Reagan and his people began it, but it was the baby boomers who went at it hammer and saw and destroyed it. The Tea Party was the most successful political movement the baby boomers ever came up with, and look what it wrought, the political equivalent of the Mongol invasions. The George W. Bush administration was the ultimate in the baby boomer political philosophy in action, such as it was.

Thankfully most of us will be dead in a couple decades and the younger folks can rebuild what our parents built. We may have been lots of fun and made some of the greatest music of all time, but we sure messed everything up.

Not that you can tell us that, though.

We have convinced ourselves that it was we and we alone who brought progressive values to America. But think of this: when our parents saw Barry Goldwater running for president, they turned him down in a landslide. They knew dangerous crazies when they saw them. When we saw George W Bush, we elected him.

And Trump? Well, this is who baby boomers vote for when they get old and cranky. He is us. Maybe not me and you, but most of us. Certainly most of us baby boomer men, white and a surprising number Hispanic. And the majority of Trump’s female followers were born between 1946 to 1964, inclusive.

There are not only a helluva lot of us—we were proportionately the biggest American generation ever since before the First World War — there were so many of us and we all had lots of siblings, unlike today. We live longer and healthier than our parents did, but we vote far, far more conservatively than any other generation in our age group, ever.

The Bernie voters never had a chance against our numbers and voting participation rate–and that was against only those of us who voted for Democrats this year. More of us voted for Republicans. And most of them voted for Trump. The only reason that Trump is in this race at all is because so many Baby Boomers love the guy to death. Hey, we are wild and crazy guys.

By the time we got to Trumpstock we were half a million strong.

Read more Brick Wahl at


Remembering Bob Hoover

The legendary pilot heads West.


Liberty Moves North

Is Canada the last bastion of liberal openness in the West?


Autonomous Vehicles Hype and Potential

Are self-driving vehicles the solution, or are they a problem?


At the Museum

Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum
Distinguished Speaker Series

Presentation are at 11:00 AM (220 Market Street)
All are free of charge

November 5, 2016   Captain Bill Hodge, Captain Bob Quinn, Master Chief Jim Daniels and Corporal Ron Mongeau “50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.”

November 11, 2016 “2016 Veteran’s Day Celebration Note:  This event will be at 9:00 AM in front of City Hall

November 19, 2016 “Celebration of WWII Greatest Generation”

December 10, 2016  Lydia Stevenson “A Tribute to Elaine Garber”  Elaine will be receiving the “People Who Make a Difference” Award

January 14, 2017 Author Astrid Adler “Our Ancestors Were German—Emigration from the German Perspective”

January 21, 2017 Frank Naumann “History of Naumann Family Farms in Oxnard (established 1893)”

January 28, 2017 Jim Campos “Citrus Labels in Ventura County”

February 4, 2017 Tony Volante “History of the National Guard in Ventura County”

February 18, 2017 Author, Historian and Model Maker, Bridge Carney “Rescue of PT 109”

March 11, 2017 Dennis O’Leary “History of Cinco de Mayo”

March 18, 2017 Captain Bob Quinn “History of the Navy League in Ventura County”

March 25, 2017 Peggy Kelly “Thornton Edwards:  Hero of the St. Francis Dam Disaster”

April 8, 2017 Bob Allison “History of the Camera in Ventura County”

April 29, 2017 Captain Thomas Santamouro “Navy Drones in Ventura County”

May 6, 2017 Anthropologist Dr. Max Fleishman “Bones in Ventura County”

May 20, 2017 Dr. Beverly Kelley “History of the Vote for Women in California”

June 10, 2017 Casey Graham “History of the Hueneme Lifeguards”

June 17, 2017 Gerry Olsen “History of the Western Grades in Ventura County”

June 24, 2017 Jim Hensley “From Alaska to Port Hueneme”

July 15, 2017 Dante Honorico “Filipino History in Ventura County”

July 29, 2017 Eileen Tracy “History of the Saviors Family”

August 5, 2017 Eleanor Arellanes “History of Chumash in Ventura County”

August 19, 2017 Cheri Brant “History of Market Street in Port Hueneme”

August 26, 2017 Ola Washington “African-American History in Ventura County”

September 16, 2017 Dr. Frank Barajas “Hispanic Heritage Month”

September 30, 2017 Dr. Cynthia Herrera “Hispanics in Higher Education in Ventura County”

October 7, 2017 Connie Korenstein and Diane Mautner “From the Gilded Age to the Broadway Stage”

October 28, 2017  Diane Mautner “Jewish Pioneers in Oxnard”

November 11, 2017  Second Annual Veterans Day Celebration Note: Location is City Hall and time is 8:30 AM

Time Change Reminder

Fall back with fire safety tips from Ventura County Fire


CAMARILLO, Calif. – An extra hour is coming this weekend. Make the most of it and take the time to prepare a fire safety plan to fall back on.

As people turn their clocks back on Sunday, November 6, Ventura County Fire reminds the public to review and refresh their disaster readiness plan.

Four “fall back” preparedness tips to consider include:

Change smoke alarm batteries – When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms provide early warnings so people can get outside quickly. Check each alarm’s batteries and test them monthly to make sure they are working. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away. Click here for smoke alarm tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Prepare an escape plan – Create an office and home escape plan and designate a meeting place outside to gather in the event of an emergency. Click here to download an advance planning guide and escape grid.

Download a “Ready, Set, Go!” kit – Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and can make a difference when seconds count. Learn how to prepare your family and property against wildfire threats with an action plan, available at all VCFD fire stations and online at

Sign-up for emergency notifications – VC Alert sends important information directly to subscribers during an emergency in Ventura County. Alerts may include notifications about brush fires, earthquakes, flooding, evacuations and shelters. To opt-in to receive alerts, visit or call (805) 648-9283.

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit

Hidden Track:  Dropkick Murphys — “Blood

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