Cluffs' name attached to newest
by Chris Wilson
In honor of Earth Day, the City Council held a special gathering
to praise the efforts of three Ventura County supervisors.
About 50 city officials and community members gathered to share
cake and Martinelli's cider with Supervisors John Flynn, Kathy
Long, and Steve Bennett. Each was honored with a large plaque.
Don and Sheila Cluff, owners of The Oaks at Ojai and most the
prominent contributors of land and support for Ojai's Newest
Park, were honored officially Tuesday evening when the City Council
voted 4-1 to name the park, "Cluff Vista Park." But
it didn't come easy.
Since the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy has been responsible for
the park's design and construction, and for all the fund raising,
they have as one of their policies to give naming rights to those
individuals who make significant contributions. Thus the OVLC
board of directors voted to name the park after the Cluffs and
recommended this to the city council.
Several of the OVLC board members were present at the meeting
with prepared speeches to beseech the council to recognize the
Jim Jackson, Allan Jacobs, John and Kathy Broesamle and David
Lavender all stood and spoke for several minutes - each reminding
the council of the Cluff's efforts and that, historically speaking,
it is common to name parks after the land donor. Hence, Libbey,
Soule, Sarzotti, Foster, Steckel, and other regional parks.
"This should be automatic," John Broesamle said. "Without
Don and Sheila Cluff, there wouldn't be any park."
Jacobs and Kathy Broesamle both spoke particularly long, talking
for several minutes after the three minute bell rang.
Of concern for the city, is taking lightly such a prominent naming
opportunity, stated City Manager Dan Singer.
"Indeed the council has shown some reluctance to recognize
community members by attaching names of individuals to public
places," Singer stated. "Naming the park after one
family may also have the unintended effect of alienation those
who have made other significant community contributions to this
or other efforts."
Mayor Steve Olsen hesitated, he said, because the city has no
policy for naming public places.
"I agree with just about everything they said," Olsen
said. "We are perfectly aware of the contributions the Cluffs
have made, and they are most likely deserving of the name, but
we need to proceed cautiously."
Olsen went on to say that he would like to see a committee formed
to create a policy by which the city can name public places.
Councilman Joe DeVito said that in conversations OVLC members
before the park construction was begun that he was assured the
park would not be named after a person.
"This is the people's park and it should reflect that,"
DeVito said. "What about names like Vista Park, or Topa
Topa Park, and then dedicating it to the Cluff family?"
Councilwoman Rae Hanstad said the name was not her first choice
and that she felt it wasn't user friendly, and that the City
needs a policy for naming public places. But she supported the
request of the OVLC and wished for no further delay.
Though Olsen had hesitated, he conceded he was willing to go
along with the desire of the council. Immediately following DeVito's
dissenting vote, Olsen moved the city establish a committee to
form a policy for naming public places.
In other council news, the council held a first reading of a
draft ordinance that would empower the city and the police department
to regulate traffic near the Offices at the Pew at the corner
of West Aliso and North Montgomery Streets. The ordinance will
be read a second time and voted upon at the next council meeting.
Finally, the council also honored a handful of elementary and
junior high school students for their contributions to an essay
and poster contest on recycling projects.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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