Council OKs roads bid
By Jesse Phelps
Tim Connell, scoutmaster of local
Boy Scout Troop 505, brought his boys into Council Chambers on
Tuesday night to observe the actions of the town's governing
body as part of their communications merit badge work.
Mayor Joe DeVito, a retired educator himself, obliged by describing
the processes council went through as the night progressed.
Perhaps in preparation for the short attention spans of the youngsters
or perhaps because they hoped to get home in time to watch highlights
of the Lakers' heartbreaking loss to the San Antonio Spurs, councilmembers
moved quickly through a light agenda that featured 14 consent
calendar items and only three discussion items.
The meeting got off to a winning start as representatives from
the Ojai Valley Sanitary District let council know about its
latest achievement, a second Plant of the Year award for its
wastewater treatment plant. The award, given by the California
Water Environment Association, names Ojai's plant as the best
small plant in the state.
Councilwoman Carol Smith continued the proceedings with a proclamation
about May as National Arthritis Month and she was followed by
Councilwoman Rae Hanstad, who read a proclamation about Ojai's
Children First initiative.
Perry Johnson, Skyler Chapin, Katie Parziale and Maggie McCray,
the four members of Ojai's Youth Commission, a group of students
actively practicing hands-on policy making at the youth level,
accepted the proclamation from Hanstad - affirming Ojai's vision
of an active, youth-friendly community.
Outgoing City Parks and Recreation Commissioner Barbara DeNoon
was honored with a city tile by DeVito, who got up and presented
from the podium so he could give DeNoon a hug before she left.
DeNoon was integral in launching Ojai's downtown skate park,
having helped to identify the need through several interviews
with frustrated school kids.
She also was active in Ojai's
youth employment efforts and she served as a sheriff's liaison
for the city. Her many years of service with the Parks and Recreation
Department were augmented by her willingness to volunteer for
community activities like Ojai Day and horse shows.
After DeVito taught the Scouts about the consent calendar, it
was time for unscheduled items from the public.
Local resident Wayne Bruce thanked the citizens, merchants and
Public Works Department of Ojai for helping to make this year's
The Ojai Tennis Tournament "one of the best" in its
history. The newly refurbished surfaces inspired legendary Stanford
tennis coach Dick Gould to say that the "courts looked perfect."
Bruce relayed some great news: Pacific 10 coaches voted unanimously
to keep the conference finals in Ojai after seeing the renovations
and the high quality of play they inspired.
The discussion items went fairly quickly. A final bid was accepted
for the El Paseo Road sidewalk and street improvements, which
will make the street area below Matilija Jr. High far more pedestrian
friendly, improving the safety of the kids.
Mendez Concrete Inc. had the winning bid in the amount of $79,334.73.
New public works director Doug Breeze said the state has provided
additional funds and that 100 percent of the costs for the project
will now be covered by outside agencies. He also assured Hanstad
that the timeframe for summer competion is realistic.
Hanstad was overjoyed, saying, "I really look forward to
this project. I think it's essential to the safety of the students."
In other developments, Ojai will now be represented on the Ventura
County Transportation Commission, as the council accepted a new
realignment plan, and an Ojai Valley Trail Citizen Advisory Committee
will be set up.
Breeze relayed a suggestion of local resident and activist Bill
Miley to include at least one senior representative on the committee
and council agreed that this might be prudent. City manager Dan
Singer said a youth representative has already been selected.
Boy Scout Eric Banks voiced his support for the trail extension,
which will go from Fox Street to Soule Park, because it would
increase accessibility for young people to the park, which he
said is "good for frisbee" and other activities.
Police Chief Gary Pentis gave kudos to Scott Baugher, who has
been named Deputy of the Year by the Kiwanis, during his report.
Baugher, a crew chief, serves on Search and Rescue and assists
the city detective.
Before DeVito concluded the public portion of the meeting, Smith
relayed news about the upcoming Ojai Library 75th Anniversary
Diamond Jubilee to be held at the Pratt House. More information
is available at the library and space is limited to 300 guests.
DeVito wrapped things up with a special dedication, adjourning
the meeting in memory of Thacher staffer Bob Chesley and historian
and author David Lavender, both of whom passed away in recent
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