Keep Chaparral’s true legacy
Ojai’s continuation high school doesn’t need a name change. The attitude toward it does. A few weeks ago, someone mentioned that Chaparral was getting a new name. It was going to be called Legacy. The idea was that the name, Legacy, would bring Chaparral a new respectability. But no matter what you call a continuation high school that has flexibility, and attempts to reach all types of students, it will face the stigma of being “less than,” especially in an insular community such as Ojai.
Those of us who have taught or graduated from Chaparral High School can appreciate the richness and opportunities offered to students who don’t fit, or don’t want to fit, in the regular mold of a contemporary high school.
Legacy (noun): a gift of money or something of value. (Dictionary definition.)
Is the quality of something only in a name? Does calling a school by the name Legacy sound a little presumptuous? (Presumptuous (adj.): overstepping boundaries, taking liberties.)
Chaparral High School, for many decades, has been that gift of value, that legacy, to so many students and the community since its beginning. On behalf of former teachers and many students, we are so sorry to see our legacy go.
Pamela Edwards — Ojai
Make public pool happen in Ojai
Ojai needs a public pool and the Nordhoff option is not good enough. The pool should be open to all and include free swim, lessons and laps. Nordhoff can use the pool as well, but the pool should not be managed by Ojai Unified School District.
A daily, monthly, annual fee can be charged to pay for the management and upkeep of the pool. Locals can have one rate and tourists another.
It would be a huge investment in the community and it is ludicrous that we don't have one. If you need an example, just look at Carpinteria. It has a beautiful community pool available to all. I am sure we could get some pointers and make it happen here in Ojai.
Allison Reed & Stephen Glenn — Ojai
Local call to action
With Roe v. Wade, a precedent established almost half a century ago, now overturned, the recent court decision begs the question: What other fundamental rights may be in jeopardy?
Over the last few months, we have watched a barrage of rollbacks impinge on our civil liberties and well-being, including, most notably, our voting rights, environmental protections, and reproductive rights.
Systems of violence depend on complacency, on unfettered exploitation. While grateful for our liberties here in the beautiful Ojai Valley, we can’t lose sight of the larger struggle to dismantle interconnected systems of oppression. We can no longer afford to shrug our shoulders and shake our heads in polite, solemn dismay at issues that don’t seem to involve us. Our freedoms are inextricably intertwined.
Our small valley is composed of 53% of women, and of those, 19.5% are under 18 (U.S. Census Bureau: census.gov/quickfacts/ojaicitycalifornia).
While abortion remains protected and legal in California, the Dobbs decision serves as a wake-up call: Our rights are not guaranteed and we must take nothing for granted.
The fact is, millions are demanding a different kind of society, and many of these movements, like the ones of the past, are being spearheaded by women.
If we truly stand to protect women’s bodily autonomy, we must adopt multiple methods of resistance.
These local actions include but are not limited to:
— Making sure every person has access to contraception and sex education so they have the tools to make informed decisions and know how to prevent pregnancy.
— Supporting local, nonviolent movements.
— Asking our local community leaders to make official statements condemning the court ruling and committing to continue to provide access to care and educational resources.
These are important and impactful shows of allyship and provide an informative portrait of the current landscape of those who are in support of this movement and of those who are opposed.
My hope is that this time of upheaval will provide the spark for us to reimagine and put into action what can serve as a blueprint of what communitywide support for women’s rights looks like.
Michelle Pineiro — Ojai
Stage 5 conservation too extreme
There has been talk about moving to a Stage 5 conservation level with little discussion of its potential consequences. What do we need to do locally to face our water crisis?
According to Richard Hajas, who sits on both the Casitas Municipal Water District and Ojai Basin Groundwater Management Agency boards, speaking at a recent OBGMA meeting, current drought conditions call for Stage 3, while the community is already conserving at a Stage 4 level. Ojai residents are doing a commendable job of staying ahead of the curve.
Director Hajas said he hopes we will never reach Stage 5, and it would take three more dry years to get there.
The situation will be reviewed in September, but restricting use at a Stage 5 level now will have devastating effects on our farmers and greenbelt. The greenbelt contributes to our fire safety and should be preserved as long as possible.
Imagine the effects of miles of dead, combustible plant life all over the valley if another fire sweeps through. Let’s not make decisions based on fear. The complex conditions caused by climate change necessitate a balanced approach to sustainability that weighs the cause and effect of our actions.
Anson Williams — Ojai
Public participation matters
Ojai Unified School District school board meeting agendas are out of control. One meeting last month included 17 items of public interest, including two public hearings, budget, pool, Local Control Accountability Plan, board goals, board policies updates, Aquatic Center design, and salary adjustments for executive staff.
The proposed change at that meeting was to limit public feedback and participation.
If time management is the goal, agenda length should be limited, not public access.
Public comment should be celebrated, not smothered.
Ojai Valley residents, property owners, and citizens should be able to comment on agenda items of interest. All parties are affected by bloated agendas. Perhaps there is a better solution. Biweekly meetings?
Darris Lange — Ojai
Letters regarding: Cottages Among the Flowers
Leave to future council
Regarding this ill-advised endeavor regarding Cottages Among the Flowers, we know thus much: You are seeking to conceive this project and then walk away, leaving members of a future City Council to carry it to term without their consent, putting a Mother Earth in danger, a danger that would spill over onto her Ojai family, its future leaders and this parched land.
Would those who conceive and leave sponsor the needs of these units for generations come?
I'm talking water, resources and congestion that strangles. Don't price us out of our town. Don't drag us into this tangle.
End this project before it gets conceived and can't be terminated, before it becomes an unruly teenager and a bloated adult. Don't force yourselves on those who must lie down and take it, just because it would feel good in this moment to proceed.
Don't do the deed.
— Jody Kaylor— Ojai
Public interest first
It is time for the Ojai City Council to vote in the public interest against the private interests of the developers.
Marion, the co signer of this letter, and I first met when I came to Ojai in 1961.
In the 60-odd years of living in Ojai since then, we have known many of the splendid people living in the Cottages Among the Flowers and the Mallory Way cottages.
Quite a few of them have become our good friends, not only because of where they live, but because of their strong sense of community, and their social benevolence. This group of people is unique in Ojai.
They typify the creativity, diversity, and caring spirit of Ojai.
We wonder how many Ojai residents know that Ojai — the second-most expensive city in Ventura County — scandalized the state for many years by failing to meet its affordable housing quota. Housing in Ojai is so scarce that a former mayor had to spend months looking for a place to rent. And a friend of ours — a highly trained nurse — who has worked in the valley for more than 30 years — could not find even a single room to live in and had to move to Oxnard, although all her work is in Ojai.
As far as I know, the latest affordable housing in the valley was built in unincorporated Meiners Oaks — not the city of Ojai.
We also wonder how many Ojai residents know that Ojai has one of the most enlightened electorates in the nation.
About 29 years ago, Ojai voters did the impossible, voting against their private interest to promote the public interest. They voted to raise their property taxes by a significant amount in order to save the library.
Has anybody heard of voters in any other city anywhere in the United States doing something like that?
Given that example, it is time for the council to vote in the public interest against the private interests of the developers.
— Clive and Marion Leeman — Ojai
Keep trees and cottages
Thank you to the Ojai community for the huge turnout and late participation at the July 12 City Council meeting to encourage the council to veto the proposed tearing down of the Cottages Among the Flowers and on Mallory Way.
It is appalling to think that tearing down charming, historic, affordable cottages would even be considered when Ojai has a state mandate to provide more affordable housing. Why?
To build more high-income, unaffordable housing for the developer to profit, to raise rents and displace people who would have nowhere to go in Ojai, since no other affordable housing is available. It is not humane. Seventy-thousand dollars is not a low income in Ojai, as the chart stated. Ojai has so many seniors and youth who live on far less.
Thank you City Council for voting to help save the 40 mature trees among all the Cottages, which we desperately need to mitigate already high air pollution and to provide a lovely shady neighborhood, imperative during global warming. Another developer went to prison for cutting down fewer oaks.
Also, since Taormina homes that are much newer were designated historic, Cottages Among the Flowers and Mallory Way cottages certainly should have that historic designation and state protection!
They are charming, with river rock fireplaces, construction of natural wood, saltillo tile floors that are environmentally and people friendly. Many prefer to live in such a healthy environment. Yes, they need maintenance, as do all old homes, which landlords are required to perform.
And why are the Cottages Among the Flowers and Mallory Way being lumped together with development on Montgomery Street and World University? The issues are entirely different.
I would suggest that these projects be considered one at a time. Or lump the first two together since their issues are virtually the same and the two latter together for the same reason. It appears if parking and water issues could be resolved for Montgomery and World U., they could go ahead.
— Sasha Leiterman — Ojai