‘Yes’ on Measures A & Bessential for environment Ojai residents may not know it, but soon local voters will have a chance to weigh in on another industry attempt to override democracy. This time it is Big Oil trying to buy the county policies it prefers. At issue is Ventura County Measures A and B. A “yes” vote on Measures A and B on the June ballot will confirm a 2020 ordinance put in place by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, which required all future oil drilling to comply with post-1970 environmental standards. Currently, some drillers in Ventura County operate with permits issued before 1966 that allow any method of drilling without environmental review. These permits never expire and have been passed along for decades. There are 2,800 current wells drilled under those permits, and the same permits also allow new unreviewed drilling at those sites. Meanwhile, new extraction techniques present unique dangers to our groundwater that did not exist when the permits were issued. The Board of Supervisors saw a plausible risk of preventable environmental damage, and took steps to protect the Ventura County public. When the Board of Supervisors acted, the oil industry quickly spent more than $1 million to gather signatures, to delay the policy until it could be decided by ballot initiative in 2022. Now, industry will reportedly spend more than $5 million to overwhelm undecided voters with slick propaganda, following a playbook used successfully by powerful interests in the past. Get ready for ads claiming the environmental reviews are a “power grab” by “out-of-touch politicians,” and claims that the measure will make gas prices go up (it won’t) and end the oil industry as we know it. Don’t believe them. Oil extraction will continue in Ventura County even if all new drilling must be assessed by modern standards before it commences. Left to its own devices, the oil industry will continue to prioritize profits over safety. The public deserves oversight of industry practices that affect us all. Vote yes on Measures A and B on the June 7
ballot. — Bill Haff — Ojai Pickleball courtsare Ojai treasures Do you realize that the four dedicated pickleball courts that Ojai maintains are wonderful treasures to the community? If you want to be introduced to the sport, come down and meet some of the nicest folks in town! Pickleball is an awesome community-building activity — a friendly game that brings people together in a fun and lively way during this contentious time in our world. If you get a chance to chat with any of the Ojai pickleballers, you’ll find a variety of skill levels, ages, and folks from all over with the overarching theme that they are all so nice and kind. You’ll quickly realize what an asset these courts are to Ojai — not just in building an amazing sense of community but the economic benefits of folks grabbing a bite to eat after pickleball and doing a little shopping. There are usually 20 to 30 folks playing each morning — all creating great vibes! My extended family are longtime Ojai residents moving there in the ’80s. I lived in Ojai for a spell and the town is dear to me. My family and I currently reside in Los Gatos — near San Jose — and we envy what nice courts Ojai has. We play every day that we’re down visiting my siblings and have a great time. Thank you, Ojai, so much for dedicating the resources to keep the courts in great shape! — Sueling Cho — Los Gatos Virtue of monetizingOUSD surplus property Yes, a profit-generating use of the Ojai Unified School District surplus property on Ojai Avenue — for example a long-term lease — to fill gaps in the financing of education for Ojai’s students, could be called “monetizing.” Monetizing can be a good thing. OUSD has already tapped all existing ways to pay the costs of educating children. Our children and grandchildren deserve learning conditions that will keep them competent among other school districts in Ventura County, and in the world at large. In view of the history of bond issues and parcel taxes sometimes not passing, the district is fortunate to have property that the Ojai community can consider monetizing — thus creating an ongoing cash flow— for the benefit of its children and grandchildren. — Wendell H. Jones — Ojai Inspiring children atOjai Global Climate Vigil Listening to the children share at the “Y” was my favorite part of the March 25-26 Ojai Global Climate Vigil. It was rapturously bittersweet. Our children shouldn’t have to be doing this, but they are. They are facing a perilous future, and shouldn’t be leading the worldwide climate movement. We adults should be standing up for them, as some of us do. It was reminiscent of the 2019 Youth Climate Strike, organized by our local Extinction Rebellion chapter. At that event, hundreds of high schoolers participated to speak out against the climate crisis. During my short talk on March 25, I quoted explorer and naturalist Robert Swan who wrote: “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” On this note, I want to share how imperative it is for more of us to participate in local climate action. The most important thing you can do is get involved at Ojai City Council meetings, and we have to vote out the climate ditherers and obfuscators on our council. Please don’t take solace in the very few climate activists in town, that we can get the job done. Our voices are virtually meaningless without yours, because a groundswell of influence is needed. We haven’t made enough progress of late because there aren’t enough of us. Climate really is a kind of “all or nothing” movement. If you want our children to have a future in which they can thrive, or at this point merely survive, please get involved. Consider joining us for the Climate Change Discussion and Support Group in Daly Park every other Tuesday. After the children stepped down from the makeshift stage at the Climate Vigil, they all got out on the street corner, corralled by adults, and waved their signs and belted out some climate chants for action. I was so inspired by the kids. This was our first significant community get-together of this kind since the pandemic began. It sure felt good. Hats off to Kristofer Young and Jeff Otterbein for organizing it. — Jack Adam Weber — Ojai Mayor Stix has earnedOjai residents’ trust Re: the Ojai Valley News’ March 25 editorial, “Crying wolf for our souls,” and William Weirick’s letter, “Toxic sophistry”: As an Ojai resident for 18 years and a longtime Ojai Valley News subscriber, I’ve become accustomed to the usual political rhetoric around election time. But the divisive, dismissive tone of the March 25 editorial and Councilman Weirick’s letter was beyond acceptable print. Whatever their lingering differences with Mayor Betsy Stix, including misguided assumptions about her motives, she was elected by a wide majority of Ojai voters. She earned our trust in large part due her ability to listen, understand, and act on our behalf without a personal agenda. I value how she sees outside the box into potential problems, acts decisively within the parameters of her office, and commits to reasonable dialogue despite persistent detractors. Those who know Mayor Stix well trust her integrity. Others who view government through a political lens will mostly see their own reflection in the glass. I’ve relied on the OVN these many years for factual, enjoyable reporting and appreciate the varied skills Councilman Wierick brings to his work.
However, I hope we can agree that our only sustainable way forward is together — often differently, but respectful, truthful, and just. — Maria Parisen — Ojai