Boys & Girls Club granted $1 rent
(l-r) Dave Wright, Sandy Campbell and Alisha Tipton with Mayor Patti Walker are the good Samaritans who were recognized at Tuesday night council meeting for assisting in a condominium structure fire on November 22.
(l-r) Dave Wright, Sandy Campbell and Alisha Tipton with Mayor Patti Walker are the good Samaritans who were recognized at Tuesday night council meeting for assisting in a condominium structure fire on November 22.
Ventura City Councilmember Carl Morehouse
Ventura City Councilmember Carl Morehouse

Being a good neighbor was celebrated with a proclamation at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The night began with Mayor Patti Walker presenting the decree to three Fillmore citizens who assisted in a condominium structure fire on November 22, 2009 in the 200 block of Arundell Circle. The good Samaritans were Sandy Campbell, Dave Wright, and Alisha Tipton. The Proclamation, read by Mayor Walker, said in part, that the actions of the three individuals “reduced the impact of a lift-threatening” situation.

Central to the evening’s agenda was the discussion of Senate Bill 375, a greenhouse gas initiative which builds upon AB32, California’s groundbreaking law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by urban sprawl.
Ventura City Councilmember Carl Morehouse addressed Council, giving a brief but full overview of the problem that lies ahead for the county in its attempt to comply with the time-restrictive law.

Morehouse began his presentation with the qualifier, “Whatever I say now, don’t kill the messenger,” which drew a laugh from Council. He went on to explain the team effort of Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) with city councils and local government. SCAG is the nation’s largest metropolitan planning/policy organization, which represents six counties, 189 cities and more than 19 million residents.

With a deadline of June 2012, Ventura County cities are pressed to integrate planning activities and develop “sustainable community strategies” to meet AB32 requirements, according to Morehouse. Cities must balance transportation, housing and jobs when considering greenhouse gases generated by cars and light trucks, Morehouse added.

Regarding the restrictive 2012 timeline, which he called “a fire drill,” Morehouse said, “There’s a political game going on in Sacramento. Housing groups have the ear of HCD [Housing Community Development] and state legislators. They want to keep 2012 as a cutoff date.” Another “shortcoming” is a county that does not have an additional sales tax to augment transportation costs. “All of us are seeking revenue.”

Also of concern, is using “stale data from [the] 2000” census for demographics and projections of housing.
Ventura Council of Governments and the Ventura County Transportation Commission will hold a joint workshop on February 25th to review and strategize the issues caused by AB32 and Senate Bill 375.

Also on council agenda, Deputy City Manager Bill Bartels presented what he called “potentially a very exciting program,” California First Public Financing program. The pilot program offers low cost financing through sale of bonds issued by California communities. The bonds allow for the installation of energy efficiency upgrades and clean energy facilities on private property; for example, solar paneling. The bonds are paid off by the private property owners. Councilmember Steve Conaway asked if there is a “default backlash potential to cities?” Bartels said he would provide the answer to Conaway’s question.

Mike Hodge, President of the Santa Clara Valley Boys & Girls Club, and Director Sheila Tate briefed Council on the status of the Club and requested a rent reduction on the First Street facility from $1,000 a month to $1 a year. Council voted 4-0 to pass the motion, with the stipulation of future negotiations. Fillmore contributes $35,000 a year towards the Club’s operations.

Conaway said he wanted to give the Club a “hand-up” as opposed to a “hand-out” offering a good faith component--“sharing of those expenses.” Walker agreed. “We’ve been extremely generous” and it can only be “so far and so long that can happen.” Councilmember Jaime Brooks expressed support of the $1 year rent “because this is a crisis,” and the reduction for the entire fiscal year 2009-10. Councilmember Laurie Hernandez said it was “important to continue to work together” but wants the Club to contribute also. Councilmember Gayle Washburn was absent.

An Ad Hoc committee, with Brooks and Hernandez, will meet to strategize the City’s future financial involvement with the Club.

Fillmore City Manager Yvonne Quiring discussed scheduling for Strategic Planning and Goal-Setting Sessions, to be held in February and March.

Council adjourned to closed session with legal counsel regarding: anticipated litigation initiated by Richard McKee (Californians Aware) regarding an alleged Brown Act violation; and Dylan Snow vs. City of Fillmore.