Vol. V, No. 16                                                                                            October 2019



The Eighth Annual Banana Festival returned to the Oxnard Harbor District's Port of Hueneme.


There's nothing like the sound of a steel drum.


The popular Dunk a Cop raised money for the Police Explorers even with the pitch just a bit outside.


The Public Works Department showed why the water system is due for an upgrade.

"Cesar Chavez Was Not A Baby Boomer"


Frank Barajas discusses ethnic identity at the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum.

"The Movement of the Sixties was not led by Baby Boomers." Frank Barajas, Professor of History at California State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI), gave a recent presentation at the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum discussing the Chicana/o movement in Ventura County. "Cesar Chavez was not a Baby Boomer. Martin Luther King was not a Baby Boomer. Jimi Hendrix was not a Baby Boomer."

Dr. Barajas discussed the relationship of language to ethnic identity. "People from Europe are ethnic," he said. "Identity changes [as] language distinguishes generations." "As you move away from your language your identity changes too."

Ethnic Mexicans are integral to California history going back three or four generations before 1848 when California joined the Union. "Oftentimes the word [Mexican] was a slur," he explained.

During the Depression, there was a policy of "repatriation" sending "Mexicans" south of the border "Even though many had never been to Mexico," according to Dr. Barajas. Those left began to identify as "Mexican-American" using English as a primary language.

From 1946 through the 1970’s the Chicano/a movement began to develop as a youth oriented "Mexicanist generation" according to Dr. Barajas.

In Oxnard, this manifested in such groups as the Community Service Organization started by Tony del Buono and a young Cesar Chavez. In 1958 the Packing House Union was offering citizenship and voting rights classes as well as youth programs led by John Soria who, Dr. Barajas pointed out was "not a Baby Boomer".  

The Brown Berets were formed in response to the 18-20% casualty rate suffered by Latino soldiers in the Viet Nam War.

Rachel Murguía Wong was elected to the Community College District and Oxnard School Board on a platform of "equitable schools".

Bert Hammond of the NAACP mentored black and Latino kids, coaching a CIF champion cross country team featuring Chicano runners who were denied the opportunity to compete on the track team.   

Ray Reyes started a MeCHa chapter at Ventura College. "MEchA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán) is not a club it’s an organization," explained Dr. Barajas.

This was a time when many familiar figures came to the fore.  Bill Terry and schoolteacher John Flynn came from the union movement. In Santa Paula, Robert Borrego was a Farmworkers’ Union organizer who went on to work as an assistant to County Supervisor John Flynn.

Cesar Chavez marched into history as the leader of the United Farm Workers Union leaving Oxnard in the early Sixties, but Dr. Barajas emphasized, "The story did not end in 1961. It continued after Chavez left."



Mentors and leaders of Ventura County. Not Baby Boomers!

A New Home for Gold Coast


The Gold Coast Transit District has opened it's new $53 million headquarters near the Oxnard Auto Center. The energy-efficient facility replaces the old aging, cramped Third St. bus yard.


The new yard has room to grow for the natural gas powered fleet. It was built near a gas main. The modern equipment allows the gas to be loaded at a higher pressure, that gives greater range between refills.


Plenty of room in the garage means easier maintenance.


General Manager Steve Brown shows off the new boardroom.


There's even a Port Hueneme room!

"This Is What We Need to Do"


Bill Simmons leads the discussion at RDP-21.

Bill Simmons, Program Development Director for the Regional Defense Partnership for the 21st Century (RDP-21), recently led a discussion about future opportunities to partner with the military.


Looking back at the progress of the past twenty-five years, RDP-21 Co-chair Gene Fisher recalled a time when the local base was on the list for potential closure. "We had to turn around the image of the base to being a National Asset," he said.


Mr. Simmons discussed base support efforts in other states. "When you sit with the Texas delegation you can’t help but be inspired," he said. "This is what we need to do."


RDP-21 has been instrumental in organizing the California Defense Communities Alliance, a statewide organization. "California’s been behind the power curve," Mr. Simmons said. "It’s coming alive. It’s got some growing to do."


Citing other regions around the country, Mr. Simmons said "Look where we can go." Silicon Valley has had a collaborative for a number of years. Orlando, Florida has "an identity" as a modeling and simulation center. Falcon Hill in Ogden, Utah is an example of an "enhanced use lease" with a private developer.


Partnerships with private developers are becoming more common. In San Diego, the Navy has entered into a 99 year lease for mixed use development of its Broadway property. "That is the direction the Navy is going," added Mr. Fisher.


Such development is more problematic for Naval Base Ventura County. "We don’t have a lot of land. We’re constrained," said Capt. Jeff Chism, Commanding Officer. "I don’t have 500 acres to give away like they do in Utah," he added.


Nonetheless, the possibility for an industrial park at the Mugu gate and moving the fenceline at Port Hueneme could be possibilities. The estimated cost of moving the fence along Channel Islands Boulevard is $10 million.


Another joint effort between RDP-21 and the Navy is the  presentation of  various "industry days". A recent event focusing on autonomous vehicles attracted "people from all over the country," according to Mr. Simmons.


The next industry day will be on December 10 focusing on cyber, control systems, and machine learning.


"Having us all working together is extremely important," concluded John Zaragoza, RDP-21 Co-chair.




Chisels, Dynamite, and Mules


Gerry Olsen tells tales of the Ventura County grades.

"Nobody here has gone down the Butterfield grade," Gerry Olsen exclaimed. "It’s been closed since 1911."  Mr. Olsen recently  brought his personal history of the Grades of the Western County to the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum.

The Olsen family was intimately involved in the development of Ventura County transportation as one of the families that built the Norwegian Grade and the Santa Rosa School, which was located at the end of the now forgotten Butterfield Grade. The other end was at Mt. Clef Road on the California Lutheran University campus.

In 1898 Jorge Hansen lost his wagon and ten mule hitch over the side of Protrero Grade. Another wagon was lost two weeks later. With that the Norwegian farmers decided to build a better route to Bard’s Wharf.

Using chisels, dynamite, and mules, Mr. Olsen’s grandfather and uncles pitched in to build what would become known as the Norwegian Grade. It cost $40 to buy the right of way and $60 for the dynamite, for a total cost of $100. In contrast, the most recent refurbishing cost the City of Thousand Oaks $1.5 million.

The original guardrail was "Barbed wire, cactus, and wood," Mr. Olsen explained. "It was a one drink grade," he said, more than one glass of whiskey would put the driver over the side. "Now it’s a five drink grade," he joked.

The Conejo grade follows an ancient trail. Reportedly Gaspar de Portolá met the Chumash at the top of the hill. A road with forty nine hairpin turns was graded in 1873. Stage coach passengers were forced to disembark and trudge up the muddy road to lighten the load.

In 1902 the grade was paved. In 1934 the road was widened to three lanes at a cost of $550,000. In 1954 it was doubled to six lanes. Today the Conejo grade is eight lanes wide and carries 130,000 cars a day.

Mr. Olsen recounted tales of a much different Ventura County. "In 1914," he said, "My grandmother took my father to Ventura on the train and it made the front page of the Moorpark Enterprise."



Mr. Olsen's father is the barefoot boy watching his uncles digging the Norwegian Grade.

History by the Minute


Beverly Merrill Kelley

Let’s face it, we’re all busy people.  We’d love to learn more about our hometown but who has the time?  This column will feature highlights that can be read in a minute or two.  And rest assured, the information comes from the considerable resources of the Port Hueneme Historical Society.  If your interest is piqued to learn more, visit the museum on Market Street or send your questions via email to Kelley@callutheran.edu.  We will be exploring the Fabulous Fifties in Port Hueneme during this segment of History by the Minute.

Bubbling Springs Community Park


In 1955, the Berylwood Investment Company gifted 23 acres located at the northern city limits for a park that would eventually become Bubbling Springs Community Park.  The only proviso was that the city start development within a three-year period and that the area be annexed by the city.  


In 1955, Port Hueneme annexed the park site as well as an additional 57 adjacent acres that had been purchased from Berylwood Investment Company by Craig and Randall of Los Angeles for a 272-home development.


Bubbling Springs Community Park, planned and developed by the city in conjunction with Leo Ramirez and the Citizens Park Committee, would be dedicated on Memorial Day 1957 with Richard Bard delivering the keynote address.  The first phase of park landscaping was truly a grassroots effort—with a borrowed seed broadcaster, citizen-powered tree planting, fertilizer from the sewer plant and successful prayers for rain.

Brick Wahl




Dude, oeuvre:

"I was so enraptured by the whole Ramones’ oeuvre that I never even questioned their comical self-mythologising."


"A favorite leitmotiv in the Ramones’ oeuvre."

"A testament to the uplifting power of rock, and a welcome addition to the Ramones’ oeuvre."

"All of which are the least necessary entries in the Ramones’ oeuvre."

"Worthy additions to the Ramones oeuvre."

"As well as a near-obsessive devotion to the Ramones oeuvre."

"Deliberate dumbness pretty much sums up the Ramones oeuvre."

"But the end result is a great bit of variety in the Ramones oeuvre."

"One of the most amusing quirks in the Ramones’ recorded legacy is their penchant for songs with war movie themes: indeed, their oeuvre is stuffed to the gills with songs with titles like 'Blitzkreig Bop'."

"Made the Ramones so blessedly unique in the entire punk oeuvre."

"The whole Ramones oeuvre was one long ode to the individual."

"And, like much of Joey Ramones’s oeuvre, it reflects his mentality throughout life: don’t worry, be happy."

"With almost mathematical totality the Ramones oeuvre turns away mourners, the self-obsessed, the wallflowers already retiring to life’s sidelines."

"The Ramones were trailblazers unconcerned with imitating and who worked solely to develop their own distinct oeuvre."

Oeuvre, dude.


James Chance discussing Robert Christgau’s oeuvre.

Steve Provizer Revues


Book Review: Rabbit’s Blues

The Reserved Tenderness of Johnny Hodges



The Largest Object Ever Moved


A Norwegian natural gas platform sets an all-time record.



A Climate Change Story

What happens to a fragile coastline when the water rises?


Farming the Sun

As water goes scarce some Central Valley farmers turn to solar electricity generation.



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Brownley Introduces Bills to Protect VA and Social Security Funding During Government Shutdowns




Washington, DC – Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village, Port Hueneme) introduced two bills to ensure that the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would receive automatic continuing appropriations in the event of future government shutdowns.

"My bills are intended to highlight the impact a government shutdown can have on some of our most vulnerable and most deserving Americans: seniors and veterans," said Congresswoman Brownley. "Our job as legislators is to protect, fight for, and improve the lives of our constituents, not make their lives more difficult. Let’s do that job."


The Social Security Protection Act of 2019

While Social Security benefits are generally protected during government shutdowns, during past shutdowns Americans have been unable to file applications for benefits, obtain Social Security cards, or have their benefits and earnings verified for purposes such as employment. A lapse in appropriations can also impact states’ ability to perform these functions, thus preventing citizens from having their benefit applications received and processed. In the past, government shutdowns have also led to delays in scheduling hearings of appeals of SSA benefit decisions and receiving decisions on such appeals, as well as delays in processing of claims. These delays can significantly harm our most vulnerable citizens, including seniors and those with disabilities.

This bill would address any lapses in funding SSA by automatically continuing appropriations so that there is no lapse in discretionary funding that supports hardworking government employees who support these critical programs.

Read the text of the bill here.


The Veterans Affairs Protection Act of 2019

While some portions of the VA budget are not impacted by government shutdowns, during a shutdown VA is unable to process new veterans claims or reduce its backlog of claims. Veterans are also unable to obtain important information about their benefits because education call centers, VA hotlines, and regional office outreach activities are suspended. During shutdowns, many veterans enrolled in the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program are also unable to access important counseling services. Additionally, many Transition Assistance Program (TAP) workshops, which assist military servicemembers in transitioning to civilian life and provide information on how to access federal government benefits, would be postponed.

This bill would address any lapses in funding VA by automatically continuing appropriations so that there is no lapse in discretionary funding that supports critical benefits and services for veterans.

Read the text of the bill here.


LAST Sunset Supper of 2019


Tue, 10/8

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Oceanview Pavilion Performing Arts Theater by the Beach located at 575 E. Surfside Drive Port Hueneme is proud to present Colors by the Sea Fall Art Walk and Craft Fest Saturday Oct 19, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.



This event is FREE to the public, FREE parking, and FREE Vendor space. We have had enormous success with the last two Festivals and a great way for you to meet local vendors and Artists.



This FREE event will feature talented Local Artist’s and Vendors from Ventura County, Food Trucks and many more!



Don’t miss out on this great opportunity.



For additional information call Oceanview Pavilion at (805) 986-4818.


Hope to see you at this event!

Hidden Track: The Ramones — "Blitzkrieg Bop"

Copyright 2019 The Hueneme Pilot  All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:


516 Island View Circle
Port Hueneme, California 93041

J. Sharkey, Editor and Publisher