Vol V. No. 19                                                                                                             November 2019

Making a Wreath


A lesson in wreath-making was led by Penny Braxton at the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum. Holiday preparations are underway!


Bill Stewart enjoyed making his festive red wreath.

Nor Any Drop to Drink


The Port Hueneme Water Agency (PHWA) was presented with a bleak assessment of future water use. Under the Fox Canyon Ground Water Management Agency’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan Port Hueneme and the other area agencies will have to reduce their groundwater usage by 50% over the next 20 years.

Port Hueneme receives water from the United Water Conservation District, and the Calleguas Municipal Water District, with local wells for emergency supply. United is the source of "local" water. Calleguas is part of the state system and would not be affected by the local Sustainability Plan.

The State of California has mandated the formation of local Sustainability Plans. The local plan is calculated to be the maximum amount of water that can be extracted without incurring seawater intrusion.

As expected, there are details and complications to be determined. Agricultural operators have historic overlying water rights. Port Hueneme’s baseline measurement occurred during a low use period resulting in a restricted allocation. PHWA is expected to seek a variance to get more water. An agricultural group is considering legal action.

A reduction in local groundwater would necessitate the use of more water from other sources such as state water from Calleguas, sea water desalting, and reclamation from wastewater treatment. Presently there are no plans for the latter two systems, leaving expensive state water as the only option currently available.

At City Hall

city hall3.jpg

Major Improvements Slated

The City Council has approved a Capital Improvement Plan that is focused on catching up with deferred maintenance.

Pointing out the healthy reserve fund, City Manager Rod Butler stated, "We believe we can safely invest and still be above our policy minimums."

Highlights of the Plan include $510,000 to repair windows and doors at the Mar Vista Senior Housing facility, $667,500 for Moranda Park improvements, $374,000 for parking lot renovation, and $300,000 to update the ventilation system at the Orvene Carpenter Center.

A Parks Master Plan update was also authorized for the amount of $125,000.

Designed to coincide with the City’s 75th Anniversary, the update will seek community input to examine the adequacy of existing programs.

The idea of "rebranding" by changing the name of the city was also raised.

"This is good stuff," said Mayor Will Berg.


Council Rejects Study


The City Council declined to spend $50,000 on a needs assessment for the Orvene Carpenter Community Center that would have examined the condition of the building and evaluated its use.


Councilmember Steven Gama advocated for more resources to be directed to the Beach Park. "Why the Community Center?" he asked. "I don’t’ recall the Council deciding this was going to be a priority."


Consultant Steve Kinney responded, "This does not commit you to dong anything at the Community Center other than understanding its condition. Improvements would touch a wide swath of the population. This deals with the bones of the structure."


City Manager Rod Butler pointed out "The beach will be determined in the larger Park Master Plan."


Councilmember Laura Hernandez stated "there seems to be a difference of opinion as to what the Community Center needs and the only way we’re going to find out is to have a professional come in. How do you create a vision if you don’t know what your parameters are?"


Councilmembers Rollins, Gama, and Sylvia Muñoz-Schnopp voted against the needs assessment.



The Carpenter Center was last updated in 1993.


In other action the City Council voted to extend consultant Steve Kinney’s contract to June 30. City Manager Butler stated, "I would hate to lose Mr. Kinney now with a new City Manager coming onboard."




Micro Business Gets the Nod

The City Council has approved the permits for Port Hueneme Organic Team, Inc., a cannabis "micro business" that will grow and sell its own brand of products.

Located at 475 W. Channel Islands Blvd., the business will employ a closed loop aeration, carbon filtration system that is completely indoors and asserted to be odor free.

The business will pay 1% of gross for "public benefits", 5% gross retail, and 2% gross wholesale. City revenue is projected to be $190,472 in the first year, rising to $549,246 by the third year.





Tourism on Tap?


City Manager Rod Butler has announced that he will be departing the City at the end of the year. At the latest City Council meeting he presented a future scenario for the City.


"We want to start focusing on good old fashioned tourism," he said. "Part of that is an additional hotel. On the staff level we have not given up the dream of one more hotel."


The three most recent hotel projects have all been rejected by the City Council. An additional beachfront hotel proposal met with a cool reception.

Councilmember Gama responded, "There’s that concept about doing that survey to see what the community wants. The majority of people down at the beach say no — zero tolerance to any consideration of beach development. We have to answer that question across the city. Perhaps a hotel or a restaurant, or a world class lifeguard tower."


 Bricks From Hemp 


Larry Downing makes a brick.



While consumable cannabis is getting a lot of attention, Corey Hughes has a different focus. pifCalifornia presents hemp as a construction product.

In a recent presentation to the Port Hueneme Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Hughes had everyone making bricks from straw.

pif California is a non-profit organization dedicated to training students and union members in the use of industrial hemp as a construction product. While a majority of cannabis is used for CBD, the waste can be used  for building materials.


Corey Hughes mixes the hemp.



Sounding like the Johnny Appleseed of hemp, Mr. Hughes pointed out that hemp construction is carbon negative. "If you build a house it will continue sucking carbon for the next hundred years," he said.

Mr. Hughes predicted a bright future for "hemp crete". "You can create walls, ceilings, floors. In two years it will be less expensive than brick."


Fillmore City Councilmember Manuel Minjares enjoys Mr. Hughes' demonstration.

Patterson and Daily


Joy Todd talks Ventura County history at the Museum

Joy Todd, the President of the Pleasant Valley Historical Society, gave a recent presentation at the Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum about the Shared History of Pleasant Valley and Hueneme.

The Pattersons and Dailys not only had streets named for them but had intertwining careers in the early days of Ventura County agriculture.

J. D. Patterson, originally from Mt. Pleasant Michigan, came to California and by 1880 had acquired large land parcels in various parts of the state. Patterson, California was named for him. His Ventura County holdings totaled nearly six thousand acres.

In 1881 he hired a fellow Michigander, C.J. Daily for the standard wage of $30 per month.

Mr. Patterson had been having trouble with the managers of his local ranch. Mr. Baxter cheated on the sale of a horse and was discharged. Mr. Bush had a problem with sobriety and was discharged.

That left young Mr. Daily in charge of 3000 hogs and eight teams planting barley.

Mr. Daily proved as successful as his predecessors had been inept. He planted wild mustard. He developed crop rotation and discovered he could grow pumpkins during a drought. He shipped pumpkin seeds all over the state and was famous for producing 200-300 pound pumpkins. In one year the ranch showed $53,000 in expenses with $83,000 gross return.

"The ranch did not make money until C.J.Daily took over," said Ms. Todd.

In 1889 as the Oxnard Brothers were acquiring property in the west county, Mr. Daily bought land in what would become the City of Camarillo.

One of the main streets in Camarillo is, of course, Daily Drive.  



The California Labor Market Information Division has released its October 2019 report, showing little change in Ventura County’s unemployment rate, up from 3.2% in September to a still extraordinarily low 3.3% in October. The County’s year-over-year movement remains positive, improved from last October’s 3.7%


For the current data go to www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/file/lfmonth/vent$pds.pdf.


Industry Employment: While our unemployment rate remained largely unchanged on the month, we did benefit from some significant job growth. Ventura County is up by 4,100 jobs on the month, 500 in the Farm sector, 1,000 in Government (primarily public sector education), and up 2,600 in the balance of private sector industries, including:

· Retail Trade up 200, though still down 800 year-over-year.

· Financial Activities up 400, up exactly the same 400 year-over-year.

· Professional & Business Services up 700 jobs, though catching up from prior losses and still down 600 year-over-year.


· Private Education & Health Services up 1,100, and up by 1,400 year-over-year.

· Leisure & Hospitality gained 100 jobs, up 900 year-over-year.


Several sectors showed no month-over-month change, including Construction, Manufacturing, Information and Other Services. None of the major sectors showed a loss in October.


Even with these gains, however, our year-over-year change is still positive by only nine-tenths of a percent, lagging both the state and the nation.


Labor Force: There’s a bit of other good news in the data too, as Ventura County’s labor force is up by 2,500 workers in October. This is a change from most of the prior months that showed improvement in the unemployment rate, which were mostly attributable to workers dropping out, as opposed to getting jobs. Still, at 424,200, that’s the same number we had way back twelve years ago, in 2007. As we’ve noted in prior reports, over that same time frame the County has gained some 50,000 residents, but zero net additions to the labor force. We’re becoming older, our younger families are moving away and we’re simply not creating enough jobs to provide the kind of economic opportunity that drives widely shared prosperity.


Unemployment Rate in the Statewide Context: Looking at the total 58 counties in California, we ranked 24th in October, slightly improved from 27th in September. As a matter of pride, we prefer to be in the mid to low teens—which, to be fair, we are still for several months each year—but we’re also getting more comfortable with the notion that this ranking is largely meaningless. What’s driving this thought is that 3.3% is so low that it really isn’t our concern to get much lower. Sure a further improvement would be great, but what matters far more is whether we’re creating jobs and adding to the labor force. On those scores, we’re in the lower ranks of the state, not the middle or upper tiers.


Nevertheless, for a bit more context, Ventura County’s 3.3% keeps us ahead of California’s unadjusted rate of 3.7% and even with the U.S. at 3.3%. Santa Barbara County is at 3.0%, San Luis Obispo 2.4%, Los Angeles 4.5%, Orange 2.5% and Kern is at 6.1%. San Mateo continues to lead the state at 1.8%, Marin right behind at 2.0%, with the balance of the Bay Area all in the top ten and all well below 3.0%.


Unemployment rates by county are nicely and variously displayed in the state’s mapping tool at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/interactive-labor-market-data-tools.html. For the table display on October unemployment rates, go to www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/file/lfmonth/1910pcou.pdf.

Questions, comments, please let us know.


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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.


In a 1961 brochure, Port Hueneme was depicted as "A Progressive City with a Promising Future."

The population had tripled since incorporation in 1948.  The assessed valuation had swelled by 91% while the tax rate had only risen 14 cents per $100 assessed valuation.  

Major improvements had been made with respect to city water, streets, and crime.

The dawning of a new decade, however, saw the Port Hueneme City Council so deeply divided over such issues as internal dissention in the police department that everything came to a head in November of 1959, when both Councilwoman Mildred Gadker and Mayor Leo Ramirez would resign.

Brick Wahl


A Twenty Something Brain

Watched a Jazz Messengers gig from Paris in ‘59 and Lee Morgan, all of 21 years old, was unbelievable.

Astonishing creativity.

The chances he took and never flubbed in those solos, leaping over precipices, seeing around corners, weaving a short story’s worth of narrative into every solo…. damn.

When you’re that young all this stuff is new and you’re seeing these things for the first time; your brain is a huge mass of neurons you’re exploring for the first time, and the neural pathways you follow can become established routes you’ll follow again and again.

You could hear those in his playing, the licks and ideas that would come up over and over again during his career. And you’d hear things he might have explored just that once and never gone back to.

As you get older and older you do that less and less, the brain hardwires into distinct paths that you perfect and improve and the other synapses wither and disappear and ideas you had at 21 will never be there again.

Possibilities disappear.

Eventually you don’t even see those pathways anymore. You read stuff you wrote forty years ago and have no idea of all the possibilities that were before you then but you weren’t yet good enough to write them down.

A twenty something brain is a marvelous thing, a mass of neuronal potential just waiting to be shaped, trillions upon trillions upon trillions of possible thoughts, and we will never have that range of cognitive possibilities before us again.

Steve Provizer Reviews


The Dangerous Music of Port Cities

An interview with Ted Gioia on Music: A Subversive History.



Turks Hold Baltics Hostage

NATO defenses at risk in Turkey's rampage against the Kurds.



Tariffs Threaten Jobs

1.5 million jobs at risk according to Port of LA study.


Fly Over the Gridlock

A new start up wants to fly SoCal commuters over the traffic.


At the Museum


There are no speakers scheduled during the month of December.





January 4     Ethel Todd "Art History Part II"


January 11    Paul Rood "Pioneer Oilmen of Ventura"


January 18   Margo Porras "Growing Up in La Colonia: Boomer memories from Oxnard's Barrio"

January 25   Dr. Colleen Delaney "From Rancho Guadalasca to Camarillo State Hospital to CSU

All events are scheduled at Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum

220 Market St. in Port Hueneme at 11:00AM.

Copyright 2019 The Hueneme Pilot  All rights reserved.

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516 Island View Circle
Port Hueneme, California 93041

J. Sharkey, Editor and Publisher