Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What's the big 2006 story?

Which Ojai story affected you the most in 2006 and why? Consider the deaths of June Allyson, Otis Chandler, Maynard Ferguson or our own Bud Furillo; Escalating gang activity; The arrest of Cathy Elliot Jones; The City Council election; The city's financial stabilization; The Opening of Jersey Mike's; The closing of the O-Hi Frostie or Ojai Ford. Are there others?

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Blogger Bret Bradigan said...

It is sad that we have lost so many luminaries this year. Bud, especially, made a major impact on my life and the lives of just about every around our here at the OVN.

Looking the rear-view mirror of 20 years or so hence, I think we will won't see any particular thing shining through as the critical event of 2006, but a number of trends that continued - Ojai becoming older, fewer and richer, causing the loss of working-age families with children, as well as the bohemian influence for which we are justifiably well known.

The rising level of gang violence is particularly alarming, because that world does not mesh with our image of ourselves. We are in for a harsh reality check.

12/26/2006 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Fred Rothenberg said...

The City Council race was the most interesting and impactful event of the year. It showed that people have strong feelings about what's best for Ojai. I was sorry to see that Lenny Klaif missed out on the opportunity to serve and was disappointed that he was so closely linked to other candidates whose visions were a bit cloudy. I do look forward to seeing what happens in Ojai in the coming year. It's a wonderful town.

12/26/2006 8:40 AM  
Blogger Rob Clement said...

So many things happen in this small town, it's hard to pick one stand out story. In the forefront of my mind resides however images of our sacred back country burning to ash, the loss of an infamous restaurant, and a city council race frought with all the pundentaries, pleasentaries, and drama that presidentials recieve. And with Stephanie DeRosier's recent story on drug and law enforcement in our schools, it seems that our town is truly a microchasm of the broader world outside of these borders.

The winning story should be one that reflects the unity and diversity of the very people we call community. Good luck in your decision.

12/26/2006 10:03 AM  
Blogger OrganicGeorge said...

Ojai is at a tipping point. If steps are not taken in the immediate future Ojai will turn into an enclave for the wealthy. Loss of diversity will lead to homoginazation of our valley into anywhere USA.

We have gang violence due to the lack of a local police force. Deputies riding in their cars all day do nothing to enforce civic involvement. When the major cities reduced violence they did so with local beat cops pushing quality of life issues on the streets. The city council pays big dollars to the Ventura Sheriff department, they need to use those funds establish a local force. that can bring true community policing to Ojai.

There is lots of work to be done if Ojai is to keep it's diverse village atmosphere. Question is do our council members have the will to make the hard decisions?

12/26/2006 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By far, the death of Ojai Frostie and the dreaded fear of what else will get approved and slipped by in our beautiful little town where we wish to raise our family.

12/26/2006 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mayor's recent comment
that things of old Ojai are not always that good,and also
sentiments from those living outside Ojai city limits that emerging urban Ojai can use more of the traditionally rural Ojai. The loss of Ojai's village feel and spiritual integrity by special money interests who have gained hold of local government. PL

12/26/2006 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The recently formed green coalition and participating agencies- a true opportunuty to demonstrate our willingness to stand out with
sustainable community values. However the city of Ojai and decision makers have much remaining work to demonstrate their part, because the only shade of green they show can be found from developers with lots of cash navigating the process of planning, then a final nod from city council for the on-going projects we are seeing here now. Bryant Street Industrial Plan
is one of numerous examples of the non-green building of Ojai not living up to its reputation that the mayor so proudly points out. Without protection of the small
town quality of life that is deminishing at an alarming rate, the promises being planned for and made to not carry much substance behind them.

12/26/2006 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OVN asked: "Are there others?"

Sure there are!

The OVN story I was most touched by this year was the one about the folks who work with developmentally disabled children / adults and horses.

Great piece of writing!

12/26/2006 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Day fire. The entire community was on alert for a month and a half while the massive fire raged at our borders.

12/26/2006 12:18 PM  
Anonymous margo baker barbakow said...

I am blessed to be the mother of Thacher senior Max Barbakow. Your coverage of Toads football, week after week, and the final story about Max last week....those were the big stories that impacted our family. Your fair photo coverage of all the players....your extremely well-written copy, and your terrific support of a local team were really appreciated. We live in Santa Barbara, where the local paper never acknowledges Thacher School nor the local Santa Barbara students in attendance there. It is terrific to know the OVN has such school spirit! Your sports writer has big market potential. Very impressive.

12/26/2006 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Todd Miller said...

I believe the city’s SLAPP lawsuit against Jeff Furchtenicht was the single most important story for the following reasons:

- It may well have impacted the election, as the city attorney decided to request that his own pre-election trial date be postponed until after the election. As we now know, the lawsuit, backed by Carol Smith and Joe De Vito, was thrown out, having no merit on its face. Had the case been thrown out prior to the election instead of after, Lenny Klaif might well be sitting on the council – this would have had a tremendous impact on our city government. As 76 votes represented the gap between DeVito and Klaif, only 39 people needed to change their minds

- The council decided to sue one of its citizens instead of making a good faith effort to talk and resolve the situation constructively. Regardless of where you stand on the content of the proposed initiatives, it is difficult to endorse a “sue first, ask questions later” approach to problem solving by our city leaders

- The lawsuit had its intended chilling effect on future initiatives, eliminating participation by citizens in making law. This will have a profound long term effect on the city of Ojai

12/27/2006 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The retirement of Marlene Spencer, Executive Director of HELP of Ojai for 31 years and HELP's expansion to the old Honor Farm.

12/27/2006 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cant believe we let O-Hi Frosty go. Did anyone ever interview the man who started the little restaurant? John Wilson, a stalwart resident of the OJai Valley. John, why didnt you save your baby??

12/27/2006 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have to say, without doubt, the elections and the allegations made with respect to the city attorney and City Council with all inherent conflict of interest issues, the arrival of a chain/franchise in downtown Ojai, and the thwarting of a citizen's right to bring about a ballot initiative - one that a good number of Ojai citizens would have been in favor of.

On a positive note, this year will be the year that through websites like this and The Ojai Post, the citizens of Ojai are communicating and sharing ideas and information at an incredibly rapid pace. Hopefully, these places will highlight (and stay focused on!!) the huge disconnect between much of the population and those running the show.


12/27/2006 12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(I tried posting this before and it didn't seem to go through - maybe floating out there somewhere in cyberspace... So, I apologize if two versions ultimately get posted)

I am surprised that this year Ron Polito was able to screw another Ojai veteran out of his livelihood and American Dream. The OVN should interview Tonya (spelling ??) – the former owner of the Gift Galleria and find out how she was verbally promised a lease by Mr. Polito years ago when she was in negotiation to buy the business from the original owner - only to have him renege a few days into or after closing. The abruptly told her that he had changed his mind and that he preferred to have a gallery there instead. She had to scramble to find a new location off the “main drag” (where the original business was thriving) to Matilija Street – where the business was doomed. Of course she should have gotten his promise in writing, but I guess living here her whole life, she thought a man’s word was his word!

People need to realize that small business owners like Rick Henderson and Tonya invest or go into debt many tens of thousands of dollars, give up all other opportunities to make a living, and spend most of their waking hours and energy running that business. To have an unscrupulous landlord pull the rug out from under you by taking away your lease is absolutely devastating.

MANY of us have one word for Ron Polito – SNAKE – and we will not step one foot in any of his buildings! EVER!

12/28/2006 5:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my second blog on this subject....the first one never showed up so I'll try again. The big story is, for so many, the evacution of so many Ojaians to other states because of outrageous rents and low wages. Business owners and property owners are just not doing the math. It removes the very thing Ojai is famous for: the artists and bohemian culture ousted for the very rich who buy homes and rent them for the price of their mortgages. Very sad state of affairs

12/29/2006 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Onchorynchus mykiss said...

The election of Richard Handley to the Casitas water board, replacing an old-guard, old-skool incumbent and thereby tipping the majority of Directors towards a fiscally and environmentally responsible Board majority. The former majority tool General Manager announced his retirement during the next meeting.

12/30/2006 9:56 AM  

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