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Ventura Chamber of Commerce

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On April 17, 2017, Ventura City Council approved the appointments to the Measure O Citizens Oversight Committee.


1 Year Term (April 17, 2017 – April 30, 2018)

  • Kristopher Hansen
  • Bill Hickman
  • Mary Laurel “Laurie” Rutledge
  • Jordana Ybarra-Telias

3 Year Term (April 17, 2017 -April 30, 2020)

  • Kathlene Bokoles
  • Marni Brook
  • David Jaffe

With passage of Measure O in November 2016, voters created a Citizens Oversight Committee with the task/function to review the projected revenues and recommended expenditures for the funds generated by Measure 0. Measure O Citizens Oversight Committee shall make their recommendations to the City Council as a part of the City’s budget process and after the independent financial audit is received yearly, the Citizens Oversight Committee will provide findings to City Council.

The initial make-up of this seven person committee will be four members with a 1-year term and three members with a three .. year term. Future committee recruitments will be for four-year terms.

Members of the Appointments Recommendation Committee (Councilmembers Weir, Councilmember LaVere and Deputy Mayor Andrews) met and reviewed all 69 applications received. The Appointments Recommendation Committee (ARC) then agreed and selected applicants for interviews. 22 applicants were invited for interviews; 1 applicant was unable to appear before the ARC. Interviews were conducted on April 3, 4 and 11th, 2017 to select the seven members for the initial Measure O Oversight Committee appointments.

SenecaOn October 12, 2016, Seneca Resources Corporation (SRC) hosted a ribbon cutting and unveiling of its innovative new solar plant project near Taft, at the Midway Sunset Oil Field.

This state-of-the-art complex qualifies as an “Innovative Method” under the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Low Carbon Fuel Standard, making Seneca the first California oil producer to help CARB and California reach its 10% carbon intensity reduction goal of transportation fuels.

“Seneca is very proud of all the hard work that went into making this project a reality,” said Seneca Resources President John McGinnis. “With the project in place, Seneca expects to offset 20% of our total electrical usage. This will go a long towards creating a sustainable energy future for California and the energy industry.”

Bakersfield Councilmember Willie Rivera attended the ribbon cutting. Representatives from the offices of Congressman Kevin McCarthy, State Senator Jean Fuller, and Kern County Supervisor David Couch were also in attendance, along with members of the community and supporters.

The plant is the largest solar photovoltaic system in the industry, producing 2.5 megawatts annually. The system is expected to generate enough clean energy to power more than 406 homes, and avoid greenhouse gas emission equivalent to burning over 4 million pounds of coal each year.

Seneca Resources Corporation is the exploration and production segment of National Fuel Company. SRC develops and produces natural gas and oil reserves in California, and across the U.S.

To learn more about Seneca, please visit www.NatFuel.com/Seneca

Seneca Resources President John McGinnis delivers speech before media and supporters

Seneca Resources President John McGinnis delivers speech before media and supporters

Ventura Chamber PAC Endorsements

Ventura Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the following measures on the November ballot:

  • Measure AA — Ventura County Transportation Commission half-cent sales tax
  • Measure F – Sustain VC
  • Measure O – City of Ventura half-cent sales tax increase
  • Measure R – Ventura Unified School District Parcel Tax Renewal

Ventura Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee (PAC) has endorsed the following candidates for the November ballot:

Endorsed Candidates

Educating and inspiring our future leaders is important to our community and essential to a strong and vibrant economy.

http://www.ceicareersinenergy.com/Californians for Energy Independence (CEI), and its community partners, are teaming up on educational programs to encourage high school and college students to explore careers in the energy industry. “Careers in Energy,” focuses on the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) studies. These skills are vital to the 8,913 oil and gas jobs in Ventura County.  Students participating in the program not only learn about these jobs, but also meet energy industry employees, hear about different career paths, learn how energy is responsibly produced, participate in hands on learning opportunities and tour facilities providing safe, reliable and affordable energy for Californians.

http://www.ceicareersinenergy.com/CEI’s energy education programming in Ventura County is kicking off this fall.

On November 5, CEI and its community partners – League of United Latin American Citizens District 17, El Concilio Family Services and Oxnard College – will be hosting a “Careers in Energy” program for almost 150 high school and first year college students in Ventura County.  Students will attend workshops conducted by energy industry employees from Aera Energy and California Resources Corporation, representatives from professional organizations and Oxnard College (including a workshop covering information on STEM programs and services offered there).

CEI is also working with VC Innovates to provide essential career connections to Ventura County high school students in the energy, environment and utilities career pathway program. CEI thanks its partners – Aera Energy, California Resources Corporation, Seneca Resources, the California Oil Museum and the Western States Petroleum Association – for their participation in this program.

CEI is committed to making sure students are aware of career opportunities in the energy industry and why it is important to excel in STEM studies. For more information on CEI’s Careers in Energy programming, please visit CEIcareersinenergy.com or contact Jon Wainwright at jon@CEIcareersinenergy.com.

Ventura Water      Aera Energy

In January 2014, Governor Brown declared a drought emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. His declaration emphasized the use of recycled water when possible. Ventura Water was already utilizing recycled water for landscape maintenance around the city–but how could that water be utilized by larger industrial customers?

Enter Aera Energy, an oil and gas producer on Ventura’s west side with a willingness to do their part and use less water in their daily business.

While Aera’s oil operations utilize very little potable water, the company uses water on its roads as a dust control measure in compliance with local and state air quality regulations. Aera approached Ventura Water and asked, “What if recycled water could be used for dust control and effectively reduce our potable water usage by up to 30 percent?” Although the existing state permit did not allow recycled water to be transported or used for dust control, Ventura Water embarked on a two year process through the State Water Resources Board and the Regional Water Quality Board to update it.

In June 2016 Ventura Water received approval for the permit and officially launched its Recycled Water Mobile Reuse Program. The updated permit allows industrial users like Aera to transport and utilize recycled water for dust suppression. Since July 2016, Aera fills a 4,300 gallon vacuum truck several times a day and has already transported more than 1 million gallons of recycled water.  The company continues to meet air quality mandates but now in an even more conservation-minded manner with recycled water.  Aera’s efforts have already saved enough water for more than 333,333 toilet flushes or 27,777 baths!

“We had already significantly reduced water usage over the last 12 years. Now we are going further by using recycled water and decreasing our potable water usage even more.  This is part of our commitment to protecting people and the environment,” explained Michele Newell, Public Affairs Specialist for Aera. “It’s important for us to partner with the community to find workable solutions to community issues. Ventura Water has been a great partner in this effort.”

“Our partnership with Aera Energy reflects the City of Ventura’s adaptability and willingness to collaborate and implement sustainable solutions for the drought and beyond,” said Mark Watkins, City Manager of the City of Ventura.

Thanks to Aera’s question about extending recycled water use, Ventura residents now also have the opportunity to save water utilizing recycled water through the Residential Recycled Water Mobile Reuse Program.

After a free 45-minute training session and a $75 annual permit fee, residents may fill up to 300 gallons of recycled water per trip.  Recycled water is an ideal substitute for landscape irrigation as it contains many of the same minerals found in fertilizers.  The recycled water is good for your plants and can be used to water fruit trees, vegetables, and herbs.  As always remember to wash edibles with drinking water before consumption.  For more information, visit www.venturawater.net or call Customer Care at 805-667-6500.

The Ventura Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously to support two issues that will go before voters on the lengthy November ballot.

At the July Board Meeting, the Ventura Chamber of Commerce discussed and took action on important issues facing our region, the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) Sales Tax Measure and the Sustain VC initiative.  The board voted to support both measures.

VCTC Tax – The half-cent transportation sales tax is projected to raise roughly $70 million per year for transportation improvements in Ventura County and will provide necessary local funds to improve roads, transit and bike paths.  Since it is a self-help tax, it will also open up opportunities for Ventura County to receive State and Federal funds.  Ventura County is currently the only county in Southern California that has not voted to approve a transportation tax.

“The transportation tax will fund critical infrastructure projects that would not happen otherwise.” said 2016 Board Chair, James Perero.  “This self-help tax gives Ventura County access to our own previously-paid State and Federal tax money, helps us keep pace with transportation improvements in surrounding counties, and lays an important foundation for the long-term economic vitality of Ventura County.”

Sustain VC – This alternate to SOAR, continues to protect agricultural land.  Sustain VC was written by farmers with the premise that if we are to protect that land it should be economically viable. Sustain VC promotes water infrastructure projects, allows for local processing of products has a 20-year timeline and requires an analysis of the economic impacts to the county by 2026.

“It makes sense that when making decisions about what is best for the sustainability of our local farms, we would ask local farmers.  Sustain VC was written by local farmers with input from the local farming community.” 2016 Board Chair, James Perero commented, “Additionally, the timeline of 20 years is reasonable and lines up with the planning horizon for most cities within the county, .”

The Ventura Chamber of Commerce is a membership based organization that advocates on behalf of the business community. With 680 members, representing more than 25,000 employees locally, the Chamber engages on a variety of issues that help to drive a strong local economy as The Voice of Business.

The Chambers of Commerce Alliance of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties announced today they are hosting an energy event titled “The Future of Energy and the Environment,” scheduled for October 14, 2015 from 8:00-11:30AM at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ventura.

“Energy is an important topic, both to the business community and the members of the public. The Alliance wants to provide an opportunity for greater understanding of our energy needs, and our energy reality, their effects on the environment, and to allow the audience to ask questions”, said Scott Eicher, Chair of the Chambers of Commerce Alliance.

The keynote speaker for the event will be Alex Epstein, a New York Times best-selling author and founder of the Center for Industrial Progress (CIP). Epstein has risen to prominence as the nation’s leading free-market energy debater, promoting a philosophy that is anti-pollution but pro-development. He draws on cutting-edge research and original insights to offer an alternate perspective on the energy debate and shares eye-opening thoughts into how technology will improve the lives of people – safely, cleanly, and effectively – for years to come. He has been called the “most original thinker of the year” by political commentator John McLaughlin.

There will also be a panel discussion featuring representatives from each of the energy sectors, including California Resources Corporation (CRC), Desert Solar, Infinity Wind, and Brightwave Energy. The discussion will focus on the opportunities and challenges each sector faces, along with environmental factors.

For more information or to register for this event, please visit http://tinyurl.com/pwvwpsk or call Sandra Burkhart at 805-966-7113.


For further information please contact Sandra Burkhart at (805) 966-7113 or via email at sburkhart@wspa.org

Many of our Chamber members hear the words ‘Political Action Committee’ and immediately recoil in fear. For some reason it is almost like using a four-letter-word that, until recently, was banned from television! Actually we are a pretty nice group of people who get together monthly to discuss the political positions our organization should take that would best support our members’ concerns. Seems fairly straightforward and mild when I put it that way, right? But it is a lot more involved and focused than I make it seem. Here is what we do.

Our mandate is to independently evaluate candidates running for City Council, and sometimes for County Supervisor, and decide whether they should be endorsed by our organization, the PAC. Sometimes we weigh in on legislative matters as well. In our pursuit to decide which candidates to endorse we interview each candidate prior to the election and stage a public forum where the candidates can meet and present their goals and promises. This personal attention to each of the candidates not only allows us to vet them but also forms an ongoing relationship with those who are elected. As members of the business community you want the PAC to have its hand on the pulse of the city, and we Trustees of the PAC make sure that happens. You are focused on running your individual enterprises while we focus on the overall business environment of the city and how it will effect each of you! This is an indispensable symbiosis, which too many members just take for granted. We often here statements like, “Well, how does the Chamber feel about such-and-such regulation?” or “Does the Chamber support the new fill-in-the-blank tax?”, etc. Who is it that is involved in that decision? You guessed it, the Political Action Committee. We make your wishes known to the City Council through the elections process and periodic meetings with Council Members and City Staff and then follow-up with the PAC members during the year with monthly meetings to discuss the Chamber’s agenda.

It seems obvious that the members of the Chamber of Commerce should want a seat at the table in all things the city does that affect the local business climate. Unfortunately many Chamber members take this for granted and are not contributing to the cause. Years ago the PAC membership fee of $50 was presented on the Chamber membership renewal invoice in a way that made it clear that PAC membership was a default component of overall Chamber membership and that if a member did not want to support the PAC then they would have to specifically opt out, whereas today Chamber members have to specifically opt-in to become a member of the PAC. During an invoice streamlining process, PAC membership became an add-on and not so obvious, which is unfortunate. As a result the PAC’s capital has dwindled quite a bit, which to a degree has diminished the impact we can have on elections and legislation. We are an all-volunteer group, and the PAC membership monies are used solely to support candidates who support the free enterprise system, fiscally responsible government, and whose views represent the interests of both the private and public sectors of the economy and to produce the candidate forums and related signage. We do a lot with very little money. We know that an ever-increasing number of groups are clawing for your money every day, especially the government. You need an advocate in your corner, and that is what the PAC is with regard to the Chamber’s agenda. I hope you will agree that it is vital that we continue to have the ear of the City Council, and with that in mind we could truly use your financial support.

Greg L. Meier, DDS
PAC Trustee

VWillliams-SummitWaterConserv_14_revENTURA— In partnership with Ventura Water, the City of Ventura, and the Ventura Chamber of Commerce, Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) will be hosting a Water Conservation Summit on Saturday, October 25th from 10:00AM – 2:00 PM at Ventura City Hall, 505 Poli Street, Ventura 93001.

This event will feature presentations and panel discussions with educators, innovators, and government officials as they discuss water conservation efforts, the current status of our water, and why it is so important to conserve for the future.

Many agencies and community organizations will also be present to talk about conservation efforts and how the general public can become more water-wise in their residences, businesses, and landscaping efforts. Depending on your water service provider, information on obtaining money-saving devices for household appliances, such as high-efficiency clothes washers and dishwashers, as well as landscaping tools, such as irrigation equipment will be provided. The summit will also be an opportunity to learn about other services offered to residents, such as home water surveys and water-wise educational classes.

We are in the midst of one of the worst droughts in California’s history. Although all Californians have been asked to reduce water consumption by 20%, more must be done to protect this precious natural resource. Every drop counts. Join Assemblymember Williams, the City of Ventura, Ventura Water, and the Ventura Chamber of Commerce to find out how you can do your part to combat this severe drought.


Please join us on Tuesday, August 12th at 8:00 a.m. in the Chamber boardroom for our monthly Legislative Committee meeting.

To see the agenda, please click here.
City Council Advanced Planning Calendar