City of Ojai Candidates Forum: Focusing on Resilience and Sustainability Thursday, Oct 18 – 7-9pm

Hosted by the Ojai Valley Green Coalition, Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas, and the Los Padres Chapter of the Sierra Club:


Please join us to learn more about the environmental vision of our City Council and Mayoral candidates.  The theme of this Voter’s Forum will focus on the policy ideas that can advance Climate Resilient and Sustainable Future of the City and the Ojai Valley.




We thought some questions warranted context and resources. We hope you find this handout helpful.

1. Questions: Do you as an individual agree with the science that global warming is mostly due to human activity?

􏰀 Context: Most climate scientists agree the main cause of the current global warming trend is human expansion of the “greenhouse effect” — warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space []. As populations, economies and standards of living grow, so does the cumulative level of greenhouse gases

(GHGs) emissions. [ change/].

Would you support funding a baseline report of the City’s GHG emissions from all its activities and then use that information as part of the City’s general plan update process?

􏰀 Context: Responsible for more than 70 percent of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, cities represent the single greatest opportunity for tackling climate change. The first step for cities to realize their potential is to identify and measure where their emissions come from — you can’t cut what you don’t count. [ accounting-reporting-standard-cities]

2. Question: Emissions from offshore oil drilling platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel are a major source of air pollution in the Ojai Valley. The current administration in Washington DC wants to drastically increase oil drilling platforms in the SB Channel. Even though the platforms would be in federal waters, would you support the city of Ojai officially opposing new offshore oil drilling?

􏰀 Context: The Ojai Valley is vulnerable to outside air pollution and smog due to topographic features of steep valley walls and air flow patterns. With a series of executive orders issued early last year by the president, and regulatory changes ordered by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Trump has set out to reverse Obama-era restrictions on fossil fuel development. Offshore production has been a particular area of focus. [ ]


3. Question: Ventura County is currently updating its General Plan, which would apply to the unincorporated areas of the Ojai Valley. The plan will govern all land use, i.e. zoning and development through 2040. In your view, what is the appropriate role of the City of Ojai in the County’s general plan process?

The last offshore lease in federal waters off California was granted in 1984, but Trump’s order

seeks to renew the leasing program. There are more than 30 offshore drilling platforms and

hundreds of miles of underwater oil and gas pipelines off California’s coast.

􏰀 Context: Even though the General Plan will only apply to policies in the unincorporated areas the impacts of those policies will be felt by city residents – air and watersheds don’t tend to stop at city boundaries. Part of the General Plan involves incorporating Climate Action and Environmental Justice into land use policies. City government can be an important stakeholder providing input in the process. []

General Plan Update Project Timeline

Phase 1. Project Initiation: Completed

Phase 2. Background Report: Completed

Phase 3. Guiding Principles: Completed

Phase 4. Evaluate Alternatives: In Progress

Phase 5. Draft General Plan: Fall 2018 to Summer 2019

Phase 6. Program Environmental Impact Report: Winter 2019 to Spring 2020

Phase 7. General Plan Adoption: Winter 2019 to Spring 2020


4. Questions: With the exception of the Housing Element, the City’s general plan is significantly out of date. Do you agree or disagree updating the Conservation element should be the next priority and why. When the Conservation element is updated would you support adding the night sky as a resource, and be included in the City’s Master Environmental Assessment inventory?

􏰀 Context: General Plans need to be updated periodically to reflect current community values, update technical information, and address locally relevant issues. The Ojai City general plan [] is significantly out-of-date with the exception of the housing element. The Conservation Element, in combination with the Ojai Open Space Element, (both last updated May 1987) is formulated to guide the long-term management of the resources within City boundaries and to establish policy guidelines in its planning area. An inventory of these resources is provided in the Ojai Master Environmental Assessment (MEA). From the MEA’s resource inventory (last updated in 1988), goals, policies and programs are formulated to ensure sound management and proper utilization and conservation of all resources of the City and preserve Ojai’s unique living environment. []

5. Question: Legislation is currently before congress to increase protection for lands within the Los Padres National Forest surrounding Ojai, including additional protections in the Matilija Canyon and Matilija Creek area; federal lands in the Lake Casitas watershed and forest lands in the Upper Sespe Creek region. Do you agree or disagree the City of Ojai should officially support the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act and why.

􏰀 Context:

The Central Coast of California hosts one of the most diverse ecosystems found anywhere

in North America. The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act will create approximately 35,000 acres of scenic areas, while conserving critical water resources for wildlife and nearby urban communities. The new legislation will also establish the 400-mile Condor National Recreation Trail and protect nearly 160 miles of wild and scenic rivers.


Once law, these protections will help sustain the area’s quality of life by ensuring clean water for communities, protecting valuable wildlife habitat, and stimulating a vibrant local economy. The Central Coast Heritage Act is the product of years of discussion and negotiation, involving business leaders, conservationists, elected officials, ranchers, mountain bikers, and other stakeholders interested in the use and well-being of these iconic lands. []

6. Question: The U.S. Forest Service is consolidating offices and services and proposing The Los Padres National Forest Ojai Ranger District office located on E. Ojai Ave be moved. Its close, but not quite a done deal. What would you be willing to do by December to get the Forest Service to leave the office in Ojai which serves local forest users and visitors, and provides critical fire protection in the forest around the Ojai?

􏰀 Context: According to Los Padres Forest Watch, current relocation plans include moving the Los Padres National Forest headquarters and forest supervisor’s offices from their current location in Goleta to Santa Ynez. In addition to the headquarters, there are five ranger district offices in the Los Padres: Monterey, Santa Lucia, Santa Barbara, Ojai, and Mt. Pinos. Contact Andrew Madsen for current info about plans to relocate the headquarters and consolidate any of the five district ranger offices. Public Affairs Office (805)-961-5759.

7. Question: What is your position on using State Water Project water to relieve pressure on Lake Casitas? Do you feel bringing State water into Ventura County would be growth inducing for the Ojai Valley? If you support connecting to the state water project, or other expensive projects that increase water supply – should that water ever be made available, to local oil operators and if so, should those operators be asked to contribute to the cost of the project?

􏰀 Context: Limited water supply should be used for beneficial uses. Everyone must consider and prioritize what those beneficial uses are and determine how to best manage our shared water resources.

California Department of Water Resources – []
CA DWR Water Data Library (Interactive Map) – [] Ojai Valley Water Advisory Group – []
Ojai Chautauqua Water in the Ojai Valley Handout – [] Ventura River Watershed Management Plan – []

8. Questions: Oil and gas activity in the unincorporated areas of the Ojai Valley and beyond can impact airsheds and watersheds within City limits. A. How do you envision the City of Ojai weighing in on oil and gas expansion projects that may lead to environmental and public health impacts to the City’s air and water sheds? B. Would you support oil or oil field waste pipelines going through City jurisdiction – that may have a financial benefit to the city?

9. Questions: What have you done and/or would do to promote renewable energy in Ojai? Do you envision solar panels on all city buildings where feasible?

􏰀 Context: City of Ojai does expedite solar permits: []
City of Ojai joined the Clean Power Alliance [] and voted to default to the 100% tier rate []
Average mix of resources supplying SCE per 2014 Power Content Label includes: Coal (0%), Nuclear (6%), Biomass & Waste (1%), Geothermal (9%), Solar (4%), Wind (10%), Natural Gas (27%), Large Hydroelectric (3%), and Other from unspecified sources (40%).

10. Question: The County of Ventura just passed a Dark Sky Overlay Zone Ordinance within the Ojai Valley Municipal Advisory Council boundaries to help reduce light pollution. Would you agree to revisit the City’s Exterior Lighting Standards ordinance in the coming year to bring the standards up to par with the International Dark Sky Association’s model ordinance and reconcile with the County’s ordinance?

􏰀 Context: In February 2009 the Ojai City Council voted to update its existing Exterior Lighting Standards Ordinance [] with a category 4 priority status. This placed it in a six-month trajectory for adoption, giving the city planners time to check its compliance to state and federal guidelines. Two city managers and three community development directors later, the ordinance in a considerably watered down version was adopted in August 2013. As it is presently written, the ordinance would not qualify as part of the Coalition’s effort for the City of Ojai to become a Dark Sky Designated Community [ work/idsp/] through the International Dark Sky Association [].

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