Thousand Oaks Acorn: Measure C Misses the Mark

Thousand Oaks Acorn

But common sense dictates 34 years is too long for any land-use policy, especially one as rigid as SOAR. Measure C offers a 12-acre allowance for the construction of food-processing plants on farms, but this concession appears woefully insufficient to meet the demands of the agricultural industry, which wants greater leeway in the handling of their goods.

Read the full editorial here.


Ventura County Star Editorial a Total Repudiation of Measure C

Ventura County Star

“We are bothered, though, by the length of the extension. We believe 2050 is too far in the future to extend this measure. Too much can – and will – happen to our county, its people and its needs in the next 34 years to lock us into this severe limitation.

We were distressed to hear the 2050 time frame was inserted mostly for the benefit of SOAR organizers, because of the difficulty in bringing together the grassroots organization needed to get such measures on the ballot again. That, to us, is a weak justification for such a lengthy extension.

The SUSTAIN VC initiative pushes the core voting requirement out 20 years, which we believe is the correct amount of time before voters are asked again whether to continue or alter the growth-control laws.”

Link to full editorial is here.


Lynn Jensen: Farming is best defense against sprawl

Ventura County Star

Columnist Joe Mathews and Supervisor Linda Parks both miss the mark when it comes to discussing the impact of SOAR on Ventura County and the best path forward for preserving our agricultural and open space land.

Unlike other communities in Southern California, Ventura County has maintained strong countywide land plans since the 1960s that discourage urban sprawl, aimed at stopping our communities from sprawling into each other. But it was always the underlying strength of our agricultural economy that served as the best defense against sprawl.

The existence of farmland between our cities is courtesy of the hardworking farmers and ranchers in Ventura County who, against many odds, are largely responsible for maintaining the designated greenbelts. These lands contribute to our quality of life as we benefit from the bounty of local farm products, along with a $2 billion annual boon to our economy. Only Measure F will continue the legacy of family farms in Ventura County.

Read more here.


SOAR contributor tied to development proposal

Ventura County Star

Eric Johanson’s contributions to the SOAR land preservation measures leap out in the list of donors to the cause who rarely give as much as $1,000.

The 76-year-old electronics manufacturer and his businesses have given more than $150,000 since 1998, when voters OK’d a countywide measure requiring voter approval for development of farmland and open space. Since 2014, when SOAR announced plans to renew the measure until 2050, he has contributed $110,000. The latest campaign records for Save Open-space and Agricultural Resources show he is giving at a rate of $10,000 a month.

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SOAR blamed for split in land values

Ventura County Star

Twenty years after the first SOAR initiatives passed in Ventura County, a researcher has found that the anti-sprawl laws have created a deep divide in land values and lowered housing affordability.

Economist Matthew Fienup, who kicked off a discussion Friday on the effects of the stringent land-use rules, analyzed the values of properties closest to the boundary lines approved by voters to contain cities’ growth.

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LTE: Farmers do not support Measure C

Ventura County Star

Voters in Ventura County are becoming aware that there are two competing ballot initiatives this year that make claims about helping agriculture.  Recently, I saw a video in which Steve Bennett extolled the virtues of SOAR’s Measure C and how it “saves agriculture”.  Being an ardent supporter of the opposing Measure F for farmers, I was appalled that the opposition would use views of my family farm to promote a measure that we oppose.

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Debate over SOAR raises questions about motives

Ventura County Star

Backers of two rival land-protection measures squared off Wednesday in a debate laced with questions about what was really motivating the supporters of each one.

Attorney Richard Francis said Save Open-space & Agricultural Resources measures should be renewed until 2050 to preserve the area’s quality of life for the foreseeable future.

He argued that SUSTAIN VC, an alternative proposed by farmers, is really about helping farmers develop their land in the shortest possible time frame. It would expire in 2036.Backers of two rival land-protection measures squared off Wednesday in a debate laced with questions about what was really motivating the supporters of each one.

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LTE: SOAR half-truths

Ventura County Star

Re: Michael Sullivan’s letter July 28, “Some SOAR points”:

The letter mimics the double-speak and half-truths of the politicians behind SOAR. Voters won’t be fooled.

Sullivan refers to past city SOAR/CURB votes when critiquing our countywide SUSTAIN VC measure. Pardon the farmer cliché, but it’s apples and oranges. While it’s true that in nearly 20 years of SOAR, there have been a small handful of votes for urban developments under city SOAR ordinances, there has never been a countywide SOAR vote.

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SUSTAIN VC gets backing from Ventura County Economic Development Association

Ventura County Star

Of the two competing initiatives on the November ballot aiming to guide development in unincorporated areas of the county, the Ventura County Economic Development Association has chosen to support SUSTAIN VC over SOAR.

According to a statement released Wednesday, the VCEDA board voted to back SUSTAIN VC because the group’s plan promotes the longevity of local agriculture.

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Farmers’ alternative to SOAR placed on November ballot

Ventura County Star

An alternative backed by farmers will join the countywide SOAR renewal measure on the November ballot, county supervisors decided Tuesday.

In a unanimous decision, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors placed the measure known as SUSTAIN VC before voters in the Nov. 8 general election. The panel acted after elections staff concluded that a petition for the measure contained 23,010 valid signatures based on their evaluation of a sample. A total of 19,987 were needed.

“I think they did the right thing,” avocado and citrus grower John Lamb said after the board’s vote. “We had the required number.”

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