Ventura Has A Problem With Their Flexing Power… December 2017, my neighbor texted me, “I see flames in the Saticoy & Wells area!” I did not initially get alarmed, but when she later banged on my door, that all changed. “Didn’t you get my damn text?!”, my neighbor says loudly. I told her I did, but disregarded it because she’s always overreacting. “Did you hear gun shots?!”, It was July 5th. In 2017 the Thomas Fire ripped through Santa Paula, into Ventura through the Foothills and it became the worst tragedy to so many Ventura Citizens and beyond. Our family and friends lost their homes and so many of those newly homeless, had an even harder time getting back on their feet again. Which is understandable right? They lost everything that they ever worked for and the city they lived in needed to have their backs. Ever since this event, the people of Ventura made up for what their local government lacked. Private citizens and local small businesses created a strong and forceful alliance against the unfortunate reality of the changing times. ‘The New Normal,’ it’s been around before COVID and certainly before Father Junipero Serra’s statue was removed in the middle of the night. It is shameful to have a city full of hard working small business owners, struggling artist and diehard volunteers, for any and all needy charities – getting denied permits to rebuild their homes. Moreover, allowing big developers such as CBRE to swoop in and kill our ‘buzz’. It is becoming harder and harder to own a business in this town.
Small businesses like Pulse Drumming had closed multiple times during the Thomas Fire, due to having several of their students parents’ concerned that their special needs child would be affected by the smoke. They also closed for COVID due to the similar reasons stated above. In 2008 the owner’s husband died in a tragic Train Accident that killed 25 passengers and injuring hundreds. There was an overwhelming amount of support from the community. Tangerenz, a hair salon located down the road from Pulse Drumming at the time and The Ventura Harbor Comedy Club heard about the new widow and jumped into action. They were able to put together an event to alleviate a huge financial burden. The owner of her brick and mortar, were understanding, sympathetic and flexible – Mr. Lynn of Lynn’s Jewelers was a good man. Even after her son passed and the dust settled, she continued to enrich our community with music. So it is sad to see a business owner like this almost snuffed out by rigorous and unfortunate new realities. It is happening to so many Ventura business owners that Artisan Markets such as Earthy Mama, have become crucial to savoring small businesses. Markets like this allow new, bruised and future businesses to continue to thrive when they cannot turn to their city government for support.
In 2022 so much has changed not just locally, but worldwide. Our local government does not currently have the foresight to create flexible policies to safeguard against diminishing small business or supporting efforts to revive themselves. COVID support went to just a handful of lucky businesses and health concerns still weigh on the hard working people of Ventura, but nothing has improved in the way of creating new avenues for struggling business owners. In fact, more has been done to encourage homelessness than to prevent it. For example, currently Ventura County, Ventura City and California State Beaches refuse to distribute permits to street vendors and strongly enforce citations to a lemonade stand rather than tow a non-registered RV. If you own your house, you may be able to sell out of your driveway though. “Jewelry Driveway Sale,” Tacky. We all should still be able to make our own way and not be shunted by anything other than an unwillingness to succeed.