The automobile was given the backseat in Ventura County’s future
as supervisors voted unanimously to forge a transportation future
relying on buses, trains, and bicycles. Although few specifics were
outlined — especially where cash was concerned — the Ventura
declaration was simultaneously welcome and frustrating to Santa
Barbara alt-transportation advocates. Just a few months ago,
Ventura County officials made it plain they had no interest in
sharing the costs for a commuter rail link between the two
counties, and without Ventura’s active participation, commuter rail
in southern Santa Barbara is all but dead.

The Ventura City Council effectively put plans to locate a
Wal-Mart store on Victoria Avenue in downtown Ventura on ice for at
least another year, and probably forever. The council voted to
delay any action on the proposed Wal-Mart — or any other “big box”
outlets — until the neighborhood could undergo the rigors of a
comprehensive community plan. Only if Wal-Mart were compatible with
the resulting plan would it be considered.

Ventura County Judge Charles McGrath petitioned Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger to grant clemency to convicted killer Michael
Morales, given the death penalty by McGrath 24 years ago. Morales’s
conviction, argued McGrath, was based on the testimony of a
jailhouse informant who testified that Morales described to
him — in Spanish — exactly how he planned to rape and kill his
victim. McGrath made his clemency plea upon learning recently that
Morales — a fourth-generation American — speaks no Spanish.


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