Livable Communities Newsletter
Vol. 11, No. 41
February 2017
The "3 E's" in Ventura County
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Welcome to Our Winter 2017 Livable Communities Newsletter! 
The Ventura County Civic Alliance is built on the concept of the "3 E's" - Economy, Environment, and Equity.  As 2017 begins with intense focus and passion on each of these key elements, a look at how they can be integrated in Ventura County is extremely important.  We start with an update from Bruce Stenslie, President/CEO of  EDC - VC, with a discussion of equity and inclusion within our Ventura County economy.  Next, Ron Bottorff, Founder of Friends of the Santa Clara River, portrays two recent and ongoing efforts aimed at achieving results demonstrating important cooperation between the equity and environmental communities.  Finally, a reprint of a 2016 "year end reflection of equity and inclusion progress" by Maricela Morales, Executive Director of Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, is included as our final article.  This is an unedited summary of focus, accomplishment, and direction as seen by CAUSE.

Let us know what you think by contacting us at
Stacy Roscoe 

Ventura County's Declining Economic Condition:  Restoring Ventura County's Triple Bottom Line

By Bruce Stenslie, President/CEO, Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County


Fifteen years ago, the highly regarded Milken Institute's Best Performing Cities Index ranked Ventura County at number four in the nation for economic growth.  By that index and others, for the next several years our economic performance remained solidly in the top 10% of the nation's largest 200 urban areas.  We excelled in wage gains and job growth and in the concentration of high tech industries. 
However, beginning in 2008, with the Great Recession, we fell precipitously, as measured by a wide variety of economic indicators, and our recovery has been far weaker than our regional and national peers and competitors. 

By key measures including median wages, job growth, labor force participation and productivity, the Ventura County economy tanked in the Recession, stalled after an early and promising recovery, then faded again, now trending dangerously downward relative to our surrounding counties, California and the nation. 

Many of us haven't recognized the decline, undeniable as it's been.  To be fair, to the folks that own a home and have a job, or sought out our great communities for retirement, our condition looks great.  From those viewpoints, the landscape suggests we remain a comfortable, competitive region.  However, using a broader assessment that includes economic performance and social equity on an even par with environmental preservation, our declining condition tells a different story, with an uncertain future.

An important way for assessing our actual condition is to consider that we've lost our balance and concentration on a triple bottom line set of values, that is, for committing our stewardship equally to the environment, the economy and social equity.  While we've done well in environmental stewardship--a value to which we need to remain true--we've been less effective in assuring a sound economy that contributes to a broadly shared prosperity.

Get the Full Story......This is a "must click" Article!!!!
Equity and Environment - Working to Achieve Results That Matter

By Ron Bottorff
Ventura  County is known both for its cultural diversity as well as having some of the most valuable and threatened ecosystems in California.   Lower-income communities are often especially affected by environmental problems related to clean air and clean water.  All of us are affected by numerous issues involving climate change and the need to protect natural areas.
It is essential that the two Es involved in the above - Equity and Environment - cooperate more fully in understanding each other's priorities and in working jointly on projects important to both groups. 
This article portrays two recent and ongoing efforts aimed at achieving results that demonstrate this type of cooperation.
1.  Santa Paula's SESPEA Club Students Weigh In on 2015-2016 Natural Habitat Restoration Work Along the Santa Clara River -
The 220-acre Hedrick Ranch Nature Area on the Santa Clara River near Santa Paula has been under the stewardship of Friends of the Santa Clara River since 2000 and has seen the restoration of over 50 acres of former farm lands to natural habitats. During the 2015-2016 season, Santa Paula High School's SESPEA Club (Students Encouraging Social Political and Environmental Action) contributed mightily to this restoration and deserve special recognition for their outstanding efforts.

2.  Integrated Regional Water Management Plan to Help Disadvantaged Communities - 
An effort is now underway under California's Proposition1 to assist Disadvantaged Communities (DAC) with water supply or water quality needs.  Ventura County has at least ten such communities, defined by the State of California as a community with an annual Median Household Income (MHI) that is less than 80% of the Statewide MHI.


 Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy

community values  in action

Dear CAUSE friends,

As CAUSE's 15th year draws to a close, I'm reflecting on how far we've come and where we go moving forward.

Now more than ever, we need to protect each other and build a movement of resistance.  Here in our Central Coast region, CAUSE is committed more firmly than ever to building that movement for an inclusive society, a healthy environment, and a fair economy.

Please be part of this movement by making a tax-deductible contribution to CAUSE before the end of the year.

Thank you so much to all of our donors who made our work possible in 2016:

Voter Engagement
We talked to over 30,000 Central Coast voters to help pass Props 55, 56 and 57 to invest billions in education and healthcare instead of prisons.  We secured the support of more voters than any other local group in our statewide coalition, which ran the largest grassroots get out the vote effort in California this year.  CAUSE registered over 1,000 new local voters this year, and passed policies in Santa Maria and Oxnard to give all high school students two opportunities to register to vote in-class before they graduate.

Farmworker Rights
Alongside many allies, we launched a groundbreaking campaign for a Farmworker Bill of Rights to address extreme overwork, wage theft, and health and safety risks in our fields through local communities stepping up to enforce labor standards for farmworkers.  This effort has mobilized hundreds of local farmworkers and brought coverage of local farmworker issues to a national media audience including NPR, Slate, Univision and the Guardian.  We also worked to support historic legislation making California the first state to grant equal rights to overtime pay to farmworkers after 80 years of exclusion.
Environmental Justice
We continued our fight to end the generations-long pattern of the Central Coast's energy coming from polluting power plants dumped in low-income immigrant communities.  This year we mobilized hundreds of residents to speak out against building more gas-fired power plants in Oxnard and Santa Paula and demand clean air and clean energy alternatives.

Affordable Housing
We kicked off a campaign to tackle the housing crisis displacing Santa Barbara's working-class immigrant neighborhoods.  We're building coalitions, researching solutions, organizing tenants, and working with policymakers to advocate for a Tenants Rights Ordinance to stop unfair evictions and create stronger protections for renters.
In 2017, we'll continue our organizing and advocacy for farmworker rights, environmental justice, and affordable housing, while standing firmly as the front line of defense for the rights of our local immigrant community.  Your support matters now more than ever.

Please strengthen our work by making a contribution to CAUSE today.   

Thank you so much for standing with us at this critical time.


Maricela Morales, MA
Executive Director