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Growing Pains

March 2023
1min read

Sir:… We have a fair city which one could say is beset by all the pollution and conservation problems rolled into one.…

When my husband and I, as newlyweds, arrived in Ventura (short for San Buenaventura) in 1948, it was a beautiful town of 18,000 built around two valuable commodities, agriculture and oil. Our geographical location was superb, between the ocean and the mountains. There was no influx or smog from the Los Angeles Basin. …

Now I will list our condition twenty-two years later—a mere twenty-two years later. …

  1. 1. Ventura has grown to 55,000. …
  2. 2. Valuable agricultural land, assessed beyond the point where it can be farmed, is disappearing at the rate of hundreds of acres per year.
  3. 3. The oil business has deteriorated locally (other than offshore, which brings no local tax money directly, only pollution) to the point where the county and city receive only a small fraction of what they used to get.
  4. 4. The heart of our city has become blocks and blocks of empty stores. …
  5. 5. Our grand old California Mission sits in a dreadfully depressed area of a once thriving downtown.
  6. 6. Our magnificent courthouse, built in 1912, which commands a splendid view on the side of a hill overlooking the ocean, has been allowed to deteriorate to the point where it is now being abandoned. …
  7. 7. Industry is being beckoned to the city to bring back a weakened tax base.
  8. 8. Trees, monuments, mountains, and sanity are all being plowed under or sheared off in the face of “progress.”
  9. 9. Pollution is evident everywhere. …

Can we control our growth so it will not become a disaster? Can we stir up interest in preservation to the point where the taxpayer can see the advantage? … All growth and change are not necessarily progress. Ventura is the fastest growing county in the United States at this time, and the pain that goes with it is in the same ratio. …

Barbara Udsen
City Councilwoman San Buenaventura, California

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