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Ventura County

Ventura Seniors' Transit Needs

July 01, 2001

What can "we the people" do in the city of Ventura to regain a substantial voice in the operation of our city government? Over the years, our "duly elected" have isolated themselves behind a wall of city staffers that may or may not reflect the will of the people. But more likely, they satisfy their own agendas.

In this letter, there is no intent to denigrate anyone personally but to state facts that are quite obvious when one is deeply involved in an issue, in this case transit in Ventura.

Among senior groups over the years, concerns always arise for convenient bus service in our city, especially in the outlying areas. For some reason, this need has never been seriously considered by our city staff or duly elected as worthy of an honest effort. This is the same wall of city staff that has been privy to and has the responsibility for all community input.

In this case, senior groups on the one hand express the dire need for a greatly improved, convenient transit service.

And on the other hand, the South Coast Area Transit and the SCAT Access Paratransit service claim there are no unmet transit needs in Ventura.

You wouldn't believe the games being played to justify that statement from SCAT, which hired an outside transportation firm for the annual unmet transit needs meeting required by the Ventura County Transportation Commission. This is a process required by the state to justify spending transit funding on other projects such as road maintenance, sidewalks, curb-cuts, bicycle lanes, etc.

So for years, phrases like "no unmet transit needs" that are "reasonable to meet" and "fare box returns" have been the centerpiece for spending transit funds on the other worthwhile projects, ignoring an ever-growing transit need here in Ventura.

Because of the seeming lack of communication between senior groups, city staff and the duly elected, our best chance for a remedy is at the ballot box and with better-informed candidates in November. With four seats open, seniors may have a chance to be noticed.

Art Kinne

Ventura

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