Ventura's legal costs to sue Ojai Valley residents, thus far — $4,438,000: Ventura Mayor LaVere, supervisor candidate, said at a public meeting Jan. 30: 'Nobody is going to be adjudicating the watershed'

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Photo by Greg A. Cooper
Matt LaVere, Ventura mayor, attorney, candidate for 1st District supervisor to represent the Ojai Valley and Ventura.


Ventura Mayor Matt LaVere, an attorney, said in front of a standing-room only crowd at the Thursday, Jan. 30, city of Ventura public meeting at Matilija Auditorium, regarding the thousands of legal notices and summonses delivered to Ojai Valley and Ventura residents' mailboxes and doorsteps this month regarding water use: 
“I know a lot of you in this room are angry at me. And I can't say I blame you.
“The fact that 12,000 of you got that notice without warning or without explanation is simply unacceptable and I am ashamed that it happened on my watch as mayor.
"We ... I'm joined here by my deputy mayor Sofia Rubalcava…. we were given really bad advice. We were told that if you were a metered water customer, that if you paid your water bill to a water company, that you had nothing to do with this lawsuit, and the actions we took were based on that advice, and that advice was wrong. And I am here to own that tonight.
"I was asked by my colleagues on the City Council to deliver a message tonight.
"And that is that we would never in a million years have voted to needlessly bring in 12,000 people in Ventura and Ojai to a lawsuit which they have nothing to do with.
"I also want to relay this message, though:
"I've heard from a lot of you… 
"It was a nightmare what we put a lot of you through, the fear we put you through, the anguish. And what I heard was that: 'Please don't take our water. Why don't you work, why don't you collaborate with the water users in the valley, and across the watershed and figure out a physical solution? Adjudication is not the answer.’
“And I'm here tonight to say — and these experts behind me are going to further back that up — is that is exactly what we are doing. Nobody is going to be adjudicating the watershed.
“All of the users have agreed to come together to collaborate, to work together on a physical solution that is not going to impact anybody's water rights.
“The primary users are going to come together and we're going to do a physical solution, just like so many of you suggested and we're going to come together and we're going to do what is right for the watershed.
“Settlement is so close, we’re are almost there. We’re going to do the right thing."


The Ojai Valley News filed a public records act request last week for records relating to the city of Ventura's cross-complaint lawsuit to include thousands of Ojai Valley and Ventura water users.
The Ojai Valley News also filed an official complaint with the  Ventura County District Attorney's Office regarding the city of Ventura's secret vote on Sept. 9 to add thousands more people to its lawsuit.
After the public records act request for records and complaint regarding the secret vote were sent, the Ventura City Council released information at its Jan. 27 meeting that the Sept. 9 vote of the Ventura City Council was unanimous by all members present to sue thousands of water users.
The Ventura City Council also released its legal service agreements and amendments between the city of Ventura and Walnut Creek attorneys Best Best & Krieger.
The most recent agreement amendment, dated Sept. 11, increased the amount of the agreement by $$1.3 million from $3,138,000 to $4,438,000.

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