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Colossal waste: Ventura spending $4,483,00 of taxpayers’ money,  and counting … for what?

Money can’t buy you love, but can it buy the Ojai Valley water rights? A public records request to the city of Ventura uncovered this week that on Sept. 11, the city of Ventura authorized spending up to $4,483,000 to its Walnut Creek lawyers, Best Best & Krieger, to find out. 
It will take more than money to stop them. Feb. 3 is the next Ventura City Council meeting. Pressure will be required to persuade the Ventura City Council to drop its lawsuit against thousands of Ojai Valley residents. The gains it receives for a dismissal will be worth more than money and sustain us longer.
Ojai is not marching calmly toward forced adjudication. Instead, many valley residents marched Jan. 30 from Libbey Park to Matilija Auditorium to meet Ventura city officials and the lawyers they hired.
Thursday’s meeting was organized by the city of Ventura to “explain the procedure” to the 10,500 people who received notices and/or summonses about Ventura’s water lawsuit.
As a community newspaper, we have uncovered and objected to the Ventura City Council’s secret vote to sue Ojai Valley residents; spoken at Ventura City Council and Casitas Municipal Water District meetings; gathered experts and held a town-hall meeting that more than 1,500 people have seen; and reported on the complicated issues surrounding this case.
Our community has shown up, studied the facts, written letters, called the officials responsible to us, posted on social media, and subscribed to, and generously given to, their independent local news source, the Ojai Valley News. 
We now have a write-in candidate for Ventura County supervisor to challenge Mayor Matt LaVere; people have stepped up and are making sacrifices so our little town is not taken advantage of. Standing up to the “big city” will take more than money because, so far, we are outspent. The Ojai Valley News applauds the courage, passion, expertise and tremendous will of local residents to stand up for their community. We urge residents to continue to show up, be heard, and advocate for true collaboration on physical water issues.
So much damage has already been done. Ventura’s lack of environmental and fiscal responsibility demonstrates its citizens are allowing their government to run amok. Citizens in Ventura seem largely unaware that their representatives are wasting their taxpayers’ money so City Council members can sue their neighbors in a case forecast to last for years.
Ventura City now faces really tough choices on cutbacks to services. Who wins and who will lose? The $4,438,000 million in authorized water-lawsuit legal fees, to date, is only a part expenses Ventura City must off-set. We encourage our neighbors in Ventura to take back control of their government. Create the city you want to live in, and work with your Ojai Valley neighbors on the real environmental issues of the Ventura watershed.
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