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Ventura County

Newsom appoints Vianey Lopez to Ventura County Board

Lopez has a lengthy track record in progressive issues including her outspoken support of Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive rights



Vianey Lopez (center) with the late Chair of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors Carmen Ramirez (L) (Photo Credit: Vianey Lopez/Facebook)

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom announced Friday that he has appointed City of Oxnard Councilmember Vianey Lopez to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors to the seat left vacant by the sudden death of the beloved chair of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors Carmen Ramirez, killed in an August traffic accident.

Lopez, 35, a resident of Oxnard, has been a city councilmember for District Six since 2018 and also serves as a District Director for California State Senator Monique Limón since 2020.

According to her campaign for reelection to city council biography, Lopez immigrated to the U.S. at the young age of 4. As one of the youngest of 11 children, there were opportunities she was afforded that her siblings did not have. Raised locally, Vianey attended kindergarten through middle school in the Hueneme Elementary School District before graduating from Hueneme High School in 2005.

Councilmember, now Supervisor Lopez has a lengthy track record in progressive issues including her outspoken support of Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive rights as well as other key issues including LGBTQ+ equality, immigrant rights, and has worked for several California political leaders including a stint as District Scheduler for former U.S. Representative Lois Capps from 2013 to 2016, a member of the House from 1998 to 2017 representing California’s 24th congressional district.

Lopez was a Program Coordinator for the Oxnard Downtown Management District from 2012 to 2013 and an Administrative Assistant and Concierge at the Oxnard Convention and Visitors Bureau from 2009 to 2010. She is a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens and Future Leaders of America.

Lopez earned a Master of Public Policy degree in International Relations and State and Local Policy from Pepperdine University.


Ventura County

“Queers in the Valley” Ojai launches & is ready to celebrate Pride

Queers in the Valley are fundraising for Ojai’s first ever Pride Picnic & Celebration following the 33rd annual Pride Walk on June 30th, 2024



Queers in the Valley-Ojai (Photo Credit: JoEllen Depakakibo)

OJAI, Calif. – JoEllen Depakakibo, founder of Pinhole Coffee in San Francisco’s charming Bernal Heights has resettled in northeastern Ventura County with a new mission, a Pride Picnic & Celebration in Ojai.

Depakakibo along with her wife and child now call Ojai home and when not running a Pinhole Coffee EV-van have gathered with other LGBTQ+ community members launching the effort to raise funds for Ojai’s first Pride Picnic & Celebration.

The Pride Picnic & Celebration following the 33rd annual Pride Walk on Sunday, June 30th, 2024. According to a Facebook Post by Depakakibo, organizers enlisted the help of Rachel Lang the first out LGBTQ+ Ojai City Councilmember and support from Ojai Mayor Betsy Stix.

In a GoFundMe page and on the group’s ‘Queers in the Valley’ website the group is soliciting assistance to fund their efforts:

We are Queers in the Valley, and are fundraising for Ojai’s first ever Pride Picnic & Celebration following the 33rd annual Pride Walk on Sunday, June 30th, 2024!

Our mission is to find, build, strengthen, support and inspire the Queer Community in Ojai Valley. Our intention is to make it as Ojai as possible, and lay a foundation of safety and inclusion for our Trans, BIPOC, Disabled, and Low-Income Queer Family.

Help us raise $3000 to:

– pay our Queer Entertainers

– pay our Queer Graphic Designer and build out our website

– print signs and flyers

– rent Libbey Park

– make the event as accessible as possible for BIPOC, Disabled, and Low Income folx through things like ASL interpretation, non-police security, free covid testing, discounts for food options, etc.

– purchase 1-day event insurance

– pay for materials for such things as a kids crafting corner

Send us a message if you want to get involved!


The group noted:

If you are a local Queer artist, vendor or organization that wants to be featured on our website/want to volunteer/have any suggestions or questions…reach out to us (contact info on website).

This group was started with the yearning of mentioned intentions above from many people. Representation matters

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Ventura County

California launches first two guaranteed income pilot programs



Los Angeles Blade/Ventura County Government graphic

SACRAMENTO – California just launched the first two state-funded Guaranteed Income Pilot Programs – focused on former foster youth. These pilots, through the Department of Social Services, will provide unconditional, individual, regular cash payments intended to disrupt poverty, advance equity, and support the basic needs of recipients.


  • The State awarded the City and County of San Francisco $3,439,090 to provide 150 former foster youth with $1,200 per month for 18 months.
  •  The State awarded Ventura County Human Services Agency $1,538,758 to provide 150 former foster youth with $1,000 per month for 18 months.

Recipients will also receive benefits counseling to evaluate the impact of guaranteed income payments on their eligibility for various public benefits.

“Guaranteed income programs help level the playing field and will give these former foster youth the support and resources they need to pursue their California dream,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.


“The City and County of San Francisco is honored to be one of only two public entities across California to be awarded this state grant to launch a guaranteed income pilot project for former foster youth aging out of our care,” said San Francisco Human Services Agency Deputy Director of Policy, Planning, and Public Affairs Susie Smith. “Transitioning out of the foster care system can be incredibly challenging for many of our youth, and this sustained unconditional income over 18 months will help systems-involved youth pursue their hopes and dreams. In doing so, our goal is to disrupt the cycle of poverty and advance a more equitable future for former foster youth.”

“This is an amazing opportunity to break the cycle of poverty experienced by many young adults transitioning out of foster care,”  Ventura Human Services Agency Director Melissa Livingston said. “Investing in them is not only an investment in their future but in that of the broader community.”


The pilot programs build on the success and lessons learned from prior guaranteed income pilot projects, including an effort launched in Stockton, California. The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration enabled recipients to find full-time employment, reduced income volatility, and resulted in recipients showing less depression and anxiety.

“Nearly 4.5 million Californians live below the poverty line — not because of personal failures, but because of policy choices,” said Special Advisor for Economic Mobility and Opportunity and Mayors for a Guaranteed Income Founder Michael Tubbs. “It’s far past time for us to end poverty in our state and the California Guaranteed Income Pilot Program is a critical step in doing that. We saw with the first mayor-led guaranteed income program that I ran in Stockton that guaranteed income is effective at increasing not just financial stability but also mental and physical health, parent-child relationships, and people’s ability to strive for goals. I’m excited to see those results replicated as the first payments of the CDSS pilot begin to go out in Ventura and San Francisco.”

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Ventura County

5.1 earthquake rattles SoCal area as storm dumps heavy rain

The National Weather Service reports that after the 5.1 earthquake shook the Los Angeles area, there is no tsunami threat



Ojai earthquake map, Aug. 20, 2023. (Map Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

OJAI, Calif. – An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 struck the Ojai area in Ventura County Sunday afternoon and could be felt sharply across a wide swath of Southern California including the San Fernando Valley, downtown L.A., Long Beach and Orange County.

 According to the U.S. Geological Survey the quake struck at 2:45 p.m. and was centered roughly four miles east-southeast of Ojai in Ventura County at a depth of one kilometer.

The National Weather Service reports that after the 5.1 earthquake that shook the Los Angeles area, there is no tsunami threat for Southern California. “Again, a tsunami is NOT expected,” the weather service said.

There were no immediate reports of damage, however, KTLA reported that the Los Angeles County Fire Department activated its “earthquake mode” which involves all 106 neighborhood fire stations conducting infrastructure surveys in their districts.

“This survey will be conducted from the ground, air and sea. Once this process is complete and reports are consolidated, assuming there is no significant damage, Earthquake mode will be complete,” the Fire Department said in a statement. “This process typically takes less than one hour.”

Areas of focus include transportation infrastructures, large gathering places, apartment buildings, and power lines, officials said.

The quake struck as Tropical Storm Hilary pushed into the region with heavy rains expected. NWS Los Angeles announced that Los Angeles, Long Beach and Glendale remain under a flash flood warning until 7:45 p.m. Monday.

Flash flood warnings continue for Indio, Cathedral City and Palm Desert until 7 p.m. Monday, the NWS San Diego announced.

All schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District will be closed on Monday, superintendent @LAUSDSup announced at a 4 p.m. news conference. Schools across the district are expected to re-open on Tuesday, according to the superintendent.

KTLA reported that DoorDash is suspending all deliveries in Los Angeles County beginning at 3:45 p.m. Sunday as a result of the the storm, the food ordering and delivery service announced. “DoorDash is closely monitoring conditions on the ground to determine whether to implement the Severe Weather Protocol in addition areas,” the news release stated. Deliveries are set to resume on Monday at 11 a.m. pending weather conditions.”

On Sunday afternoon the White House released a statement from President Joe Biden on Tropical Storm Hilary:

As soon as Tropical Storm Hilary’s path became clear, my Administration took immediate action to prepare. At my direction, FEMA deployed to California federal personnel and supplies that can be surged to impacted communities. The U.S. Coast Guard pre-positioned aircraft to allow for rapid response and search-and-rescue efforts. My Administration also deployed federal personnel to Nevada to ensure the state has additional support, and we will continue to coordinate with California, Nevada, and Arizona on any resources they might need.
This afternoon I spoke to California Governor Gavin Newsom about the emergency preparedness measures in place, and the initial response to Tropical Storm Hilary. I continue to be briefed on our preparedness efforts, and the storm’s potential impact – including flooding. My Administration stands ready to provide additional assistance as requested. I urge people to take this storm seriously, and listen to state and local officials.
We are also closely monitoring the earthquake that occurred in Southern California, and any resulting impacts.

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Ventura County

Goleta man arrested: Death threats to Conejo Valley school official

The Conejo Valley Unified School District has been targeted by the far-right including members of Turning Point USA



Photo Credit: Ventura County Sheriff's Department

THOUSAND OAKS, Ca. – A 45-year-old Goleta resident was taken into custody by detectives from the Thousand Oaks Police Department this past weekend, after he allegedly threatened to “put a bullet” through the skull of Conejo Valley Unified School District Superintendent Mark McLaughlin.

Ventura County Star reporter Dawn Megli noted that Randell Graham was arrested at his home on suspicion of making felony criminal threats, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, which contracts police services with the City of Thousand Oaks.

Graham has not been charged, according to records in Ventura County Superior Court. He was released from custody Monday morning and is due in court Oct. 31.

Deputies arrested him after they said they identified him as the caller who left two voicemails Friday at the district office with death threats against the Thousand Oaks school chief, the sheriff’s office said Monday. General threats were also made against district office staff, the Ventura County Star reported.

Superintendent McLaughlin told the VC Star he believes Graham’s actions were tied to to claims by a parent during a school board meeting last month that her daughter witnessed a fellow student masturbate in class. McLaughlin further noted that the incident was unconfirmed.

The incident went viral on several far-right online platforms the VC Star noted, all of which accused McLaughlin of defending the incident as normal. The superintendent said he is seeking legal action.

The Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD), has been targeted by far-right members of Pastor Rob McCoy’s Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Newbury Park. McCoy is an advisor to anti-LGBTQ+ far-right Trump supporter Charlie Kirk’s Turning Point USA.

Those targeting the CVUSD are claiming that the school district is supporting the LGBTQ+ agenda by allowing books the they claim are obscene on subjects including transgender people, coming out and same-sex couples and LGBTQ+ families.

The various groups are also railing against California’s state-mandated sexual education classes and what they see as pro-LGBTQ+ without regard to “parental rights” on issues including gender identity.

The far-right from across the country are now entering the battle.

McLaughlin told the VC Star; “The discourse in our district has always been there but that discourse has stayed within our community. We have now seen that discourse move beyond our community and outside groups being brought in to deal with our school district and community discourse.”

With McCoy’s influence, CVUSD was placed on a “radicalism watchlist” of which the listing includes the district office phone number along with public contact information for the five board trustees.

McLaughlin played a recording of one of the threats.

“Hey, hey, Mark, congratulations. You officially have a hit on you,” the message says. “You’ve been marked. I would not get caught walking in public. I wouldn’t get caught going to work.”

“We’re going to put a bullet through your skull,” the caller says, ending with a series of name calling and profanities.

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Ventura County

Chair of Ventura County Board of Supervisors killed in traffic accident

“Her kindness, love and deep compassion for the community was felt by everyone. She will be dearly missed”



Chair of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, Carmen Ramirez. (Photo Credit: County of Ventura, Calif.)

OXNARD, Ca. – The beloved chair of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors Carmen Ramirez was killed in a traffic accident in Oxnard Friday the Ventura County Star newspaper reported.

Ramirez, 73, had first served on the Oxnard City Council and then in November 2020, she became the first Latina in the county’s history to be elected supervisor. She achieved another first the Star reported when her fellow board members elected her as chairwoman of the powerful board becoming the first Latina to hold that position.

According to the Star, the crash occurred about 6:45 p.m. at Seventh and A streets in Oxnard. Oxnard Police Chief Jason Benites said the driver of the 2020 GMC Sierra pick-up truck remained at the scene and was cooperative.

Ramirez was transported to Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura where she was pronounced dead at 7:17 p.m., the chief said.

The initial investigation determined that a large truck, driven by a 38-year-old man, was traveling westbound on Seventh Street toward A Street. Ramirez, who was reported to be crossing the intersection within the pedestrian crosswalk, was struck by the vehicle.  

In her official bio on her 2020 campaign website it noted that she grew up in the San Gabriel Valley with six siblings and worked in Ventura County since 1978. The county’s website states she served on the Oxnard City Council for 10 years.

Prior to being elected to the council in 2010, she worked as a longtime legal aid attorney serving low-income communities in Ventura County, her bio read.

“I offer my sincere condolences to her husband, Roy Prince, and her family,” said Oxnard Mayor John Zaragoza in a statement released Saturday. “We will miss Carmen tremendously. We worked together often, while I was serving as Supervisor and she was Oxnard’s Mayor Pro Tem, and this camaraderie continued when she was elected Supervisor and I served as Mayor. She was passionate about environmental justice and creating a better future for our City. Her kindness, love and deep compassion for the community was felt by everyone. She will be dearly missed.”

Interim County Executive Officer Sevet Johnson described Ramirez as “passionate” and “hard working,” calling her a huge advocate on climate issues as well as on behalf of her community and underserved populations.

“She was a powerhouse,” Johnson said.

“We were all blessed to have known her, blessed to have been her friend,” Supervisor Linda Parks said.

The LGBTQ community in Oxnard expressed its grief and condolences in a Facebook post writing:

“We, The city of Oxnard, and all of the people you have shined your light on are deeply saddened and in mourning from your loss. OxnardLGBTQ did not get the pleasure of knowing you, or work with you more thank we hoped for, but we knew you were a powerhouse, and major advocate for La Raza and our Queer community. You will be remembered by so many for all that you did and your legacy. Our sincere condolences to all of your family, friends and close acquainted. You will be truly missed. Descansa en paz Carmen Ramírez 🕊✊🏽❤️🌈

The City of Oxnard Police tweeted that a candlelight vigil will be held at Plaza Park in Oxnard in honor of Ramirez at 7 p.m.

UPDATED Sunday from KTLA:

At Saturday’s vigil, Ramirez’s friends noted that despite her sudden passing, she left an impact that will be felt both for what she accomplished and the way in which she did it.

“I think it’s a reminder to all of us that we’re here for a short time, and we don’t know when death is going to come calling,” said Luzmaria Espinosa, a friend of Ramirez. “We can always be warriors, but everything has to be done with the heart. And I think that’s what she did.”

Ramirez is survived by her husband, Roy Prince. She was predeceased by her brother Ricardo Ramirez.

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Ventura County

Oxnard College raises Pride Flag to honor Pride Month

“This flag is a symbol of pride, but more than that it’s a symbol of support. It’s like a beacon guiding our students to a safe harbor.”



Diversity Collective, Ventura County’s LGBTQ Oxnard chapter. (Photo Credit: Oxnard College)

OXNARD – In honor of Pride Month, Oxnard College became Ventura County’s first higher-education institution to raise the LGBTQ+ Progress Pride flag over its campus. The flag-raising ceremony took place on June 1 and was in collaboration with the Diversity Collective, Ventura County’s LGBTQ Oxnard chapter. The flag will fly through June.

“If America stands for anything, it stands for the ideal of liberty and justice for all,” shared Luis Sanchez, president of Oxnard College. “Oxnard College welcomes students from all backgrounds and identities, and we proudly raise the Pride flag above our campus as a symbol of our commitment to equality for all human beings and a celebration of our LGBTQ+ community.” 

Over 40 community guests attended the ceremony and heard from student speakers, LGBTQ+ activists and college leaders. The LGBTQ+ Progress  Pride flag was raised following the presentations. Graphic designer Daniel Quasar created the flag’s artwork in 2018, adding black and brown chevrons to the Pride flag to represent LGBTQ+ communities of color. Pink, blue and white chevrons represent Transgender Pride.  

“Flying the flag at this college sends a message to the community that Oxnard College welcomes you as you are,” said Teresa Bonham, an Oxnard College professor who teaches an LGBTQ+ studies course. “This flag is a symbol of pride, but more than that it’s a symbol of support. It’s like a beacon guiding our students to a safe harbor.”

Oxnard College serves LGBTQ+ students by:

  • Implementing the Preferred Name Policy, which gives LGBTQ+ students the option to use a preferred first name that may be different from their legal name. 
  • Launching a pronoun guide to help the college be a more inclusive environment and affirm students’ identity. 
  • Providing Safe Zone training to employees so they can provide a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ students and colleagues. 
  • Hosting a weekly Rainbow Cafe to provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ students to share their stories and meet new people. 
  • Offering Introduction to LGBTQ+ Studies (SJS R130) as part of the college’s social justice studies curriculum.
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