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Ojai Democratic Club to host forum on oil & gas drilling Measures on the June 7 ballot

The Ojai Valley Democratic Club will host a panel discussion on oil and gas mining and extraction in the Valley and Ventura County on Sunday February 27 from 1:00 to 3:30 pm at the Ojai Arts Center patio at 113 S. Montgomery Street in downtown Ojai.

Panel members will include Thomas Rebecchi, Central Coast Organizing Manager for Food and Water Watch, representingVC-Safe (Safe Agriculture and Fresh Water for Everybody), a political action committee which is leading the campaign to vote Yes on Ballot Measures A and B on the June 7 Primary ballot. Both measures would provide consistent environmental requirements for oil and gas drilling, including eliminating theloophole that allows the continued use of “antiquated” drilling permits without environmental reviews. See for more details on Measures A & B.

The panel will also include County Supervisor Carmen Ramirez, who overcame massive opposition from the oil and gas industry to win her Oxnard area seat in 2020. Also on the panel will be climate and environmental health scientist Dr.Steve Colome, who is on the advisory board of CFROG(Climate First-Replacing Oil and Gas), and Ojai City Council member and local attorney Ryan Blatz. Both Blatz and Ramirez are member of the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District.

“In addition to the oil and gas Measures, we want to expand the discussion to address how the City and County can work together to undertake a just transition from an oil and gas extraction dependent economy to a green jobs economy,” stated panel moderator Jeffrey Starkweather, the newly elected President of the Club and a 1965 graduate of Nordhoff High School. “Of course, addressing transitioning from oil and gas extraction includes both the City and County developing and implementing strategies for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels for energy and transportation.”

The newly elected board of the Ojai Valley Democratic Club includes immediate past President Judy K. Nelson, who has agreed to serve as interim treasurer until the Club can recruit a permanent treasurer, communications professional and 2003 Nordhoff High School graduate Blair Braney as Secretary and retired journalist John Brooks as First Vice President. The Club meets on the fourth Sunday at the month starting on 1:30 pm at the Ojai Arts Center patio.

“We are planning to have issues and candidate presentations at our meetings regularly during the 2022 campaign year,culminating in issue-based debates between candidates for racesfor City Council, OUSD Board of Trustees and water and sanitation Districts for the November 8 General Election, “Starkweather added. “We want to use the Club as a vehicle for educating the voters about the critical issues facing our community and to endorse and support local candidates on their position on issues, as opposed to what in the past have often just been resume campaigns.”

The panel discussion is open to all area residents regardless of political party affiliation. For more information on the Club goto, Ojai Valley Democrats onFacebook, or email the Club at

Press Release Contact: Jeffrey Starkweather, 919-417-0969,

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