Timothy Tyndall...: The staff and volunteers at the RAIN Network welcome Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long. Having Supervisor Long take part in our online Town Forum program gives Ventura County residents the chance to see how Internet technology works to increase citizen access to local government, in a productive and useful way.
Supervisor Long, The first question received for today is: Does Ventura County have plans for making use of the Internet to expand Library services. Either by extending hours of Reference service via online questions or extending the range , scope of childrens services by making use of the Internet for stories, bibliographies and other resurces? email to RAIN.
Timothy:... A second questions that came in early this morning was regarding Youth / Young Adult Services. One of the RAIN Network's members has been using the Ventura County Courts project that is currently on RAIN for high school and Middle School students.
Their question was regarding the application of Internet technology to help youth services in different parts of the county. Through focused projects, employment assistance and other areas of support including counseling and neighborhood crisis resolution. The real focus of this question appeared to be "can Ventura County make use of Internet to help reduce youth crime / violence problems by redirecting and providing new focus?
How has the air quality in the Ojai Valley been effected by any recent policies or programs?
Would the Supervisors be interested in having their meetings broadcast by live Internet video so those of us unable to attend can participate? and we could then see it in the evenings as well and send comments by email..
Will you tell us why you decided there was a need to hold office hours in Santa Paula? (And WHERE?)
Janet:..Mon, JUn 16, 11:32AM PST
Do you have any feelings on how you will handle the coming $18 million shortfall?
11:36AM PST (-0800 GMT) ---
Silvia Tyndall...:
Thank you Kathy Long for joining us online today! Can you please tell us what can be done at the local level to insure availability of and access to quality technology resources for families in our community?
Supervisor Kathy Long:...
Timothy: In response to the technology questions, specific to the Libraries ..over the last year, the cities and county have been meeting to discuss restructuring for governance and funding for our library district. From all of these discussions, I believe we are on track with a regional cooperative approach. The Board will be taking action tomorrow, as will the seven cities over the next few weeks, to adopt the cooperative structure for the libraries that establishes "library service areas" with a return-to-source funding base. This means that the libraries located within cities will have a baseline of funding and the ability to add dollars for enhancement of hours, circulation, technology. Again, since the early discussions of how to save the libraries, technology has always been on the ta ble. I believe there is strong support for access and quality of technology. We must first secure the agreement for funding base, establish this new governance board, (to be made up of elected reps for the 7 cities and 1 Board member) and then move out to the citizens for "enhancement" and direction as to hours and programs. I look forward to serving on this cooperative and feel it will provide a long-term health for our libraries.
Supervisor Kathy Long:...
Timothy: The Courts system has been very aggressive in getting the technology out to the users/clients, via kiosk for traffic fines, and internally working to improve client information flow, guaranteeing that information flows quicker to all responsible agenices for decision making. Specific to the juvenile population, I'm not sure specifically what is occurring, although I know we have an interagency team to address the needs of the population -- That team includes the techies that can get the job done. I serve on the Interagency Juvenile Justice Committee for the Board, and as we search for stronger program delivery, funds for facilities and other needs, the technology opportunities will be part of the discussion.
I support "preventative" approaches for our juvenile groups, programs that reach those "youth at risk" and get their attention and interest in making right choices. With the interest in technology and the many worlds opening as a result, it is very important to tap into the options. Our Court Administrator, Sheila Gonzales wil be receiving a state award next month for excellence in services/programs under the system that have made access and quality performance measures for clients served. If you'd like specific info, suggest you check out the County page and e-mail Sheila. Thanks for the Chat!
Supervisor Kathy Long:...
Valerie: Thanks for the question on air quality in the Ojai Valley. I believe we have made progress over the last few years to improve air quality and to make certain our land use decisions don't negatively impact the air quality of the valley. We have in place policies that tie building permits to air quality impacts, issuing specific numbers per the ordinance. We also work to encourage car pooling, fund the trolley for valley shoppers, and evaluate all projects under the air quality microscope. I believe the Weldon Canyon landfill defeat was certainly a win for air qaulity! As a member of the Air Pollution Control District board, I am committed to evaluate the regulations, for cost-effectiveness, as well as having a measurable outcome that truly benefits all of us in reaching the goals. Another area I'm working on is the protection of our agricultural lands. This land policy is very important in the big picutuure for our county and for the ag industry. The Ag Policy Working Group I've establishedd will bring all of the studies and data together on the current condition of our agricultural lands, and provide us options for the long term picture. I envision this work to then provicde a public processs from which we can go out to the ocmmunities and discuss our common vision for our region. That certainly links all those ""quality of liife" componnents such as air. The work ahead should be rewarding for all of us. Thanks for the chat!
Silvia Tyndall:...
Services for the elderly and the handicapped are an important part of what the Internet can provide. Have you seen any examples of the county improving access to important health or home assistance information for the elderly or handicapped?
Can you provide services in spanish through the Internet? Do Ventura County government plan to increase the amount of spanish language access by using internet?
Supervisor Kathy Long:...
David: I think anyway we can bring the Board to the citizens and create stronger communications --- the better for all of us! Supervisor Schillo has been working to get broadcast of the Board meetings, certainly internet broadcast would be another tool to communicate. Our county is known for the percentage of PC users -- highest in the state. We also have a reputation for "cooperative" solutions. I certainly see an opportunity with our partners in business, education, military, to continue to expand our technololgy base and use the tools for better communications. Thanks for the thought and I'll check into the possibility!
Supervisor Kathy Long:...Mon, June 16, 12:29AM PST
Silvia: Thanks for the question. We certainly see many benefits for our elderly and disabled via the internet technololgy. Accessing information , services, alone would be a positive. We have a very good network within the county where a technology committee meets regularly to see how to expand the use in services an programs. I know that Colleen House, director of our Area Agency on Aging is very in tune with the needs of the agency's clients. Again, through the County's home page, contacts can be made to all the programs offered and who to contact for information. I would like to see access for transportation services on-line, and specific programs offered -- whether it be nutritional information or listings on health programs. The more we offer via the technology, at your fingertips, the better we will be serving the public in all areas of needs. Thanks for the Chat!
... 12:34AM PST (-0800 GMT)-1
Supervisor Kathy Long:...Mon, Jun 16, 12:37AM PST
Idyllich: Thanks for the inquiry. My office hours in Santa Paula will be on the Third Wednesday of the month from 3-5p.m. at the Public Health buidling on Harvard Blvd., just near the Shopping Center. Sorry, I don't have the address with me. I beleive the office hours will be valuable in reaching citizens who can't get to the Ventura government center, or just in making it more convenient for meetings to take place with citizens from this area. I committed to reaching out to the community, to listen and work together on issues important to this community, and feel this is a positive way to do that -- at no additional cost to the taxpayers! Santa Paula is a community that is changing in many ways. The County's role in this community is limited to services addressing health, welfare and public safety. I feel that my office presence will make the two-way communications channels much stronger. I do set appointments during these hours, but I also leave time for walk-ins. Please stop by and visit! Thanks!
Supervisor Kathy Long:...Mon, Jun 16, 12:42PM PST PST
A.T.: Thanks for the question. Frankly, I don't know what, if anything, we are currently doing to make county information on the internet available in Spanish. I will inquire. I believe our kiosk has spanish translation info, but beyond that, expect it is limited. I believe where ever we can use the technology to reach all citizens, we should, including language access. I appreciate your interest and will carry the inquiry back to the experts. Thanks!
Timothy:...Mon, Jun 16, 12:50PM PST
Supervisor Long - a question came in regarding Telecommuting. Does Ventura County Government permit telecommuting by staff? If so has it worked well?
Supervisor Kathy Long:...Mon June 16, 12:56PM PST
Janet: Thanks for the tough question! The answers aren't easy and won't be at the end of the process. Certainly, our answers would be much easier if the State would just give back the $16 million they shift annually from our local revenues! Expect we'll see a couple of million this year --- would be happier to see a commitment at the state level that stops the annual bleeding and commits to a 5-yr strategy to return all of the shifted revenues! But, all that said, we must grapple with what we have. I think the Board must look closely at programs and some budget line items. WE must review each departments budgets to make certain they match our priorities for services and programs. I am reviewing all areas of expenditures, such as services and supplies, conferences, overtime expenditures and extra-help. I believe cuts have been made to middle managment levels, but we must continue to review all levels for savings. I don't support new programs, if they are revenue offset. I think we must continue to push for full-funding for state mandates, and evaluate levels of service to match the funding levels.
I think we may have some opportunity for reorganizing some agencies. Will there be lay-offs --- yes. Will we be micro-managing some -- yes. We must continue to review programs and make certain they are reaching the goals and providing cost-effective service. I think all agencies must help in resolving this shortfall -- the taxpayers deserve a cooperative approach and honest dialogue. I'm sorry I can't give you more specifics, but I am still working on the review and raising many questions, in order to make the decisions in the fairest manner. Please feel free to e-mail my office for updates.
kathy.long@mail.co.ventura.ca.us Thanks.
Supervisor Kathy Long:...Mon, Jun 16, 1:03PM PST
In response to the telecommuting question -- yes, we allow, and by Board action encourage, telecommuting. Is it working -- no, not as well as I'd like to see it. In some ways, we're still stuck in the old management styles of daily oversite of physical bodies!! Our office has had telecommuting as an option for a couple of years and practiced it during the days of Rule 210. Today, I encourage my staff, who are all technologically able to telecommute, to do so, whenever possible. I will work to further the philosophy and move into real practice this option for our employees. Even though Rule 210 is not the guiding force of yesteryear -- the goals should still be the same until we are no longer in the "severe non-attainment" air quality designation. Again, our county is known for the percentage of PC users -- we are constantly learning of new connections, and telecommute centers being on-line. We must change our old behavorial worker/managment styles and utilize the technology for the many benefits to be gained. Thanks for the chat!
Timothy Tyndall:...
Thank you Supervisor Long. Anyone coming into the chat late or reviewing the transcripts please be sure to note that you can contact Supervisor Long by email at kathy.long@mail.co.ventura.ca.us by clicking here.
Any questions on our community online Town Forum, please contact me at rain@rain.org.

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