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Westlake Revelations' charter is to disseminate factual information about issues. Specifically, to explain topics without stating opinions so that the citizens can deal in fact ... instead of fiction ... and then make up their own minds based on real information.

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Over 100 victims and Multiple Mail Theft Arrests

Synopsis

The Sheriff has arrested multiple people for stealing mail and other identity theft related crimes. In some cases, these crimes date back months. Below is the official notice about the mail theft which affected about 100 victims in the areas from Thousand Oaks to Calabasas and beyond.

The long and short of it is that you should no longer use your personal mailbox as a way to send mail. Mail theft is now common enough that "mail boxing" has become a verb among the criminal community.

You should drop your mail, instead, in a blue USPS mailbox or at the post office.

If you do suspect mail theft, contact the Sheriff for your area and let them know. Information is what helps them catch thieves. And, if you see anyone suspicious around mailboxes, take down descriptions of them and their vehicles and report that as well.

Esteban Concert to Benefit Lindero Cyn Middle School Music

Synopsis

Lindero Canyon Middle School's music programs are renowned. Matt McKagan, a recent recipient of the national Mr. Holland's Opus award, leads the program. For some time, public funds have not been able to fully support this program, and fundraising is a necessity. This year, with expected budget cuts, this is not likely to get any better.

Esteban, the guitarist who constantly tops the Billboard charts, will be performing a special concert at The Canyon club in Agoura Hills on Sunday, May 18 at 7:30 pm. Esteban, along with his band, will donate all proceeds to help the LCMS music program.

Tickets are $22.50 for adults, and $17.50 for students, including the $2.50 surcharge from the The Canyon box office. You can also buy them by phone for slightly more by calling The Canyon at 818-879-5016. Finally, if you don't mind the larger surcharges, you can buy them online at Ticketmaster (http://www.ticketmaster.com/venue/74116). "Dinner and show" tickets available only through The Canyon box office.

Alternatively, if you want to support the LCMS music department, but not go to the concert, you can make a direct donation. Contact Kayla Sayeg, kaysay@sbcglobal.net, for more information.

Next weekend: Community Activities in Westlake Village

Synopsis

The weekend of April 11th and 12th is packed with community activities that run the entire weekend. In order of start times, these include:

Saturday:
* MS Walk for the Conejo Valley
* Dole/YMCA Healthy Kids Day
* 2008 Soap Box Derby
* AHS Grade Nite Garage Sale

Sunday:
* Pancake Breakfast
* Charity Run
* 14th Annual Street Festival

Car Show Entry Deadline Approaching

Dole/YMCA Healthy Kids Day/Soap Box Derby
Car Show Entry Deadline Approaching

If you are interested in entering a automobile in the Antique and Classic Car Show that's part of the 2008 Dole/YMCA Healthy Kids Day/Soap Box Derby event, the deadline is approaching, and there's a limited number of slots available.

Register no later than April 6th (although spaces may fill prior to then).

Car show registration form at:
http://www.westlakerevelations.com/soapbox/carshow/

Soap Box Derby and Healthy Kids Day Event information at:
http://www.westlakerevelations.com/soapbox/

LVUSD Budget Update: Education Funding Crisis Explained

Synopsis

As you are likely aware from communications from your schools, or the news, the state is predicting a budget shortfall at a level never before seen. The budget is highly complex, and is the responsibility of the State Legislature. The Governor can make proposals and set a tone, but ultimately, the State Assembly and Senate have to pass a budget, which is then handed to the Governor to sign.

The next fiscal year is projected to have a $16 Billion shortfall. The largest that the state has experienced to date was $4 Billion. The Governor is proposing a 10% cut across all departments, except for entitlements (which constitute the majority of the budget).

Because the state is in a declared budget crisis, the schools may not be protected by Proposition 98 that was voted into place to protect school funding. In short, Prop 98 has not yet been suspended, but the Governor is proposing that the Legislature suspend it for next year.

The end result is that LVUSD is being told that it will lose as much as $6.8 million of the almost $100 million budget it has. Approximately 86% of LVUSD's expenses are personnel, and approximately 85% of the revenue for the schools comes from the state. This change would move the state into next to last place for spending per pupil.

There will be a large scale forum to discuss the issues among not just LVUSD, but all the local school districts in the Conejo Valley. All those interested should attend this forum on Wed, April 2nd, 4:30pm at Thousand Oaks High School, Performing Arts Building.

Inappropriate behavior, rumors, and more

Synopsis

Over the past couple of days, there's been a number of emails flying around a couple of troublesome situations. The first is about a registered sex offender frequenting Westlake Village on the Ventura County side. The second is about a "follow home" situation where an individual may be following people to their homes.

USPS Reverses Stance on Zip Code Change, No Change Now

Synopsis

The USPS has decided not to change the zip code for Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, and Newbury Park.

In researching the reasons behind the change, it become very clear that the reasons were either not true, or no longer true. We asked the City of Westlake Village and Congressman Waxman's office to investigate. Mayor Klessig from the City of Westlake Village pressed for a new meeting with the USPS, and information from Congressman Waxman's office.

Congressman Waxman's office investigated, and the additional scrutiny gave the USPS the opportunity to analyze the decision again, and decide against it. The announcement verifies that they found the savings to not be as substantial.

A great deal of credit needs to go to Mayor Klessig, the Westlake Village City Council and Congressman Waxman's office, for getting to better and more realistic answers from the USPS management than the public could do on its own.

Opus Project on Lot C/Russell Ranch Road

Synopsis

In 2006, the residents of Westlake Village voted down Measure Z (aka Lowe's), and the property was nearly immediately sold to Opus West for approximately $38 million (previous purchase price was in the $20-25m range).

Opus West has development agreements in place that give them the right to build up to 376,000 sq. ft. of office space on the 21.5 acre site, with a maximum height of 4 stories. To recoup the high purchase price, Opus needs to build to the maximum allowed for this property, as expected.

The community gave Opus feedback of wanting more mixed use. Furthermore, with office space creating the greatest noticeable impact on traffic in Westlake Village, several requested that Opus work to reduce that impact.

The Opus project goes before the City Council for vote on March 12th. The primary decision for the council is whether to vote for the "base" project of offices and two restaurants, or the proposed project that adds a health club, associated retail space, and a third restaurant. But, the council could also ask for revisions on design if they don't feel that it meets the standards of Westlake Village.

Conservative traffic estimates put the two projects at about a wash, but there's a reasonable possibility that the larger could actually make traffic better because it would provide services that many others on Russell Ranch Road could also use.

Sunrise officially denied ... for now

Synopsis

Tonight, the City Council held the official vote to deny the application for the Sunrise project. The vote was 4-0, with Mayor Klessig abstaining, and the project is officially denied. The applicant may not bring this project, nor one that is substantially similar to it, before the council for a minimum of 12 months. They can, however, present a substantially different project at any time to the land use committee.

Schools: Your chance to voice opinions, and understand the budget

LVUSD: Your chance to voice opinions, and understand the budget for the local schools

In the next couple of weeks, there are two opportunities to get information from the leaders of the Las Virgenes School District, or ask a question, voice a suggestion, or more.

The Sheriff and local schools

Ever wonder what the relationship is between our local schools and the sheriff?

We stumbled upon an example of how they proactively work together recently. As you may know, there was an incident of a child being shot at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard earlier this week.

The moment the incident happened, the Malibu/Lost Hills station (LA County Sheriff) moved into "threat assessment" mode, and started down the path to see what was the appropriate action to be taken within LVUSD.

This "threat assessment" check list included:

Sunrise Straw Poll Results, Council's Decision to Deny

Synopsis

The straw poll on Sunrise is now closed and the analysis complete, and there was solid response. Tonight, we presented the results on public record at the City Council meeting.

The meeting was for the council to hear comments from the city staff, applicant (Sunrise), and residents, and then give direction to the city staff on what they would like to see moving forward. The staff would then prepare a resolution that would either be to approve or deny the application.

The end result of tonight's meeting is that 4 of the 5 city council members (Mayor Klessig being the exception) were against the project, and as a result the council has instructed the staff to draft a resolution to deny the application which will be voted on at probably the next council meeting to formalize it.

Sunrise Straw Poll Results

The straw poll ran for approximately 2 weeks on the Westlake Revelations with a solid response. The Westlake Revelations list is primarily read by Westlake Village residents, but there were a disproportionate number of people that live outside of Westlake Village that voted in the straw poll.

Don't forget to vote in straw poll, Closes Sat

As you know, we're taking a quick straw poll about the future of the old Westlake Hospital site on Lakeview Canyon near First Neighborhood. See http://www.westlakerevelations.com/strawpoll.php

The straw poll is already going very well. We've been asked a couple of questions:

* Do we really have a choice? Yes! With most properties, the owner has extensive rights to develop it. This property is unusual with a "Public Institutional" zone. As a result, the City Council can "veto" the requests made by the developer.

Soap Box is back!

Good afternoon,

Many of you loved Soap Box Derby last year, and it's back as an even bigger event combined with the Dole/YMCA Healthy Kids Day. Below is the announcement on it.

DISCLAIMER: Westlake Revelations is a sponsor of the event, and I'm heading it up again this year. -Neil

_______

Triunfo YMCA Announces 2008 Soap Box Derby & Dole/YMCA Healthy Kids Day
- Soap Box races now open to the public to enter
- Healthy Kids Day to promote healthy living for the children
- Antique and Class Car Show with community participation

Council to Vote on Sunrise, Voice Your Opinion/Straw Poll

Synopsis

As you may remember, Sunrise Retirement would like to purchase the site of the old Westlake Hospital (on Lakeview) and build an independent/assisted living facility.

Unlike most other properties, where developers have extensive rights associated with the property, this property is zoned "Public Institutional" which essentially means that the City Council can "veto" proposed developments.

Since the introduction of this development, Sunrise has scaled back the property by 9% (in terms of units), and 17% (in terms of square footage). The FAR (floor area ratio) is .80 (max city code allows it .50), height remains 35 ft, Lakeview setbacks increased substantially, and landscaping increased some.

With this new proposal, the City Council has two choices on Feb 13:

a) reject the proposed plan, or

b) approve a package of changes/variances including:
    - changing the definition of "Public Institutional" in the City's
      General Plan to include independent/assisted living facilities,
    - grant variance for a higher than normally permitted FAR
      (floor to area ratio)
    - grant variance for 3 stories instead of the permitted 2,
    - grant variance for underground parking.

Your opinion counts: Vote in the Westlake Revelations straw poll by February 8th (but don't wait, do it now), and we'll present the results prior to the vote a few days later. See http://www.westlakerevelations.com/strawpoll.php

Editorial: USPS Zip Code "Bottom Line"

Good morning all,

I've had a number of questions on the USPS Zip Code change -- with people asking "what is the bottom line?".

Westlake Revelations, to date, has simply presented facts so you can make up your own mind. But, to give "bottom line" descriptions, we can only do so with taking the considerable education we've gotten on this topic, and drawing conclusions for it.

As a result, you should consider this post as an "editorial", and unlike all other Westlake Revelations articles to date.

The USPS initially gave 3 reasons for the change:

Zip Code Changes, stated reasons no longer the case

Synopsis

A few weeks back, Westlake Revelations had a piece on the zip code change that the USPS would like to do for Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, and Newbury Park. In that article, we talked about the three reasons that the USPS spokesperson gave for the area. http://www.westlakerevelations.com/?q=node/85

After further questions to the USPS, we found that all of these reasons either were not true, no longer exist or are not material effects. Furthermore, it does appear that the USPS could avoid the entire zip code change by simply consolidating the number of truck trips between Santa Clarita and Oxnard.

That said, area businesses and residents should expect the zip code change to happen unless the USPS and governmental officials get significant enough feedback that they reconsider.

If the change is made, the following zip codes would be affected: 91320, 91360, 91361 and 91362; and PO Box zip codes of 91319, 91358 and 91359.

If you don't want the zip code change to happen, you can give feedback to the USPS, your city officials, and your local congressman. If you do want the zip code change to happen -- contact the USPS and let them know that, or do nothing.

See below for contact information.

LVUSD Defines New Homework Guidelines

Synopsis

The Las Virgenes Unified School District is releasing this month the long awaited guidelines on homework for all the schools in the district. You'll note that these are called "guidelines" as they are not policy, and they are to provide a common point for principals and teachers to make decisions as to appropriate levels of homework.

The guidelines define homework as any work approved by the teacher to by completed outside of the regular classroom hours, usually due with in the day or a few days of instruction. This differs from projects which may span weeks, months or the school year.

Homework should be skill-level appropriate and relate in a meaningful way to ongoing classroom instruction. And, there are guidelines suggested for how much homework (see sections in full article).

Area Zip Codes to Change, Your Feedback Counts

Synopsis

Recently, information started to come out about the US Postal Service's upcoming decision to change the zip codes for Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, and Newbury Park effective July 1, 2008. This will take all the zip codes in Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, and Newbury Park from a 913xx zip to a 930zz zip.

The decision has not yet been made, and generally, the USPS doesn't take public comment on such things prior to a decision. You can, however, use this link to voice your opinion, for or against, to the Congressional oversight committee, the local congressmen and area postal representatives.

http://www.westlakerevelations.com/special/2008-Zip-Code-Change

This is in addition to a pending area code change that's also being considered for the 818 area code.