Ventura County coastal town divided on name: ‘Port’ or ‘Beach’? Voters will now decide
PORT ARTHUR’S new municipal president, and the mayor, had promised to find a name for the beach community that neighbors Ventura’s city hall. But not everyone in town is cheering the decision.
“No one had any problem with that, but the public is voting on this,” said Mayor Jack Stolle after the Nov. 5 election. “And this is going to determine the name of the beach community.”
He said the name of Beachers Bay — a proposed alternative — will be decided in a public poll.
Voters approved the concept of the beachers, or “beach people” as the area is more commonly known, in a 2014 referendum. But there’s a problem: No name has been chosen.
With the election just a few weeks away, the two sides are in heated competition for the name.
“If the beachers come out and say [the name] of one of the beaches of Ventura County, they basically own the beach, because that’s their beach,” said Greg Smith, spokesman for the Beachers Bay Property Owners Association.
He said the group’s primary concern has been the wording of the proposal, which could have meant more than what Stolle and the beach’s neighbors wanted. To be included on the ballot, an alternative must be approved by 75 percent of voters. That would be a very tall order, given the large number of residents who live in the unincorporated areas around Port Arthur.
“We’re trying to put a good name on the ballot and have a reasonable-sounding name,” Smith said. “We’re not trying to be outrageous or something that’s not good.”
The two-page ballot that voters in this town will see has the option of a beachers bay, beach community, or beach community with the word “port” after it.
Port Arthur Beach, the port closest to Ventura County’s beach community, would like to keep the beachers bay. In a statement provided to the Press-Enterprise, officials with Beachers Bay have said they feel the community has more of a natural beauty to it and isn’t trying to be “overly commercialized.”
After hearing arguments on both sides, Stolle said, “The two words that have to stay together, I don’t care which one you put