A truckload of complaints

February 5, 2009


If revolutions start with a single dissenting voice, in Ojai there’s got to be a full-scale war going on pitting man vs. truck.

We’ve previously reported about the ongoing outcry that certain Ojai residents have expressed over the seemingly immense amount of traffic hauling rocks and gravel from the Ozena Mines, and through the quiet streets of Ojai, which the same residents maintain is illegal.

I say seemingly because the members of the Stop the Trucks Coalition have devoted what seems to be a literal, no exaggeration, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week hawk’s-eye watch on just how many trucks stir up the disquiet on the main Ojai thoroughfares.

Proof is in the number of emails we’re forwarded from the coalition addressed to county officials, detailing, on a daily basis, the time, date, street, even the description of each individual truck coalition members claim is in violation of local traffic laws. Apparently, many of these trucks are too heavy to travel along many local routes, and do so past their allotted curfews.

What impresses me is not only the level of devotion taken to monitoring the tedious crawl of trucks — it wouldn’t be a stretch to surmise these people don’t eat, sleep, or work! — but the level of detail. Example:

On February 3, 2009 between 8:05 am and 8:17 am, four double hopper gravel truck heading north on Route 33 were tracked going through the restricted zone.  The first one had a black cab and two yellow hoppers, the next two were from Swader, and the fourth had a blue cab with white hoppers.  If any of these vehicles had been going to Ozena, their trips would constitute yet additional potential violations.

That was the 46th complaint this year, too.

Of course, the tangibles are only one part of the problem. What I’ve gleaned from interviews with coalition members is that the biggest debacle of all is the typical lack of transparent government; most notably, the reluctance of officials to release key documents and tickets that would reveal just how much these trucks weigh, or if they’ve been traveling at improper times.

If these documents would be readily available, of course, one side could prove the other wrong, or both, or neither.

But, alas, that is the stuff of a perfect world, and it’s because of the imperfections that cause controversy that the news industry exists to report on. Because if the news was like a gravel truck that ran smoothly, on time, and didn’t weigh too much … we’d all be out of a job.


One Response to “A truckload of complaints”

  1. michaelsullivanvcr Says:

    basically no one is going to be happy in Ojai until the trucks disappear.

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