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ROAD ISSUE YANKED MIKELS: 118 WIDENING ADVISORY TOO COSTLY.

Byline: Jennifer Klein Staff Writer

VENTURA - The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday rescinded its decision to place an advisory measure about the Highway 118 and Somis Road expansion project on the November ballot because such an election could cost as much as $93,000.

Opponents of the divisive measure lauded Supervisor Judy Mikels' decision to pull it from the ballot, but emphasized that this was just one battle in efforts to scale back plans for the widening the intersection, now the junction of two two-lane farm roads just north of Camarillo.

``It's very comforting to know you have the foresight and the courage to back down on a prior decision,'' Somis resident Barbara Kerkhoff told Mikels at Tuesday's meeting.

Mikels said when she initially asked the County Clerk's Office how much it would cost to put the measure on the ballot, she was told there would be no cost.

However, she said Tuesday that it was recently brought to her attention by Somis residents that it actually would cost the county at least $25,000, and could be as much as $93,000.

``That is far too costly an endeavor, given that it is only an advisory measure,'' Mikels said.

``Democracy is very expensive and it's a good thing. But I don't think the expenditure is warranted.''

The board narrowly approved placing the nonbinding advisory measure on the Nov. 7 ballot last week.

Supervisors John Flynn and Frank Schillo voted against it, saying they were concerned about the policy implications of putting a regional transportation project to a countywide vote.

The state Department of Transportation has been working for years on plans to alleviate the congestion at the junction of Highway 118 and Somis Road, where roughly 16,700 vehicles travel daily.

Caltrans has proposed adding two left-turn lanes to Highway 118 and widening Somis Road.

But local residents say the project would make the intersection too large for the rural community, and instead prefer a scaled-down project that would add just one left-turn lane, half as long as the one Caltrans wants.

``The decision (to put the advisory measure on the ballot) was dangerous because of the many bad precedents it would have set,'' said Somis resident Pat Arkin. ``It was a Pandora's box, but the worst of the worst of this decision was that it would have been bad for your constituents and good for special interests.''

Schillo offered to help Mikels work out the problems with Caltrans, and Mikels said she hoped a compromise could be reached.

Camarillo City Councilman Mike Morgan, a candidate for the Third District supervisorial seat representing the Camarillo and Somis areas, told the supervisors Tuesday that if it becomes clear that widening Highway 118 and Somis Road would cause more truck traffic into Camarillo, he would ask the Camarillo City Council to take an official stand against the project.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 2, 2000
Words:477
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