Central Coast Roundup

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The Ventura City Council approved a contract with Grindline Skateparks on January 23 to design and construct the Westpark Skatepark Expansion Project. 

The agreement is the City’s first-ever design-build contract and will increase the facility’s size by more than six times from 3,200 square feet to 20,000 square feet. 

In 2022, the City received a $2 million grant from the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program (SPP) to expand the 29-year-old skatepark at 450 W. Harrison Avenue.

“Skateboarding is an iconic outdoor recreational sport in California, and our local community has long vocalized a desire to improve our skateparks. Once this project is completed, it will be one of the best in the region, attracting locals and visitors alike,» said Mayor Joe Schroeder. 

The City conducted seven public meetings in 2019 and 2020 to gain the community’s feedback and insights into what elements they would like upgraded at the skatepark. 

After the City was awarded the grant, two additional meetings were hosted to help staff develop criteria for a Request for Proposals (RFP). 

The RFP sought qualified skatepark design-build companies who could incorporate the community’s feedback into their proposals.  

Grindline Skateparks has been operating for over 20 years, since 2002, and is based in Seattle, Washington. 

They have designed and constructed over 300 successful Skatepark projects nationally and internationally. Regional examples of their work can be skated in Anaheim, Bakersfield, Oceanside, and San Diego.

Parks & Recreation Director Nancy O’Connor stated the City is excited to move into the next phase of this project and bring the community’s vision to life.

«This project not only provides an upgraded design to the park, but also improves access to the park, additional landscaping, public art elements, and new lighting,” said O’Connor.

The City will host two more community meetings in the coming months to gather public feedback to create the skatepark’s final design. 

The first meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 15, at 6:30 p.m. at the Westpark Community Center.


Sheriff’s detectives are searching across the state for an attempted murder suspect because is believed he have already fled the area. 

The SBCSO said that on Friday, January 27, at approximately 3:07 a.m., deputies responded to the 2000-block of Sherwood Drive in Tanglewood along with County Fire and AMR for an unknown type of emergency. 

When they arrived, deputies found an adult female with several stab wounds to her upper torso. Deputies quickly identified the suspect as the victim’s boyfriend, 23-year-old Jesus David Galvan Cuevas. 

“The suspect fled prior to deputies’ arrival and the victim was transported to an area hospital. The victim was seriously injured but is expected to recover,” the SBCSO said in a press release.

In the days that followed, detectives have been actively investigating this crime and believe that Cuevas has fled the area in a black 2006 Audi A3 station wagon. 

Sheriff’s detectives are sharing a photo of Cuevas, who is described as 6’00» tall, 260 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes and a full beard that could have been shaved to alter his appearance. 

“Cuevas should be considered dangerous, and the Sheriff’s Office is encouraging anyone with information about his location to contact Sheriff’s detectives,” the SBCSO said.

Any tips can be made by calling, 805.681.4150 and if someone prefer to remain anonymous, call the tip line at, 805.681.4171 or online at  


The Ventura County Sheriff (VCSO), arrested two subjects for attempting to extort money from the victim after a failed business deal.

In 2021, Richard Diament and the victim entered into a business deal with one another.

The victim was hired to perform a construction project for Diament.  

When the project could not be completed and the money paid to the victim had not been returned, Diament solicited the services of Christopher McCloud to recover the money from the victim.  

McCloud went to the victim’s residence with personal information pertaining to the victim and his family, telling the victim that he had a set amount of time to return the money or there would be consequences for failing to do so.  

McCloud also referenced being a member of a large criminal street gang in Los Angeles.

During the subsequent investigation, East County Major Crimes detectives arrested McCloud for violations of 524 PC – Attempted Extortion and 646.9(a) PC – Stalking.  Prior to being able to arrest Diament for his role in this crime, Diament fled the state of California.  Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Diament for violation of 653f(a) PC – Solicitation to Commit Extortion.  The warrant included full extradition terms, as information was obtained that he had fled to the state of Montana.  With the assistance of the US Marshals Service, Diament was taken into custody in Montana and is scheduled to be extradited to Ventura County. 

McCloud was later released on $100,000.00 bail with a pending court date.  Diament’s bail will be set at arraignment upon his return to Ventura County.       


Simi Valley City Manager Brian Gabler today announced the appointment of Steve Shorts to the position of Police Chief.  Shorts has been serving as the Interim Chief since the retirement of former Chief David Livingstone on December 16, 2022.    

Shorts has over 33 years of law enforcement experience, the last 21 years of which have been with the Simi Valley Police Department.  Shorts has served the Department in Patrol, the Special Problems Unit, as a Detective, Public Information Officer, supervised the Homeless Liaison Officers, School Resource Officers and was promoted to Commander in 2019 and to Assistant Police Chief in 2021.  

“The Simi Valley Police Department is a well-respected law enforcement agency in a highly desirable community, and as such we met with some very qualified candidates, however Steve’s experience, leadership skills, and vision for the Department is unmatched,” said Mayor Fred Thomas when asked about the appointment.  “The safety and livability of Simi Valley is a point of pride and there is not a better fit to lead the 185 sworn and civilian men and women of the Police Department than our new Chief of Police, Steve Shorts,” continued Mayor Thomas.  

Upon accepting the appointment, Shorts stated, “I am humbled by the faith that has been placed in me to lead the Simi Valley Police Department.  My wife and I work in this community and our children go to school here, so Simi Valley has always felt like our home. I am grateful for the honor to serve Simi Valley as its next Police Chief.”

Steve has an Associate of Arts Degree in Administration of Justice from Santa Monica College.  He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Studies and his Master’s Degree in Emergency Services Administration from California State University Long Beach.

Steve and his wife, Kristen, live in Ventura County with their son, Nicholas, and daughters, Savannah and Gloria.