Businesses Examine Economic Strategies

Nearly 100 Ventura County business people gathered Wednesday to share strategies for coping with the county's recession-choked economy.

The Ventura County Economic Development Assn. hosted its 24th annual Business Outlook Conference in Oxnard. The conference, called "Succeeding in Challenging Times," featured topics ranging from the economic effect of imposing new smog controls on county businesses to the Clinton health plan.

"If there was a 12-step process to (economic) recovery, we would be at Step One: We now realize we have a problem," VCEDA board member Bill Simmons told a conference audience.

"We have all worn a badge for so long identifying us as members of this corporation called Ventura County," Simmons said. "I think we are all now understanding that if the corporation dies, we are out of jobs."

VCEDA also honored groups that have demonstrated excellence in environmental leadership, including the Ventura County Surfrider Foundation and Oxnard-based Procter & Gamble Paper Products Co.

VCEDA officials also urged audience members to become involved in key economic issues facing the county, including the push to develop a regional airport at Point Mugu.

VCEDA President Marc Charney also asked for help in drawing up an alternative to a federal plan that will impose tough new air pollution regulations in early 1995.

"It's going to have far-reaching impacts on every aspect of life in Ventura County," Charney said. "We have to come up with our own rules."

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