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1129 Maricopa Highway #156 ·
Ojai, California 93023


Phone: (805) 231-5974

Email: greatbooksojai@gmail.com

Web: www.agorafoundation.org

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An introduction to the Ojai Chautauqua project.

The purpose of The Agora Foundation's Ojai Chautauqua panels is to engage Ventura County in civil discourse about controversial and highly passionate subjects. The Chautauqua was an adult education movement in the United States, highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s.

 

The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers, and specialists of the day. Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying that Chautauqua is “the most American thing in America.” The Ojai Chautauqua is continuing this movement, with a special focus on encouraging civil discourse on controversial and highly passionate subjects. The feedback so far has been phenomenal. Civil discourse is dangerously absent from all aspects of contemporary life. The result of this failing is not only sad… it is dangerous. If we can develop this essential ability, we can begin to affect a positive change to many aspects of life that can extend far and wide.

Over the next twelve months, the Ojai Chautauqua will produce up to eight events focusing on issues particular to the Ojai Valley. With the success and impact of the November 19, 2017 event on Tourism in the Ojai Valley, the April 15, 2018 event on Water in the Ojai Valley Part II, and the September 30, 2018 event on Water in the Ojai Valley Part III, our committee and sponsors realize that the greatest impact we can achieve is through this narrowed focus. The Ojai Valley is in a time of substantial transition and is striving to establish a sustainable vision for the future. The Ojai Chautauqua is pleased to work with non-profit and business groups, the City of Ojai, the public and private school systems, as well as educational institutions outside of the Ojai Valley to bring these communities together to build the momentum we need to become a model community that will inspire others to vibrancy.

Past Panels

Watch the August 25, 2019 panel What is Education For?

 

Moderator – Tom Krause – President of the Ojai Chautauqua

Jim Bailey – Co-Founder of Rock, Tree, Sky
Meredy Benson Rice – Director of Teaching and Learning, Oak Grove School
Katie Braude – Executive Director, Speak UP
Tiffany Morse – Ojai Unified Superintendent
Elizabeth Reyes – Professor (tutor), Thomas Aquinas College
Richard Yao – Vice President of Student Affairs, CSUCI

Download the information handout in PDF format - What is Education For?

Watch the July 28, 2019 panel Is Legal Cannabis Good for Ojai?

 

Moderator – Andy Gilman – Executive Director of The Agora Foundation

David Bearman, MD - Medical Director of Zona Seca
Ryan Blatz - Ojai City Council
Christopher Danch - Hoban Law Group
James Fryhoff - Chief of Police
Daniel Hicks - Manager, Ventura County Behavioral Health
Chelsea Sutula - CEO of Sespe Creek Collective

Download the information handout in PDF format - Is Legal Cannabis Good for Ojai?

Watch the March 30, 2019 panel Preparing for the Next Wildland Fire

 

Moderator – Andy Gilman – Executive Director of The Agora Foundation

Sean Anderson – Professor at CSUCI
Bryant Baker – Los Padres Forest Watch
Theresa Bulla-Richards – Educator, Community Leader
Will Castagna – Chair of the Ojai Fire Safe Council
John McNeil – Ventura County Fire Division Chief

Download the information handout in PDF format - Preparing for the Next Wildland Fire

Download the information handout in PDF format - Ready, Set, Go - From the Ventura County Fire Department

Watch the September 30, 2018 panel The Future of Water in the Ojai Valley – Part III

 

Moderator – Tom Krause – President of the Ojai Chautauqua Committee
Anthony Emmert – Assistant General Manager of United Water Conservation District
Richard Hajas – Board Member of the Ojai Basin Groundwater Management Agency
Susan Mulligan – General Manager of Calleguas Municipal Water District
Stephanie Pincetl – Director of California Center for Sustainable Communities
Jim Word – Board Director of Casitas Municipal Water District

Download the information handout in PDF format - Water in the Ojai Valley - Part III

Watch the April 15, 2018 panel The Future of Water in the Ojai Valley – Part II

 

Moderator – Tom Krause – President of the Ojai Chautauqua Committee

Tom Ash – Water Conservation Expert and Horticulturalist
Mary Bergen – Board Member of the Casitas Municipal Water District
Dan Breen – Board President of the Ojai Basin Groundwater Management Agency
Richard Hajas – Member of the Ojai Valley Water Advisory Group
Connor Jones – Ojai Permaculture Founder
Bruce Kuebler – Board Member of the Ventura River Water District
Alex Kim – Managing Director of the Ojai Valley Inn
Bill Weirick – Ojai City Council Member

Download the information handout in PDF
format - Water in the Ojai Valley - Part II

Watch the February 17, 2018 panel Beyond the Whistle-Blowers – What Happens Next? Power, Gender, and Writing New Rules for the American Workplace

 

Moderators – Cecile Ablack and  Dan Schnur
Shakari Byerly – Managing Partner of EVITARUS, INC.
Ana Cubas – Founder of the Latina Public Service Academy
Ted Johnson – Senior Editor at Variety Magazine
Cinny Kennard – Executive Director at The Annenberg Foundation
Tom Krause – President of the Ojai Chautauqua Committee

Watch the November 19, 2017 panel on Tourism in the Ojai Valley

 

Moderator – Tom Krause – President of the Ojai Chautauqua Committee

Caryn Bosson - Non-profit Leader, Executive Director of The Crew

Leslie Clark - Artist, Business Leader

Michael Haley - Citizen, Activist

Johnny Johnston - Mayor of OJai

Hallie Katz - Artist, Business Leader

Dennis Rice - Board Member of the Ojai Valley Defense Fund

Download the information handout in PDF format - Tourism in the Ojai Valley

Watch the October 20, 2017 event An Evening with Dan Schnur and Warren Olney

Watch the June 3rd, 2017 panel on Politics, Media, and Society

 

Moderator – Dan Schnur – Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC
Bill Burton – Managing Director at SKDknickerbocker
Ken LaCorte – 18-year Fox News veteran
Naomi Seligman – Communications Director for Mayor Eric Garcetti
John Thomas – Founder and President of Thomas Partners Strategies
Alice Walton – Leader at Ek, Sunkin, Klink & Bai

Watch the May 6th, 2017 panel on
 An Unconventional Presidency – Donald Trump’s First 100 Days

 

Moderator – Dan Schnur – Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC

Claudia Cowan – Fox News Channel San Francisco-based correspondent
Henry C. “C.J.” Jackson – writer and editor for POLITICO
Mike Madrid – Principal at GrassrootsLab
Johanna Maska – Former White House Aide and LA-based Consultant
Seema Mehta – Political writer for the Los Angeles Times

Watch the October 8, 2016, panel on the
2016 Presidential Election – Part Two – What Happens Next?

 

Moderator – Dan Schnur – Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC

Gail Becker – Former head of Global Communications for Edelman Worldwide
Jeff Greenfield – Award-winning television journalist and author
Adam Nagourney – LA Bureau Chief for the New York Times
Conan Nolan – KNBC political editor and host of “News Conference” program
Roberto Suro – Professor at USC and Director of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute

Watch the September 17, 2016, panel on the
2016 Presidential Election – Part One – How Did We Get Here?

 

Moderator – Dan Schnur – Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC

Brian Calle – Opinion editor of the Los Angeles Daily News
Cinny Kennard – Executive Director of the Annenberg Foundation
Steve Lopez – Los Angeles Times columnist
Larry Mantle – Longtime host of “Airtalk” on KPCC.
Bill Schneider – Professor of Communications at UCLA and CNN commentator

Watch the June 7, 2015, panel on Income Inequality

 

Moderator – Dan Schnur – Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC

Matthew Fienup – Economist, California Lutheran University
William Voegeli – Author, editor of The Claremont Review of Books
Sarah Bohn – Economist and analyst for the Public Policy Institute of California
Edward Kleinbard – Former lead staffer on a Congressional tax committee
Nelson Lichtenstein – MacArthur Foundation Chair in History at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Download the information handout in PDF format - Income Inequality

Watch the April 12, 2015, panel on Immigration

 

Moderator – Herbert E. Gooch – Cal Lutheran Professor, Department of Political Science
Elton Gallegly – Former U.S. Representative
Hiroshi Motomura – UCLA scholar of immigration and citizenship law.
Abbé Kingston – Immigration Attorney
Arsenio Lopez – Executive Director of the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project
Ric Oberlink – Former Executive Director of Californians for Population Stabilization

Watch the November 9, 2014,  panel on The Future of Fracking

 

Moderator – Kit Stolz – Writer
Brian Segee – Environmental Defense Center
Don Clarke – Petroleum Geologist
Craig Nicholson – Geophysicist at UCSB
Dave Quast – Director of Energy In Depth
Henry Stern – Legislative Aide to State Senator Fran Pavley

Watch the June 22, 2014 panel on The Future of Water

 

Moderator – Timm Herdt – Ventura County Star
Steve Bennett – Ventura County Supervisor
Eric Bergh – Calleguas Municipal Water District
Lynn Maulhardt – President of the United Water Conservation District
Emily Friend Thacher – Ojai Citrus Farmer