I would like to bring to your attention an unfair practice within the City of Ventura.
A group of friends went to the “Blues, Brews, and BBQ” Festival on Sunday, 9/22, held in downtown Ventura in Mission Park. We parked in the parking garage since there were signs out front advertising “Festival Parking Here.” After having to pay the admission fee, purchasing food (since the samples were not plentiful enough), and purchasing beer tickets, upon leaving the Festival, we found $40 parking tickets on each of our cars, because even though the festival lasted six hours, parking in the garage was only for four hours. Somehow, this makes no sense after all the money spent on and at the Festival. Had we known beforehand that someone would need to leave the festival and move our cars around, we would have just searched a little longer for free parking in one of the side street lots.
I think that for events like this, parking in the garage should be allowed for as long as the event lasts so that those coming from other cities are not unfairly fined.
After this, you can rest assured that we will not be visiting downtown Ventura for any more events. What a rip-off. I wonder how many more of those who received tickets on their windshields (and there were quite a few) are as outraged as we are.
Rebuttal to fracking accusations
Grant Marcus goes off on me like a blown-out gas well for my praise of George P. Mitchell, the inventor of fracking (Power to Speak, 9/5). He lobs his fact-free personal assaults at me for being a paid shill of big oil and an academic sellout for petroleum’s grant money. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Full disclosure here requires me to confess that Mr. Marcus was an eager and dedicated student of mine many years ago in our local halls of ivy — CSUN’ s Ventura Learning Center. I taught literature courses; we seemed to hit it off then.
I begin my essay on Mitchell, who recently died, stating upfront the ills of fracking: It causes small earthquakes and may set off larger ones; it reintroduces toxic-laden waters into deep wells and pollutes nearby land with methane gas. Marcus berates me for supporting the very problems I list. Clearly, one thing he missed about being a literature major is the need for careful reading. My basic point was that Mitchell and other inventors lack the foresight to see the potential negative consequences of their intentions. That’s a very old story, but that’s not all.
Mitchell used some of his money in very beneficial ways, and I praised him not as the inventor of fracking but as an early champion of sustainability, conservation and alternative energy. I won a Mitchell Prize in 1979 for establishing the Sustainability Council of Ventura County. The top winner that year was Paul Ehrlich for his book Population Bomb. Other winners promoted educational reform for children, native cattle for ranching in Africa, and new methods for using sustainable strategies in business, global food supplies and coastline management. The Mitchell Foundation these days funds grants on water, sustainability science, clean energy and natural gas sustainability (http://cgmf.org/p/current-initiatives.html).
As an English professor, I can recommend an instructive text that Mr. Marcus and others may want to study: George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara. Shaw presents the high comedy conflict between industrialist Andrew Undershaft and his daughter Barbara, who is a “major” in the Salvation Army. Barbara the idealist wants to save the world through charity, good works and life-transforming programs. Her irascible father wants to grant her lots of money to do this, but she won’t take it — why? Because he is the inventor of dynamite, the means of killing thousands! Shaw, of course, is playing with the tensions between tender idealism and crass realism, with the added kicker that Undershaft is modeled after the real Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite and the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize. How this drama resolves these conflicts is still worth a read.
There’s something of this Undershaft/Barbara tension within George P. Mitchell, complex character traits that will likely elude Mr. Marcus.
Ph.D. Emeritus Prof. English,