Regarding “The Woman Factor” (See Feature, 1/31/08):

Maricela Morales was the first ever Latina councilmember in Port Hueneme from 2002 to the present. She was mayor of Port Hueneme in 2007. Toni Young is the current mayor for 2008.
 
Port Hueneme benefits from the synergy offered by five diverse councilmembers, each contributing to turning problems into opportunities based on her or his unique life experiences. We are diverse. Two women and three men. Diverse philosophical views on the role of government. Diverse religious faiths. Diverse ages. Diverse places of birth and upbringing. Diverse education.
 
We cooperate well because we all share concern for people, all the people of Port Hueneme. We all share the moral and ethical principles that make the United States of America great.
 
One woman, Toni, and one man, myself, will retire from City Council in November 2008, leaving two open seats. I am reasonably certain that the two Port Hueneme citizens who will be elected to replace us will continue to support the values of Port Hueneme.
 
Murray Rosenbluth
Port Hueneme City Council
Rosenbluth was mayor in 2000 and 2005

Harris in Wonderland

Reading Camille Harris’ letters on view protection is like opening a chapter from #Alice in Wonderland# (See “Clarifications about view petition,” Letters, 2/7/08). In her enchanted world, Midtown boulevard condos are "commuter condos.” Buildings that conserve energy and reduce transportation needs are "unsustainable,” and the historical small town values of New Urbanism are somehow to blame for the sprawl of Los Angeles and the ghettos of Washington, D.C.

You can find examples of "commuter condos" out by Wells Road, miles distant from major employment, shopping or higher education centers.

Boulevard condos are more likely to be occupied by retirees who want easy access to downtown, not the freeway onramp. These places will have nice views and won’t be cheap, but when empty-nesters trade up from an old house to a condo, they make a starter home available for a young family with children.

I don’t know what Harris thinks "sustainable" means, but I understand it to mean an economy that doesn’t need to import energy and resources and doesn’t have to export its wastes. Studies have shown that small towns use less electric power, less water and less construction material per capita than both large cities and suburbs. "Small town" means multistory buildings in close proximity that offer a variety of services to both the apartment dwellers upstairs and the bungalow residents up the street. I suspect Ms. Harris is only concerned with "sustaining" the status-quo of particular Midtown homeowners.

Harris’ understanding of New Urbanism is equally upside-down. She attempts to confuse New Urbanism with Urban Renewal, the dismal period of large redevelopment projects in the 1950s and ’60s that tore neighborhoods apart with freeways and high-rise towers. New Urbanism is a philosophy that rejects both the grandiose urban project and the cookie cutter approach of suburban sprawl. It seeks to build and restore small towns that are neighborhood-oriented, walkable, and sustainable; nothing at all like L.A. or D.C.

I believe Ms. Harris has a purpose for twisting words so freely. To take them at face value is like taking travel directions from the Cheshire Cat. Believe them and you’ll end up lost. The true advocates of scenic view protection deserve better representation than this.

John Johnson
Ventura

Restaurants must pay minimum wage

Your editorial (See "The Tipping Point", 2/7/08) was misleading. Much as California restaurateurs and others would like to believe that it is legal for them to pay a "subminimum wage" to their tipped employees, it is not. The California Labor Code clearly prohibits employers from taking a credit against a wait staffer’s wages. This rule is cited on the California Labor Commissioner’s Web site at www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_TipsAndGratutities.htm as quoted here:

“ … Q. My employer pays me less than the minimum wage because he includes my tips in my hourly pay. Is this legal?

A. No. Unlike under federal regulations, in California an employer cannot use an employee’s tips as a credit towards its obligation to pay the minimum wage. California law requires that employees receive the minimum wage plus any tips left for them by patrons of the employer’s business (Labor Code Section 351).”

California’s law, and that of several states, differs markedly from that of states governed solely by federal regulation of wages and hours; under federal law employers are allowed to credit tips against their workers’ wages. But any worker in Ventura County whose declared tips are deducted from her or his wages should see an attorney experienced in employment law immediately.
 
On Jan. 1, 2008, the California minimum wage increased to $8 an hour. Lest anyone get too excited, the cost of living in Ventura County is such that a "living wage" in our community is a minimum of $12.50 an hour. Tips still are desperately needed, as you point out, for service workers to get by and to continue to live and work in our community.
 
Janet M. Koehn
Attorney
Ventura

Another vet against McCain

It was a real pleasure to read this week’s letter from Robert Murray (See “McCain letter angers veteran,” Letters, 2/7/08). So I’m not alone after all. As a U.S. Air Force veteran myself (though only two years) I see his view as intelligent, practical and right on the mark.

Where in the deuce are all the other Americans who should be putting America first hiding? How have we gotten to be the world’s policeman with hundreds of bases around the globe, most of them in places we should never have been in to begin with?

If there are any other voters out there who still have a functional brain, please start to speak up before it is too late!!

Bud Stuart

Santa Barbara

New Web site stinks

Sorry, but it sucks. Not only is it not quite ready for prime time (non-working links), but it’s lost the look and feel of the Reporter. Normally, I log onto your Web site and save a tree in lieu of picking up a paper copy three doors down at the local market. Your former Web site was very much like the hard-copy version. Not anymore …
 
No, I don’t want to have to specify search criteria (category, author, date, etc.) No, I don’t want to struggle with a calendar that loads a new page each time I want to find out the events for another day of the week. What happened to good old-fashioned scrolling down through the days of the week on the same page? And when I find something I may want to check out, I have to go to yet another page to find the venue. No times are given, so I’ll just have to hang out there all day I guess … nice maps, though, for folks who are from out of town. Normally, I read the online version "cover-to-cover,” but I gave up after attempting to get a handle on the week’s live music.
 
I’ll pick up a printed copy this week (though I’d rather you not have to print extra copies for those of us that don’t want to deal with your Web site). I hope it doesn’t emulate the Web site! That would REALLY suck.
 
Quite Sincerely,
 
John Garrett Golden
Ventura

Praise for Guzik

Reading the Reporter has always been a big part of my weekly reading since it first started. Now it’s with more anticipation that I read it for the good, truthful articles from Hannah Guzik. Her articles are interesting, informative and interesting and in keeping with the times.

Thank you Hannah for "Honest journalism.”

Thank you Mr. Lascher for hiring a good reporter.

Jean Nussman

Via e-mail

Bush assaults Social Security

The major effort by George W. Bush and his Republican Party camp followers to essentially emasculate the Social Security system via the method they refer to as "privatization" was defeated by millions of seniors such as my wife and I. Organizations such as AARP, Consumers’ Union and the vast majority of retirees fought this bankrupt administration’s plan to divert Social Security funds to the stock and bond markets.
 
The very recent stock market crash proves what folly their ideas was! Billions of dollars in retirement funds would have been lost in just 20 days. Major market indexes plunged, and almost every mutual fund had to sell in order to handle the waves of share holders who wanted to escape the Market downfall. Can you imagine having a good portion of your Social Security taxes wed to such a system?
 
I would imagine many seniors barely remember this absolutely brazen attempt to undermine this system by essentially blandishing the presumption of quick monetary rewards via the stock and bond markets. May we ask; "where are the riches, without significant risks?"
 
Each potential retiree has the option of using his or her personal savings to venture into the markets for stocks, bonds, mutual funds, U.S. treasury investments or real estate … hopefully being fully aware of the risks. Also, keep in mind, there are many clever manipulators who can quickly and legally relieve you of some of your investment funds (other than our politicians ) by loading up front fees, management costs and monthly maintenance charges.
 
Also, keep in mind that many affluent investors want to abandon the existing system due to the fact most of the Social Security payments they may receive must be included on the income tax returns and taxed at the standard rate for ordinary income. These affluent people would much prefer to pay capital gains tax rate or at the special rate for dividends, typically 15 percent.
 
Stay alert, protect and enhance the existing system, reduce out-of-control military spending which is simply destroying this nation. The military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us of has now become a cancerous tissue. We are told added funds for childrens’ health care is socialism, but money to develop or enhance almost any weapons system represents money wisely spent. Does the truth make us free?

Alfred C. Surwin

Ventura