I read in the news that this spring local citizens will be receiving rebates of $300 to $1,200. It’s supposed to stimulate the economy and protect us from the recession. If everyone rushes right out and buys a new technology toy the economy to benefit most will be China’s.

What would happen if the citizens of Ventura (California’s New Art City) and surrounding cities and towns all decided to support our local arts with their rebates. Imagine the possibilities. Use some of the rebate to subscribe to season tickets to a local theater. Attend some concerts. Buy a piece of art by a local artist. Enhance your personal life while building up a strong and vital local cultural scene.

The season is approaching. Spring for the arts.

John Nichols,
Santa Paula

Student urges environmental protection

I would like to introduce my self, my name is Natalie Nunez. I’m a sixth-grader at Christa McAuliffe Elementary School in Oxnard. I hope to someday be an environmental lawyer. I was inspired to write you to act on behalf of marine life after I placed second in the science fair at school.

Producing clean and safe beaches is on the top of a lot of my friends and family members’ minds, especially after my research on my science project. My topic was:
What is the number one item littering two local beaches in my community, Hueneme Beach and Oxnard Shores?

After cleaning the beaches and studying to find out that bottle caps and lids were the No. 1 type of litter I became very upset after seeing the effect it had on marine life, finding a dead seal strangled by a rope and a deceased bird on the shore. I thought about things I could do to help put an end to finding so many bottle caps and lids on the beach, so I decided to write you in hopes you can share my letter with others to help promote healthy and diverse ocean ecosystems and hopefully come up with ways to control the litter we find on the beach.

I know we can’t stop all the litter we find on the beach but together we can control some of the litter and save marine life. Now that I have placed second I will be competing in the 2008 Ventura County Schools Science Fair April 23. Wish me luck in showing the importance of caring about our marine environment.

Natalie Nunez,
Oxnard

Cox disputes editorial

The misinformation campaign is yours, not mine. Your editorial (see “Misinformation Campaign,” Editorial, 2/28/08) on my presentation at the UCSB Economic Forecast conference was both inaccurate and unfair. Little authority in my presentation beyond my own voice? The citation of eight respected economists, including five international central bankers, proves that wrong. “Had little response” on Atlanta? I provided a detailed description of why Atlanta has a traffic problem. My main point was that, for all of its faults, Atlanta remains a place where the American Dream can be afforded. That is no small accomplishment. Finally, any of your doubts about the documentation (all authoritative sources) behind the “colorful” graphs could have been answered by a simple question or two. Regrettably, the Reporter chose a “cheap shot” instead.

The reality is that the prescriptive land use policies of Ventura County and elsewhere in the state have destroyed housing affordability. This is just beginning to have very serious consequences. The California budget crisis and the impending local government fiscal crisis are just the beginning. Hundreds of thousands of people are leaving the state every year, according to the US Census Bureau, as one of my colorful graphs indicated. All of this may be inconvenient to the comfortable. But it is the truth.

Wendell Cox,
Principal, Demographia
Senior Fellow, Heartland Institute

More criticism of editorial

I was not at the 2008 Ventura County Economic Outlook presentation you described in your editorial, having already determined that Joel Kotkin was going to present and I just couldn’t stomach that. Both you and City Councilman Carl — “they slandered my profession” — Morehouse have written/complained about this fellow Wendell Cox, who spoke at the event.

In reading what both you and Hannah Guzik (See “Economists paint grim picture,” News, 2/28/08) have said, I don’t read what Morehouse talked about when he said in the VC Star:

“When doing his housing comparisons for costs, Cox blamed planners for the regulatory problems. What Cox failed to take into account as a major difference between Indiana and California (and California versus Texas and Georgia and other states he cited) is the legal right of Californians to utilize the initiative process. It is not the planners who have put the brakes on growth; it is the citizens, as we have well seen in this county via voter initiatives with regard to the conversion of agricultural land, development of hillsides, controlling traffic and density, etc. Planners are not at fault for additional costs; it is the result of citizens who want less growth who have restricted supply. Such a constitutional right does not exist in those other states.”

It turns out that there is more than ample evidence and impressive study to show  a man-made scarcity of housing in the sense that the housing supply has been constrained by  regulation as opposed to fundamental geographic limitations, especially in the last two or three decades.  www.nber.org/digest/sep05/w11129.html

John Landis concluded that far more pernicious have been the supply-limiting effects of informal, ad hoc controls. Through their powers of discretionary review, California cities and counties, as well as regional, state, and federal agencies, have acted (however inadvertently) to reduce the available supply of new housing in the state. The result has been significant region-wide housing price increases, which have dwarfed the inflationary effects of purely local caps. (Landis 1992, 502-3). Landis’s study confirms the importance of planning-related impacts on housing prices, but suggests planning procedures and processes may be more important than specific policies.

According to Landis, local politics matter. www.urbanfutures.org/r6897d.

In spite of the prestigious institutions and learned scholars conducting these studies, places like Ventura County prefer to fashion their own rationale as to why housing is so unaffordable.

Frank Pecarich,
Ventura

War’s impact ignored

With all the media focused on the coming election, there seems to be a distinct lack of reporting on the continued cost of the war in Iraq

Our country is going through an economic meltdown due to the growing sub-prime crisis that is now hitting us here in our own county. Families are walking away from their homes, unable to afford to keep them, and our government has come up with a plan to give us all a tax rebate, a mere pittance that will do nothing to help Americans keep their homes or feed their families.

Meanwhile, the war is costing Americans more than $338 million a day. That’s $338 million that could be going into health care, affordable housing, education or feeding the poor.

Gas prices are close to double what they were before the war began, with the cost of oil still hovering around $100 a barrel.

But worst of all, we are borrowing $343 million every day to finance the war in Iraq. Our skyrocketing debt will be a bigger and bigger drag on our economy and the slow recovery will burden future generations.

More and more people continue to die in Iraq, and we continue to pay the price at our children’s expense.

When will our leaders end this crazy war and bring our troops home? When we will start to shore up our own country and take care of the millions of people here that need assistance?

A good question for our representatives in Washington: When will we end this needless expenditure and put the dollars where they are most needed, right here in our own country?

Allee Reidinger,
Ojai