Mean-spiritedness begets the same; so I’ll try and avoid it, especially in this season. But I do have a question: Why doesn’t the writer’s disgust (Letters, 12/24) (which he assumes is shared by the wider public) seem to be reflected in the founder of his faith? Jesus says nary a word about homosexuality! And it’s not that he’s prissy about sexuality — remember his words about casting the first stone?

Duane Waln, Camarillo


Unwarranted code violations
My name is Jamie Kohler, and I, too, was turned into the City by … for code violations regarding my “permitted” guest house/garage.Jamie Arnold came to our home to inspect a report of an illegal addition to a shed we have behind our garage.My husband, in an attempt to gain some storage space, added a small addition to an existing shed. This, in itself, is not something that needs to be permitted providing it meets the criteria for square feet.When Ms. Arnold inspected she found the shed addition to be in compliance but not our garage. This inspection took place in April ….On Nov. 24, we received a certified letter from the City stating our property is substandard with violations to areas of our property that were not inspected by Ms. Arnold, namely the following:

1. Permitted guest house be used as a second dwelling.
Not true!

2. Bathroom and kitchen not permitted.

First off, she never inspected the guest house or entered it at all.

There is no kitchen.

3. Reconvert garage back to single-car garage with concrete floor.

This was known by us when we bought the property. No surprise here. We need a driveway, a garage door where a slider exists. My husband uses this for a hobby/storage room. Evidently this is not allowed. A garage has to be used as a garage.

Who knew?

4. Install garage door

No surprise here.

5. Repair the firewall between the garage and the guest house.

In other words, close up the door that leads from the garage to the guest house.

6. Guest room must have a smoke detector. It does.

Here’s the problem.When we bought the property we were told that our guest house was permitted both by the previous owners and the realtor.We were given a copy of the permit.What they failed to mention is that everything inside the guest house was not permitted, i.e., the bathroom, walls, closets and cabinets, sliding doors, electrical and plumbing, water heater, etc.Oh, my.Who knew?We honestly thought the guesthouse was permitted and were led to believe it was.

We, like every other homeowner, have lost tons of equity on our home.We bought it at the peak of the market and, to be honest, we have no real savings to pay for the permits, let alone the remodeling.Our home is very nice.

This is not substandard housing. There is no one other than guests that stays in our guest house.And most important, we were violated without any inspection!Just on the word of some unknown informant. We, too, feel betrayed by the realtor, the appraiser, the previous owners and the loser who thought it was OK to report us!

At this point, I met the Christmas Eve deadline to hire an architect, a contractor and have made numerous trips to the city planning office attempting to wade through this foreign process.Even the paper size of drawings must meet certain guidelines!What is next? Who knows.

I wonder if there is anyone who has a compliant home.I doubt it very much. I lay dollars to doughnuts that every single home in the city or even the County of Ventura is noncompliant somewhere.Are they coming after all of us?

At a time when people are losing their homes to foreclosure and having a hard time keeping ahead of inflation, the city hits even harder and adds to our and others’ financial worries and stress.Though we aren’t in any way threatened by foreclosure personally, I am sure there are others who will lose their homes because they have to come up with cash to remodel, pay fines, etc. How very sad.

Jamie Kohler, Ventura


Preferably meatless in 2009
This has not been a good year for the meat, dairy and egg industries.

It began in February, with USDA’s largest-ever recall of ground beef produced by California’s Westland/Hallmark Meat Company.

In April, Archives of Internal Medicine published a 25-year study of 88,000 women, finding that those who ate lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains were 24 and 18 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke, respectively, than women addicted to more typical American diets. A review of dietary habits in 52 countries in the October issue of Circulation reached similar conclusions.

In May, the American Institute for Cancer Research warned consumers that grilling of meat or fish raises the risk of colon cancer. A National Cancer Institute study in the November Proceedings of the National Academy of Science confirmed that consumption of meat and dairy products elevates the risk of cancer.

Last spring, the prestigious Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins University called for a phase-out of factory farming. In November, 63 percent of California voters agreed by requiring that animals raised for food have space to turn around and spread their wings, possibly wiping out the state’s egg industry.

Let’s make 2009 a really good year for ourselves by exploring the rich variety of veggie burgers, dogs, deli slices, heat-and-eat dinners, and soy-based milks, cheeses, and ice creams in our local supermarkets. This is one New Year’s resolution that’s easy and fun to keep.

Charles McGregor, Ventura