Your article on learning how to live again (Cover story, 5/07) was a nice article but left out many people who have learned. Case in point is a local business located on Ventura Avenue named Quadra Tek. The owner Jim Bucher and his office manager are both confined to wheelchairs for life and in the business of providing mobility items for the handicapped and adapting their homes for better access. You missed a good story about these two.

Lou Sickels, Ventura

The biggest thief is the federal government
Robert Barrett’s letter in the May 14 VCReporter was demonstrative of one of the major mental defects of the ‘Left’. He charges corporations using legal tax loopholes with treason and theft. He applauds efforts to allow the government to steal even more money from these corporations that provide jobs, in-demand products, research-and-development projects that improve the quality of our lives, and dividends to shareholders (many of whom are retirees); better that the government (which provides none of these things) have more money to dole out to welfare recipients and bureaucrats and to wage overseas wars, I guess.

In Robert Barrett’s warped view, a business that is “allowed” to keep more of the money that it rightfully earned (instead of that money going to someone who did nothing to earn it) is stealing from the Treasury! Imagine if I and a few other guys mug Robert Barrett of the $100 he has in his wallet, and feeling a little bit guilty, I “generously” throw $10 back to him, and my accomplices say, “Hey, what’re you doing, you’re stealing from us — that’s our money!” The biggest thief in America, hands down, is the federal government, followed by state and local governments! The truth of the matter is that taxes, themselves, are a form of theft (involuntary contributions to the function of government), and anyone advocating for them is an accomplice. While some very few taxes may be necessary for the functioning of civil government, those taxes should be extremely limited, and government should not use its power of legalized theft to transfer wealth from one group to another. It is immoral and destructive of civil society, and any sane, rational and peace-loving person should be for extremely limited taxation.

Robert Barrett labels the Republican Party as the party of corporatism/fascism. He is mostly correct. However, does he believe the Democratic Party and the Messiah, himself, to be any different? Obama far outpaced his Republican opponent in receiving donations from corporate America. The many thousands of corporate lobbyists in Washington, D.C., don’t just visit Republican office holders. While the influence of corporate America over politics is outright deplorable, we should hold our elected representatives accountable for the favors that they sell. The public trust is not bestowed upon any corporation or CEO, but with elected representatives. No corporation has the legalized power to steal, only government does; and folks like Robert need to recognize that governments routinely steal (money and market share by killing competition through regulations) on behalf of special interest groups (including unions and welfare thieves). Unfortunately, Americans keep sending back the same old crooked, career politicians who keep right on selling us out. 

Shane Solano, Ventura

Strong leaders needed in Sacramento

Now that Californians, or at least those who bothered to vote, have voted down Propositions 1A thru 1E, what’s next? Allow me to offer suggestions that some may view as far too radical.

To our California Legislators and Governor, I recommend trying honesty. The measures you placed on the ballot were dishonest enough to make Bernie Madoff blush. How any elected official could have supported those with a straight face is beyond me. If they had passed, they would have done virtually nothing to address the core reasons for our state’s budget woes. As elected officials, you must work together and you must engage (and re-engage) the public. To effectively engage the public, our state government must shift the direction that is so often set by special interest funding. There may be no more effective manner to discourage public involvement than the impression that the citizens cannot positively impact the present and future of our communities and our state.

To the voters in California, including those who could not bother to vote this time, I recommend accepting responsibility for those same officials. The only reason they are serving in the California Legislators or as our governor is that we, the voters, did not elect others. And while we may currently have to put up with a jury-rigged redistricting system, making valid state elections almost nonexistent in California, changing the system is only improbable, not impossible. It becomes clearer each day that true, strong and fearless leadership is needed for our state. For that to happen, we, the voters, must more actively engage with our elected officials.

John S. Jones, Ventura

Don’t let rent control be destroyed

Mobile home park owners have attempted to get rid of rent control statewide on a regular basis, whether by legislation or propositions. They’re at it again.

Rent control is law in more than 100 jurisdictions in the state.

In Oxnard, when a mobile home is sold, the rent may be increased by 15 percent, not to exceed $80/month. Additionally, a discretionary rent increase is possible under certain conditions. There’s also a schedule for annual consumer price index (CPI) increases.

At this writing, Assembly Bill 761 is on the state Assembly floor. This time, the scheme is to chip away at rent control by raising space rent upon resale. In 2010, the buyer’s rent increases 20 percent over the seller’s rent at that time; in 2011, the buyer’s rent is 40 percent more; in 2012, it’s 60 percent more; in 2013, rent goes up 80 percent; and … in 2014, a buyer would have to pay 100 percent more than the seller’s current rent, rent that has been increasing by the annual CPI percentage over the years. What happened to affordable housing? Imagine if your mortgage payment was increased 100 percent within the next five years!!!

When rents go up … home values go down. It becomes harder (if not impossible) to sell a home. Many parks are exclusively for seniors. Please consider the elderly who move closer to their children or go to assisted living facilities. They need the money from the sale of their mobile home to afford that move. Think about people who’ve lost their jobs, but are lucky enough to find one in another city or state. Will they be able to sell their home here so they can be with their spouses? (It’s happening to a neighbor right now. He was happy to finally find a job in Arizona; she’s here.)

We need to ask our assembly members to vote “NO” on AB761 … another outrageous scheme to destroy rent control. They never let up. They never let us live in peace.

This information needs to be circulated to friends all over California because many legislators do not accept contacts from anyone but constituents. Just call and say, “Please vote ‘No’ on AB761.” That’s all.

To find your assembly member, go to and click “Legislators.”

Your help is urgently needed. Thank you.

F. Mazze, Oxnard

Eating meat kills more than just animals

The stark contrast between our frenzied reaction to unfamiliar hazards and our reckless tolerance of familiar ones never ceases to amaze me.

The current incidence of swine flu, which killed five Americans, has captured the headlines, canceled public events and closed dozens of schools. At the same time, we have blithely continued our consumption of meat and dairy products, which have been linked conclusively with elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases that kill 1.3 million Americans annually.

But it’s not just about chronic diseases. According to the United Nations, animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, leading to catastrophic floods, droughts and sea level rises, which threaten human survival. It uses more fresh water and dumps more deadly wastes into our water supplies than all other human activities combined.

Each of us has a shared responsibility for our society’s health and welfare. The best time to exercise this responsibility is on our next trip to the supermarket, where we can explore the rich variety of meat-free and dairy-free ready-to-eat frozen dinners, veggie burgers and dogs, lunch “meats,” and plant-based cheese, ice cream and milk. Helpful transition hints and recipes galore are available at and

Vince Helferich, Ventura